UFC Fight Night 61 takes place in Brazil on Sunday night and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights for you below.
Antonio Silva vs. Frank Mir
This is a tricky fight to call as we’ve not got a clear indication of how these two heavyweights will perform without TRT. Both used it when it was legal to do so, but Mir hasn’t fought since it was banned by NSAC and Silva didn’t look good at all against Andrei Arlovski, but only lasted three minutes before being KO’d so there’s not a lot of footage to make an assessment on.
Beyond that there’s no doubt both men’s chins have seen better days, though I’d say that’s particularly true of Mir who gets rocked easily and also has the inherent flaw of reacting poorly when hurt.
Skill wise, I’d say they are relatively even as far as striking goes, but Silva has the edge in the clinch and wrestling game. On the mat Mir operates at a high level, but Silva is no slouch here either and has good ground and pound.
Anything can happen when you put two heavyweights with suspect chins in the Octagon together, but I slightly favor Silva here to be able to rough up Mir and finish him in the second round.
Antonio Silva to win by TKO in Rd2.
Edson Barboza vs. Michael Johnson
A very nice match-up here between two talented lightweights. Johnson’s striking game has come a long way in recent years and he’s now very fluid on his feet and pieces together cohesive combinations with ease. He’d do well in this fight not to forget he’s a solid wrestler too, although it will be tough to take the Brazilian down.
Striking is Barboza’s bread and butter though and he’s one of the best in the division at it with a complete muay thai game at his disposal with his kicks being particularly deadly. He needs to be careful not to be outworked by his opponent, but if he can keep this one on the feet I believe he will come out on top on the scorecards after three competitive rounds.
Edson Barboza to win by decision.
Cezar Ferreira vs. Sam Alvey
Alvey has the power advantage on the feet here and solid wrestling to go along with it, but there’s not a whole lot of finesse to his game.
Technically Ferreira is the better fighter, but he does some of his best work on the mat and if he can’t get it Alvey down that may pose a significant problem. Still, I think with a cautious approach using movement and strikes fom range along with the Brazilian crowd behind him ‘Mutante’ can do just enough to win by decision here.
Cezar Ferreira to win by decision.
Rustam Khabilov vs. Adriano Martins
Not a good match-up for Martins here. He’s a talented striker, but he’s going up against a dominant wrestler in Khabilov who’s also improved his own stand-up and I see the Russian controlling this fight for the full 15 minutes.
Rustam Khabilov to win by decision.
Iuri Alcantara vs. Frankie Saenz
Surprising step-up in competition for Saenz here after just one fight in the UFC, going up against an experienced campaigner in Alcantara who’s been operating at a higher level and should have the edge wherever the fight goes, but particularly on the mat where a submission finish looks the most likely route for a finish.
Iuri Alcatantara to win by submission in Rd2.
Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Sean Strickland
The reasonably well-rounded Strickland makes his welterweight debut here and I like him to get the better of Ponzinibbio as he pushes the pace and utilizes his wrestling advantage to maintain his unbeaten pro record.
Sean Strickland to win by decision.
Jessica Andrade vs. Marion Reneau
William Macario vs. Matt Dwyer
Tiago dos Santos vs. Mike de la Torre
Wendell Oliveira vs. T.J.Waldburger
Douglas Silva de Andrade Vs Cody Gibson
Ivan Jorge Vs Josh Shockley