Wanderlei Silva vs Brian Stann: Preview, Odds and Predictions for UFC on Fuel 8
The UFC returns on Saturday, March 2 on Fuel TV with an 11-fight card headlined by Wanderlei Silva vs. Brian Stann.
The light heavyweight showcase will be Silva's first bout in Japan since 2006.
Six fights will be featured on Fuel, and five fights will open the night on Facebook. It will be another evening filled with fist-flying action. The eighth installment of UFC on Fuel TV should be another exciting affair.
Here is a look at the full card along with predictions and fight odds for each bout.
Marcelo Guimaraes vs. Hyun Gyu Lim
Marcelo Guimaraes (8-0-1) looks to run his UFC record to 2-0 with a win against the debuting Hyun Gyu Lim in the night's opening contest.
If you happen to miss the opening fight you likely won't care. It could provide a fun finish, but even then it does not matter much.
After back-to-back losses, Lim is on a five-fight win streak. He will have a good chance to put the first blemish on Guimaraes' career.
Betting Odds: Lim (-290) against Guimaraes (+230) at www.sportsbook.ag.
Prediction: Lim defeats Guimaraes by TKO in the second round.
Alex Caceres vs. Kyung Ho Kang
Alex Caceres (8-5), better known as Bruce Leeroy, got off to a rocky start inside the Octagon. He opened with a 1-3 mark in the promotion, but has reeled off two straight wins.
Kyung Ho Kang (11-6) has won three in a row to earn himself a spot on the card. In light of recent cuts by the UFC both men have to be concerned that a loss will hand them a pink slip.
Caceres has faced tougher competition, and that will likely give him a heavy advantage in this fight. Bruce Leeroy has impressed in his previous two outings. He is used to the pressure of the UFC and should be able to get a third win in a row.
Betting Odds: Caceres (-150) against Kang (+120) at www.sportsbook.ag.
Prediction: Caceres defeats Kang by unanimous decision.
Cristiano Marcello vs. Kazuki Tokudome
Cristiano Marcello (13-4) and Kazuki Tokudome (11-3) kick off lightweight action in the third bout of the evening.
Marcello won an entertaining split decision over Reza Madadi in his last outing, and Tokudome will make his UFC debut on the card.
If the fight hits the mat it will be in Marcello's territory. Expect him to capitalize there and pick up his second win in the Octagon.
Betting Odds: Marcello (-140) against Tokudome (+110) at www.sportsbook.ag.
Prediction: Marcello defeats Tokudome via submission (rear-naked choke) in the first round.
Takeya Mizugaki vs. Bryan Caraway
A sleeper for Fight of the Night will be Takeya Mizugaki (16-7-2) vs. Bryan Caraway (17-5).
Mizugaki has been one of the division's most exciting fighters, and Caraway has put together three straight victories entering the bout.
The bantamweight division delivers entertaining bouts on a consistent basis, and this should be no different. Mizugaki enters as the favorite, but Caraway can take this fight to the ground and win a decision if need be.
Expect Mizugaki to keep this fight on the feet and outpoint Caraway.
Betting Odds: Mizugaki (-225) against Caraway (+175) at www.sportsbook.ag.
Prediction: Mizugaki defeats Caraway by unanimous decision.
Riki Fukuda vs. Brad Tavares
The final Facebook prelim is headlined by Riki Fukuda (19-6) vs. Brad Tavares (9-1).
The two fighters have nine fights between them in the Octagon, and eight of those bouts have hit the judges' scorecards. This one will likely not be any different.
Two tough middleweights who can slow down the pace in the clinch.
This will be a close contest, but Tavares is on the upswing and starting to realize his potential. He will do just enough to take another decision.
Betting Odds: Fukuda (-125) against Tavares (-105) at www.sportsbook.ag.
Prediction: Tavares defeats Fukuda by unanimous decision.
Dong Hyun Kim vs. Siyar Bahadurzada
This is the most interesting fight on the card. Unfortunately, with the welterweight division already crowded it won't have an immediate impact on the division.
Dong Hyun Kim (16-2-1, 1 NC) battles Siyar Bahadurzada (24-4-1) in the opening fight of the main card.
Bahadurzada's debut lasted just 42 seconds when he put Paulo Thiago to sleep. He will try to test Kim's chin in much the same way when they meet.
