A Complete Guide to UFC's 2 Fight Cards on May 31

Nathan McCarter@McCarterNFeatured ColumnistMay 26, 2014

A Complete Guide to UFC's 2 Fight Cards on May 31

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    Michael Sohn/Associated Press

    The UFC returns this weekend with not one, but two complete cards for our entertainment. It will be a jam-packed Saturday full of fights.

    First on the slate is UFC Fight Night 41 from Berlin, Germany. The event will be headlined by a big middleweight clash between No. 11-ranked contender Gegard Mousasi vs. No. 7-ranked Mark Munoz. The first card of the day gets started at 12:30 p.m. ET

    The entire UFC Fight Night 41 card will be aired exclusively on UFC Fight Pass.

    After the festivities of the first card, the action will get underway from Sao Paulo, Brazil. The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 3 Finale hits the airwaves. No. 7-ranked Stipe Miocic battles Fabio Maldonado in the main event.

    The show from Brazil will begin on UFC Fight Pass at 8 p.m. ET before moving to Fox Sports 1 at 10 p.m. ET.

    There will be plenty of action for fans to see, and plenty of value for UFC Fight Pass subscribers. Bleacher Report will give you information on each and every fight that will take place on Saturday. Let's move on and get primed for all the action headed our way this weekend.

Viktor Pesta vs. Ruslan Magomedov

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    Division: Heavyweight

    Records: Viktor Pesta (9-0), Ruslan Magomedov (11-1)

    See it on: UFC Fight Pass (subscription required)

    The first bout of the day starts in the heavyweight division with two UFC newcomers.

    Neither fighter is well known, but Magomedov gained a smattering bit of publicity last fall by defeating former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia. It was enough to put him on the map and get him signed to the UFC. He also holds a win over former UFC heavyweight champion Ricco Rodriguez.

    Pesta has more finishes to his credit, but Magomedov has certainly faced better competition. I believe that makes Magomedov more ready for this fight.

    Prediction: Magomedov, Decision

Andy Ogle vs. Maximo Blanco

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Division: Featherweight

    Records: Andy Ogle (9-4), Maximo Blanco (9-6-1, 1 NC)

    See it on: UFC Fight Pass (subscription required)

    This is an intriguing fight that will be well worth your time on early Saturday afternoon. Ogle and Blanco have shown flashes of becoming very good fighters, but neither can find the consistency to put them toward the top.

    Ogle has dropped three of his last four fights, and Blanco has lost four of his last five.

    This fight will be determined by where the fight takes place, and for that reason I'll give a slight nod to Blanco. He has more tools to work with, and with his back against the wall he'll deliver a third straight loss to the Brit.

    Prediction: Blanco, Decision

Peter Sobotta vs. Pawel Pawlak

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    Hermann J. Knippertz/Associated Press

    Division: Welterweight

    Records: Peter Sobotta (13-4-1), Pawel Pawlak (10-0)

    See it on: UFC Fight Pass (subscription required)

    Sobotta returns to the Octagon for the first time in more than three years. His last stint did not go that well. He has a UFC record of 0-3.

    To his credit, he has earned his way back into the premier MMA organization by winning five straight fights by rear-naked choke. In his return, he will welcome UFC newcomer Pawlak to the cage.

    Pawlak is undefeated, and he has only ever gone to a decision once before. The Polish fighter seems to be a solid prospect in the division, and this looks to be a small test for him. I think he can get it done, but it won't be as easy as his other victories.

    Sobotta is a ground specialist, and he will test the 25-year-old.

    Prediction: Pawlak, Decision

Iuri Alcantara vs. Vaughan Lee

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Division: Bantamweight

    Records: Iura Alcantara (29-5, 1 NC), Vaughan Lee (14-9-1)

    See it on: UFC Fight Pass (subscription required)

    This fight is the sleeper for Fight of the Night, and could potentially be the fight of the day. Alcantara and Lee are incredibly fun fighters who bring in a vast array of tools with them into the cage.

    Both men are talented, well-rounded fighters, but recent level of competition has given them an up-and-down record. Alcantara has lost to Hacran Dias (at featherweight) and Urijah Faber, and Lee has dropped bouts to TJ Dillashaw and Raphael Assuncao.

