UFC on FX 8: Belfort vs. Rockhold Fight Card, TV Info, Predictions and More

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UFC on FX 8: Belfort vs. Rockhold Fight Card, TV Info, Predictions and More
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Many of Brazil's finest fighters will be in action when the UFC returns to Brazil on Saturday. Arena Jaragua in Jaragua do Sul, Brazil, will be rocking as the legendary Vitor "The Phenom" Belfort headlines a Brazil-centric card for UFC on FX 8.

The 36-year-old veteran will serve as Luke Rockhold's welcome wagon to the UFC.

Rockhold is 10-1, but he had a 9-0 run in Strikeforce. He comes to the UFC with a good measure of hype, but facing The Phenom in Brazil is no small task.

Will this be the event that launches a successful UFC run for Rockhold and sends Belfort's career possibly to an end; or will The Phenom prove yet again that he isn't done?

Here's how you can watch.


Date: May 18, 2013
Time: 9 p.m. ET
Where: Arena Jaragua, Jaragua do Sul, Brazil
TV: FX; FUEL TV and Facebook prelims

Predictions with asterisks (*) have deeper analysis beneath

Matchup Weight Class Network My Pick
Jeremy Larsen vs. Lucas Martins Lightweight Facebook Martins
Chris Cariaso vs. JussierFormigada Silva Flyweight Facebook  Cariaso 
Azamat Gashimov vs. John Lineker  Flyweight Facebook  Lineker 
Roger Hollett vs. Fabio Maldonado  Light Heavyweight FUEL  Hollett 
Yuri Alcantara vs. Iliarde Santos
Bantamweight  FUEL  Alcantara 
Paulo Thiago vs. Michel Richard dos Prazeres
Welterweight  FUEL  Thiago 
Gleison Tibau vs. John Cholish
Lightweight  FUEL  Tibau 
Francisco Trinaldo vs. Mike "The Wolverine" Rio  Lightweight  FUEL  Rio* 
Hacran Dias vs. Nik Lentz  Featherweight  FUEL  Dias 
Rafael "Sapo" Natal vs. Joao Zeferino  Middleweight  FX  Natal* 
Rafael dos Anjos vs. Evan Dunham  Lightweight  FX  Dunham
Ronaldo 'Jacare' Souza vs. Chris Camozzi
Middleweight  FX  Souza
Vitor Belfort vs. Luke Rockhold Middleweight  FX  Rockhold
       

The Wolverine Will Prove Too Much for Trinaldo

Rio is not just one of the more interesting personalities in the UFC; he's also a well-rounded fighter.

He'll be facing a raucous Brazilian crowd who will be firmly in the corner of his opponent Francisco Trinaldo, but Rio's size and versatility will win out.

Although Rio is a very good striker, his submission win over John Cofer in his UFC debut showed he could handle himself on the ground as well. He isn't going to out-grapple Trinaldo, but his length and power will stifle the Brazilian in the stand-up game.

If the fight does go to the mat, Rio can hold his own. Look for The Wolverine to come away with a unanimous decision victory.

 

Natal's Athleticism Will Give Him the Edge Over Zeferino

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Both of these men are excellent submission artists; which could turn this into a stand-up battle. Staying on the ground could continually end in a cat game, so this is an opportunity for both to prove their mettle as strikers.

If that happens, Natal's agility and varied striking attacks gives him an edge.

Sometimes he gets a bit too comfortable and it leads to careless defense. This was the case when he was finished by a head kick from Andrew Craig on UFC on Fuel 4. However, when he's focused, he's a handful for most middleweights.

I actually like Zeferino's ability, but with no major edge on the ground in this matchup, I favor Natal more as a striker.

Look for Sapo to win by unanimous decision.

 

Evan Dunham's Improvement Will Show

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

I'm expecting Dunham to make a huge statement on Saturday night.

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Since he lost to T.J. Grant in a war in September 2012, Grant has destroyed Matt Wiman. That bout only makes Dunham's performance against Grant look even better.

Dunham rebounded well with a close decision victory over Gleison Tibau in February. But he'll be facing a tough Brazilian submission artist in dos AnjosDunham is at home on the ground and has never lost a fight via submission in his career.

The 28-year-old has a three-inch height advantage and is the stronger man physically. If the fight stays in the stand-up for any length of time, Dunham should pick dos Anjos apart.

I fully expect the two men to go to the ground eventually, but Dunham's ability to handle himself on his back and in top position will serve him well.

I predict yet another unanimous decision victory for Dunham.

 

Souza Will Best the Gutsy Carmozzi

Carmozzi will always put up a great fight; the guy has tremendous heart and will. But sometimes, he's just overmatched from a talent standpoint and this will be one of those times.

Jacare is the real deal. The only losses he's had in the past five years came to Gegard Mousasi and Rockhold. Carmozzi has the size advantage, but I don't believe he has the takedown defense to keep Jacare from taking over this fight.

The Brazilian is quicker and he'll use that advantage to close distance. I predict a submission win for Jacare.

 

Rockhold Will Take Down the Legend

I truly believe Rockhold will be the next serious challenger for Anderson Silva. Belfort has surprised me in both of his last two fights, though.

He nearly submitted Jon Jones and he stopped Michael Bisping, but at some point, the age will show on a consistent basis. Rockhold is young, hungry, versatile and strong; his future in the UFC seems quite bright.

Belfort isn't quite as quick as he used to be. The striking edge he might have had in the past he won't have on Saturday night. I think stamina will be the biggest factor in this fight.

If Rockhold survives Belfort's initial charge and adrenaline rush, he will take over the late rounds of the fight with takedowns and top position control.

 

Follow me, because Royce Gracie started me on this MMA path, and now I'm out of control.

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