We’re greeted with another mid-week UFC card much like last week. If this one – UFC Fight Night 28 in Brazil – is a fraction as entertaining, I think we’ll all be pleasantly surprised; however, this fight card should have no issues serving its justice as it is stacked from top to bottom with exciting, explosive, and entertaining fighters. The prelims, 5 bouts thick, will showcase a handful of debuting fighters out of Brazil. These guys usually bring it with their frantic pace and aggressive styles, so expect some fireworks. Let’s get to it:
Yuri Villefort vs. Sean Spencer
Opening up this card in the Mineirinho Arena in Belo Horizante, Brazil, we have a welterweight bout between Yuri Villefort and Sean Spencer. Both fighters fell short in their UFC debuts by getting out-classed by their opponents, but one will be getting back on the winning column this Wednesday.
Spencer showed some powerful boxing in his debut against Rafael Natal when he dropped him in the first round, I think it’s safe to say that Spencer will have the power and strength edge in this fight. That being said, Villefort is a quick fighter who can get in and out very easily. While he lost to Nah-Shon Burrell, he did show some decent stand-up. Ontop of that, Villefort is a well-versed grappler with half of his wins being by submission.
I’m expecting Spencer to have Villefort on edge in the stand-up, but Villefort’s lightning fast strikes, including his kicks, will open up the opportunity to try and get this fight to the ground for Yuri. However, Spencer’s strength and own wrestling ability could give Villefort issues. Expect Villefort to have to pull something tricky off to get the fight to the ground. I’m predicting a second round submission for Villefort.
Yuri Villefort via 2nd Rd Submission
Keith Wisniewski vs. Ivan Jorge
Long time MMA veteran Keith Wisniewski will be returning to action for the first time in over a year against the rising Brazilian prospect, Ivan Jorge. Wisniewski is a talented grappler with several submissions wins to hiscredit, but is overall a tough fighter who is very hard to stop. Keith has fought top-level competition through-out his career, including his 3-fight rivalry against Carlo Prater. While Wisnieski has failed to achieve success in the UFC, this could be a start. Standing in his way however is the 24-3 Brazilian, Ivan Jorge. Jorge is a submission fiend with over half of his wins by submission. He favors the rear-naked choke over most techniques, and often submits his opponents in the very first round.
The biggest advantage Wisniewski has in this bout is his experience. He knows how to pace himself, how to stay mentally prepared during adversity, and countless other feats that only experience veterans know how to do. While Jorge has a load of fights under his belt, none of them are near the level of competition that Wisniewski has faced in the past. Expect Jorge’s aggressive grappling to overwhelm Wisniewski within the opening minutes, but slowly Keith will passively gain momentum back and use his own grappling skills to keep Jorge from locking up his famous rear-naked choke.
On the feet, neither fighter really offers much, so expect it to much a back-and-forth brawl. Keith has a never-say-die attitude, and Jorge will aggressively pursue the clinch or the takedown the whole time. Ultimately, I see this coming down to the scorecards which should be fairly close. Jorge’s early aggression and craftiness on the ground however should be enough to edge out Wisniewski’s defensive maneuvers and aggressive stand-up.
Ivan Jorge via Split Decision
Lucas Martins vs. Ramiro Hernandez Jr.
This next bout will be at 135lbs and will feature 2-time UFC vet Lucas Martins against the well-rounded Ramiro Hernandez Jr, who will be making his UFC debut.
Martins is a powerful Muay Thia striker, and while he was shut down against Edson Barboza in his UFC debut, he showed it in his next bout when he KO’d Jeremy Larsen in the third round. Martins throws powerful kicks and looks for the knockout at every given moment. His opponent, Ramiro Hernandez, is quite the opposite fighter. While Martins specializes in one aspect of the fight game, Ramiro doesn’t really specialize anywhere, but is adequate everywhere. That being said, Ramiro will no doubt want to get this fight in the clinch, or on the ground, to avoid Martins dangerous striking.
While Martins may have dangerous striking, it has been shown that putting him on the defensive is the way to beat him. Hernandez could easily push forward, and mix his punches up with his takedown attempts to overwhelm Martins’ Muay Thia style. However, Martins has shown excellent takedown defense and also a solid back-game, so I don’t think he’ll have too much trouble with Ramiro ontop of him. In fact, I do believe Martins will get a submission in this bout. I think Hernandez will over commit too much, get popped with a counter strike from Martins, and then get submitted on the ground.
Lucas Martins via 1st Rd Submission
Joao Zeferino vs. Elias Silverio
At middleweight, UFC newcomer Elias Silverio will meet one-time UFC veteran Joao Zeferino. Zeferino fell short in his UFC debut to Rafael Natal, but was able to take Natal the full 3-rounds. Elias on the other hand is undefeated in MMA with 8 victories, and has scored 3 KO’s throughout his short career.
The young Elias Silverio looks to be the better man on the feet. While Zeferino showed some powerful overhand rights and a decent kick game, he didn’t have much to offer in terms of combos and movement. Look for Elias to capitalize with pin-point striking and movement to off-set Zeferino. While Elias may be the better striker, it will be Zeferino who will most likely be trying to work takedowns. Zeferino has some powerful wrestling, and with 9 submissions to his credit, is a very dangerous opponent on the ground.
This will be a typical striker vs. grappler match-up, so it will all come down to Silverio’s takedown defense. Because Joao has shown some decent takedowns in the past, I’m banking on Zeferino to eventually be able to get the fight to the ground. It will Elias taking the early lead on the feet, but Zeferino’s takedowns will put him ahead by the end of the third round.
Joao Zeferino via Unanimous Decision
Felipe Arantes vs. Edimilson Souza
To cap things off on the prelims, we have an exciting featherweight bout between Felipe Arantes and Edimilson Souza. Arantes has 4 fights of experience in the UFC, and won 2 while one went to a draw. Arantes is a well-rounded fighter with solid Muay Thia but also solid wrestling and grappling. He’s quite the mixed package when compared to his opponent, Souza, who has finished 12 of his 13 victories by knockout.
Souza’s power and striking abilities are going to pose big problems for Arantes on the feet, but that’s not exactly where he’s going to take this fight. While Arantes does have good stand-up, his takedowns will be key for him in this bout. Expect Felipe to stay cautious on the feet, but then look for openings to shoot. However, Souza is good at making his opponent pay for standing in from of him, and will make it very hard to Arantes to mix it up.
While Arantes is the favorite in this bout, I’m going to go with Souza in a surprising upset that should give Souza some decent stock in this stacked featherweight division. Like I said, Souza makes his opponents pay for standing in front of him. Anytime Arantes strikes, Souza will be there. Felipe will be forced to shoot desperate takedown attempts from distance, while should be easily stuffed. While I don’t think Souza will get it done in the first round, I’m going with a second round TKO for Souza.
Edimilson Souza via 2nd Rd TKO