    Alcantara is the No. 7-ranked bantamweight, but don't count Lee out. I do favor Alcantara by submission. Lee has shown he still needs work on the floor, and Alcantara is a fantastic submission specialist, with 12 career finishes in that category. He'll make it 13.

    Prediction: Alcantara, Submission, Round 2

Magnus Cedenblad vs. Krzystof Jotko

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Division: Middleweight

    Records: Magnus Cedenblad (11-4), Krzystof Jotko (14-0)

    See it on: UFC Fight Pass (subscription required)

    Cedenblad got a rude welcome to the UFC in 2012. He was instantly thrown into the deep end of the pool against Francis Carmont. He lost that fight, but came back last summer against Jared Hamman with an impressive first-round submission.

    Jotko made his organizational debut last December with a win over Bruno Santos.

    Cedenblad's experience against better competition is the difference in this fight. He showed vast improvement after his bout against Carmont to take out a game fighter. He will do the same against Jotko to hand him his first loss.

    Prediction: Cedenblad, Submission, Round 1

Nick Hein vs. Drew Dober

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    Division: Lightweight

    Records: Nick Hein (10-1), Drew Dober (14-5)

    See it on: UFC Fight Pass (subscription required)

    Hein makes his UFC debut after going unbeaten in his last six fights, and Dober returns for his second bout inside the Octagon.

    Dober fell to Sean Spencer by decision in his UFC debut, but we will likely see an improved fighter for his second stint. Will it get him the victory?

    I don't think so.

    Hein will have the backing of the crowd, and the adrenaline they will give him will carry him in this fight. The bout will go the full 15 minutes to add another decision to the growing tally in 2014.

    Prediction: Hein, Decision

Tom Niinimaki vs. Niklas Backstrom

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    Division: Featherweight

    Records: Tom Niinimaki (21-5-1), Niklas Backstrom (7-0)

    See it on: UFC Fight Pass (subscription required)

    This bout will lead off the main card, and it is an odd pairing. Niinimaki has a good amount more experience than Backstrom, and he is coming off a win against a talented fighter in Rani Yahya. Backstrom comes in on late notice to replace Thiago Tavares.

    Niinimaki is on a 12-fight win streak, and he will run that to 13 against an overmatched newcomer.

    This should not be very competitive.

    Prediction: Niinimaki, Submission, Round 1

Luke Barnatt vs. Sean Strickland

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Division: Middleweight

    Records: Luke Barnatt (8-0), Sean Strickland (14-0)

    See it on: UFC Fight Pass (subscription required)

    Two undefeated middleweights will hit the cage in a fight that will propel the winner on to bigger and better things. This is ultimately a fight to see who will take the next step up the ladder at 185 pounds.

    Barnatt has looked fantastic since coming off The Ultimate Fighter, and Strickland made an impactful debut against Bubba McDaniel at UFC 171.

    This is a great job of matchmaking by the UFC. I give a nod to Strickland. I feel that he will be able to do more damage to Barnatt in the fight, and it will ultimately lead to the referee pulling him off of Barnatt. He will get his second straight finish inside the Octagon.

    Prediction: Strickland, TKO, Round 2

Francis Carmont vs. C.B. Dollaway

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Division: Middleweight

    Records: Francis Carmont (22-8), C.B. Dollaway (14-5)

    See it on: UFC Fight Pass (subscription required)

    Dollaway has looked sensational since 2012. He is 3-1 in that time, but that one loss was a contentious decision against Tim Boetsch. The "Doberman" has lived up to his billing, and he is coming off a vicious knockout performance against Cezar Ferreira.

    A win against Carmont will put him into the UFC rankings.

    Carmont, ranked No. 9, is coming off a decision loss to Jacare Souza.

    If Dollaway can make this ugly, he can win. However, I think Carmont's length and patience will make this a slow, methodical win for Carmont.

    Prediction: Carmont, Decision

Mark Munoz vs. Gegard Mousasi

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    Michael Sohn/Associated Press

    Division: Middleweight

    Records: Gegard Mousasi (34-4-2), Mark Munoz (13-4)

    See it on: UFC Fight Pass (subscription required)

    The main event of the first card will be between the No. 11 and No. 7-ranked fighters at 185 pounds.

