UFC Fight Night 36 takes place Saturday, Feb. 15, in Jaragua do Sul, Brazil. Headlining the card is a middleweight match-up between Gegard Mousasi and Lyoto Machida. In the co-main event, Jacare Souza takes on Francis Carmont. The ProMMAnow.com crew gives their thoughts and predictions for each of the main card bouts. Take a look at our picks then sound off with yours in the comments section.
Gegard Mousassi (+210) vs. Lyoto Machida (-270)
JASON KINDSCHY: From what I see coming out of the MMA community, not many people are giving Mousassi a chance in this tilt, and for that, I think you are all crazy. Yes, Machida is very tricky to deal with and looks unstoppable at 185, but has everyone forgot about Gegard’s skill set? A K-1 level striker with a solid ground game to match, and he is a very intelligent martial artist. Shogun Rua showed the world that Muay Thai is the perfect answer for a Karate fighter, and I expect Mousassi to do the same. However, our own Kelvin Hunt did point out that since both these guys are counter strikers, we might be in for a boring fight, but I think Gegard won’t allow it to happen. I expect Mousassi to walk Machida down, remain patient and plant some heavy shots on “The Dragon.” My only concern for Gegard is his gas tank, if his cardio is ready for five rounds of chasing Lyoto, it’s the Armenian-Dutchmen’s fight to lose. Just like Shogun, I expect Gegard to catch Machida coming in and get the finish. Also, a win for Mousassi could set up a rematch with “Jacare” Souza and I’m sure hardcore fight fans want to see that. Mousassi via KO.
DENNY HODGE: I love both of these guys, but this fight could turn into a snoozefest. We all know about Machida’s elusiveness, dangerous counter-striking, and his precise timing. On the other side of the cage, it’s unlikely that a very technical and patient Mousasi will push the pace aggressively throughout the bout, which could end up drawing some boos from the crowd as the bout wears on. It will be interesting to see if Mousasi can find a home for his jab and find the right angles to touch the chin of Machida while also scoring with kicks. If it hits the ground, each guy will likely neutralize the other, and whether it stays standing or turns into a grappling match, it will go to decision. In the end Mousasi will land more as Machida fails to mount any real offense feeding off his counter game. Mousasi by split decision.
RHADI FERGUSON: Lyoto Machida
BRIAN FURBY: Lyoto Machida
GARY THOMAS: Lyoto Machida looked great at his middleweight debut. Mousasi can be a dangerous cat but my crystal ball tells me that the first round might put you to sleep. I don’t think either guy gets finished but I think Machida does enough to get the win but not the next title shot. Pick – Machida via Decision (Split).
JACK BRATCHER: I like this fight a lot. Hopefully we get to see these guys stand and bang it out. Machida flattened Mark Munoz in his middleweight debut back in October. No one has ever KO’d Mousasi and I don’t expect Machida to do it either. I do think he’ll out-point him for the decision win though.
Francis Carmont (+460) vs. Ronaldo Souza (-660)
JASON KINDSCHY: I’m sorry if I upset any Canadian fans, but I really dislike Carmont’s style. He is a point fighter and doesn’t like to take any chances in the cage, like a less technical GSP. Souza on the other hand, is a finisher plain and simple. We all know his ground game is incredibly high caliber and he continues to showcase his improved striking. “Jacare” not only has the grip of an alligator on the mat, but he has the power to match anyone in the division. Carmont won’t be able to lay-and-pray with this fight and while his striking may be a bit more diverse then Souza’s, I still think Carmont loses this fight in all areas. I wouldn’t be surprised if Souza looks for the KO early and then takes a neck or limb home if the knockout isn’t there. Souza finishes Carmont before the 3rd.
DENNY HODGE: Look for “Jacare” to continue his rise. He’s murder on the ground, and now that he is just as dangerous striking, he’s a threat to anyone in the UFC’s middleweight division. All of them. His blend of speed, power, and athleticism will be a tough matchup for Carmont. Carmont has used wrestling and top control to win in the past but that just won’t work in this fight. He will have a size advantage, but speed kills and Souza will touch him up on the feet before Carmont gets desperate and tries to take it to the mat. Once it’s there, it’s a wrap. Souza by submission.
RHADI FERGUSON: Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza
BRIAN FURBY: Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza
GARY THOMAS: It would be very hard for me to pick against Jacare Souza. I feel like he is the strongest contender right now for the middleweight title. Carmont may have some size on him but Souza has the speed and skill to put this away. Don’t be surprised if this is finished in the first five minutes. Pick – Jacare Souza via Submission.
JACK BRATCHER: Just look at the odds. Despite Carmont having GSP in his corner and training with him for his whole camp for this fight, I still think Jacare stops him. Carmont has only been KO’d once in 29 fights. This might be his second.
Erick Silva (-875) vs. Takenori Sato (+575)
JASON KINDSCHY: When Erick Silva first stepped on the scene, I couldn’t help but liken him to a Brazilian Bruce Lee. His movement was fantastic and he appeared so fluid with his technique, but he’s gone 1-2 in his last three and really needs to win in my opinion. Sato is a Pancrase vet and has a ton of experience, although his record is pretty blemished and fighting to a draw seven times confuses me. I expect a motivated Silva to get the job done for the fans in Brazil and do so in impressive fashion. TKO in the first for the former Shooto champion. Silva via TKO in the first.
DENNY HODGE: Silva is looking to put a stamp of consistency on his UFC career as he tries to improve his 3-3 record inside the octagon. He’s a promising prospect known for his explosiveness, and he should have a pretty big athletic advantage in this one. Sato will try to use his limited combinations to set up takedown opportunities but Silva will be ready and will light him up during the exchanges. Silva by TKO.
RHADI FERGUSON: Erick Silva
BRIAN FURBY: Erick Silva
GARY THOMAS: Erick Silva is so up and down. He can be exciting but reckless. So who knows what version you are going to get. That being said, I like him to win in Brazil against a newcomer who has seven draws to his name. Pick – Erick Silva via Decision.
JACK BRATCHER: Another lopsided fight according to the oddsmakers. This is the big show debut for Takenori Sato and unfortunately for him he’s fighting a Brazilian UFC vet in Brazil. Sato comes from the Sakuraba camp, and his catch wrestling game is an interesting match-up against the BJJ black belt. Silva via decision.
Viscarde Andrade (-135) vs. Nicholas Musoke (+105)
JASON KINDSCHY: Andrade was one of the more promising prospects on the second season of TUF Brazil and regardless of his antics on the show, he comes to fight. I don’t know much about Musoke, but he boasts an impressive physique and a submission victory over UFC veteran Alessio Sakara. Based solely on the fact that this fight is going down in Andrade’s back yard, I’ve gotta pick the Brazilian. Andrade wins via Brazilian crowd power.
DENNY HODGE: Andrade will come out fast in this one and look for an impressive finish, but Musoke is a tough fighter, and has proven that he can overcome adversity. Musoke will try to slow Andrade down, and work inside the clinch to achieve just that. Andrade will land his share of strikes but will wear down as Musoke takes control. Musoke by decision.
RHADI FERGUSON: Viscarde Andrade
BRIAN FURBY: Viscarde Andrade
GARY THOMAS: Some people will get to check out Andrade and Musoke for the first time. Both are 1-0 in the UFC and both finish fights. This is really a pick ‘em fight for me so I am going to go with Andrade by TKO. Pick – Viscardi Andrade via TKO Round 2.
JACK BRATCHER: What Gary Thomas said. Andrade.
Charles Oliviera (-825) vs. Andy Ogle (+525)
JASON KINDSCHY: I honestly can’t imagine Ogle being able to thwart the BJJ skills of Oliveira. Even on the feet, I would give the edge to “Da Bronx,” but I do think Ogle has tons of heart. I expect Oliveira to frustrate Ogle on the feet and then look for the submission early, probably a choke before the second round. Oliveira via submission.
DENNY HODGE: Oliveira is 4-4 in the UFC but look up who he lost to, and you will see that they are some of the top guys in the UFC across two divisions. Ogle will struggle against the athleticism of Oliveira in this one. He will manage to put Oliveira on his back at times but that could prove lethal as Oliveira is very active off his back, and finds openings for sweeps when his opponent gets careless. On the feet we should see some decent exchanges, but the fight will end on the ground as Oliveira capitalizes on an Ogle mistake. Oliveira by submission.
RHADI FERGUSON: Charles Oliveira
BRIAN FURBY: Charles Oliveira
GARY THOMAS: Charles Oliveira has been in a tough fight each and every time out in the UFC. He’s fought a who’s who at 145. I think he’s got too much experience and a better skill set than Andy Ogle and he submits him in the third. Pick – Charles Oliveira via Submission.
JACK BRATCHER: “Do Bronx” probably needs a win here if he wants to keep his job in the UFC. His last two fights have been losses to Frankie Edgar and Cub Swanson. Ogle is definitely a step down in competition for Oliveira, and it should be about the right caliber opponent for him to pick up another win. Oliveira via submission (or decision).
Fight odds provided courtesy www.allpro.eu.