Alright, now that we’ve been satiated with the violence of the preliminary card, it’s time for the main course or main card as the case may be. Featuring the return of Thiago Silva as he takes on Alexander Gustafsson, as well as Brian Stann vs. Alessio Sakara, I expect we’ll be treated to some solid fights, and some delightful knockouts to round out the event.
Let’s get to it, shall we?
Damacio Page (15-6) vs. Brad Pickett (20-6)
Page has had a rough year. After losing to Demetrious Johnson, he suffered an eerie submission loss to Brian Bowles mirroring their first fight in terms of choke and time. Spooky stuff. Page is a finisher. He likes to knock heads off, but he’s got the ground skills to hang with some proficient grapplers. Always a threat.
At one point, Pickett was considered as a potential top contender. The beast know as Renan Barao obviously put a stop to those talks. The Englishman, who goes by the nickname “One Punch”, is an incredibly skilled fighter. He likes to strike, he’s not afraid to let loose, and despite his nickname, he’s even better on the ground.
I just don’t see what Page has to offer Pickett in this fight. Pickett is a better fight in just about every aspect of the game, and to put it plainly, Pickett is going to submit Page.
Winner – Brad Pickett defeats Damacio Page via Submission Round 1
DaMarques Johnson (15-9) vs. John Maguire (17-3)
Ultimate Fighter alum Johnson returns to the cage after a devastating knockout victory over Clay Harvison. Johnson has not had much consistancy in his UFC career, but a win in this bout could prove to be a turning point for “Darkness”.
Maguire is a traveler, or a gypsy, if you prefer. He just also happens to be a badass dude. He put an absolute hurting on Justin Edwards in his UFC debut which also happened to be his sixth straight win. With solid grappling, sufficient wrestling, and all the striking he needs to get him where he wants to be, “The One” is a tough guy to be matched up against.
I like Maguire here. Whether it be his grappling skills, his nerves having been dealt with in his last UFC bout, or the fact that he does well against reality TV contestants, I feel he should be able to pull off a submission or perhaps a decision. In terms of pick I’ll play it safe.
Winner – John Maguire defeats DaMarques Johnson via Unanimous Decision
Diego Nunes (17-2) vs. Dennis Siver (19-8)
Former Nova Uniao fighter Nunes wants a shot at the title, and he’s slowly building his way back up. After rebounding from a loss to Kenny Florian by defeating Manny Gamburyan, the Brazilian, who has shown a love for kicks, faces a fellow lover of using his bottom-limbs.
Siver drops down to featherweight after being completely and utterly outclassed by Donald Cerrone at 155 in his previous outing. The German striker, who has shown a love for throwing “spinning sh*t” needs a win in his 145-pound debut to make a statement.
This fight was fairly tough to call, although I had slightly favored Nunes. After the weigh-ins though, bet the house on Nunes. Siver looked bad and even missed weight initially. Combine that with the fact that Nunes is a tough opponent, especially for a first time 145er (see: how he almost knocked out Florian), and its a bad situation for Herr Siver. I suspect Nunes throws lots of kicks, and maybe even gets his hands on Siver a little bit. If it hits the ground, it’ll be all Nunes. I think it’s safe to call this outcome a likely clear-cut decision.
Winner – Diego Nunes defeats Dennis Siver via Unanimous Decision
Siyar Bahadurzada (20-4-1) vs. Paulo Thiago (14-3)
Siyar Blahdhahrazaradada.. ahem.. Bahadurzada makes his long-awaited UFC debut and talk about being given a tough match up! The Afghan striker comes into this bout on the strength of a six-fight winning streak including success against Leandro Silva and John Alessio. He is a dangerous stand-up artist and overall a scary dude.
Thiago knocked out Josh Koscheck, so, he’s alright in my books. The Brazilian welterweight has some slick striking and even slicker submissions. He also doesn’t get rattled. For reference, look up his “day job” as a special forces officer in Brazil. Like Bahadurzada, he is also a scary dude.
A bout between two scary dudes is sure to be the fight of the night, right? I am a fan of Siyar and he could blast Thiago at any point, violently. He is erratic and crazy and scares the crap out of his opponents more often than not, I’m sure. I want Siyar to win, but he won’t. I tried to rationalize picking him, but I can’t. He’s not going to hit Thiago, Thiago is going to get him to the ground and choke him out, and that’s that.
Winner – Paulo Thiago defeats Siyar Bahadurzada via Submission Round 1
Brian Stann (11-4) vs. Alessio Sakara (15-8)
What a wild ride it’s been for Stann. After losing a close friend in his brother-in-law, he opted to stay home and train while speaking on the phone with Greg Jackson.. not exactly the best training camp. The Marine, who has heavy hands, is also out to rebound from his loss to Chael Sonnen making the timing even worse.
Sakara has been in the UFC for nearly seven years. Personally, I can’t believe it’s been that long. The Italian boxer has certainly faced his ups and down along the way, and while no one sees him as a potential title challenger, he could still prove to be a tough fight for anyone.
I want to pick Sakara, because Stann’s personal issues could play a major factor in this bout. As such, don’t be shocked if Sakara pulls it off and even finishes Stann. After all, Steve Cantwell did it. Having said that, Sakara’s chin is all you need to know in terms of a result.
Winner – Brian Stann defeats Alessio Sakara via TKO Round 1
Alexander Gustafsson (13-1) vs. Thiago Silva (14-2)
In the main event of the evening, the hometown hero, Gustafsson gets a chance to live out a dream and headline a UFC card in Stockholm. “The Mauler” is a hard-hitting 25 year old who, at this rate, appears to be on a collision course with champion Jon Jones. One or two more signature wins under his belt and we might be looking at one of the most exciting bouts the division has to offer.
Silva is back after nearly 18 months on the shelf. The knockout machine from Sao Paulo has only lost to former champions, so there is something to be said for his abilities and tenacity. Hopefully he can remain relevant following the Brandon Vera debacle where he used steroids.
Ring rust could be a major factor in this bout, as Silva is approaching 30 and an extended period of time off could hurt his performance. Another thing that could hurt him, literally and figuratively, is that he gets hit in the face a lot. I expect nothing short of a war in this bout, but Gustafsson’s reach and striking ability should be the difference. Ultimately I think “The Mauler” mauls Silva en route to a stoppage or a decision. Let’s roll the dice and go with a stoppage.
Winner – Alexander Gustafsson defeats Thiago Silva via TKO Round 3
The main card goes down at 3:00 PM EST on Fuel TV but is tape-delayed for those of us in Canada unless you have premium channel Sportsnet ONE, in which case you’re set. I guess that just about does it for another week of fights. Enjoy the fights!
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC