UFC Fight Night 156: Shevchenko vs Carmouche 2 | Prelim Predictions

UFC Fight Night 156: Shevchenko vs Carmouche 2 | Prelim Predictions

265lbs- Ciryl Gane (3-0-0) vs Raphael Pessoa (9-0-0)

The final fight of the undercard will feature a pair of debuting Heavyweights as Ciryle Gane of France takes on Raphael Pessoa of Brazil. Pessoa made a brief stop in LFA to earn his 9th pro win- he fought just once in 2018 after a stunning 7 bouts in 2017. Gane turned pro just over a year ago, competing 3-times under the TKO banner in that span.

At 6’4″, Gane is an inch taller and will have a 3-inch reach advantage. He is the younger man by a year. Pessoa will most likely weigh-in 15 pounds heavier.

Pessoa has finish 7 of his 9 wins- 6 by knockout. He has recorded 6 first-round finishes. Gane has stopped all 3 of his opponents- 2 by knockout, 1 by submission and he has never fought passed round 2.

Despite Gane’s lacks of MMA cage time, he is a proven Muay Thai champion with a lot of combat experience.

He is an incredibly sharp strike, utilizing a variety of tools, and he can cover distance with impressive speed. There is concern regarding his ability to maintain his output as he does move a lot and will slow down- but he hits hard and can get his foe out of a fight quickly.

Pessoa has stopping power as well and hits hard, but he is far more loose with his techniques and willing to brawl. Unfortunately, he has faced a number of extremely low-level opponents with winless records.

If the Brazilian could find an edge in this fight it would be on the mat. Unfortunately, that appears to take him away from his comfort zone as the majority of his success has been the result of his striking. Gane is the far more refined striker and his speed is an element that is unaccustomed at Heavyweight. Unless Pessoa can time him coming and counter or survive the early stages of the fight and see if Ciryl slows, his path to victory is a difficult one- my prediction is Ciryl Gane to defeat Raphael Pessoa by TKO.

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115lbs- #8 Tecia Torres (10-4-0) vs Marina Rodriguez (11-0-1)

Arguably the most recognizable name on the undercard, “The Tiny Tornado” Tecia Torres takes on Brazil’s Marina Rodriguez in the Women’s Strawweight division. Torres has lost 3 consecutive fights against the elite of the division- champions Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Jessica Andrade plus the next title challenger Weili Zhang. Rodriguez came into the promotion with a draw against Randa Markos followed by a decision win over Jessica Aguilar.

Rodriguez is the taller girl by 5 inches to go along with a 5″ reach advantage. Torres is 2-years younger.

The only other loss on Tecia’s record was to the only other girl to wear the belt-Rose Namajunas. She has been a steady decision fight, outworking her opponent with a steady stream of striking and the periodic takedown.

Rodriguez survived a tough first round against Markos on the mat, but found her footing in round 2. She is primarily a striker with a base in Muay Thai and kickboxing. She landed an impressive 118 strikes against Aguilar.

Torres has had some success with her ground attack, but more recently she has been on the defensive end. Andrade took her down 10-times and Zhang scored some crucial top position control as well.

The TUF alumni is in a tough spot coming off a trio of losses. This scenario normally pushes good fighters to be better as they recognize the impact of another defeat. It is also worth noting that Rodriguez is a step down in competition compared to the recent caliber of foe that Torres has faced. If Rodriguez can utilize her reach and score from the outside, that is her best avenue to victory. Torres has had success against longer fighters, using kicks at range and working into the clinch. Torres would be wise to threaten with her wrestling when needed- my prediction is Tecia Torres to defeat Marina Rodriguez by decision.

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125lbs- #8 Rogerio Bontorin (15-1-0 1NC) vs #13 Raulian Paiva (18-2-0)

The potential revitalization of the Flyweight division continues with a pair of Brazilian sophomores squaring off as Rogerio Bontorin takes on Raulian Paiva. Paiva is coming off a narrow split decision defeats to Kai-Kara France to end his 12-fight winning streak. Bontorin upset Magomed Bibulatov by split decision to extend his current streak to 3 straight wins.

Raulian is both 2 inches taller than his foe and will have a 2″ reach advantage. Paiva is also the younger man by 3-years.

Bontorin is coming off of a fight where he was outlanded by his foe and gave up 4 takedowns but won a split decision while fighting at home in Brazil. Paiva fought in Australia against a New Zealander and had the better striking stats by a count of 67-58, but dropped a split decision.

Both men are excellent scrambler which should create some entertaining back and forth exchanges on the floor. Bontorin has the edge in submission wins at 12-3. Bontorin has recorded 8 wins by RNC.

Paiva showcased a solid striking repetoire, piecing together multi-punch combos. He was also getting tagged with some decent strikes because he wasn’t moving his head.

Both fighters are capable of competing on the mat or the feet. Paiva showcased good pressure based striking and durability in his debut. Bontorin is a very opportunistic grappler, but that can get him into trouble if he ends up on his back too often. Paiva can convert TDAs into offensive opportunities which will be key against a grappler like Rogerio. The early action should include some back and forth exchanges on the floor before Paiva starts to pull away on the feet- my prediction is Raulian Paiva to defeat Rogerio Bontorin by decision.

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135lbs- Geraldo de Freitas Jr. (12-4-0) vs Chris Gutierrez (13-4-1)

Octagon sophomore Geraldo de Freitas Jr. will attempt to build on a successful debut when he battles Factory X product Chris Gutierrez in the Bantamweight division. Gutierrez most recently took a decision over Ryan MacDonald after falling to Raoni Barcelos by sub. In his debut, de Freitas Jr. grabbed a decision victory over Felipe Colares to extend his winning streak to 7 straight fights.

Both men are 5’9″, but de Freitas Jr. has a longer reach by 3 inches. They are roughly the same age.

