UFC Fight Night 77 takes place tomorrow night in Brazil and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Vitor Belfort vs. Dan Henderson
Really this is a battle to see who still has something left in the tank as these two legends try to fend off thoughts of retirement despite clear signs they are some distance beyond their prime.
In fairness it wasn’t all that long ago that Belfort was one of the most fearsome fighters on the roster as evidenced by his head kick KO of ‘Hendo’ in their second encounter in 2013, but post-TRT Vitor is a different animal. He’s no longer as physically imposing and now fights like a man approaching his forties rather than his mid-20’s as was the case for a while there.
On the other hand Henderson is already well into his 40’s and it’s shown in his performances for some time. His movement is stiff, limited and slow while his legendary ability to take a punch has faded and essentially all he has to offer is that one big power punch that can still end a fight at a moments notice.
Of the two I’m still inclined to think that Belfort has more to offer. He’s younger, hasn’t endured as much punishment as Hendo over the years, has great mobility and is still dangerous in short bursts, so I feel he’s the bigger threat and will go out on a mission to end this fight early, leading to a TKO finish in the second round.
Vitor Belfort to win by TKO in Rd2.
Patrick Cummins vs. Glover Teixeira
A tough test for Cummins here as he looks to improve upon his current 4-2 record in the UFC. He’s a very good wrestler, but Teixeira is no slouch in that department himself and holds a huge advantage in the striking realm and mixes together both disciplines well.
Teixeira simply has more tools to work with here and has far more Octagon experience, so I definitely like his chances of finding a finish in the first half of this fight. A submission on the mat is definitely a possibility, but I think he’ll opt to keep this one standing and produce a TKO finish.
Glover Teixeira to win by TKO in Rd2.
Thomas Almeida vs. Anthony Birchak
Almeida is a very exciting prospect out of Brazil who’s looked a killer in his two Octagon outings so far, while Birchak is also a fun 135lb’er to watch with his all-action style.
Both are natural finishers, but Almeida is operating at a higher level technically on the feet where he’s absolutely lethal with combinations of strikes, and in an explosive fire-fight it’s he who I expect to emerge with his hand raised.
Thomas Almeida to win by TKO in Rd1.
Piotr Hallmann vs. Alex Oliveira
Hallmann is a hard worker who can do a bit of everything in the cage, but he lacks the explosiveness and fearless aggression that Oliveira brings to the fight.
The Polish fighter would be wise to get this fight to the ground where the Brazilian is weaker, but in front of his home fans I believe Oliveira will keep him on the back foot with constant pressure to get the better of at least the first two rounds, ensuring a win on the scorecards.
Alex Oliveira to win by decision.
Gilbert Burns vs. Rashid Magomedov
Intriguing match-up here between two lightweight fighters who’re used to being in the win column with Burns being undefeated in his 10 fight career, while Magomedov has tasted defeat just once in nearly 20 bouts.
Burns is excellent with submissions, but is weaker on the feet which is a bad combination against Magomedov who’s adept at keeping his fights standing and is an excellent striker. I expect to see Magomedov rack up a big advantage in strikes here as he wins out on the scorecards.
Rashid Magomedov to win by decision.
Corey Anderson vs. Fabio Maldonado
Maldonado is a tough, gritty fighter with very capable boxing, but he’s not really got anything to offer if the fight is taken to the ground which will be a major concern in this fight.
Anderson has shown marked improvement in his game since winning TUF 19 and his grinding style on the mat should pay dividends against Maldonado.
Corey Anderson to win by decision.
Prelims: (Predicted winners in bold)
Gleison Tibau vs. Abel Trujillo
Yan Cabral vs. Johnny Case
Clay Guida vs. Thiago Tavares
Chas Skelly vs. Kevin Souza
Viscardi Andrade vs. Gasan Umalatov
Pedro Munhoz vs. Jimmie Rivera
Bruno Rodrigues vs. Matheus Nicolau Pereira