UFC Fight Night 36: Main Card Staff Predictions

Sean SmithAnalyst IFebruary 14, 2014

UFC Fight Night 36: Main Card Staff Predictions

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    Lyoto Machida will try to take another big step toward a middleweight title shot on Saturday, when he'll meet former Strikeforce champion Gegard Mousasi.

    At UFC Fight Night 30, "The Dragon" stopped Mark Munoz in his initial appearance at 185 pounds. That victory elevated the Brazilian to contender status immediately, and now he could have a chance to compete for UFC gold by winning in the UFC Fight Night 36 headliner.

    While he only has one UFC win under his belt, Mousasi could quickly take the lead in the race for a middleweight title shot this weekend. After beating Ilir Latifi easily in his first Octagon showing at light heavyweight, Mousasi has opted to return to 185 pounds, where many feel he is better suited.

    Bleacher Report MMA's own Riley Kontek, James MacDonald, Craig Amos and Sean Smith have joined to provide their predictions for Machida vs. Mousasi and the entire UFC Fight Night 36 main card.  

2014 Staff Records

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    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    With a 4-1 record at UFC 169, Scott Harris began his climb from the basement of the prediction standings.

    He's now only one pick behind Sean Smith, who correctly anticipated three UFC 169 matchups. Riley Kontek posted the same record on the most recent UFC fight card and is now tied with Craig Amos and James MacDonald.

    Amos and MacDonald claimed a share of the lead by matching Harris with four accurate predictions.

    Craig Amos: 15-4

    James MacDonald: 15-4

    Riley Kontek: 15-4

    Sean Smith: 13-6

    Scott Harris: 12-7

Charles Oliveira vs. Andy Ogle

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    David Becker/Associated Press

    Riley Kontek

    Charles Oliveira needs a rebound fight, as he is on a two-fight skid and figures to be a big piece of the future of the featherweight division. This is especially true considering his age (24) and skill level. Andy Ogle is the sacrificial lamb who is making the trip to Oliveira’s home turf and will likely be outclassed wherever the fight goes.

    Oliveira, Submission, Rd. 1

     

    James MacDonald

    Ogle is always good for a decent scrap, but the ceiling on his potential is pretty low. It’s hard not to feel like this has been set up to get Oliveira back on the winning track. However this bout was engineered, expect the Brazilian to get his first win since mid-2012.

    Oliveira, Submission, Rd. 2

     

    Craig Amos

    Ogle has done better for himself than I would have guessed after watching him on The Ultimate Fighter, but Oliveira is simply too good for this to be a competitive fight. His confidence on the ground will enable him to attack freely on the feet, where he will damage Ogle before knocking him down and locking up a quick submission.

    Oliveira, Submission, Rd. 1

     

    Sean Smith

    After rough matchups with Frankie Edgar and Cub Swanson, Oliveira is looking at a fight that is designed to get him back on track in front of a Brazilian crowd. He'll make this quick and submit Ogle to avoid what would be a troubling third consecutive loss. 

    Oliveira, Submission, Rd. 1

Viscardi Andrade vs. Nico Musoke

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    Felipe Dana/Associated Press

    Riley Kontek

    How this bout made it onto the main card over Iuri Alcantara vs. Wilson Reis, I will never know. That being said, both men are making their sophomore efforts coming off impressive finishes. Nico Musoke tapped out Alessio Sakara, while Viscardi Andrade blasted through Bristol Marunde. Musoke showed his chin could be tested against Sakara, so expect Andrade to run through the Swede.

    Andrade, KO, Rd. 1

     

    James MacDonald

    Of the two, Andrade looked like the more impressive fighter in his debut. Despite winning, Musoke appeared a touch vulnerable, which should cost him against the hard-hitting Andrade.

    Andrade, KO, Rd. 2

     

    Craig Amos

    Both fighters enter this bout coming off first-round finishes, so whoever wins will build some real momentum. While it's a pairing that could tilt either way, I see Musoke taking an edge and holding onto it for the better part of 15 minutes.

    Musoke, Unanimous decision

     

    Sean Smith

    In his first UFC outing, Andrade showed off his striking. I think Musoke's chin will give the Brazilian a chance to put his grappling on display in this matchup, and he's actually picked up more submission wins than knockouts despite what his first appearance inside the Octagon may have suggested.   