Kim brings in an interesting stylistic challenge. He will try to close the distance and get to the clinch and make this a grappling battle. I believe he will be able to do that. Over the course of 15 minutes he will get the better of the grappling exchanges and walk away with his hand raised.
Betting Odds: Kim (-270) against Bahadurzada (+210) at www.sportsbook.ag.
Prediction: Kim defeats Bahadurzada by unanimous decision.
Mizuto Hirota vs. Rani Yahya
Mizuto Hirota (14-5-1) makes his UFC and featherweight debut against Rani Yahya (17-7).
Hirota looked solid in his Strikeforce bout against Pat Healy, but one has to factor in the weight cut against Yahya. How will that affect his performance? Also, the last time he faced a submission ace, Shinya Aoki, he succumbed to the submission in the first round.
Yahya looked fantastic in his last fight. A first-round submission over Josh Grispi.
If the Hirota of the Healy fight shows up then he should win this fight, but I am going to take Yahya in a mild upset. Yahya's submission game is superior and that will show as he earns the tap.
Betting Odds: HIrota (-145) against Yahya (+115) at www.sportsbook.ag.
Prediction: Yahya defeats Hirota via submission (rear-naked choke) in the second round.
Yushin Okami vs. Hector Lombard
A big middleweight battle takes place when Yushin Okami (28-7) takes on Hector Lombard (32-3-1, 1 NC).
After the surprising TKO loss to Tim Boetsch, Okami has come back with two striaght wins. Lombard rebounded from his disappointing UFC debut to knock out Rousimar Palhares in December.
Okami is still one of the top middleweights in the world, but this is a terrible fight for him stylistically.
It would be a testament to just how good Okami is if he can get Lombard to the mat, but that is a tall task. Lombard's judo background should allow him to keep the fight standing and utilize his striking. If he is able to do that then he can put Okami out and make a statement.
Betting Odds: Lombard (-220) against Okami (+170) at www.sportsbook.ag.
Prediction: Lombard defeats Okami by TKO in the first round.
Takanori Gomi vs. Diego Sanchez
This fight may as well be awarded Fight of the Night right now. These are two of the most exciting fighters in the world, and they will put on a show on Saturday.
Diego Sanchez (23-5) returns to the lightweight division for this fight. Takanori Gomi (34-8, 1 NC) has won back-to-back fights as he tries to make one last run up the lightweight rankings.
Expect this to be an all-out war on the feet. Sanchez may be the most exciting fighter in UFC history, and Gomi has a perfect style to complement that inside the cage. The fans will not be disappointed with this fight.
Sanchez simply has too many ways to win if he can avoid being clipped by Gomi's power. He should take the nod on the scorecards.
Betting Odds: Sanchez (-270) against Gomi (+210) at www.sportsbook.ag.
Prediction: Sanchez defeats Gomi by unanimous decision.
Mark Hunt vs. Stefan Struve
With the heavyweight division in dire need of another challenger this is an important fight.
Stefan Struve (25-5) tries to make it five straight against Mark Hunt (8-7). Hunt has put together three straight of his own.
This fight is tailor made for another Struve submission win. However, he has decided to trade with big strikers in the past and that will not turn out well for him against Hunt.
Smart money is on Struve ending this via submission quickly, but I am not that smart. I believe Hunt will have more fans rallying for him after he drops Struve and finishes him in the first round.
Betting Odds: Struve (-170) against Hunt (+140) at www.sportsbook.ag.
Prediction: Hunt defeats Struve by knockout in the first round.
Wanderlei Silva vs. Brian Stann
The main event is a light heavyweight showcase fight between MMA legend Wanderlei Silva (34-12-1, 1 NC) and Brian Stann (12-5).
Both fighters are coming off decision losses. This could be a fight where the first person who lands cleanly wins.
There is something about Silva returning to Japan that just makes you want to pick him to win even in spite of his regression as a fighter. Perhaps being in the land of the rising sun will bring back some magic for The Axe Murderer.
Stann has the better chance to land that devastating blow with his straight punches with Silva coming in with looping punches. However, you have to pick Silva here. Some PRIDE magic may still be left.
Betting Odds: Stann (-220) against Silva (+170) at www.sportsbook.ag.
Prediction: Silva defeats Stann by knockout in the first round.