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Brown vs. Silva: A Complete Guide to Full UFC Fight Night 40 Card

Scott HarrisFeatured ColumnistNovember 5, 2016

Brown vs. Silva: A Complete Guide to Full UFC Fight Night 40 Card

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    Matt Brown
    Matt BrownGregory Payan/Associated Press

    There was a day when Matt Brown was considered a respected but limited journeyman. That's not the case today.

    There was a day when Erick Silva was considered an MMA phenom, a total package of a welterweight who could possibly contend for the belt. That's not the case today.

    A few years back, these two somehow got their trajectories switched up. Brown was suddenly knocking them down as fast as the UFC could set them up. A checkerboard of success and failure spread across Silva's record sheet, braking the title talk before it could ever get rolling in earnest.

    This Saturday at UFC Fight Night 40, their paths cross more literally. Both men are coming off wins, and both have battled injuries over the past year or so. It's the first UFC main event for each man, and it will go down in Brown's neck of the woods in Cincinnati, Ohio. The winner just might crack the top five of the UFC welterweight rankings and set aside some of those questions about why he's on the list in the first place.

    But there's plenty more to talk about as the UFC rumbles back into the land of Joey Votto and cinnamon-flavored chili. At 13 bouts, it's a pretty stuffed card. Here are information capsules, predictions and viewing coordinates for every contest, from Fight Pass to finale.

     

     

Anthony Lapsley vs. Albert Tumenov

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    Albert Tumenov
    Albert TumenovUSA TODAY Sports

    Division: Welterweight
    Records: Anthony Lapsley (23-6), Albert Tumenov (12-2)
    See it on: UFC Fight Pass (subscription required)

    It's been more than three years since that dicey technical stoppage in Bellator and almost six months since his UFC debut. Both were losses, and both came in the two biggest fights of Anthony Lapsley's career.

    Both also came because of the submission game. Lapsley shouldn't have to worry much about that with Tumenov, a sharp and aggressive striker who doesn't come off as a formidable ground fighter. But does Lapsley have the chops to power through that tough Tumenov kickboxing? My guess is no dice once again for the gritty but undermatched Lapsley.


    Prediction: Tumenov, TKO, Rd. 1

Justin Salas vs. Ben Wall

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    Justin Salas
    Justin SalasUSA TODAY Sports

    Division: Lightweight
    Records: Justin Salas (11-5), Ben Wall (7-1-1)
    See it on: UFC Fight Pass (subscription required)

    UFC fans didn't see much of Wall in his Octagon debut. It lasted only 43 seconds before super-prospect Alex Garcia posterized him with a right uppercut from the land of wind and ghosts.

    The 25-year-old Wall did take that fight on short notice, though, and it was contested one division higher. He'll be a tougher customer for Salas, 32, a consummate journeyman with a 2-2 UFC record.

    As both are grinders, this one won't be exciting. Mark that down now. The smart money leans toward Salas and his Zuffa victories, but here's thinking youth wins this particular day. Sound the mild upset alarms.


    Prediction: Wall, split decision

     

Nik Lentz vs. Manny Gamburyan

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    Nik Lentz
    Nik LentzGregory Payan/Associated Press

    Division: Featherweight
    Records: Manny Gamburyan (13-7), Nik Lentz (24-6-2)
    See it on: UFC Fight Pass (subscription required)

    These are two tough dudes, both scoring high in overall skill and grizzledness.

    Everyone enjoys Gamburyan and his wild and crazy judo throwing and top control. Everyone loves how he likes to bang. But Lentz is also good at that. And if you discount Gamburyan's overturned loss to Dennis Siver and that win over Miller that came in part because the ref let him recover from elbows that actually looked pretty doggone legal, he's 1-5 in his last six contests.

    That's not good. Lentz is 3-1 in his last four, with the only loss coming against contender Chad Mendes. Seems pretty clear when you look at it that way.


    Prediction: Lentz, unanimous decision

Eddie Wineland vs. Johnny Eduardo

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    Eddie Wineland
    Eddie WinelandUSA TODAY Sports

    Division: Bantamweight
    Records: Johnny Eduardo (26-9), Eddie Wineland (21-9-1)
    See it on: Fox Sports 2

    I'm not going to sit here and pretend like this fight is close on paper. It's not. Wineland should cruise.

    Wineland, who is oddly relegated to the prelims (and the bowels of the prelims, at that) after fighting for a title six months ago, has an opponent in 35-year-old Eduardo who is 1-1 in the UFC and hasn't competed professionally in two years.  

    I don't know. Your guess is as good as mine. Wineland should outbox and take what's his.


    Prediction: Wineland, TKO, Rd. 2

Yan Cabral vs. Zak Cummings

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    Yan Cabral
    Yan CabralUSA TODAY Sports

    Division: Welterweight
    Records: Yan Cabral (11-0), Zak Cummings (16-3)
    See it on: Fox Sports 2

    Cabral is known for two things: looking pretty darn tough on The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 2 before a broken hand forced him to the sidelines and submitting a decrepit but still highly famous Kazushi Sakuraba back in 2011. 

    Ten of Cabral's 11 wins have come by submission. His game isn't extraordinarily flashy, but it most certainly gets the job done. Cummings shouldn't have much for one of Nova Uniao's best pure grapplers.


    Prediction: Cabral, submission, Rd. 1

Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Darrell Montague

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    Darrell Montague
    Darrell MontagueUSA TODAY Sports

    Division: Flyweight
    Records: Kyoji Horiguchi (12-1), Darrell Montague (13-3)
    See it on: Fox Sports 2

    They're not making it easy for Darrell Montague.

    For years, everybody was all like, "Hey, UFC, sign Montague. Your flyweight division sucks. Sign Montague." And they were right. Montague gave fans of the lighter-weight guys reason to be excited with all the big-name scalps (Ulysses Gomez, Mamoru Yamaguchi, etc.) he collected along his way through various promotions from 2010 to 2013.

    Finally, the UFC listened and signed "Mongoose" to a contract. But they gave him the great John Dodson as a debut opponent, and he lost by first-round KO. Now, they're giving him another good one in Horiguchi, a wonderful Japanese striker and one of Asia's best rising bantamweights. He is dropping to 125 pounds for this privilege and should be quite large in the cage.

    It's not fair, I tell ya. But Montague should break through here and get his first UFC win by breaking down Horiguchi on the mat, against the fence or both. 


    Prediction: Montague, unanimous decision

Ed Herman vs. Rafael Natal

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    Rafael Natal
    Rafael NatalJeff Chiu/Associated Press

    Division: Middleweight
    Records: Ed Herman (21-10), Rafael Natal (17-5-1)
    See it on: Fox Sports 2

    Each man's weaknesses make this one pretty straightforward. Herman likes to ply his wrestling and ground-and-pound but plays right into the Venus' flytrap that is a good jiu-jitsu player (see Jake Shields, Jacare Souza, Thales Leites).

    Natal just gets knocked out by people with punching power. So that's not very intricate.

    Herman's stand-up is probably too late-model to threaten Natal, which increases the chances he'll go for a clinch or takedown, which then plays directly into the probability of a submission or some extended back-riding from the opponent. 

    All to say, Herman can win, I guess, but he doesn't seem to line up effectively with these Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts. And for whatever reason, that's all he's getting these days.


    Prediction: Natal, unanimous decision

     

Chris Cariaso vs. Louis Smolka

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    Chris Cariaso
    Chris CariasoJeff Chiu/Associated Press

    Division: Flyweight
    Records: Chris Cariaso (16-5), Louis Smolka (7-0)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    Two wins in a row for Cariaso, one of which was supposed to take place against the aforementioned Horiguchi but ultimately came over a dull Danny Martinez when a Horiguchi injury derailed that original matchup. 

    Cariaso swings with bad intentions and knows how to get an edge in grappling exchanges, even if he's not going to end many fights with anything exclamatory. 

    It has earned him a gatekeeper's position in the division as well as an opportunity for his third straight UFC win. The opportunity will come against Smolka. And let me say that there will be no "Smolkan" in the boys room for this one, if you take my drift.

    Smolka hasn't lost yet, topping Alp Ozkilic in his UFC debut. That's no lame accordion "Smolka" music, know what I mean? He's a rangy flyweight with a submission game that could give Cariaso fits. Here's guessing Smolka gets past the gates.


    Prediction: Smolka, unanimous decision

Soa Palelei vs. Ruan Potts

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    Soa Palelei
    Soa PaleleiBradley Kanaris/Getty Images

    Division: Heavyweight
    Records: Soa Palelei (20-3), Ruan Potts (8-1)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    You know who gets motivated for Soa Palelei fights? Soa Palelei, at least assuming no rogue CrossFit chapter has captured his phone and held his accounts hostage for the past three years and change.

    It’s very simple: When you’re working your hardest, the world opens up to you.

    — Soa The Hulk Palelei (@soathehulk) May 3, 2014

    GREATNESS is inside of you! The question is...have you ACTIVATED it?

