When you look at the UFC 134 preliminary card, not much jumps out, especially on the Facebook portion of the event. As expected, there are plenty of Brazilians on the prelims, and a lot of them are making their UFC debut. The prelim card also hosts the only fight of the night that doesn’t feature a Brazilian. There are some things to like though, specifically the two Spike TV bouts featuring hard working Americans against slick grappling Brazilians.
Welterweight Fight: Erick Silva vs. Luis Ramos
Silva Opponent Change: Erick Silva was originally scheduled to face Mike Swick, who is still a well known name, before Swick once again proved how fragile he is and had to pull out of the fight. Now Silva faces Luis Ramos, who no one outside of Brazil has heard of. He’s making his UFC debut and I’m sure he’ll be looking to prove that he belongs, but if he suffers any kind of mental letdown, he could be in trouble in this fight.
Ramos The Non-Finisher: In 25 career fights, Ramos has going to a decision 16 times, with 11 of his 19 victories needing the scorecards. He’s an aggressive fighter who tries to finish, he just seems to lack that finishing ability that certain fighters have while others don’t. Like Silva, he’s making his UFC debut so I’m sure he’ll come out looking to impress but if he doesn’t finish Silva, it might not be for the lack of trying, it might just be for the lack of a true killer instinct.
Fight Prediction: Both of these guys train at top Brazilian camps. Silva trains a lot with Team Nogueira with the Nogueira Brothers and Anderson Silva while Ramos trains at Nova Uniao with Jose Aldo. Silva is the better fighter though. He’s younger, more well-rounded, and a finisher. I think he hurts Ramos on the feet and then puts him away with a submission on the ground.
Official Prediction: Erick Silva to defeat Luis Ramos by Submission in Round One
Bantamweight Fight: Ian Loveland vs. Yves Jabouin
American vs. Canadian: This is the only fight on the card that doesn’t feature at least one Brazilian. I feel kind of bad for Ian Loveland and Yves Jabouin because, unless they deliver the greatest fight of all-time, the crowd might be dead for the majority of the bout. Both fighters have the potential to put on a great fight, I just hope that the crowd doesn’t get to them if they’re chanting “Brazil! Brazil!” 30 seconds into the first round.
Needing A Win: Both fighters are coming off losses and neither has a top-notch record in the first place. Loveland and Jabouin need a victory in this fight in order to keep their job, which makes for an interesting fight. Do they go all out in hopes that even a loss keeps them around since they “came to war” or do they play it safe in order to secure the victory and at least one more fight? My guess is that it’ll be the former but you never know.
Fight Prediction: If this fight remains standing and both men fight to win over the crowd and show that they belong in the UFC, it has the potential to steal the show. I’m not sure that’s going to happen though. Loveland is a good wrestler and I could see him grinding things out to make sure he lives to fight another day in the octagon.
Official Prediction: Ian Loveland to defeat Yves Jabouin by Decision
Featherweight Fight: Felipe Arantes vs. Yuri Alcantara
Arantes Debut: For those that have never heard of Felipe Arantes, he’s a 23 year old prospect who fights out of the Chute Boxe camp. I’m sure when you read “Chute Boxe” you immediately thought of him as an aggressive and wild striker. You wouldn’t be wrong. He’s unbeaten in nine straight fights and he’s someone who comes to fight. He’s going to move forward at a blistering pace, be active in all areas, and see if his opponent can deal with the pressure.
Alcantara’s Chance To Shine: Yuri Alcantara is someone who doesn’t have a lot of hype behind him but he’s no joke. He finished a very solid Ricardo Lamas in his last bout and in 24 career victories, he’s finished his opponent 22 times. He’s another one of these Brazilians who fight at a high pace, is always active, and constantly looks for the finish. He has quick hands and is slick on the ground, making him a tough draw for Arantes.
Fight Prediction: I expect both of these guys to come out guns blazing, but when it comes down to it, Alcantara is the more seasoned fighter. He’ll end up gaining his composure first and then work over the wild Arantes en route to a stoppage.
Official Prediction: Yuri Alcantara to defeat Felipe Arantes by TKO in Round One
Bantamweight Fight: Johnny Eduardo vs. Raphael Assuncao
Submit Or Be Submitted For Eduardo: In 25 victories, Johnny Eduardo has submitted his opponent 13 times. In eight losses, Eduardo has tapped out seven times. So his submission game is good, but his submission defense is lacking a bit. Like other Brazilians on this card, Eduardo is making his UFC debut, so who knows how he’ll react to the big stage and the pressure of fighting on such a big event.
