UFC Fight Night 28 caps off an extended fight week for the UFC. It started in Indianapolis last Wednesday, traveled through Milwaukee for the crowning of a new UFC Lightweight Champion and ends up in Belo Horizonte, Brazil for a top-10 light heavyweight showdown.
The main card features six bouts, and below are the odds and predictions for the fights.
Marcos Vinicius (+240) vs. Ali Bagautinov (-280)
Vinicius has not been inside the Octagon in 2013, but he will return to make his flyweight debut. Bagautinov makes his UFC debut after going on an eight-fight win streak.
This will be an interesting fight to open the card with. The 125-pound matchup will help the division continue to grow. The oddsmakers may not be giving Vinicius as much of a chance that he actually has in this battle.
However, I still side with Bagautinov. I don't think he will get the stoppage in his UFC debut, but he will do enough to take the fight on the scorecards.
Rafael Natal (-260) vs. Tor Troeng (+220)
Troeng made a successful UFC debut against The Ultimate Fighter castmate Adam Cella at UFC on Fuel TV 9, but he will face an uphill battle in Brazil.
Natal is one of the more durable fighters in the division. He has fought better competition and often comes out on top. His UFC record is 4-2-1. Troeng is the type of fighter he will put against the fence, take down and grind on for three rounds.
Expect that to happen. Troeng will want to keep this standing, but it won't happen. Natal gets his hand raised after the judges render their decision.
Francisco Trinaldo (-320) vs. Piotr Hallmann (+260)
Hallman enters the UFC with a nine-fight win streak, but he comes in against a red-hot Trinaldo.
This is an unfortunate matchup for the prospect. He could have been pitted against a lower-ranked lightweight to acclimate himself to the UFC before moving up the ladder, but instead he goes against a very good submission artist in his home country.
3-1 in the UFC, Trinaldo will most likely get his fourth win in exciting fashion. The former Jungle Fights Lightweight Champion will rack up his third straight submission finish. That will put him in the running for some bonus cash.
Joseph Benavidez (-525) vs. Jussier Formiga (+415)
The No. 1-ranked and No. 5-ranked flyweights take to the main card to do battle. Unfortunately, we are probably not going to get a competitive fight.
Formiga is a very good, fun flyweight. Benavidez is just that much better. Simply put.
After dropping the inaugural flyweight title tilt, Benavidez has returned with two straight wins. He defeated Ian McCall by decision, and he completely outclassed a tough Darren Uyenoyama. The fight against Formiga will look like the latter.
Formiga will want this fight on the ground, but he has little to no hope of getting it there. Benavidez will be able to dictate everything about this fight, and his improved striking will allow his power to shine through. He will finish Formiga in impressive fashion in the second round with strikes.
Yushin Okami (+225) vs. Jacare Souza (-265)
Okami had a brief two-fight losing streak, but he has since rebounded with three straight. The wins moved him all the way up to being the No. 3-ranked middleweight in the division. He will have his hands full in the co-main event on Wednesday.
Jacare is on a four-fight win streak, and his UFC debut could not have gone any better. It will be hard to replicate, as Okami is not Chris Camozzi.
This is, by far, the most intriguing bout on the card. Okami is a tough, durable and well-rounded middleweight. Jacare is a more athletic and more dynamic fighter overall. It will be interesting to see what Jacare's game plan is.
On the feet, Jacare has shown remarkable improvement throughout his career. His striking has looked scary at times. Okami is also skilled on the feet. His boxing is underrated. Okami's straight left can be a fight-ender if it hits its target.
Jacare's brilliance happens on the mat, but getting it there may be a problem against Okami. Also, Okami is no slouch in the defense department. This is a big test for Jacare, and if he passes he will jump into title contention.
Jacare is the rightful favorite entering this fight, but Okami's wrestling will be the difference. The Brazilian will be introduced to the upper echelon in the division with a grueling 15-minute battle against one of the largest, and strongest, in the division. Okami grinds this one out.
Glover Teixeira (-440) vs. Ryan Bader (+350)
At one time, Bader was in the top 10 of the division. However, a recent loss to Lyoto Machida, and Chael Sonnen moving up a weight class, has pushed Bader just outside of the rankings.
Teixeira, ranked No. 3, is on the brink of a title shot. A win against Bader and he is in line for the next shot at the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.
Bader has solid wrestling and big power in his hands. That makes him a live dog in this fight. It will always give him a chance. Unfortunately for Bader, this is a fight that should highlight all Teixeira to make him look like the title contender that he is. It is a bad stylistic matchup for the Arizona State product.
Teixeira can hurt Bader on the feet, but he will finish with his third submission inside the UFC. It will be an impressive performance that announces Teixeira as the next title contender.
All odds courtesy of 5Dimes.com.