The UFC on FX 8 preview continues with preliminary fights on FUEL TV. The event will televise six fights, with its own main event featuring a featherweight tilt between Nik “The Carnie” Lentz and Hacran Dias. Also on the card is the return of Paulo Thiago, as he looks to rebound from a disappointing loss to Dong Hyun Kim.
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FUEL TV Prelims
A light heavyweight contest opens the FUEL TV broadcast with another Brazilian, Maldonado, taking on the Canadian, Hollett. Fresh off a shellacking from fellow Brazilian, and possible future title contender, Glover Teixeira; Maldonado will look to halt a three-fight losing streak and keep his job. Don’t let his deplorable 1-3 UFC record fool you either. The Brazilian possesses an excellent set of boxing skills and can absorb unbelievable amounts of punishment. The man meeting him in the Octagon, Hollett, is also known for his toughness. After dropping a unanimous decision to Matt Hamill in September, he also stares a UFC release in the face. Expect Hollett to be the bully and attempt to overpower his counterpart by closing the distance and grinding until he comes up short and gets lit up for his efforts. Maldonado wins by KO.
The first Brazilian versus Brazilian matchup of the night, the promising prospect, Alcantara, welcomes his debuting fellow countryman, Santos. Alcantara has displayed exceptional well-rounded skills in four fights with the UFC. In his last appearance in January, he was thoroughly dominating Pedro Nobre until he landed what was ruled an “illegal strike to the back of the head” and Nobre couldn’t continue. The fight was ruled a No Contest. Meanwhile, Santos has been extremely active in the last two years. Since the beginning of 2011, he has fought 13 times, all in his home country. Rattling off six consecutive wins, he’ll fall short in his bid for his seventh, as Alcantara will finish him by submission.
Paulo Thiago (14-5, 4-5 UFC) vs. Michel Richard dos Prazares (16-0, 0-0 UFC)
Once regarded by some as a potential future champion, Thiago goes to battle with the undefeated newcomer, Prazares, in the second of three Brazilian versus Brazilian bouts. After one of the more difficult UFC starts in one of its most difficult weight classes, Thiago looked as if the future was bright. However, in his last five fights, he has only managed a single win. Most recently, he was manhandled in a very underwhelming performance against Korean sensation Dong Hyun Kim. In Prazares, he faces a man with slightly less experience but a perfect 16-0 record. Prazares, while unbeaten, will still have to deal with Octagon jitters. Thiago will exploit this fact and earn the decision in what make for an exciting fight.
A veteran of 16 UFC fights, Tibau, meets the relative newcomer, Cholish. Known as possibly the biggest and strongest lightweight in the UFC, Tibau is a tank and makes no secret of his intentions. He wants to be the bully. At UFC 156, it looked like he was well on his way to doing just that until he gassed late in the fight and dropped a close split decision to Evan Dunham. Cholish, last seen dropping a decision to Danny Castillo at UFC on Fox 3, is capable from any position. His only serious drawback is his tendency to hold back too often and not pull the trigger. This will prove to be his downfall, as Tibau will set the pace and bully him to a decision.
It’s “The Ultimate Fighter 15” versus “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil”, as Rio fights Trinaldo on the Brazilian’s home turf. Rio, a decorated college wrestler, brings with him an excellent top grappling game, as evidenced in his submission win over John Cofer at “The Ultimate Fighter 16” Finale in December. While he possesses limited striking, he’s proven he can more than make up for it with his wrestling. Trinaldo, on the other hand, has very solid striking skills. Training with the likes of Paulo Thiago and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion Rani Yahya, he can also handle himself on the ground. Shoudn’t matter, as Trinaldo will keep the fight up and lay waste to Rio by TKO.
For the headlining fight on FUEL TV, we get the classic wrestling versus Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu matchup. Lentz, a former University of Minnesota wrestler, is 2-0 since dropping down to featherweight. Known for his grinding style, he recently took a unanimous decision over top contender Diego Nunes in January. Dias, while also an accomplished grappler, prefers to use jiu-jitsu and excellent positioning on the ground. Hailing from the famed Nova Uniao Academy, alongside current featherweight champ Jose Aldo, he has been beat only once in his career. On the shelf with injuries for almost a year, he hasn’t competed since beating Iuri Alcantara at UFC 147. Dias will brush off the ring rust and finish Lentz by submission.
Photo by Gary A. Vasquez – USA TODAY Sports