After a couple of weeks hiatus the UFC are back to business this weekend in Brazil for ‘UFC On FX 8’ and we’ve got our predictions for all the night’s fights for you below.
Vitor Belfort vs. Luke Rockhold
Interesting match-up here that’ll go a long way to establishing whether Rockhold is going to be a future title contender or not. He’s certainly got advantages in this fight, perhaps most notably his conditioning which could certainly come into play in a five round encounter. He’s also pretty well rounded and is the more likely of the two men to mix things up with a combination of striking and clinchwork / takedowns.
Rockhold’s stand-up is good, but Belfort is undoubtedly the heavier hitter here and if they just end up going toe-to-toe then the Brazilian would be my favorite to emerge with his hand raised. He also won’t be phased if the fight hits the mat and while I’d say Rockhold edges the wrestling, Belfort should be more dangerous submission wise.
Overall it’s a tough one to call. If Belfort starts aggressively then I think he could get the better of Rockhold, but ‘The Phenom’ tends to be cautious these days in the opening minutes. As the fight progresses Rockhold’s excellent conditioning and comfort level with fighting five full rounds is going to pay dividends though and he’s a smart fighter so I’m tipping him to use that to his advantage – avoiding getting into too many firefights early on to eventually emerge with a decision victory here.
Ronaldo Souza vs. Chris Camozzi
This wasn’t the match-up the UFC had originally intended for ‘Jacare’s’ UFC debut, with Camozzi coming in as a late replacement for Costa Philippou which I must confess would have been a more intriguing match-up.
To be fair Camozzi’s done better than I ever would have predicted to go on a four-fight winning streak, but I’ve still not really been impressed with his somewhat plodding, workmanlike performances and don’t see him emerging as a real player in the upper reaches of the division.
‘Jacare’ on the other hand potentially has the tools to do so with his world class grappling skills and at this stage in his career a fairly well developed stand-up game to boot. I think he’s better than Camozzi in all facets of the game so he’s there’s plenty of options as to how he might win, but given that the late replacement has shown vulnerability to submissions in the past I’ll opt for the fight ending that way in the second round.
Ronaldo Souza to win by submission in Rd2.
Rafael dos Anjos vs. Evan Dunham
This is an interesting lightweight match-up that should make for some competitive action. Dunham has the better wrestling here, while it’s a close run thing in the BJJ department, with dos Anjos for me being the slicker of the two.
Both can hang on the feet too though, with Dunham being aggressive and willing to engage toe-to-toe with a stout enough chin to be able to back that strategy up, whereas dos Anjos has some decent power, but will be looking to pick his shots rather than opt to all-out brawl with his opponent.
I suspect Dunham will look to keep this one standing and I think he can dictate the pace of the fight and land the greater volume of punches overall to secure a win on the scorecards.
Evan Dunham to win by decision.
Rafael Natal vs. Joao Zeferino
Another match-up that wasn’t the UFC’s first choice and so Zeferino gets a chance to make a name for himself in his UFC debut.
The newcomer’s strong suit is his jiu-jitsu, but Natal should at least be his equal in that regard. Natal’s also got a little more to his stand-up game and with Octagon-jitters being a potential problem for Zeferino I’m leaning towards Natal producing a finish on the feet here.
Rafael Natal to win by TKO in Rd3.
Prelims: (Predicted Winners In Bold)
Hacran Dias vs. Nik Lentz
Francisco Trinaldo vs. Mike Rio
Gleison Tibau vs. John Cholish
Paulo Thiago vs. Michel Prazeres
Yuri Alcantara vs. Iliarde Santos
Fabio Maldonado vs. Roger Hollett
John Lineker vs. Azamat Gashimov
Jussier Formiga vs. Chris Cariaso
Lucas Martins vs. Jeremy Larsen