TUF Brazil 3 Finale: Preliminary Card Predictions

Riley KontekFeatured ColumnistMay 29, 2014

TUF Brazil 3 Finale: Preliminary Card Predictions

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    Felipe Dana/Associated Press

    The UFC presents two fight cards on Saturday. The first is exclusive to Fight Pass and live from Germany. The second will be on Fox Sports 1, as The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3 Finale airs.

    The card, which is headlined by Stipe Miocic vs. Fabio Maldonado, has been crippled by injuries and change. TUF coaches Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva were originally supposed to wage war in the featured bout, but then Junior dos Santos vs. Miocic came on board. An injury to Dos Santos led to Maldonado stepping up a weight class to save the main event.

    Before that, we have some preliminary card fights. Here are the predictions for those bouts.

    2014 Riley's Record: 64-45

    Last Event: UFC 173 (4-3)

Pedro Munhoz vs. Matt Hobar

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Two exciting prospects get the call to fight each other in the bantamweight division, as former RFA champ Pedro Munhoz takes on Legacy FC veteran Matt Hobar.

    Munhoz, a jiu-jitsu fighter, has been working his striking with Blackhouse and Kings MMA, which has helped him improve at a rapid rate. However, the ground game is still his bread and butter. He took a short-notice bout against Raphael Assuncao in his debut, which he lost but gained respect for stepping up.

    Hobar makes his Octagon debut here after running an 8-1 record in the regional scene. His only loss is due to an arm injury against Steven Peterson, a loss he avenged when he returned from that setback. Hobar likes using his wrestling and submission arsenal against opponents, though grappling with Munhoz could be a risky game plan.

    Hobar has a bright future in this sport, but Munhoz is just too dangerous on the ground. At some point, Hobar will make one little mistake, and the Brazilian will capitalize on it.

    Prediction: Munhoz def. Hobar via submission

Wagner Silva vs. Ricardo Abreu

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    The first of two TUF Brazil fights is up next in the middleweight division, as Team Wanderlei teammates Wagner Silva and Ricardo Abreu square off.

    Abreu is a jiu-jitsu ace who was a favorite to make it to the finals this season. His time on the reality show saw him knock out Willian Steindorf to get into the house. From there, he scored a unanimous decision over Guilherme Vasconcelos before falling via split decision in the semifinals to Marcio Alexandre.

    Silva is also a submission fighter, though one would assume he is not nearly on the same level in terms of jiu-jitsu as Abreu. He choked out Cristiano Pontes to get into the house before snagging a split-decision win over Joilton Santos. His run ended in the semifinals, though, as he was dispatched with a first-round submission at the hands of Warlley Alves.

    As seen in the Alves fight, Silva can be beaten on the ground. That is where Abreu does his best work, and the jiu-jitsu ace will submit Silva in the first round.

    Prediction: Abreu def. Silva via submission

Marcos Rogerio vs. Richardson Moreira

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    The next TUF Brazil fight to take place is in the heavyweight division, as normal middleweight Marcos Rogerio takes on regular light heavyweight Richardson Moreira.

    Rogerio has been a top Brazilian prospect for a couple of years, though he has to fight up at heavyweight to get his shot here. He is a striker, but he choked out Bellator tournament vet Thiago Santos to get into the house. After that, he took a decision over Jollyson Francino before being tapped out by Antonio Carlos Jr.

    As for Moreira, he is a Team Nogueira gym rep who has finished all seven of his opponents in his professional career. He knocked out Alexandre Machado to get into the house, as well as tapped out Job Kleber in the quarterfinals. However, he knocked out by Vitor Miranda in the semifinals, which took him out of the tournament.

    This is going to be a competitive, close fight. That being said, I have been high on Rogerio for a while. He will win a close decision in what could be a fun affair.

    Prediction: Rogerio def. Moreira via decision

Rodrigo Damm vs. Rashid Magomedov

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Next up are the lightweights, as TUF Brazil vet Rodrigo Damm takes on Russian prospect Rashid Magomedov. 

    Damm is a jiu-jitsu fighter who has improved his striking recently. He was forced to move back up from 145 pounds, as the weight cut was causing damage to his body. His return to 155 saw him win a close decision over Ivan Jorge in February, when he used superior striking and wrestling to win the match.

    Magomedov is another Russian stud with a great takedown game and heavy top pressure. He is a tremendous grappler who, like Damm, has improved his stand-up. He shook off early Octagon jitters in his UFC debut against Tony Martin, eventually righting the ship and getting a clear-cut decision.

    Damm's best shot to win is sticking and moving. Engaging in a clinch-and-wrestling exhibition with Magomedov will lead to his downfall. The Russian is just too skilled and gritty to let this one slip away.

    Prediction: Magomedov def. Damm via decision

Kevin Souza vs. Mark Eddiva

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    USA TODAY Sports

    The featherweights are scheduled to do battle next, as Brazilian slugger Kevin Souza takes on Mark Eddiva of the Philippines. 

    Eddiva is undefeated at 6-0 and made a successful return to MMA in March after a three-year hiatus. He fought in China against heavily favored Tuerxun Jumabieke but turned the table on the home crowd by dominating the Chinese fighter with takedowns and superior striking.

    Souza is a head hunter with missiles for hands. He took a late-notice bout in September of last year, overpowering Felipe Arantes with power strikes and sturdy takedown defense. He broke his hand in that fight, which is why he has been out until now.

    Eddiva has the ability to shock us again, but Souza is a beast. Eddiva will try to get in on takedowns, but he will eat some nasty strikes and be put to sleep by the Brazilian.

    Prediction: Souza def. Eddiva via TKO

Paulo Thiago vs. Gasan Umalatov

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    Felipe Dana/Associated Press

    The welterweights are scheduled to do battle next, as longtime UFC vet and Brazilian fighter Paulo Thiago takes on Russian Gasan Umalatov.

    Thiago has been with the UFC since 2009 but has failed to find consistency in the cage. He is 5-6 with the company and coming off a quick, devastating loss to uber-prospect Brandon Thatch in his last go-around. He has powerful striking, though the technique isn't always there, as well as a good top game on the mat.

    Umalatov did not show much promise in his UFC debut against Neil Magny, as the American easily defended the Russian's takedowns and outstruck him. His game is simple in that he looks for the takedown early and often so he can work his submission game.

    Thiago has shown some decent takedown chops and will likely have the better striking here. Look for him to mix up his attacks and earn a win in front of his countrymen.

    Prediction: Thiago def. Umalatov via decision

Elias Silverio vs. Ernest Chavez

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    USA TODAY Sports

    The last preliminary bout takes place in the lightweight division, as Brazilian grinder Elias Silverio takes on American Ernest Chavez.

    Chavez, a ground fighter from California, didn't do much to impress in his Octagon debut opposite Yosdenis Cedeno. Despite winning a split decision, his stand-up looked sloppy, and his cardio was subpar.

    Silverio has been a very pleasant surprise thus far in the UFC. After taking out Joao Zeferino in his debut with the company, "Xuxu" scored an upset over Isaac Vallie-Flagg in a bout he absolutely dominated.

    Chavez does his best work on the ground, though he needs to be in top position. Silverio is the better wrestler, though, and should use that to expose the American. It won't be pretty, but it will be a clear win for Xuxu.

    Prediction: Silverio def. Chavez via decision