One of Brazil's favorite sons will be back to fight another legend of the sport in UFC Fight Night 32 from Goiania Arena in Goiania, Brazil on Saturday.
Despite the fact that both Vitor "The Phenom" Belfort and Dan Henderson are past their glory days, this rematch will still likely pique the interest of hardcore fans of the sport. Belfort and Henderson met when both were in Pride and Henderson won a unanimous decision over The Phenom.
In front of a host of fans likely cheering the Brazilian Belfort on, Henderson will be fighting an uphill battle. Here's a look at the entire card with predictions for each bout. The main event and two other bouts feature more extensive analysis below the chart.
|Online Preliminaries at 6 p.m. ET on Facebook and UFC.com|
|Jose Maria Tome vs. Dustin Ortiz||Flyweight||Tome by KO|
|Daron Cruickshank vs. Adriano Martins||Lightweight||Martins by KO|
|Thiago Tavares vs. Justin Salas||Lightweight||Tavares by submission|
|Thiago de Oliveira Perpetuo vs. Omari Akhmedov||Middleweight||Akhmedov by submission|
|Godofredo Pepey vs. Sam Sicilia||Featherweight||Sicilia by decision|
|Main Card on Fox Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET|
|Rony Mariano Bezerra vs. Jeremy Stephens||Featherweight||Bezerra by decision|
|Ryan LaFlare vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio||Welterweight||LaFlare by decision|
|Paulo Thiago vs. Brandon Thatch||Welterweight||Thatch by KO|
|Rafael Cavalcante vs. Igor Pokrajac||Light Heavyweight||Cavalcante by KO|
|Cezar Ferreira vs. Daniel Sarafian||Middleweight||Ferreira by KO|
|Vitor Belfort vs. Dan Henderson||Light Heavyweigth||Belfort by KO|
Brian Mazique's Predictions
The Mutante Will Win by KO
Aside from a devastating KO loss in 2011 to Elvis Mutapcic, Cezar Ferreira has looked impressive. He has great quickness, power and his 78.5" reach is usually a factor.
All of those qualities should propel him to victory against Daniel Sarafian, a tough submissions fighter. Sarafian's striking isn't anywhere close to Ferreira's and, per Fight Metric, The Mutante has stuffed every takedown attempted against him in the UFC.
Ferreira will win by way of exciting KO.
Brandon "Rukus" Thatch Will Continue His Run of Impressive Wins
Thatch is one of the hottest young fighters in the UFC. He'll be in the Octagon with a veteran in Paulo Thiago on Saturday night. Rukus has that special flair as a striker. He finishes fights promptly and with devastating kicks to the midsection or head.
His average fight time is only 5 minutes and 12 seconds, per Fight Metric. Most recently he earned KO of the Night for his win over Justin Edwards in August.
Thiago is a native Brazilian, so he'll have the fans behind him. He also won his last fight over Michel Richard Cunha dos Prazeres in May. Still, he has lost four of his last six. His stand-up game is still lacking, and that's not a good look heading into a battle with Thatch.
Thiago's only hope in this fight is to take Thatch to the mat. Eight of his 15 wins have come by submission. Because of this, Thatch will be ready for Thiago's attempts to take him down. Rukus' kicks will set the pace and lead to a KO/TKO win.
Belfort Will Do What No Other Fighter in History Has Done
Who wins the main event?
Both men are at a crucial point in their career. Belfort is 36 years old and Henderson is 43. Despite the seven-year age gap, Belfort has actually been fighting professionally longer. The Phenom's career began in 1996 and Henderson's in 1997.
Belfort's skill set has evolved since he burst on the scene as an explosive, hard-punching 19-year-old. Lately, he seems just as likely to attack an opponent in search of a submission as he is to try to knock them out.
Belfort nearly submitted Jon "Bones" Jones when they met in Sept. 2012. Jones escaped and ultimately scored a submission win of his own. Since then, Belfort has forced both Michael Bisping and Luke Rockhold to say goodnight with head kicks. The spinning heel kick against Rockhold was especially nasty.
Aside from the loss to Jones and a devastating defeat at the hands of Anderson Silva, Belfort hasn't lost a fight since he dropped the decision to Henderson seven years ago. He may be on the wrong side of 30, but The Phenom hasn't shown a lot of signs of slowing down.
Hendo's recent fights haven't gone over quite as well. He's lost his last two bouts and because he's approaching his mid-40s, the end is near. Belfort is the type of fighter who could make the end come in an instant.
This is Hendo we're talking about, though. He is known for his amazing chin. In 39 professional fights, he's never been knocked out—that is until Saturday night.
This may be a bold prediction, but look for Belfort to become the first man to ever stop Henderson by way of TKO/KO. Belfort's speed and versatility are too much for Henderson. The Phenom's explosive striking and Henderson's age will produce the most unfavorable result for Hendo.
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