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UFC 163 Fight Card: Prelim Predictions

UFC 163 Fight Card: Prelim Predictions

Set to take place in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, UFC 163: Aldo vs. Korean Zombie will feature an action-packed card full of up and coming Brazilians fighting in their roots. While this card is headlined by a Brazil vs. South Korea match up, the majority of the card features Brazilians against Americans. The prelims contain several UFC debut-tees looking to become the next big Brazilian star in the UFC. Let’s take a look at the prelims!

Francimar Barroso vs. Ednaldo Oliveira

The first bout of the night will feature two light-heavyweight Brazilians who are known for finishing their opponents in brutal fashion. Barroso is the debuting act here, but Oliveira is still looking for his first win in the UFC since he dropped his debut against heavyweight contender Gabriel Gonzaga. Take note that Oliveira’s debut was short notice, and at heavyweight whereas this bout is in the prime weight class for both fighters.

It’s evident that both guys love to bang, and they both are very effective at it. The biggest thing that should stand out in this fight is that Oliveira is a monstrous 6’7” tall. That’s extremely tall for 205 and that’s either going to aid or hurt him tremendously. Against a smaller, more-compacted muscle house like Barroso, he can not opponent get inside on him. Barroso is the better grappler of the two, and seems to be more efficient with submissions. Look for Barroso to use his aggression to get inside early, take the mat to the ground, and dominate via his lower center of gravity. Barroso has dangerous ground and pound and full arsenal of submissions, so expect Barroso to get the job done in the first round. I’ll take Barroso by submission.

Francimar Barroso via 1st Round Submission

Viscardi Andrade vs. Bristol Marunde 

This next fight will be between two welterweights. Just like Barroso/Oliveira, we have one guy making his debut against a fighter who is 0-1 in the UFC. Andrade carries a 6-fight winning streak into his debut, and is an extremely well-rounded fighter. Marunde on the other hand is primarily a grappler, however he is known for his ability to take a beating on the feet – not necessarily something you want to be known for, but in summary, Bristol Marunde has made himself known as being an average fighter.

In this fight, I believe it’s going to come down to cardio. Bristol Marunde has dropped down to 170lbs for this fight, so he’s not going to have a size disadvantage like he’s to. That being said, Andrade is a very large welterweight and packs a lot of muscle – expect both fighters to be fatigued if this goes to a 3rd round. Ultimately, neither fighter has a bunch of technique on the feet as they both wing their punches and don’t have much sharpness to them, but Andrade has the most power. The ground game is where Marunde shines the most, however Andrade has a very strong wrestling game that should be able to stifle it. Ultimately, I see this coming down to the wire. Marunde has more experience is should never be counted out, but I feel that Andrade’s power and strong wrestling arsenal should be enough to win him 2 rounds while Marunde gets the third.

Andrade via Unanimous Decision 

Rani Yahya vs. Josh Clopton 

The last fight free on Facebook will be a featherweight match-up between featherweight veteran Rani Yahya and TUF 14 competitor Josh Clopton. Clopton has not fought since the end of 2011, so expect the long lay off to have an effect on Clopton’s readiness inside the cage against such a skilled opponent like Rani Yayha – who is on a 2 fight streak since losing to Chad Mendes back in 2011.

This fight is fairly simple to break down; you have an extremely talented featherweight who is a world-class grappler against a TUF reject who is on 2 years lay off and didn’t really impress. I’ll take the experience grappler in Yahya in a 2nd round submission. Never count an opponent out, but as long as Yahya keeps patient and waits his turn, he’ll find the opening to finish.

Rani Yahya via 2nd Round Submission 

Ian McCall vs. Illiarde Santos 

Former top-ranked flyweight Ian McCall is still searching for his first win inside the UFC. While McCall has faced the “who’s who” of the lower weight classes, his career is on thin-ice. Set to try and give McCall his walking papers is Brazilian stand-out Illiarde Santos who is also looking for his first win in the UFC. Santos debuted on short notice against Yuri Alcantara and was knocked out in the first round. Given, this was at bantamweight whereas this fight will be at flyweight.