    Munoz may be ranked higher than Mousasi, but that is because Mousasi has just recently dropped back to middleweight.

    Both men are coming off losses to Lyoto Machida. Munoz was knocked out cold, and Mousasi dropped a decision after 25 minutes of fighting. Who walks away with their arm raised in Germany? Mousasi.

    Mousasi is a fantastic fighter who can defend Munoz's wrestling early. He will eventually find his range and send Munoz back to sleep. Mousasi by knockout.

    Prediction: Mousasi, KO, Round 1

Pedro Munhoz vs. Matt Hobar

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Division: Bantamweight

    Records: Pedro Munhoz (10-1), Matt Hobar (8-1)

    See it on: UFC Fight Pass (subscription required)

    If this were a battle of nicknames, I would give Matt "The Crowbar" Hobar a TKO victory. However, that is most certainly not how MMA works.

    Hobar is 8-1, but his loss was due to an arm injury. He still has not tasted true defeat yet. That is something that Munhoz just recently learned about at UFC 170 against Raphael Assuncao.

    I favor Munhoz due to level of competition. He will have learned a lot from the Assuncao fight, and it will serve him well against Hobar.

    Prediction: Munhoz, Decision

Ricardo Abreu vs. Wagner Silva

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    Division: Middleweight

    Records: Ricardo Abreu (4-0), Wagner Silva (3-0)

    See it on: UFC Fight Pass (subscription required)

    This is a battle between two The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil semifinalists. They failed to make the finals, and the UFC has pitted them against one another.

    Abreu has a more distinguished grappling background, and he is improving his hands by training with Wanderlei Silva. Silva will have a difficult time finding success against him in this fight, and will end up tapping the mat.

    Prediction: Abreu, Submission, Round 1

Marcos Rogerio de Lima vs. Richardson Moreira

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    UFC.com

    Division: Light Heavyweight

    Records: Marcos Rogerio de Silva (11-2), Richardo Moreira (7-1)

    See it on: UFC Fight Pass (subscription required)

    These two are the semifinal losers of the heavyweight division on The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil.

    Moreira was TKO'd in the second round, and De Silva was submitted in the first.

    This could be a pick 'em fight, and I'll pick Moreira. The most interesting thing about this fight is watching the fighters for the first time since the show. There is always a leap in growth as a fighter coming off of the series. Whomever has improved more will get the win.

    Prediction: Moreira, Decision

Rodrigo Damm vs. Rashid Magomedov

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Division: Lightweight

    Records: Rodrigo Damm (12-6), Rashid Magomedov (17-1)

    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    Magomedov is on a fantastic nine-fight win streak, but Rodrigo Damm is a step up in competition.

    Damm had a rough patch in his career, but he has had a small resurgence. He has won his last two bouts inside the Octagon, and he's looked decent in the process. He may be putting it all together after years of inconsistency.

    This will tell us a lot about where both men are at in their careers. I think Damm is a bit further along, and that will help him to a decision win.

    Prediction: Damm, Decision

Kevin Souza vs. Mark Eddiva

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    Xaume Olleros/Getty Images

    Division: Featherweight

    Records: Kevin Souza (14-3), Mark Eddiva (6-0)

    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    Two fighters who made successful UFC debuts will go up against each other in Brazil.

    Eddiva vs. Souza will be a fun fight, but it is hard to foretell who will win. It is an evenly matched fight, on paper, that could go either way. If there is one guess, it is that it will go the full 15 minutes. Yet another decision.

    I believe Eddiva may have an edge on the ground, and that could give him two of the three rounds on the scorecards. Just enough to win.

    Prediction: Eddiva, Decision

Paulo Thiago vs. Gasan Umalatov

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Division: Welterweight

    Records: Paulo Thiago (15-6), Gasan Umalatov (14-3-1)

    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    Paulo Thiago has only won two of his past seven fights. That is not a good look on one's resume, but it should be noted the level of competition he has fought in that span. He is only losing to the upper echelon of welterweights.

    Umalatov is not quite there.

