UFC 163 Info and Predictions for Aldo vs. Korean Zombie

Craig Amos@@CAABRMMAFeatured ColumnistJuly 31, 2013

UFC 163 Info and Predictions for Aldo vs. Korean Zombie

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    The UFC returns to Brazil this Saturday, August 3, for UFC 163.

    The card is headlined by a featherweight title fight between Jose Aldo and Chan Sung Jung, and features a co-main event of Phil Davis vs. Lyoto Machida.

    On the whole, the event includes 12 fights, shaping up as follows:


    Main Card

    • Jose Aldo vs. Chan Sung Jung
    • Lyoto Machida vs. Phil Davis
    • Cezar Ferreira vs. Thiago Santos
    • Thales Leites vs. Tom Watson
    • John Lineker vs. Jose Maria Tome


    FX Prelims

    • Vinny Magalhaes vs. Anthony Perosh
    • Amanda Nunes vs. Sheila Gaff
    • Sergio Moraes vs. Neil Magny
    • Ian McCall vs. Iliarde Santos


    Facebook Prelims

    • Rani Yahya vs. Josh Clopton
    • Ednaldo Oliveira vs. Francimar Barroso
    • Viscardi Andrade vs. Bristol Marunde

    Did your breath catch while you scanned the fight card? Or are you still busy trying to find a highly anticipated match after Aldo vs. Jung and Machida vs. Davis?

    Fact is, UFC 163 isn't the most enthralling event of 2013. There are some solid matches, but relevant fights to any division's title scene are few and far between.

    But don't give up on it just yet. Sometimes these seemingly underwhelming cards end up producing the most action.

    Here you will find information about when and where to catch all of Saturday's action, as well as previews and predictions for each and every match.

Viscardi Andrade vs. Bristol Marunde

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    Division: Welterweight

    See it on: Facebook (6:30 p.m. ET)


    UFC 163 will mark Andrade's first fight inside the Octagon, if you don't count his time spent on TUF: Brazil (which I don't). The 29-year-old possesses a fairly strong ground game that he'll likely utilize this Saturday, attempting to establish some dominant positions from which he can work for a submission.

    Like Andrade, Marunde is a TUF graduate (from the U.S. version) who is more comfortable hunting the submission than standing and trading. His sole fight inside the Octagon was a knockout lost to Clint Hester in April.

    I'm siding with Andrade in this one. He's on a six-fight roll, while Marunde is reeling from back-to-back losses. Throw in that Andrade will have a lot of stadium support working in his favor in Brazil, and this one is his to lose.


    Prediction: Andrade, unanimous decision

Francimar Barroso vs. Ednaldo Oliveira

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    Division: Light heavyweight

    See it on: Facebook (6:30 p.m. ET)


    Barroso comes to the UFC as a little-known commodity fighting out of Brazil. He replaces Robert Drysdale, who was expected to make his UFC debut at UFC 163. Borroso will not only have to overcome Octagon jitters in this fight, he'll also be faced with a shortened training camp and a seven-inch height disadvantage.

    Oliveira, who joined the UFC as a heavyweight, is seeking his first win inside the Octagon. His sole showing with the promotion thus far, against Gabriel Gonzaga, wasn't pretty—Oliveira's lackluster ground game was on display. To fare better against Barroso, he'll have to keep the action upright so he can put his powerful hands to work.

    Between Oliveira's power and sizable height advantage and the fact that all three of Barroso's pro defeats have been by knockout, Oliveira looks like a shoo-in. But, that's not how I see it. 

    While a quick knockout is possible for Oliveira, Barroso just may be able to close the gap, take the fight to the ground and lock in a submission. In fact, that's how I see it all going down.


    Prediction: Barroso, submission, Rd. 1  

Josh Clopton vs. Rani Yahya

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    Division: Featherweight

    See it on: Facebook (6:30 p.m. ET)


    Clopton will be searching for his first UFC win at UFC 163. Unfortunately, his penchant for wrestling isn't likely to do him any favors, since he has been matched up with an opponent who excels in the grappling department.

    Yahya is on a two-fight win streak, most recently outdueling Mizuto Hirota in March. Though the Brazilian is not regarded as one of the best mixed martial artists at 145 pounds, he is arguably the division's best pure grappler, which should factor into this match.

