With the conclusion of the Facebook preliminary fights, the main card of UFC on FUEL TV begins and it looks to offer another quality UFC card for 2013. In the lead-up to the Nogueira-Werdum main event, the undercard will lay the foundation of excitement with five very solid-looking fights. Featuring Thiago Silva and Rafael Calvacante as the evening’s co-main event, it will also crown this season’s “Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 2” welterweight winner in a battle between grappling phenom Leonardo Santos and William Macario. If that wasn’t enough, the return of the much-hyped Erick Silva is in store, as he takes on tough wrestler Jason High. Before any of that action happens, we offer some thoughts and a few predictions on Saturday’s main undercard action. In case you missed them, you can find the Facebook prelims here.

UFC on FUEL TV 10 Main Card

Light heavyweights

Thiago Silva (14-3, 5-3 UFC) vs. Rafael Cavalcante (11-3, 0-0 UFC)

Times have been tough for Silva and Calvacante. Both men return to action after serving suspensions for banned substances in which each man’s victory was overturned. With theses histories, this fight could turn out to be a make or break for the two Brazilians.

Silva has now failed drug tests in two of his last three fights and hasn’t been victorious since 2009. Still, the longtime Chute Boxe member who now trains with the Blackzilians, is a threat to anyone. Before the drought, he looked to be a future title contender, punching out his first four opponents inside the Octagon. When Silva puts together his bruiser-style striking and high quality BJJ, he is a force to be reckoned with. It’s just an uncertainty anymore who will show up.

The man known as “Feijao” is similar in both style and testing history as his counterpart Silva. Another bruiser with a BJJ black belt, Cavalcante makes his UFC debut after serving a year-long suspension from a failed drug test. Prior to that, the longtime Team Nogueira representative made a name for himself in Strikeforce when he knocked off Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal to become its 205-pound champion. A win over a big name like Silva will enter “Feijao” immediately into the light heavyweight fold.

Everywhere Silva is good, “Feijao” is better. Cavalcante wins by knockout.

“The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 2” Welterweight Final

Leonardo Santos (11-3, 0-0 UFC) vs. William Macario (6-0, 0-0 UFC)

“The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 2” welterweight final pits BJJ ace Leo Santos against the youthful William Macario.

Santos, known for his exceptional grappling game, lucked out after losing to Santiago Ponzinibbio in the show’s semifinal. Ponzinibbio suffered a broken hand and was unable to compete so Santos was tabbed as his replacement. The Nova Uniao member is one of the world’s most proficient BJJ black belts and possesses solid enough striking skills to get by. It should be no surprise to Macario where Santos will push the fight.

After cruising through four fights, Macario has some momentum behind him. He displayed great athleticism in his fights, scoring knockouts in three of the four wins. For all the experience he is surrendering to Santos, he makes up for in talent. The 21 year-old will have to continue the aggressive striking approach he has used in making it to the final and keep Santos on his feet for as long as he can.

Santos’ experience and high caliber grappling with be too much for Macario. Santos wins by submission.


Daniel Sarafian (7-3, 0-1 UFC) vs. Eddie Mendez (7-1-1, 0-0 UFC)

A veteran of the first TUF: Brazil, Sarafian enters after having dropped a very close decision in his debut to C.B. Dollaway. However, in defeat he gave Dollaway all he could handle, landing good power shots when standing and sweeping the NCAA wrestler before threatening with a choke when on the ground. After a difficult task in his first fight, he gets a debuting fighter of his own on his home turf.

His opponent, Mendez, will be fighting an uphill battle. He’s making his Octagon debut in a country he’s never fought before. To make matters worse, that country is also the home turf of his opponent. The good news is he’s really got nothing to lose. Although Sarafian provides quite a challenge when considering all the circumstances, Mendez can utilize takedowns as he did in his lone Strikeforce win in 2011 and possesses good enough striking to give the Brazilian trouble.

Sarafian, with heavy odds in his favor, will prove to be too much. He wins by submission.


Erick Silva (14-3, 2-2 UFC) vs. Jason High (16-3, 0-1 UFC)

Silva, the highly touted Team Nogueira star, is a star in the making. He’s an athlete, a completely well-balanced fighter, and he happens to train with some of the best in the world. He recently comes off an extremely disappointing performance against John Fitch at UFC 153. Fitch was able to outwork him until Silva was visibly tired and Fitch cruised to a decision. With his work ethic and available coaches, there should be no reason he hasn’t fixed his short-comings.

High, a winner of seven straight, will be another stiff test for Silva. An excellent wrestler, he has improved his striking leaps and bounds. High also has a knack for sticking to game plans and it’s common for him to be the more conditioned man. If he can come in and keep Silva guessing, he can walk out of Brazil with a very solid win.

Silva will come out with a vengeance. Having patched those holes since his last fight, he will keep the pressure on High. Silva wins by submission.


Rony Mariano Bezerra (12-3, 2-0 UFC) vs. Mike Wilkinson (8-0, 1-0 UFC)

A battle of former “Ultimate Fighter” contestants as TUF: Brazil’s Bezerra takes on the Smashes’ Wilkinson.

Bezerra, another Team Nogueira representative, is a winner of seven straight with two inside the Octagon. Those two UFC victories were over two other former “Ultimate Fighter” contestants as well. Last seen finishing Sam Sicilia by TKO at UFC 153, he has now finished 11 of 12 wins by knockout or submission.

Wilkinson enters the bout after just sliding by Brendan Loughnane at UFC on FX 6 in a debut he won by split decision. Although it appeared has was on the receiving end of more damaging striking, his aggression was enough to sway the judges. Unfortunately, it’s going to take more than that to sway the hometown judges in his favor this time.

Bezerra will land and do so with more ferocity. He finishes with Wilkinson by TKO.


Photo by Kyle Terada – USA TODAY Sports