    This should be another classic Thiago performance. A smothering grappling game, winging big punches and taking it to a fighter who is not his equal. I can see Thiago finally getting a finish after four years of waiting.

    Prediction: Thiago, Submission, Round 2

Elias Silverio vs. Ernest Chavez

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Division: Lightweight

    Records: Elia Silverio (10-0), Ernest Chavez (7-0)

    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    Two undefeated fighters who made impressive UFC debuts.

    Silverio perhaps came off more impressive in his second UFC outing by defeating Isaac Vallie-Flagg, and his performance in that fight is the exact reason I feel comfortable picking him against Chavez. Silverio can continue his upward track on Saturday.

    Chavez will make it difficult for Silverio. That could put another decision on the books.

    Prediction: Silverio, Decision

Rony Jason vs. Robbie Peralta

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    UFC.com

    Division: Featherweight

    Records: Rony Jason (), Robbie Peralta ()

    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    If you want excitement, this is your fight.

    Jason and Peralta will exchange, and they will exchange big blows. They are fighters to their core.

    Jason is likely the more well-rounded of the two, but he loves a brawl. That could spell trouble against Peralta, who carries good power in his strikes. However, I think his grappling will ultimately be the difference-maker.

    After he tastes a bit of the power, Jason will take it to the floor and finish via submission.

    Prediction: Jason, Submission, Round 1

Demian Maia vs. Alexander Yakovlev

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Division: Welterweight

    Records: Demian Maia (18-6), Alexander Yakovlev (21-4-1)

    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    Some fights feel like a squash match, and this is one of them.

    Maia has suffered recent setbacks against the top of the division, but he is still very much one of the best welterweights around. He currently sits at No. 8 in the UFC rankings. So, who does he get in a fight? A UFC newcomer.

    Yakovlev has a lot of fight experience, but not against the level of someone like Maia. He should protect his neck.

    Prediction: Maia, Submission, Round 1

Antonio Carlos Junior vs. Vitor Miranda

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    UFC.com

    Division: Heavyweight

    Records: Antonio Carlos Junior (3-0), Vitor Miranda (9-3)

    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    The heavyweight finals pit two tough Brazilians against each other.

    Carlos Junior's path to the finals featured a first-round TKO and a first-round submission. Miranda posted a first- and second-round TKO en route to the finals.

    Carlos Junior will have to rely on his grappling. Miranda is a skilled kickboxer who has taken Fabio Maldonado to a decision twicealthough losing both times. Striking with him seems like a poor decision.

    Unfortunately for Carlos Junior, I think he gets caught in the early goings. Miranda will be the newest TUF champion. And Miranda's nickname is "Lex Luthor", how can he lose?

    Prediction: Miranda, TKO, Round 1

Warlley Alves vs. Marcio Alexandre Jr.

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    UFC.com

    Division: Middleweight

    Records: Warlley Alves (6-0), Marcio Alexandre Jr. (12-0)

    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    Marcio Junior's path to the finals was difficult. He had to eek by with two split decisions. Alves finished both of his bouts in the first round, one by KO and one by submission.

    I expect this final to look a lot like the show in that Alves will be dominant.

    Alves will find a way to finish this fight early. I don't believe it'll get past the first five minutes. He will take the TUF title exactly how he made his way through the field during the show.

    Prediction: Alves, TKO, Round 1

Stipe Miocic vs. Fabio Maldonado

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Division: Heavyweight

    Records: Stipe Miocic (11-1), Fabio Maldonado (21-6)

    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    This was originally slated to be a big heavyweight showcase between Miocic and Junior dos Santos, but the former champion had to withdraw. Now, it looks like a mismatched main event.

    Maldonado comes in on short notice to move up a weight class against the No. 7-ranked heavyweight in the world.

    While it should be fully expected to see Miocic dominate this fight one cannot simply count out Maldonado. Why? He is a skilled boxer, and Miocic will invite a boxing fight. That gives Maldonado the proverbial "puncher's chance."

    Regardless, Miocic should look exceptional against the mediocre light heavyweight. He has fought good boxers with more power before, and he has done well. He should steamroll Maldonado.

    Prediction: Miocic, TKO, Round 1