When the FX broadcast goes on air, a good lineup of fights awaits. Five Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belts and one purple belt will enter the Octagon and go to war. Co-headlined by former Strikeforce middleweight champ, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, and Chris Camozzi, the undercard also contains potential fireworks. Before this middleweight pairing, Rafael Dos Anjos takes on Evan Dunham and Rafael Natal fights his compatriot Joao Zeferino. If you would like to see a run-down of the upcoming fights, read on.
FX Main Event Undercard
After Costa Philippou had to withdraw with a bad cut above his eye, Camozzi gladly accepted the offer to move up on the card and square off with former Brazilian Jiu-Jiu (and former Strikeforce middleweight) world champion, Souza. Either man, with a win, could find himself in title contention and a possible future fight with middleweight ace Anderson Silva.
Known to the martial arts world as “Jacare”, Souza has been relishing an opportunity to join the ranks of the UFC. Quite possibly the most decorated jiu-jitsu black belt in the world, he has worked tirelessly on his striking and it has paid dividends. Another Strikeforce import, he captured and defended the promotion’s middleweight title in eight fights with the promotion. Of those eight, he managed to win seven of them, with triumphs over the likes of Robbie Lawler, Tim Kennedy, and Matt Lindland just to name a few. His only blemish in Strikeforce was an unsuccessful title defense to Luke Rockhold. “Jacare” will look to build on his current three-fight win streak and position himself for a crack at gold.
After moving up two spots on the card to fill in for the injured Philippou, Camozzi returns after only a two-month layoff. At UFC 158 in March, he impressed in a win over Nick Ring with a nice display of mixed striking and movement. He continually beat Ring to the punch, landing combos and keeping the Canadian guessing, en route to a split decision victory. While there’s no question as to where his interests are as “Jacare” is light years ahead of Camozzi in the grappling department, he does hold a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Even if the fight were to remain standing, “Jacare” is more than capable of capturing the victory with his newly developed striking game. Either way, the Brazilian cruises in this one. Souza wins by submission.
In what could very well be one of the candidates for “Fight of the Night”, two of the more well-rounded lightweights will do battle, as Dos Anjos welcomes Dunham to his home turf of Brazil. As both men are gifted in all aspects of the fight game, this one can be won anywhere. In such an evenly contested fight, look for conditioning to play a role as each fighter can strike and each fighter possesses a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt.
Dos Anjos, who has displayed power as of late, is on the heels of a three-fight winning streak. An acclaimed grappler with eight career submission victories, he has done most of his recent work with his striking. First rocking Anthony Njokuani before taking a unanimous decision at UFC on FUEL TV: Munoz vs. Weidman in July, he then faced Mark Bocek last November at UFC 154. In another unanimous decision victory, he was impressive as he beat Bocek everywhere the fight went. A win could mean a potential contender fight in the future.
Always one to bring excitement, Dunham returns after a close split decision victory over Gleison Tibau at UFC 156 in February. Before that, he dropped a disappointing decision to the hot T.J. Grant in which he was handled by a bigger, stronger man. Dunham is also the full package. He has excellent grappling, with a preference for inducing scrambles, and very technically sound striking. All things considered, he would prefer to keep it standing. The American has used good, quick combinations and footwork in his past confrontations. For victory, he should use his distance and keep the fight upright.
While Dos Anjos may hold a slight grappling edge, Dunham’s defensive wrestling is better. Dunham should be able to keep it a boxing match and land enough to take a decision victory.
The last of the Brazil versus Brazil matches sees Natal make his seventh Octagon appearance as he welcomes fellow countryman Zeferino. Both men possess Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belts and are comfortable standing so odds favor this fight being settled on the feet but, then again, nothing is a certainty in a fight. As both men have shown they don’t mind trading, that shouldn’t be a problem for either.
Natal has been a middle-of-the-road light heavyweight. He hasn’t proven to be a barn-burner by any means, but he has proven he can win. Able to employ decent striking when necessary, he prefers to make use of his good jiu-jitsu credentials when possible. Good from all grappling positions, he has displayed a propensity for being on top and there he has been most effective in the past. On the ground, he typically stays busy and looks to aggressively pass guard and attack from a more offensive position. When forced to strike, he has been very capable and has held his own against quality 205ers. Last appearing at UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Dodson submitting Sean Spencer by arm-triangle, he will look to make it two in a row.
Zeferino, on a current seven-fight win streak, will look to make a successful UFC debut in front of his home crowd. An accomplished grappler that’s comfortable striking, his best chance would lie in his jiu-jitsu, as nine of his 13 wins were by submission. He shows no discrimination when it comes to submission wins either. From the stretching of all limbs to chokes, he has a full arsenal of ways to finish.
As Natal is the more well-rounded, he will be able to keep any grappling at a stalemate and land enough strikes to take the decision win.
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