    — Soa The Hulk Palelei (@soathehulk) May 3, 2014

    Mark Hunt and Roy Nelson get most of the credit for being the big hard hitters at heavyweight. But Soa's right there; his last 10 wins came by knockout, and all but two happened in the first round. It's not artful, as he just wins the right hook and lets the chips fall, but it is damn powerful, and there's no two ways about that.

    Potts is rounded and could game-plan his way to an upset, sure. But I've been reading Palelei's Twitter for, like, three hours now. No way will I succumb to the ordinary. I have greatness inside me and am hereby unleashing that inner power.


    Prediction: Palelei, KO, Rd. 1

Neil Magny vs. Tim Means

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    Neil Magny (left)
    Neil Magny (left)USA TODAY Sports

    Division: Welterweight
    Records: Neil Magny (9-3), Tim Means (20-5-1)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    The co-co-co-main event of UFC Fight Night 40 pits a fighter the UFC cut last year against that dude who looks like Squidward

    So no, not a big-time barn burner here in the middle of the Cincy main card. But it could still give way to a nifty little scrap. Magny will certainly use his five-inch reach advantage to pepper Means with straight punches and leg kicks from safe range.

    Means has won two straight since receiving his Zuffa walking papers, with his knockout stroke and ground-and-pound continuing to be his weapons of choice. 

    If Means can get Squidward groundward, it could be curtains. But he'll have to catch him first. Magny will make it tough, but I think Means will be the stronger man on Saturday.

    Prediction: Means, unanimous decision

     

     

Erik Koch vs. Daron Cruickshank

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    Erik Koch
    Erik KochUSA TODAY Sports

    Division: Lightweight
    Records: Daron Cruickshank (14-4), Erik Koch (14-3)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    The fuse is lit, and there should be plenty of explosions. 

    Cruickshank is dynamic (see that wheel kick in January and that head kick in 2012) and can put anyone down. But when he's not hitting it over the park wall, he's popping out to foul territory, as he's gone 2-2 in his last four bouts.

    Koch is more conservative but can still land that knockout blow. Back at lightweight after two straight defeats at 145 pounds, Koch knocked out Rafaello Oliveira to get back to his winning ways. 

    There will likely be a couple of striking exchanges in this one. But the tiebreaker might not be a wheel kick but a tenacious double-leg. Iowa boy Koch is more well-rounded and should find a tool to disrupt Cruickshank's game.


    Prediction: Koch, unanimous decision

Costas Philippou vs. Lorenz Larkin

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    Lorenz Larkin (right)
    Lorenz Larkin (right)USA TODAY Sports

    Division: Middleweight
    Records: Lorenz Larkin (14-2), Costas Philippou (12-4)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    In the Rodney Dangerfield portion of the card, Larkin and Philippou get no respect.

    Larkin always loses a tough one right before he takes the next step. Last time, he was manhandled by Brad Tavares. Luke Rockhold and the immortal Francis Carmont got the better of Philippou in his previous two outings.

    Larkin is a power wrestler who can close the curtain with a punch. But my edge goes to Philippou, his pro-level boxing, his solid takedown defense and his general toughness in beating Larkin to the punch and taking a decision.

    Prediction: Philippou, unanimous decision

Matt Brown vs. Erick Silva

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    Erick Silva (right)
    Erick Silva (right)USA TODAY Sports

    Division: Welterweight
    Records: Matt Brown (18-11), Erick Silva (16-4)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    Matt Brown was a journeyman, just another TUF contestant getting mad because someone put lime juice in his chewing tobacky. That was until he was bitten by a radioactive spider that bestowed him with titanium fists. Six straight victories later (five of them knockouts, all of them kind of plodding and sluggy), and here we are. 

    How many chances will Silva get? At some point, you have to show and prove. Silva was out-Fitched by Jon Fitch and then knocked out by Dong Hyun Kim. He got back to the win column thanks to Takenori Sato, but it didn't exactly build up a lot of consumer confidence.

    Or did it? Silva is a significant favorite to win this match, likely thanks to his jiu-jitsu chops, more technical standup game, sharper footwork and just general betterness. When will these people learn? If Dong Hyun Kim can knock out Erick Silva, you can be sure Matt Brown can do the same.

    Ring the bell, watch the hammer fall and sound those upset alarms.

    Sorry, purists, but we have a new member of the welterweight top 5, whether or not that's something you enjoy.


    Prediction: Brown, KO, Rd. 1

    Scott Harris writes about MMA and other things for Bleacher Report and other places. For more baseless cage fighting speculation, which you just can't find anywhere else on the Internet, follow Scott on Twitter.

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