Santos has a strong takedown and clinch game, so McCall’s crafty wrestling skills could very well be put to a halt. I believe Santos so be the bigger and stronger fighter as well, so Illiarde is really going to have to push the pace to try and turn this fight into an ugly wrestling match. However, McCall is about as slick as they come and knows how to deal with strong wrestlers as he has faced them in the past. Look for McCall’s footwork and striking skills to be put on display as he slips and rips for 3 rounds. McCall’s speed will be the dividend here as he avoid tie-ups and frustrates Santos. While Santos may have moments of glory with a takedown here-and-there, Ian will get the decision.

Ian McCall via Unanimous Decision 

Sergio Moraes vs. Neil Magny 

This next bout will feature two TUF competitors against each other in what should be a very anticipated bout. Both Moraes and Magny have shown some really high potential in the UFC within their showings. Moraes is a highly-touted Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt who has placed several times in World Championships. While Moraes competed at middleweight during TUF: Brazil, he is now down at 17 lbs where he belongs. His opponent, Neil Magny, is an explosive well-rounded fighter who looked to be headed to the finals of TUF 16 before getting knocked out by Mike Ricci. He won impressively in his debut, putting a clinic on Jon Manley for 3 rounds to capture the UD win. This fight between Magny and Moraes should be a very competitive fight between two guys with lots of potential.

Stylistically, Neil Magny is a bad match-up for Sergio Moraes as he is strong, athletic, and most importantly has very good grappling-defense. On top of that, Magny has dangerous 8-points of contact striking that can make Sergio Moraes’s efforts to get the fight to the ground a real pain in the ass. However, when you’re dealing with a top level grappler like Moraes, anything can happen. We’ve seen Moraes get out-struck before and come back to rally in the third and win by submission, so I’m not putting that past him here. However, Magny has solid cardio and is a very patient, relaxed fighter. I think his size and strength will aid his takedown defense as Magny batters Moraes for 3 rounds while Moraes desperately tries to take the fight into his world.

Neil Magny via Unanimous Decision 

Amanda Nunes vs. Sheila Gaff 

Seems like every card now features at least one women’s bout, which is great. This card we get Amanda Nunes vs. Sheila Gaff which, on paper, looks like it could be a real barnburner. Nunes is making her UFC debut after a successful career fighting in Brazil. Nunes did go 1-1 in Strikeforce, and 1-1 in Invicta, so that tells me we don’t really know which Nunes we’re going to get. Nevertheless, Nunes is a dangerous striker, very aggressive, and has a lot of power in her punches. Her opponent, Sheila Gaff, is also primarily a striker who has had her fair share of knockout victories. Both girls love to bang and that means we the viewers could be in for an exciting cat-fight.

The big dividend here is going to favor Amanda Nunes, and that is size. She’ll be 3 inches taller, and arguably stronger seeing as how Gaff used to fight at flyweight. Look for Gaff and Nunes to exchange some solid shots at each other on the feet, but the tide may quickly turn when Nunes looks to get this fight to the ground. Nunes is the better wrestler and has a more dominant ground game, so look for her to take control of the fight. Whether Gaff is the better striker or not, it’ll be Nunes to dominates the ground en-route to a decision win. Look for this fight to be Fight of the Night potential seeing as how both love to throw down.

Amanda Nunes via Unanimous Decision 

Vinny Magalhaes vs. Anthony Perosh 

Headlining the prelims on FX is a light-heavyweight tilt between Brazilian grappling phenom Vinny Magalhaes and Australian veteran grappler Anthony Perosh. Both fighters are coming off of losses so look for some sense of urgency coming out of both corners.

When you break this fight down, it’s hard to tell whether Magalhaes will be as dominant on the ground against Perosh has he would be against most other fighters. Perosh may not seem like much, be he has very solid credentials and him being a former heavyweight is also a tell-tale sign that Perosh is a big, strong guy who can makes things very difficult for Magalhaes. However, we have been seeing Vinny rounding out his game by improving his striking, an aspect that Perosh doesnt seem to be that comfortable with. Also, at the age of 41 you can take the guess that Perosh doesn’t have much explosion left in his body like Magalhaes may have. Either way, I’m going to take Magalhaes in a 2nd round submission. I think Vinny’s improved striking will carry him through the first round as he gets a feel for Perosh, and even get a chance to where him down a bit. I wouldn’t expect Perosh to offer much in terms of offense, so expect Magalhaes to take his time, feel Perosh out, and finally get the job done in the second.

Vinny Magalhaes via 2nd Round Submission

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