    Stylistically, this pairing is terrible for Clopton. To maximize his shot at victory, he'll have to make it a striking match, which he is not used to doing.

    Eventually the action will hit the floor, and from there, a Yahya submission won't be long in coming.


    Prediction: Yahya, submission, Rd. 1

Ian McCall vs. Iliarde Santos

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    Division: Flyweight

    See it on: FX (8 p.m. ET)


    For all the hype that surrounded McCall when he entered the UFC and for all the solid performances he's turned in since, he still hasn't won inside the Octagon. Of course, you can point to his strength of schedule to explain the losses and confidently say that it's just a matter of time before he gets that first UFC victory. Right?

    Like McCall, Santos is hunting his first UFC win. His debut match in May lasted less than two minutes, so he'll be eager to show the Brazilian fans he is capable of more.

    The key for Santos will be to get on top of McCall and control him. Though the Brazilian owns 12 career knockouts, nearly all have come from ground-and-pound, so it's unlikely he'll want to exchange on the feet for long.

    McCall probably won't let Santos handle him, however, and should be able to finish the bout before the judges are called upon to submit their scores.


    Prediction: McCall, TKO, Rd. 2

Neil Magny vs. Sergio Moraes

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    Division: Welterweight

    See it on: FX (8 p.m. ET)


    Magny made good on his UFC debut in February, handling Jon Manley for the better part of 15 minutes. The American is a fairly well-rounded fighter but lacks knockout power, which means he usually has to put his opponents down before he finishes them.

    Fighting on the mat suits Moraes just fine since that's where he excels. His best chance to take home a W at UFC 163 is to do all he can to take his opponent down and seek a fight-ending submission.

    Ultimately, I see Moraes having an edge on the ground as well as the ability to bring the fight there. I'm torn on whether or not I believe he'll finish the fight, but I'm leaning toward a "yes" on that front.


    Prediction: Moraes, submission, Rd. 2 


Sheila Gaff vs. Amanda Nunes

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    Division: Bantamweight

    See it on: FX (8 p.m. ET)


    Gaff returns to the Octagon after losing in her first UFC tilt against Sara McMann. In that bout, she was outwrestled by a former Olympic silver medalist, but at UFC 163, wrestling will be her best friend.

    Nunes is one of the top strikers in the women's bantamweight division. She has power in both her hands and feet and turns her leg kicks over beautifully. While Gaff has some power of her own, Nunes will likely hold an edge on the feet in this pairing, and she'll want to put that edge to use as much as she can, avoiding the ground whenever possible.

    If Gaff is able to neutralize Nunes' striking by putting her on her back, she'll have a good chance of winning the fight. However, I don't believe she'll be able to do that consistently enough to shut down Nunes' offense.

    After sitting on the fence for a while, I'm siding with Nunes.  


    Prediction: Nunes, TKO, Rd. 2

Vinny Magalhaes vs. Anthony Perosh

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    Division: Light heavyweight

    See it on: FX (8 p.m. ET)


    It's difficult to find a better grappler than Perosh at 205, but Magalhaes is indeed the stronger ground fighter. I'm positive that he not only wants to defeat Perosh but wants to finish him with a submission. I'm also positive that he's capable of doing so.

    Perosh has the bad habit of keeping his chin exposed and taking damage on the feet. He won't have to worry about that happening at UFC 163, but the bread-and-butter grappling he usually relies on may be a dead end in this case. Like Magalhaes, Perosh would love to earn a submission in this one, but it doesn't seem likely.

    Overall, it is a terrible matchup for Perosh. Both fighters implement similar styles and have an end game that takes them to the same spot. Unfortunately for Perosh, once they get to that spot, he will be outmatched and in a world of trouble.


    Prediction: Magalhaes, submission, Rd. 2

John Lineker vs. Jose Maria Tome

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    Division: Flyweight

    See it on: Pay-per-view main card (10 p.m. ET)


    Lineker doesn't get much attention as a viable flyweight contender, but that may change in the near future. The Brazilian is still just 23 and has shown flashes of tremendous talent. A win at UFC 163 would be his third straight and would at least garner him a meaningful fight.