The American had finished 6 men by knockout and showcased a technically sound striking attack versus MacDonald. Coming off a 6 takedown performance, Geraldo will most likely want to utilize his grappling attack to negate the striking skills of his foe.

de Freitas has submitted 5 opponents, including 3 of his last 4 finishes. It is worth noting, he made his debut as a Featherweight but is returning to his natural weight class at 135 pounds.

In his debut, Gutierrez got the better of the early striking exchanges with Barcelos, but once the fight hit the floor he struggled to offer much off his back.

If Gutierrez can remain vertical, he can win this fight. The Brazilian is aggressive on the feet and will trade, but he needs to utilize his ground attack to exploit the largest gap in his foe’s defense. Gutierrez has struggled off his back and the ability of Geraldo to scramble to the superior position once on the mat, is going to be difficult for Chris to deal with. Gutierrez will struggle to deal with the takedown threat and this will also open up opportunities on the feet for de Freitas Jr.- my prediction is Geraldo de Freitas Jr. to defeat Chris Gutierrez by submission.

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125lbs- TBA (0-0-0) vs Ariane Carnelossi (12-1-0)

Coming Soon…

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155lbs- Rodrigo Vargas (10-2-0) vs Alex da Silva (20-2-0)

Mexico’s Rodrigo Vargas makes his debut opposing Brazilian-born Alex da Silva in the Lightweight division. Vargas is coming off of an 18-second head kick knockout of UFC veteran Mike de la Torre for his 6th win in 7 fights. In his promotional debut, da Silva fell via submission to hulking Russian Alexander Yakovlev.

The Brazilian is an inch taller and 11-years younger. Vargas has not be very active of late; he has not fought in nearly 15-months and was out almost a year prior to his last fight.

With a finish heavy-record, da Silva has finished all 20 of his pro wins- 13 by knockout. Vargas offers a similar stoppage filled record with 9 of his 10 wins coming inside the distance- 6 by knockout.

da Silva has 17 first-round finishes and is 3-2 outside of round 1. He started strong in his debut, but got stuck in a bad spot, potentially faded, and got submitted in round 2.

Vargas is making his debut as an injury replacement on less than 2-weeks notice. da Silva debuted under similar circumstances.

Vargas is 33-years old, coming off a long layoff and debuting on short notice. Conversely, da Silva is significantly younger, had a full camp, and already has his debut under his belt. This could also be considered a home game for da Silva. Vargas seems to be a little limited after the initial exchanges, plodding forward with single strikes and looking for takedowns. The Brazilian is much more aggressive and persistent with his offense. da Silva will push his foe at a pace he can’t hand and either stop him early or overwhelm him once he fades- my prediction is Alex da Silva to defeat Rodrigo Vargas by TKO.

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170lbs- Gilbert Burns (15-3-0) vs Alexy Kunchenko (20-0-0)

With an injury derailing Laureano Staropoli, Lightweight Gilbert Burns steps in on short notice to face Russia’s Alexy Kunchenko in the Welterweight division. Burns has won back to back bouts, most recently submitting Mike Davis- he is 8-3 in the UFC. The undefeated Russian is off to a strong start in the promotion holding wins over long time veterans Thiago Alves and Yushin Okami.

Despite making the jump up a division, Burns is the taller man by 2-inches to go along with a 1″ reach advantage. He is the younger fighter by 2 years.

Burns made his debut at Welterweight, before moving down to Lightweight. He will have roughly a week to prep for this bout.

The Brazilian’s success comes down to his takedowns- he is 8-0 when he wins the takedown battle compared to 0-3 when he does not. Kunchenko demonstrated rock solid TDD against Okami, stopping all 15-takedowns attempted by the former Middleweight.

Kunchenko offers a strong short-range striking attack. He hurt Okami during their fight and has recorded 13 wins by knockout.

This fight comes down to whether or not Burns can complete takedowns with regularity. Against a larger man at Welterweight, he will struggle to do so. The late notice could also compromise the cardio of Burns who has slowed when unable to dictate the pace. Kunchenko will work a more technical striking attack and avoid the power of Burns while fending off his takedowns- my prediction is Alexy Kunchenko to defeat Gilbert Burns by TKO.

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125lbs- Veronica Macedo (5-3-1) vs Polyana Viana (10-3-0)

In the first fight of the night, Veronica Macedo looks for her first UFC win when she battles injury-replacement Polyana Viana in the Flyweight division. Macedo is 0-3 in the UFC and winless in her last 4 bouts- she was most recently submitted by Gillian Robertson. Viana won her debut, but has since come up short in defeats to J.J. Aldrich and Hannah Cifers.

The Brazilian is an inch taller to go along with a 3″ reach advantage. Macedo is the younger fighter by 3-years.

Rachel Ostovich was originally scheduled to face Macedo, but was removed and replaced by Viana with just over a week to prepare. Polyana is moving up from Strawweight.

The commonality in all of Macedo’s defeats has been takedowns. She was submitted in her last fight and has given up 7 takedowns in 3 fights- stopping just 37% of the attempts.

Viana has finished her adversaries in all 10 wins- 6 by submission. She secured a single TD in her debut before getting the tap. In her last fight, she didn’t attempt a single shot and went 1 for 5 vs Aldrich.

The Brazilian has won 9 of her 10 fights in the opening round, but is 1-3 after the first 5 minutes. Combined with her short notice, her cardio could be an issue. If she can get Veronica down her BJJ offers a direct route to the victory. Conversely, Macedo is going to be the bigger girl as the natural Flyweight and that will make it tough for Viana to overpower here. Look for Macedo to survive some early TDAs and utilize her striking attack once Viana starts to slow down- my prediction is Veronica Macedo to defeat Polyana Viana by decision.