UFC Heavyweight powers collide in the main event, as the Ultimate Fighting Championship takes mixed martial arts competition down south into Brasilia, Brazil. “The Pitbull” Andrei Arlovski looks to avoid his second loss to Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva in a bout that surely will mix up the heavyweight ranks. The event itself will only be available on the Fight Pass application only found on the promotions webpage. The prelims kick things off at 5:45 pm EST, with the main card following suit at 8 pm EST. Can Arlovski get his revenge? Or will Silva continue to reign terror on the division? Make sure to find out come Saturday night.
#4 Antonio Silva (18-5) vs. #14 Andrei Arlovski (22-10) Heavyweight Bout – Last time these two met about four years ago, Andrei Arlovski just barely survived what was then a three-round fight. Now stepping into a five round main event, with a vastly improved Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, Arlovski may be in some big trouble. The former UFC champion’s performance in his return back to the organization’s octagon was very lackadaisical against Brendan Schaub, and provided many more questions than answers about the returning “Pitbull”. Silva on the other hand, makes his first appearance after being suspended for testing positive with elevated levels of testosterone. The Brazilian has not set foot inside a cage for more than nine months, which could result into a hungrier than ever Silva. It is hard not to love Arlovski and the numerous highlight reel knockouts bouncing around on YouTube, but the “Pitbull” just has not evolved his game well enough to keep up with the top-tier in the heavyweight division. Silva may very well use the same game plan he did to beat Arlovski the first time; press him up along the cage, keep it close, and do not allow Arlovski much breathing room to flick his jab. The result will be somewhat different though, Silva will not go the distance with him this time, expect a finish. Antonio Silva via Technical Knockout.
Gleison Tibau (38-10) vs. Piotr Hallmann (15-2) Lightweight Bout – Piotr Hallmann could make a jump up in competition, and potential landing spot in the lightweight rankings, if he can decisively beat the longtime veteran Gleison Tibau. Once a one-dimensional grappler with limited striking, Tibau has really shown improvement in his stand up game, but cannot seem to add finishes to his resume. Hallmann is a finisher, and pushes a frantic pace that not too many fighters can keep up with. Look for Hallmann to really up the tempo come the second round and pressure Tibau, breaking him either in the second or third round. Tibau has not always had the best gas tank in his mixed martial arts career, and Hallmann will be more than willing to empty it in the later rounds. Piotr Hallmann via Unanimous Decision.
Leonardo Santos (12-4-1) vs. Efrain Escudero (19-5) Lightweight Bout – Escudero is hoping third time’s a charm, as this may be his final attempt to establish himself in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Efrain’s game has not changed much since he was cut, so do not expect some sort of epiphany from this lightweight. His chances of winning remain high though, as he is facing a very raw Leonardo Santos that is still working on his sub par wrestling and striking game. Make no mistake about it, if Santos gets his opponent down he may be one of the most dangerous submission specialists in the division, but getting him there is a whole other story. Santos struggles on completing take downs, and does just enough striking wise to keep his opponent at bay. If Escudero has learned a thing or two with his time away, he needs to press this fight and keep the volume of strikes coming in order to win this fight. Leonardo Santos via Unanimous Decision.
Santiago Ponzinibbio (19-2) vs. Wendall Oliveira (24-7) Welterweight Bout – This fight is quite simple to analyze. If Oliveira gets this fight to the ground and establishes a dominant top game, he could possibly ride out a decision victory over Santiago. Ponzinibbio is the more rounded out fighter, and has a pretty impressive striking game when he releases it. Oliveira is quite the powerful dude, and could make this a tough night if he can grab a hold Santiago. Unfortunately, the sides favor the Argentinean in this one, and expect the Team Nogueira product to finish this fight in style. Santiago Ponzinibbio via Technical Knockout.
#7 Iuri Alacantara (30-5) vs. Russel Doane (14-3) Bantamweight Bout – Russel Doane is the underdog on paper, but do not be surprised if he runs circles around Alacantara in this one. Doane sets up his take downs beautifully, and he is very well versed in the submission game. Alacantara has the experience edge, and may show that he has a trick or two up his sleeve, but the ranked bantamweight is not exactly superior in any aspect of this fight. Alacantara may be the favorite heading into the Brazil show, but a gut feeling says Doane surprises the Brazilian fans, and the UFC, in this one. Russel Doane via Unanimous Decision.
#10 Jessica Andrade (11-3) vs. Larissa Pacheco (10-0) Women’s Bantamweight Bout – Larissa Pacheco enters the contest as a highly regarded prospect in the women’s bantamweight division, finishing all ten of her opponents she has fought thus far in her career. It is quite the test though, when entering the top organization in MMA, and fighting a top ten ranked opponent in her debut. Andrade is short in stature, but surely makes up for it in volume striking wise and in the clinch game. Pecheco will look to establish her striking using size to her advantage, but Andrade will find her range sooner or later, and will leave her mark on Pecheco if she does not tread carefully and consciously defend herself. Jessica Andrade via Technical Knockout.
In other notable bouts on the prelims, Paulo Thiago will look to keep his standing with the organization alive against Sean Spencer. Rani Yahya and Johnny Bedford get to finally settle their differences as their first fight concluded as a No-Contest due to a head butt.
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Commentary by Justin Huffman
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Guardian Liberty Voice sports writer leading the coverage in MMA