PREVIEW – UFC Fight Night Barueri
Lyoto Machida vs CB Dollaway
Two former champions are set to headline the UFC’s return to Barueri, Brazil. Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Lyoto Machida has his sights on a second Middleweight title shot if he gets past surging wrestler, C.B. Dollaway. Former UFC Bantamweight Champion Renan Barão is set to return against the dangerous Mitch Gagnon for the first time since he lost his title. A pair of top Light Heavyweight grapplers, Patrick Cummins and Antônio Carlos Júnior will clash in a featured bout that could be a preview for a future contender. Exciting striker Elias Silvério will make his third octagon appearance in a bout with the gritty Dagestani grappler, Rashid Magomedov, who is undefeated in five years. The explosive Erick Silva is back in action against Roufusport kickboxer, Mike Rhodes while a pair of Brazilian sluggers, Daniel Sarafian and Antônio Dos Santos Jr. round out the main card.
Lyoto Machida (-653) vs C.B. Dollaway (+540)
Middleweight Bout (185 lbs)
“The Dragon” begins his campaign for a second title shot with a theoretical mismatch against C.B. Dollaway, who has been on a good roll having won four of his last five (his only loss was a controversial split decision against Tim Boetsch) and is a rising wrestle-boxer. Under most circumstances, Dolloway’s wrestling-BJJ combo is a threat to any striker but Machida is arguably the greatest anti-wrestler striker in the UFC’s history and he still could be. With the exception of champion, Chris Weidman and Phil Davis, Machida has never surrendered more than one takedown each fight in a career where he’s fought primarily wrestlers.
Machida forces any type of fighter most especially grapplers to stand and trade with him, which he uses his supremely technical karate to pick apart his opponents, occasionally knocking them out cold. Dolloway will try like the previous wrestle-boxers before him and barring a Hail Mary, he has very little chances to win or even survive; Machida with another highlight finish.
Prediction: Lyoto Machida def. C.B. Dollaway via TKO (Round 3)
Renan Barão (-800) vs Mitch Gagnon (+660)
Bantamweight Bout (135 lbs)
Renan Barão begins his road back to redemption with a steep drop in competition. Mitch Gagnon is no joke and will make this a very dangerous fight for the former champion but he’s still further down the rankings and Barão has more tools to win specifically on the striking. He also passes guard like hot knife through butter and has some decent takedowns. If he shows up in good condition he should dominate like he used to.
It’s frustrating to see Mitch Gagnon “fed” to Barão in Brazil as the Canadian has won four in a row and has 11 of his 12 wins all via submission. Gagnon is strong, athletic and can be explosive although his gas tank is suspect. He can hit hard but is outgunned, he goes through transitions well and passes guard as effectively. Barão hasn’t looked healthy as of late and despite being the more gifted fighter could find himself in another war though one he should win.
Prediction: Renan Barão def. Mitch Gagnon via Unanimous Decision
Patrick Cummins (-161) vs Antônio Carlos Júnior (+160)
Light Heavyweight Bout (205 lbs)
A fantastic fight but a bit disappointing to see one intriguing up-and-comer walk away with a loss; Patrick Cummins has good value as a slight favourite as he is the better fighter overall. The two-time NCAA Division I All-American wrestler is athletic and strong with an underrated kicking game. Once he gets dominant position, he can really wear out his opponents.
Carlos Júnior aka “Cara de Sapato (Shoe Face)” is dropping down from heavyweight after winning The Ultimate Brazil 4, all-but dominating the competition. Sapato is a physical specimen as well, has serious BJJ under Nova União and explosive striking power. Cummins has shown decent stand-up but pregnable defense and a shaky chin. Cummins could win the grind against the Brazilian if he shoots for it but Sapato may not give him that chance on the early set.
Prediction: Antônio Carlos Júnior def. Patrick Cummins via TKO (Round 1)
Rashid Magomedov (-135) vs Elias Silvério (+135)
Lightweight Bout (155 lbs)
A very even affair but a strikingly different one, no pun intended. Magomedov is shaped in the mold of the token Dagestani fighter: tough-as-nails, cerebral and embraces the grind. That’s not to say he’s a grinder but if need be can dirty it up with clinchwork, dirty boxing and continuously pressuring for a takedown to wear out his opponents. Not spectacular.
Elias Silvério is the exact opposite as the Brazilian is a pretty wild striker and enjoys throwing a good diversity of attacks. He doesn’t have knock out power however. The safe bet is Magomedov wins this fight four out of five times. The more technical gritty fighter can outlast the flashier one. But in a close fight in Brazil where the crowd will likely be booing Magomedov’s style could skew judging and refereeing enough to give Silvério a debatable win.
Prediction: Elias Silvério def. Rashid Magomedov via Split Decision
Erick Silva (-300) vs Mike Rhodes (+304)
Welterweight Bout (170 lbs)
On paper this is another Silva squash fight. “Indio” has alternated wins and losses in his eight-fight UFC career. Most recently he’s coming off a gutsy TKO loss to contender Matt Brown. Silva explodes out of the gates and finished his four wins by first round stoppage and notably almost finished Brown as well. Erick Silva has tremendous offense but not a defense to match with only 38% striking defense even being knocked out cold by the unrefined Dong-Hyun Kim.
Mike “Biggie” Rhodes is a dangerous Roufusport striker in his own right and has better striking defense at 64%. Rhodes has shown a tendency to wilt under a super aggressive attack like against Brandon Thatch. But if he survives Erick Silva for the first round, he’s a good shot as Kim to not only beat Silva but even finish him. If he survives.
Prediction: Erick Silva def. Mike Rhodes via Submission (Round 1)
Daniel Sarafian (-149) vs Antônio Dos Santos Jr. (+145)
Middleweight Bout (185 lbs)
Sarafian returns to the middleweight waters after a disastrous attempt at welterweight where he was subbed by Kiichi Kunimoto in under three minutes. Built like a fire hydrant, Sarafian is very powerful and has some nifty BJJ being able to keep main eventer C.B. Dollaway from dominating him on the ground. But he has a suspect chin and performances that have left a lot to be desired. If he shows in top form this fight is his to lose.
Dos Santos Jr. aka “Junior Alpha” is a last minute Brazilian prospect who may be coming in too soon into his career. He has punching power of his own and is a definite live dog. In a possible slugfest, the stronger more experienced Sarafian could just win by the skin of his teeth.
Prediction: Daniel Sarafian def. Antônio Dos Santos Jr. via TKO (Round 1)
Watch the official weigh-in for UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Dollaway