UFC Fight Night 32 takes place tomorrow night in Brazil and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Vitor Belfort vs. Dan Henderson
Both of these MMA veterans are devastating strikers in their own right, so this fight could certainly go either way, but I must admit I favor Belfort, and not just because he has the home advantage.
Hendo is 43 years-old now and while he’s still dangerous, he does look like he’s slowing down now, becoming more plodding, one-paced and predictable than in the past – though credit where it’s due, he’s still remarkably durable given all the wars he’s been in.
Belfort on the other hand seems to have found a new lease of life and is enjoying one of the best spells of his career. I believe his speed advantage and more dynamic, explosive offense will be the biggest factors here as he gets the better of Hendo on the feet, but ultimately fails to finish him.
Vitor Belfort to win by decision.
Cezar Ferreira vs. Daniel Sarafian
These two were originally scheduled to fight in the first TUF: Brazil final before an injury intervened, so it’s good to see them finally have a chance to find out who the better man is.
I like Ferreira here – he’s heavier handed on the feet, has the killer instinct and will hold a notable reach advantage here which should help him to boss the stand-up. Sarafian will provide his biggest threat on the ground, but I see Ferreira managing to keep this one standing and emerging with a third round stoppage victory.
Cezar Ferreira to win by TKO in Rd3.
Rafael Cavalcante vs. Igor Pokrajac
Pokrajac is a tough customer and if he can survive the early onslaught from ‘Feijao’ then he could wear him down in the later rounds with sheer guts and dogged determination.
‘Feijao’ is the better fighter overall though and is technically much the better of the two on the feet. He’ll come on strong in the opening round and I think he can hurt the Croatian badly enough that he can then finish him in the second.
Rafael ‘Feijao’ to win by TKO in Rd2.
Brandon Thatch vs. Paulo Thiago
Thiago’s had mixed fortunes in the UFC so far and hasn’t really lived up to early expectations. Meanwhile, the jury is still out on Thatch as he’s only had one outing in the Octagon, but the signs are that he’s a real prospect at 170lbs.
Much of the early hype surrounding Thiago came from a TKO finish of Josh Koscheck, but that flatters to deceive as he’s not really that dangerous of a striker, and I think Thatch’s muay thai could cause him a lot of trouble. The Brazilian’s biggest threat will be from submissions on the mat, and while he’s not completely out of his depth there, Thatch would be wise to keep this one standing as much as possible.
Almost all of Thatch’s wins so far have come inside the first round so far, but I think he’ll have to work harder to get the stoppage this time around.
Brandon Thatch to win by TKO in Rd3.
Ryan LaFlare vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio
Ponzinibbio didn’t win TUF: Brazil season 2, but he impressed en-route to a semi-final postition with his aggressive approach and dangerous striking.
LaFlare can’t match his firepower and instead will be looking to utilize his wrestling to gain the edge here. Ponzinibbio has good submissions too however and with more ways to win looks the better bet to emerge victorious here.
Santiago Ponzinibbio to win by TKO in Rd2.
Rony Jason vs. Jeremy Stephens
Stephens is a tough opponent for anyone with good power and solid wrestling, but he’s had a rocky road these past few years inside and outside of the cage which has taken a little of the wind out of his sails.
‘Jason’ on the other hand is on a roll and is the more well-rounded and dynamic of the two men here, and is particularly dangerous with submissions. There’s definitely a question mark over whether he can get Stephens down, but I think with the kind of tempo he fights at he’ll create opportunities to do so and can gets Stephens to tap out on the mat.
Rony Jason to win by submission in Rd2.
Prelims (Predicted winners in bold)
Godofredo Pepey vs. Sam Sicilia
Omari Akhmedov vs. Thiago Perpetuo
Justin Salas vs. Thiago Tavares
Daron Cruickshank vs. Adriano Martins
Jose Maria Tome vs. Dustin Ortiz