Nothing would be more heart-wrenching than to lose in one’s home country in a main event. If Brazil’s Bethe Correia wants to avoid just that fate, she will have to perform the almost-impossible task of dethroning one of the most dominant UFC champions in recent memory. For her part, her opponent, Ronda Rousey, rarely needs added motivation to perform in exquisite fashion, laying waste to her opposition each and every time, however, it seems that when an opponent does, the consequences are substantial.
One opponent who knows this all to well is Miesha Tate, who suffered a broken arm and several torn ligaments in her elbow after scorning Rousey. The two men Rousey beat up behind a movie theater, after they so rudely interrupted the women’s bantamweight champion’s movie, are also very familiar with the concept. Bethe talks about vengeance, and of possibly ending the Rousey era, but the more she continues to speak, the more the fire burns inside of the champ, who plans on embarrassing the Brazilian in her home country. The prelims for UFC 190 kick off on UFC Fight Pass at 7 p.m. EST, switch over to FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. EST, and finally land on pay-per-view at 10 p.m. EST. Correia has yet been forced to eat her own words, and Rousey yearns to make her do just that.
[C] Ronda Rousey (11-0) vs. #7 Bethe Correia (9-0) Women’s Bantamweight Title Bout – Fighting on enemy turf could sink the ship for Rousey, but with unwavering confidence, the champ already seems to be looking past her Brazilian foe. This may be for good reason, as Rousey has blown through her opposition with ease, with only one opponent pushing her past the first round in her fighting career. Nostalgia surrounding the “Rowdy” one has already begun to rise to new levels. Even as her slick finishes continue, the rising concern that she will leave the UFC for an acting career grow each time she defends her UFC title. Correia brings nothing Rousey has not seen before, and does not pose as big of a threat as the UFC is hyping in their promos. The Brazilian has only finished two of her nine fights within the distance, and has not proven in previous fights that she can avoid the pressure Rousey will provide, nor has she proven if she can avoid being tossed to the ground. Whether Rousey will win this fight is not the pressing question; it is really how many more years the UFC has left with one of their biggest draws. With the champ already announcing a movie role after her next fight, the question is certainly valid. Fantasy-wise, ride the superstar. No finish would be a disappointment. Ronda Rousey via Submission.
#8 Mauricio Rua (22-10) vs. #11 Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (21-6) Light Heavyweight Bout – Neither fighter is really expected to make another title run in the UFC, but it would sure be nice if either could reclaim some part of their former selves. Rua used to be one of the most feared men in the division, but the former UFC champ has not been the “Shogun” since 2007. Another loss for Shogun could lead to a possible retirement, or an exit, from the best mixed martial arts promotion in the world. “Little Nog” has fared much better than his opponent, even though being knocked into the next dimension by Anthony Johnson in his last fight was quite a setback in its own right. Although Nogueira had previously won two fights before being on the receiving end of Johnson’s blows, age is starting to become a factor for the former UFC light heavyweight contender. Rua is the younger of the two, but that will not matter as much considering how frail his chin has been lately. A finish is likely, but it is doubtful it will be a favorable result for Rua, as it was in 2005. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira via Technical Knockout.
Glacio Franca (13-3) vs. Fernando Bruno (16-2) Lightweight Bout – This fight is probably the least intriguing fight of the two Ultimate Fighter:Brasil 4 finals. Bruno is considered a strong grappler, and almost always uses his control to outlast his opponents inside the cage. Franca’s athletic ability and size is unquestionably an advantage in the division, but Bruno’s relentless grappling attack will push Franca into deep waters, and whether he sinks or swims is up to him. If Bruno gains the upper hand, the fantasy opportunities in this fight diminish drastically. If Franca somehow turns the fight in his favor, the fantasy factor rises, as he has a better shot at finishing the fight. Lay-and-prey fights mean nothing and count for little when it comes to winning in UFC fantasy land, so unless someone is willing to risk it on Franca, it would be wise to steer clear of this bout. Fernando Bruno via Unanimous Decision.