    Tome, a relatively unknown commodity, has quietly built himself an outstanding 33-3 professional record. As impressive as his record is, his number of finishes—28-of-33—is even more convincing. The 31-year-old is well-rounded with a solid striking acumen and the ability to submit opponents on the mat.

    Lineker is the more athletic and dynamic fighter, but he needs to be careful and stay active for all three rounds. His best chance of winning is to close the distance and let his "Hands of Stone" go to work. He can't let Tome pick him off on the feet or end up on his back.


    Prediction: Lineker, unanimous decision

Thales Leites vs. Tom Watson

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    Division: Middleweight

    See it on: Pay-per-view main card (10 p.m. ET)  


    At UFC 163, Leites returns to the Octagon after a four-year absence. Since his departure from the promotion, he has posted a 6-1 record, most recently avenging the sole loss from that period against Matt Horwich. In case you've forgotten, Leites is a grappler by trade and is dangerous to even high level jiu-jitsu practitioners and wrestlers.

    Watson is more into striking than submissions, but he is capable on the ground, especially when he gets on top. His ground-and-pound is heavy—much like his standing strikes—and his submission defense is adequate.

    This match represents an opportunity for Leites to get back into the thick of the UFC middleweight division. He's been gone awhile and left on inauspicious terms, so a victory—one over a quality opponent like Watson—is critical to his fighting future.

    He has the advantage on the floor but will have to be wary on the feet. He isn't particularly dangerous while standing, but his opponent is.


    Prediction: Leites, submission, Rd. 3

Cezar Ferreira vs. Thiago Santos

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    Division: Middleweight

    See it on: Pay-per-view main card (10 p.m. ET)


    Ferreira has not competed since winning The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil more than a year ago, but the 28-year-old will be looking to get back to it at UFC 163. While his submission game got him through the TUF tournament, he is just as capable of knocking opponents out as he is at making them tap.

    Santos is a UFC newcomer with an 8-1 record. He wields some knockout power and decent grappling skills, but he is an underdog in this matchup for a reason.

    I see Ferreira winning this fight by putting Santos on his back and working from there. It's a tough call predicting whether the end will come via knockout, submission or decision, but predicting Ferreira to win is not the most difficult call of the card.


    Prediction: Ferreira, TKO, Rd. 2  

Phil Davis vs. Lyoto Machida

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    Division: Light heavyweight

    See it on: Pay-per-view main card (10 p.m. ET)


    Davis is 7-1 in the UFC but still lacks that one signature victory that makes him a bona fide contender. He had the chance to get it when he fought Rashad Evans, but he came up short. At UFC 163, the wrestler will get a second chance—this time against a fighter who owns a brutal knockout over Evans.

    Machida is coming off a tightly contested decision win over Dan Henderson, which marked his second victory in a row. The former champion is in the midst of a run that could soon see him challenge for the belt again, but he'll need to toss Davis aside to get there.

    While Davis' wrestling and outstanding grappling acumen could give Machida fits, "The Dragon" is practiced at keeping opponents away and picking them apart when they try to close the gap. 

    Davis' best chance in this one is to work leg kicks and immediately go for the takedown when the opportunity arises. If he follows this model, he'll have a chance of pulling off the upset.

    I'm tempted to side with the American because he has the tools to pull this one off. But in the end, I think Machida squeaks out a close win.


    Prediction: Machida, split decision


Jose Aldo vs. Chan Sung Jung

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    Division: Featherweight

    See it on: Pay-per-view main card (10 p.m. ET)


    Aldo is unbeaten since 2005 and has faced nothing but champions and No. 1 contenders since the second half of 2009. His dispatching of such quality opponents is a testament to just how good a fighter he is. To do it with the consistency and relative ease he has done it with is impressive.

    But for all Aldo's greatness, his UFC 163 opponent should not be counted out. Jung possess a well-rounded game, including knockout power, a stiff chin, adequate wrestling and dangerous submissions. He also puts the aggression and intensity he's known for to better use now than he did when he first burst onto the MMA mainstream as "The Korean Zombie."

    As usual, Aldo will want to keep the action upright so he apply his incredible striking. Jung is comfortable on the feet and will likely indulge Aldo at times, but he'd be foolish not to attempt the clinch and look for a takedown.

    Ultimately though, Aldo will prove too much for Jung regardless of how he approaches the match.


    Prediction: Aldo, knockout, Rd. 3