As TUF’s second season of its foray into Brazil now draws to a close, the UFC offers another Brazilian-laden card to mark the conclusion of “Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 2”. UFC on FUEL TV 10, which takes place in Fortaleza, Brazil inside the Paulo Sarasate Gymnasium on Saturday, June 8, is headlined by a rematch seven years in the making, as opposing coaches Fabricio Werdum and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira go to battle in the show’s finale. Also featuring Brazilian welterweight finalists from the show, the card will crown the next TUF champion, as BJJ black belt Leonardo Santos wages war with William Macario.
Before the main card action goes down, a series of quality preliminary fights will take place. Occurring entirely on the UFC’s Facebook stream, the card will do serious justice for the home crowd and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu enthusiasts alike, as all bouts feature at least one Brazilian and plenty of BJJ talent to go with it. The card is headlined by the return of Raphael Assuncao, as he battles Englishman Vaughan Lee. If you can’t wait until Saturday, feel free to read on and take a preview of some of the upcoming fights and predictions.
UFC on FUEL TV 10 Facebook Preliminaries
A winner of three straight, Assuncao returns to his home country on the heels of a very impressive victory over Mike Easton. A holder of one of the many aforementioned BJJ black belts, he can also execute solid strikes to offer a very balanced attack. With a win he can cement a top spot in a very stacked bantamweight division. His opponent, Lee, is capable is offense of his own. While not nearly as accomplished in the grappling department, he can offer some resistance on the feet if it remains a striking match. Unfortunately, Assuncao won’t allow it to stay there for long. Assuncao brings it to the mat and finishes fast by submission.
Participants of two of the most prolific fight academies, and credentialed grapplers, square off as Nova Uniao’s Markes takes on Jackson MMA’s Brunson. Markes, who currently rides a three-fight Octagon win streak, will hope to display his new-found confidence in his striking and mix his solid wrestling to outwork his foe. Brunson, who debuted with a less-than-stellar winning performance against Chris Leben, uses a top-notch wrestling game for takedowns and, when necessary, for takedown defense so he can strike. As it looks like takedowns may be few and far between with these two great wrestlers, look for Markes to mix everything a little better than Brunson and take the decision.
A battle of Brazilian submission men as Arantes battles Castro in each man’s third Octagon appearance. Both also share a common opponent in Milton Vieira, with near similar results. Arantes took his fight to a draw while Castro managed a razor-thin split decision. Vieira is no slouch either so this could be a very close fight. Arantes may possess a slight edge in the striking department, which he will attempt to prove. However, Castro prefers to use takedowns and heavy top-control to grind opponents. This contest, on paper, could turn out just that way. Arantes, however, will be able to make use of his advantage. He keeps the fight up and knocks Castro out.
Ildemar Alcantara (18-5, 1-0 UFC) vs. Leandro Silva (11-0-1, 0-0 UFC)
After a short-notice debut against Wagner Prado in which he won by submission, Alcantara can only expect to improve with a full camp. With an impressive nine-fight win streak going into the bout, he has displayed an exceptional ability for finishing. Of the nine wins, eight came by way of a finish with many by submission. Silva, who appeared on the latest season of TUF Brazil, has yet to taste defeat in 12 fights. Silva is also a tenacious finisher, as he has forced tapouts in 7 of 11 fights. However, he hasn’t faced anyone at Alcantara’s level. Alcantara wins by late submission or decision.
In just 16 fights, Damm has managed a pretty impressive resume. From Bodog to Strikeforce, he has competed with such talented fighters as Gilbert Melendez, Jorge Masvidal, and Maximo Blanco. A very talented BJJ black belt, he has been working on improving his striking. He looks to rebound from a disappointing split decision loss to Antonio Carvalho. His opponent, Hirota, likes to scrap. He’s happy to take one if it means he can land one of his own. While he has been successful with that game plan, he rides a two-fight losing streak to guys who were able to floor him and keep him from striking. This fight should be no different. Damm will continually work for the takedown until he can either submit Hirota or ride him to a decision.
Vemola entered the UFC with very high regard. While he hasn’t lived up to the hype that surrounded him, he has been mildly successful inside the Octagon. Known for vicious ground-and-pound, he also displayed some very heavy hands. Vemola will have to rely on those heavy hands as his opponent, Magalhaes, is a very accomplished BJJ black belt. Although he has limited experience, he does have capable enough grappling to allow him to compete. Vemola, who is very susceptible to the takedown, will also look for a takedown when the going gets tough. As such, he leaves the opening for Magalhaes, who wins by submission.
Antonio Braga Neto (8-1, 0-0 UFC) vs. Anthony Smith (17-9, 0-0 UFC)
Neto, who carries a highly decorated BJJ pedigree into the fight, has only seen a single defeat as a pro. The eight wins have come by use of an excellent grappling game, as his striking is rudimentary at best. Smith, who might be the more well-rounded of the two, can fight from all positions. While he can’t expect to go shot for shot with Neto on the ground, he can end the fight standing with his heavy punches. The difference is that Neto’s superior jiu-jitsu will be too much for Smith to handle. Neto will never give him the opportunity to land those punches. He takes Smith down and finishes by submission early in the fight.
Photo by Joe Nicholson – USA TODAY Sports