UFC Fight Night 56 – PREVIEW
Mauricio Shogun Rua vs Ovince Saint Preux
After several trips to Brazil, the UFC finally makes its debut in Uberlândia. The injury bug has again threatened to dismantle what was otherwise a pretty stacked card from a hardcore fan’s perspective. The legendary Mauricio “Shogun” Rua returns to action against two-week replacement Ovince St. Preux. Both light heavyweights are reeling but looking to get back to contention with a solid win. A glut of hot Brazilian prospects in Warlley Alves, Claudio Silva and Dhiego Lima are featured along with a women’s strawweight bout between Juliana Lima and the debuting Nina Ansaroff to round out the main card.
Shogun Rua (-190) vs Ovince St. Preux (+160)
Light Heavyweight Bout (205 lbs)
Why Ovince St. Preux will win
Size, athleticism and long reach; OSP has an 80” reach, second only to the Light Heavyweight Champion, Jon Jones, in the division. St. Preux has a very versatile fighting game as he combines kickboxing and grappling to earn 12 of his 16 wins by stoppage. He was riding five-fight winning streak (four by finish) until he ran into Ryan Bader last August. OSP should be hungry to get back to his winning ways at the expense of the future Hall of Famer.
Why Shogun Rua will win
The iconic Mauricio “Shogun” Rua is a legend for many reasons; a staggering 19 of his 22 wins have come via T/KO with more than half ending in the first round. Shogun is an aggressive and vicious fighter looking for the kill. He has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu he has employed to keep heavy grapplers at bay as he has a pretty nifty guard. Shogun’s primacy and cardio has been questioned since he arrived in the UFC but as he showed against James Te Huna, he’s far from finished
Shogun said recently he expects “OSP” to “lay and pray” on him to get the judges’ decision; this is a mighty strong possibility as Shogun’s takedown defense is pretty suspect. OSP however is a late replacement and his gas tank is questionable. His striking is also still just developing and if he can’t get Shogun to the ground he runs a very good risk of getting knocked out. Shogun’s cardio however isn’t much better than OSP and he is the smaller fighter. Expect OSP to almost get finished and lose a few rounds but come out on top after both fighters tire in what could be a sloppy marathon of a fight
Ovince St. Preux def. Shogun Rua via Unanimous Decision
Warlley Alves (-265) vs Alan Jouban (+225)
Welterweight Bout (170 lbs)
Why Alan Jouban will win
Pure punching power and explosiveness; Jouban is a heavy hitter as he showed against his debut opponent, Seth Baczynski who he put away with a few punches despite being under pressure. Seven of his ten wins have come via T/KO. Jouban also trains Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Eddie Bravo and is well-equipped to defend himself should he be pushed to the ground.
Why Warlley Alves will win
Warlley may be the best prospect TUF: Brazil has produced. The X-Gym prodigy trains under middleweight contender “Jacare” Souza and is unbeaten (7-0) with four of those wins coming via submission. Alves won TUF: Brazil 3 as a middleweight, choking out his competition and a move back to his natural weight class in home soil should only help the trending prospect.
If Warlley and Jouban go toe-to-toe in a slug fest, it won’t be good for Warlley as Jouban may be the better and stronger puncher. Warlley can hit hard and recklessly but can get caught and finished. But Warlley has pretty good fight IQ and octagon instincts and should capitalize on a mistake from Jouban in the clinch or the ground for a pretty spectacular finish
Warlley Alves via Submission (Round 1)
Leon Edwards (-210) vs Claudio Silva (+180)
Welterweight Bout (170 lbs)
Why Claudio Silva will win
“Hannibal” Silva’s list of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu championships and medals is longer than Jon Jones’s reach; the Nova Uniao fighter is a BJJ phenom to say the least and has won six of his eight finishes by submission. Barring his DQ loss in his first MMA fight, he is practically undefeated. He’s looking to build on his UFC debut win with a more impressive showing in home soil
Why Leon Edwards will win
Edwards is a like the British counterpart to Silva but on the stand-up side; aside from a DQ loss, Edwards is unbeaten and has half his wins by T/KO. He is the BAMMA British Champion and is a physical specimen. His takedown defense and brawl and sprawl game is pretty good though untested by top competition. In the striking department, he’s a threat to end the fight in a flash
Another grappler versus striker contest this time between two pretty raw and new fighters; Edwards could surely finish Silva in the clinch or with his arsenal of attacks but the Brazilian has had the fortune of having gotten through the octagon jitters and the home crowd on his side. He could eventually take Edwards to the ground and work him out to a decision or a finish.
Claudio Silva def. Leon Edwards via submission (Round 2)
Dhiego Lima (-350) vs Jorge de Oliveira (+250)
Welterweight Bout (170 lbs)
Why Jorge de Oliveira will win
The Brazilian striker relatively fresh to the MMA scene bringing an unbeaten 7-0 record, all by finishes (five T/KO, two submission); nicknamed “Blade”, Oliveira has a spectacular striking style that ends fights quickly as all his wins have come in the 1st round. Making his debut at 170 instead of his regular 155, Oliveira isn’t cutting as much weight and this may work in his favour.
Why Dhiego Lima will win
The younger brother of current Bellator Welterweight Champion, Douglas Lima made it to the TUF19 Finale where he succumbed to the much bigger Eddie Gordon. Now he’s back at his natural weight class where he has an even-sized opponent. Lima is a slick and technical submission artist with four of his nine wins coming this way.
Lima will be weary to stand and trade with de Oliveira who may be the better striker on paper; Oliveira is however untested on the ground and this happens to be Lima’s specialty. Lima will look to weather Oliveira’s early onslaught and test his endurance where he could slowly but methodically drag him into a grappling match and give the newcomer a rough UFC welcome
Dhiego Lima def. Jorge de Oliveira via submission (Round 2)
Nina Ansaroff (-155) vs Juliana Lima (+135)
Women’s Strawweight Bout (115 lbs)
Why Juliana Lima will win
“Carneiro” is a Muay Thai – Brazilian Jiu-jitsu combo fighter and has competed in Muay Thai and BJJ extensively before turning pro as an MMA fighter in 2010. Lima is very versatile and has the benefit of fighting in home soil where the always-energetic crowd should give her a big morale boost. The octagon jitters should also be lessened now.
Why Nina Ansaroff will win
Ansaroff is the more powerful and battle-tested fighter; she’s 6-3 overall but has won her last five fights, all by finish, most coming via T/KO. Three of Ansaroff’s losses have come to Barb Honchak and Carla Esparza in close decisions, two Invicta champions. Ansaroff hits very hard and is the rare female fighter with one-punch knockout power. She’s also an able wrestler should the fight hit the ground.
On paper, this UFC Fight Night 56 fight .. Lima seems to have the better striking and grappling credentials but it’s discouraging to see her get outstruck by her previous opponent, Joanna Jedrzejczyk in a fight that saw her mount very little offence. That may have been octagon jitters. However, Ansaroff is just a more powerful fighter and a better striker than Jedrzejcyzk and a very capable wrestler. Lima may get the benefit of dubious judging if the fight goes the distance but that’s a big “if”
Nina Ansaroff def. Juliana Lima via TKO (Round 3)