Assuancao’s Last Chance: There was a time, not too long ago actually, that many considered Raphael Assuncao to be one of the best featherweights in the world. Now he’s lost three of his last four fights and in desperate need of a victory. He’s dropping to 135 for the first time in his career in hopes for resurrecting things. I suspect his cardio will suffer a bit due to the weight cut, but hopefully he’ll pace himself and his experience will carry him through any exhaustion problems.
Fight Prediction: This seems like Assuncao’s fight to lose. He’s a more well-rounded fighter who has big fight experience. As long as the weight cut doesn’t completely drain him, he should be able to get Eduardo down and lock on a submission.
Official Prediction: Raphael Assuncao to defeat Johnny Eduardo by Submission in Round Two
Welterweight Fight: David Mitchell vs. Paulo Thiago
Mitchell Searching For Win: David Mitchell was undefeated when he made his UFC debut last September but his round loss column turned straight when he dropped a decision to T.J. Waldburger. Mitchell is a submission specialist but is rather limited elsewhere. He’s not a great striker or even a great wrestler, but he’ll do what it takes to get the fight to the ground, even if that means pulling guard. He’s an excellent grappler and if he can get the fight to the ground, he could win if he’s able to out-pace, out-work, and out-position his opponent.
Thiago Bouncing Back: Paulo Thiago entered the UFC in spectacular fashion, winning three of his first four fights including a KO victory over Josh Koscheck. But he’s lost his last two bouts, and even though those loss were highly competitive decision losses against Martin Kampmann and Diego Sanchez, Thiago needs a victory in order to not only remain in the 170 mix, but also to stay employed. Thiago is a very skilled fighter. A good technical striker with power and solid submissions to boot, but his takedown defense is suspect and it’s been proven that he can be out-worked and that he has cardio problems.
Fight Prediction: Unless Mitchell can get the fight to the ground, he’s going to have a tough time dealing with the striking of Thiago. Even if he can get the fight to the ground, Thiago is no joke there either. I think Thiago will be able to keep the fight standing and he’ll hurt Mitchell with his power.
Official Prediction: Paulo Thiago to defeat David Mitchell by TKO in Round Two
Middleweight Fight: Dan Miller vs. Rousimar Palhares
No Easy Fights For Miller: Has Dan Miller ever had an easy UFC fight? The guy fights all the best at middleweight, never complains, and always comes to fight his heart out. Despite fighting the best though, Miller needs to start picking up victories. He’s a “jack of all trades, master of none” type of fighter who has really gotten away from his wrestling and grappling in the UFC. Of course, given his opponent on Saturday, it might be in his best interest to keep the fight standing.
Palhares Leg Locks: While Miller might be very good at everything, Rousimar Palhares is excellent on the ground, specifically with leg locks. He’s so confident in his leg grip that if you pull out of it, he believes that your leg must be greased. Outside of his leg locks though, Palhares struggles. He’s a better wrestler than given credit for and because of his build, he has power in his hands, and I think he could be a lot better than he is if he didn’t rely so much on his leg locks. Granted they’ve worked for him for the majority of his career, but against top guys, they haven’t paid off.
Fight Prediction: I really like Miller, and even though he’s not quite as good as his brother, I like him in this fight. I think Miller is able to keep the fight standing and do just enough on the feet to win the decision. It might not be the most exciting fight of the night but Miller won’t mind as long as he’s victorious.
Official Prediction: Dan Miller to defeat Rousimar Palhares by Decision
Lightweight Fight: Spencer Fisher vs. Thiago Tavares
Both UFC Veterans: Between the two of them, Spencer Fisher and Thiago Tavares have 25 UFC fights. They’ve both fought top competition and they’ve both been on big shows. Of the two though, Fisher has fought the better competition as he’s stepped into the cage with guys like Frankie Edgar, Thiago Alves, and Dennis Siver while Tavares’ best opponent is Tyson Griffin. Point is, neither man is going to succumb to the pressure of fighting on a big show or fighting a tough guy. They’ve been there before and they’ve seen it all.
Both Need Victories: Fisher and Tavares are coming off losses and haven’t performed well in recent outings. Both guys always bring it when they’re in the cage and when they’re on the card, they’re always a contender for fight of the night but wins are what matter in the UFC. They’re both relatively well-rounded although Fisher’s takedown defense is suspect and Tavares gets hit a lot. Fisher is the better striker and he has an outstanding chin but Tavares is the better grappler and is a finisher when he has something locked up.
Fight Prediction: This has the potential to be a very good fight since both guys usually come to entertain. Even though Fisher’s wrestling defense isn’t great, he should be able to keep the fight standing as Tavares isn’t a great wrestler. On the feet, Fisher is the more diverse striker and hits harder, so he should be able to pick him apart with his hands, knees, and feet.
Official Prediction: Spencer Fisher to defeat Thiago Tavares by TKO in Round Three
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC