UFC Fight Night 58: Machida x Dollaway- Prelim Predictions
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205lbs- Marcos Rogerio de Lima (12-3-1) vs Igor Pokrajac (25-11-0 1NC)
Capping off the undercard portion of the event will be a Light Heavyweight slugfest between 1-time Strikeforce competitor and TUF Brazil 3 cast member Marcos Rogerio de Lima and 11-fight UFC veteran Igor “the Bull” Pokrajac. De Lima debuted with an abrupt first round knockout of Richardson Moreira and has gone 5 straight without a defeat (4-0-1). Pokrajac has struggle through a 4 fight winless skid (0-3-0 1NC), prior to the downturn he had won 3 in a row an 4 of 5.
A pair of knockout artists; De Lima has collected 9 of his 12 wins by knockout and Pokrajac 13 of 25. 2 of Igor’s knockouts, 2 have come inside the Octagon. The Brazilian has been KOed once in his career, while his Croatian adversary has lost 5 times by knockout. Rafael Cavalcante and James Te Huna both stopped him inside the Octagon.
De Lima had a brief one fight run in Strikeforce, dropping a decision defeat to veteran Mike Kyle. He competed as a Heavyweight on the reality show, falling in the semi-finals.
Pokrajac has averaged 2.25 SLpM over his 11 Octagon appearances, but has given up a concerning 3.84 per minute.
The Croatian Top Team member has fallen on hard times and his fight IQ is partially to blame for his struggles. He has routinely put himself in bad positions, most notably taking down vaunted submission ace Vinny Magalhaes prior to getting tapped. He has 8 submission wins and should build the majority of his attack around his grappling, but his poor decision making will most likely prevent this. Igor’s boxing is solid and his power is dangerous, but his chin is too much of a liability against a fighter like de Lima who can crack. Rogerio’s leg kicks will keep Pokrajac off balance and he will eventually find the mark with his hands, so my prediction is Marcos Rogerio de Lima to defeat Igor Pokrajac by TKO.
185lbs- Daniel Sarafian (9-5-0) vs Antonio Dos Santos (6-1-0)
In a fight that has been promoted to the main card, Daniel Sarafian meets Antonio “Junior Alpha” Dos Santos in a Middleweight contest. Sarafian has lost back to back bouts and is coming off of a submission loss to Kiichi Kunimoto- he is now 1-3 inside the Octagon. Dos Santos makes his debut riding a 4 fight winning streak with 2 wins coming under the Jungle Fights banner and his last 3 all ending by knockout.
Dos Santos is stepping in on short notice to replace the injured Dan Miller. He recently captured the Jungle Fight Middleweight championship. He is coming off a very quick turnaround having fought November 29th, only 28 days ago.
Sarafian is a BJJ Black belt and has won 7 times by submission, including his only UFC triumph over Eddie Mendez. He has completed just a single takedown over 4 fights, while giving up 6 to his opposition.
“Junior Alpha” has secured 4 wins by knockout, 3 of which coming inside the first 5 minutes. He employs hard leg kicks and should have the technical edge on the feet over his counterpart.
Sarafian has not looked good of late, especially in his one and done experiment at Welterweight. Returning to 185 pounds could be just what he needs to get back on track. He should have the advantage on the mat, and the threat of being taken down will keep ADS from being too aggressive with his striking attack. Sarafian is the more well-rounded fighter, able to compete on the feet while looking to get this bout to the mat. Sarafian will be desperate for a win and with ‘Junior Alpha’s having less then 2 week’s notice to prepare and the potential for debut jitters it will all be too much to overcome- my prediction is Daniel Sarafian to defeat Antonio Dos Santos by submission.
145lbs- Darren Elkins (19-4-0) vs Hacran Dias (21-3-1)
In the Bantamweight division, Darren Elkins squares off with Nova Uniao representative Hacran Dias. Elkins’s strong start at Featherweight has evened out a bit of late with a 2-2 record over his last 4- he is 8-3 in the UFC. Dias earned a big win in his debut, defeating Iuri Alcantara, but has since dropped back to back bouts to Nik Lentz and Ricardo Lamas.
Elkins will be making his second appearance in Brazil, defeating Lucas Martins last October in Rio de Janeiro in his first outing.
A BJJ Black belt, Dias in an impressive 9-0 in fights ended by submission. Despite losing back to back fights, he has been sound defensively fending off 22 of 28 TDA’s by his last two opponents.
Elkins is a former collegiate wrestler as builds the majority of his attacks off his takedowns. He has struggled at times with consistency, landing more then 2 takedowns in a fight just once. He went 1 for 14 in his split decision win over Lucas Martins.
Both guys are at their best when they can implement their ground game and whoever can do that here should leave with the victory. Elkins has struggled at times to score takedowns, which was most evident in his last fight. Dias has faced superior wrestlers then Elkins in his last 2 fights and defended almost 80% of their attempts. If the fights stays on the feet, Hacran will have the edge in technique, but Elkin’s durable and gritty style will keep in close. Elkin’s lack of output on the feet in his last fight is concerning and he won’t be able to pin Dias on the cage like he did Martins, so my prediction is Hacran Dias to defeat Darren Elkins by decision.
135lbs- Leandro Issa (12-4-0) vs Yuta Sasaki (18-1-2)
In the Bantamweight division, Leandro Issa makes Octagon appearance number three when he takes on promotional sophomore Yuta Sasaki. Issa earned a come from behind submission win over Jumabieke Tuerxun in his last fight to even his UFC mark at 1-1. Sasaki is coming off a resounding debut, submitting Roland Delorme in just over a minute- he is undefeated in his last 12.
Sasaki will be fighting for the fifth time in 2014, he has won 3 times by submission and once by TKO- only one of those fights went beyond the first round, but that bout ended before the 2 minute mark. 8 of his 9 subs have come via rear-naked choke.
While Sasaki has accompanied his 9 submission wins with a respectable 7-1 record in decisions, Issa’s success has hinged primarily on his grappling game. Issa has won 8 times by sub with just a single win by knockout and 3 by decision. His 4 defeats have been split evenly between submissions and knockouts.
Issa has landed just 4 of his 18 takedowns attempts in the UFC.
The Brazilian has looked anything but impressive in his 2 fights. He was choked unconscious in his debut and then outworked in his second fight before getting the late submission win. His striking is raw and he leaves himself open in pursuit of getting his opponent to the floor as his wrestling is simply below average. Sasaki appears to be the more dynamic striker and his opportunistic submission game will allow him to capitalize on the holes in Issa’s defensive lapses. He will also be the larger man. Sasaki looked very good in his debut and should be even more comfortable in his second appearance, so my prediction is Yuta Sasaki to defeat Leandro Issa by submission.
170lbs- Marcio Alexandre (13-1-0) vs Tim Means (21-6-1)
In the Welterweight division, TUF Brazil Season 3 finalist Marcio Alexandre takes his first step outside the realm of the reality show when he battles Tim ‘The Dirty Bird’ Means. Alexandre suffered the first defeat of his career dropping the finals of the TUF tournament to Warley Alves. Means earned his first win since returning to the UFC, defeating Hernani Perpétuo by decision- he is now 3-3 in the UFC.
This fight presents an interesting clash of styles as Alexandre employs a karate based repertoire and Means comes from a Muay Thai background.
Means and Alexandre have combined for a impressive 25 of 33 wins by knockout- Means 15 and Alexandre 10. The only knockout defeat on either man’s record came via injury in Means’s 3rd career bout.
A quick investigation into the Brazilian’s pre-UFC resume is a bit concerning. His last 5 opponents currently have a combined record of 3-11 with 4 of them yet to have secured their first win.
This fight should be decided on the feet and while both guys have significant power, Means has executed against far more established competition. The Brazilian has a pretty quick kicking attack, but he is a little cautious at distance and will struggle with the much higher output of Means (4.01 SLpM). Means’s vicious Muay Thai attack both at range and in the clinch will simply be too much for Alexandre who has some glaring holes in his defensive game, so my prediction is Tim Means to defeat Marcio Alexandre by TKO.
185lbs- Vitor Miranda (10-4-0) vs Jake Collier (8-1-0)
Raising the curtain on the final UFC event of the year, TUF Brazilian 3 Finalist Vitor Miranda makes his second appearance when he takes on UFC newcomer Jake Collier. Miranda was bested by fellow UFN participant Antonio Carlos Jr. in the TUF finals, the loss ended his 4 fight winning streak. Collier is currently riding a 4 fight winning streak as he heads into his debut.
Miranda will be dropping two weight classes for this fight after competing at Heavyweight on the show.
Over his last 3 bouts, Collier has taken a nice step up in competition facing a trio of opponents with a combined 27-11 record. Miranda has faced some noteworthy opposition pre-UFC- losing bouts to Guto Inocente and twice to Fabio Maldonado.
The Brazilian comes from a kickboxing background with a record of 24-8, including an 11-4 mark under the K-1 banner.
Collier has won his last 2 fights by submission, and that might be his best avenue for victory here. Miranda has appeared vulnerable at times on his back- including in his bout with Carlos Jr. He does have power and is aggressive on the feet, but Miranda is the more technically sound striker. The Brazilian’s attack is reminiscent of his past opponent Fabio Maldonado in the way he heavily targets the body and throws high volume combos. He appears to pack a heavier punch then Fabio and incorporates a much better kicking game as well. Debuting in Brazil is going to be difficult for Collier and although he is the more well-rounded fighter Miranda’s striking game should be enough to carry the day- my prediction is Vitor Miranda to defeat Jake Collier by TKO.