    Andrade, Submission, Rd. 2

Erick Silva vs. Takenori Sato

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    Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

    Riley Kontek

    Takenori Sato is undoubtedly a great prospect, but he is getting thrown to the wolves in his UFC debut. Erick Silva hasn’t lived up to the massive hype, but his only losses are to Jon Fitch, Dong Hyun Kim and Mario Yamasaki (sorry, Carlo Prater—you didn’t win). Sato is more of a submission fighter, while Silva can do a little bit of everything. He should snag a win here.

    Silva, TKO, Rd. 1

     

    James MacDonald

    This could be a rough UFC debut for Sato. Matchmaker Joe Silva isn’t exactly choosing to bring the 28-year-old along slowly. Erick Silva will be looking to get tongues wagging again, after being flattened by Kim last time out. And I reckon the Brazilian will do exactly that and end the fight early.

    Silva, TKO, Rd. 1

     

    Craig Amos

    To: A stadium full of Brazilian fans
    From: UFC
    Enclosed: Something to cheer about.

    Silva, KO, Rd. 1

     

    Sean Smith

    Yep, it's another favorable matchup for a young Brazilian who is looking to rebound. Sato has the potential to stick around on the UFC level, but he's not ready for an opponent like Silva, who remains on the fringe of title contention despite his recent struggles.  

    Silva, TKO, Rd. 1

Ronaldo Souza vs. Francis Carmont

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    Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

    Riley Kontek

    This fight can go two ways. The first way is that the massive mountain of a main Francis Carmont secures the takedown, avoids submissions and snags a yawn-procuring decision. The other way is that Ronaldo Souza keeps the distance, lands his strikes and hurts the Frenchman, eventually getting a finish on the feet or ground. For the sake that I hope this fight packs excitement and the fact Carmont has stolen decisions in the past, I will take Souza.

    Souza, Submission, Rd. 2

     

    James MacDonald

    I’m not a religious man, but I can only hope that some entity intervenes and saves us all from another soul-crushingly boring Carmont performance. Said entity may very well be “Jacare” Souza, who has the potential to squeeze a watchable fight out of the hulking Frenchman. Souza has looked so impressive recently that I doubt even a corrupt athletic commission could save Carmont’s “winning” streak this time.

    Souza, Submission, Rd. 2

     

    Craig Amos

    I don't know why, but I have a gut feeling that we could be in for an upset here. However, because I cannot logically decipher why that feeling exists, I have to go with the old brain on this one, despite the many times it has failed me throughout my life. Anyway, I'll cautiously say Souza continues his impressive UFC run.

    Souza, Submission, Rd. 3

     

    Sean Smith

    This is what happens when you become a contender despite failing to impress the UFC brass in three straight outings. Carmont will now be forced out of his comfort zone against an opponent he will have trouble controlling on the ground. Souza is one of the best in the world when fights hit the canvas, and he'll show it this weekend.

    Souza, Submission, Rd. 1

Lyoto Machida vs. Gegard Mousasi

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    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    Riley Kontek

    This fight has the potential to be an awesome, technically sound striking exhibition between two men with distinct styles. We all know about Lyoto Machida’s unorthodox karate approach. As for Gegard Mousasi, he is a skilled technical boxer with similar power to Machida, although the Brazilian has better kicks. If Machida fights the defensive fight that he’s known for, he could find himself on the wrong side of a close decision again. If he shows more initiative, he could be the victor.

    Machida, Unanimous decision

     

    James MacDonald

    As is the case with most Machida fights, this could either be extremely watchable or utterly yawn-inducing, depending on how adventurous the Brazilian decides to be. While both men are terrific, technical strikers, they could scarcely be more different in their approach. However, the key to this fight may not be in their respective skill sets but rather the length of Mousasi’s layoff. Machida is not the ideal opponent to contend with after undergoing knee surgery. I’m banking on the Dutchman being a little rusty, which should give Machida the edge.

    Machida, Unanimous decision

     

    Craig Amos

    Both Machida and Mousasi are supremely talented fighters. However, while Machida has spent the last five years sharpening his skills against the best competition in the world, Mousasi has pretty much coasted, and that counts for something. Just how different is the strength of schedule between Machida and Mousasi? Mousasi's toughest opponent since Mark Hunt in 2009 is Ovince St. Preux, whereas Machida has run a gauntlet of top-tier foes over that same time frame.

    Machida, Unanimous decision

     

    Sean Smith

    While we're all on Machida here, don't think for one second that I didn't consider picking Mousasi. The former Strikeforce champion might be the better striker in this matchup, and that alone could carry him to a win. However, Mousasi's conditioning could hurt him in the later rounds of this five-round fight, and Machida has the ability to avoid exchanges while stealing enough rounds with leg sweeps and occasional top control.

    Machida, Unanimous decision