Reginaldo Vieira (13-3) vs. Dileno Lopes (19-1) Bantamweight Bout – Lopes was one of the more highly touted fighters joining the Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 4 cast, after suffering a knockout loss in his first stint on a previous show. Vieira is the lesser-known Brazilian entering the final, but he is more than willing to engage in some chaotic violence, with some entertaining scrambles thrown in. Both of these fighters love to try to use their own respective submissions against their opponents off of scrambles, with both of them being highly versed in chokes. Lopes here has the higher ceiling, and is the second-largest favored fighter on the UFC 190 Card, right behind Rousey. Believe in the hype or not, but Vieira’s three losses are very misleading, and he has more than a puncher’s chance of winning this fight. The crowd is going to be electric, the atmosphere will be hard to handle, and it will all come down to which one of these fighters can really grasp the moment and be the new Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 4 winner. Dileno Lopes via Submission.
#15 Stefan Struve (29-7) vs. Minotauro Noguiera (34-9-1) Heavyweight Bout – Struve did not have quite the comeback he wanted when he last fought. Nonetheless, it was great to see the “Skyscraper” back inside of the octagon after his heart issues. The Netherlands product has now picked up two losses in a row, and he really needs to dig down deep to pick up a victory over the older Nogueira brother, especially if he wants to stay relevant in the UFC heavyweight division. Nogueira himself has hit a funk, and is on the verge of getting cut from the promotion as well. He has lost five out of his last eight fights, and has lost two in a row. Nogueira needs to press Struve and make him uncomfortable early, like Alistair Overeem did with Struve in his last bout. Struve does not seem to respond well to pressure, and has yet to rebound; he seems to still be searching for some confidence inside of the cage. Being 27, Struve still has plenty of time to figure things out, and there is no better time than now, as he catches a veteran fighter on the down side of his career. Nogueira may press early, but will not make it past the second. Stefan Struve via Technical Knockout.
#12 Antonio Silva (18-7) vs. Soa Palelei (22-4) Heavyweight Bout – Confidence has seemingly left Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, and his career appears to be crumbling before everyone’s eyes. The Silva before the Cain Velasquez beating he endured would give Polelei a whipping in this fight, but the Silva who stands before the crowd on this card is a huge question mark. Polelei does not exactly wow people with any aspect of his game, but his power could put a rhino to sleep. Another fantasy sleeper to keep an eye on, Palelei may come in as the slight favorite, but do not be surprised if he puts Silva to sleep early, which means worlds in fantasy. Soa Palelei via Technical Knockout.
#2 Claudia Gadelha (12-1) vs. Jessica Aguilar (19-4) Strawweight Bout – This should be the fight that determines the next contender for the UFC strawweight title, and the next fight for the Polish phenom, Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Former World Series of Fighting strawweight champion Aguilar is particularly strong with her wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu game; factors in which Gadelha excels as well. Aguilar has not fought anyone of Gadelha’s caliber in quite a while, which may cause her fits if she cannot implement her game plan. If the Brazilian Gadelha can improve the striking aspect of her game and use a dominant top game to control Aguilar, she should be able to coast to victory in this one. Even though the fantasy factor is limited here, this may be a fun fight to watch. Claudia Gadelha via Unanimous Decision.
The prelims offer a good card as well, with fighters like Demian Maia, Neil Magny, Rafael Cavalcante, Patrick Cummins, and Clint Hester on the card. There could be a case made for some of these bouts to be included on the main card, which should make the preliminary card that much better. Sleepers with some high finish potential include Magny, who has won his last three bouts by a way of finish; Alcantara who usually has a trick up his sleeve and is coming off a loss; and Cavalcante, who has yet to win or lose via decision. For coverage and fantasy predictions, tune in before each UFC fight for analysis.
Commentary by Justin Huffman
Follow Justin’s work in the MMA Spotlight Section
Guardian Liberty Voice sports writer leading the coverage in MMA
Edited by Jennifer Pfalz
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