UFC Fight Night Machida vs. Mousasi: Wrestling Observer Picks & Preview




UFC Fight Night: Mousasi vs. Machida

By Josh Nason, Wrestling Observer

It will be a long and late night in Brazil for Saturday's UFC Fight Night as the main Fox Sports 1 card doesn't start until 10:30 PM EST. With a main event featuring a former UFC light heavyweight champion against a former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion at middleweight, a rising star at middleweight and not a lot of star power, this is an event designed for the hardcores...like our panelists.

Mike Sawyer (14-1 - .933): ToughTalkMMA.com, co-host of Tough Talk (new episode this weekend!)

Dave Meltzer (13-2 - .866): Wrestling Observer founder & writer

- Josh Nason (13-2 - .866): Wrestling Observer behind-the-scenes guy, WON on Twitter

Todd Martin (13-2 - .866): Weekly FFD guest | LA Times | Sherdog | Hater of this clip

John Pollock (12-3 - .800): Fight Network personality, Live Audio Wrestling host

- Front Row Brian (12-3 - .800): MMA newsbreaker, Twitter personality

Mike Sempervive (12-3 - .800): Wrestling Observer Live co-host | Big Audio Nightmare | future book author

Oliver Copp (11-4 - .733): Combat sports insider, co-host of Tough Talk

- Steve Juon (11-4 - .733): Wrestling Observer MMA reporter, AngryMarks.com founder

- Lance Storm (11-4 - .733): former pro wrestling star, FFD guest, Storm Wrestling Academy founder

*****

Lyoto Machida (20-4) vs. Gegard Mousasi (34-3-2)
Middleweight

The 35-year-old Machida made his middleweight debut memorable with an October first round head kick TKO of Mark Munoz. The former UFC light heavyweight champion is 3-1 since 2012, but it’s his style that can make for exciting fights (Munoz, Rashad Evans, Ryan Bader) or snoozers (Phil Davis, Dan Henderson).

The 28-year-old Mousasi hasn’t made a big splash in the UFC as his debut was against the incredibly short notice Ilir Latifi last April instead of the injured Alexander Gustafsson. He went into that fight with a knee injury and has been out ever since. He’s unbeaten in his last seven, but will the 10 month layoff hurt? Win or lose, Mousasi has never gone to two straight decisions so the numbers would say he’s either getting finished here or doing the finishing.

Machida: Nason, FRB, Juon, Sawyer, Copp, Sempervive, Meltzer, Pollock
Mousasi: Storm, Martin

Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (19-3-0-1) vs. Francis Carmont (19-3-0-1)
Middleweight

Souza is the next great challenger at 185 pounds as he’s won five straight with four first round finishes since losing the Strikeforce belt to Luke Rockhold in September 2011. He last dispatched Yushin Okami out of the UFC, and could make a claim at the winner of Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort with a win Saturday. He faces the 32-year-old Carmont, he of the 11 fight win streak. Despite being 6-0 in the UFC, he’s failed to capture the interest of fans due to his very boring style. I doubt the UFC would cut him with a loss, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they invoked the entertainment clause.

Souza: Nason, FRB, Juon, Storm, Sawyer, Copp, Martin, Sempervive, Meltzer, Pollock

Erick Silva (15-4-0-1) vs. Takenori Sato (17-8-7)
Welterweight

Once a prospect, Silva is looking for consistency as he’s 2-2 in last four. In that stretch were first round submissions over Charlie Brenneman and Jason High with losses to Jon Fitch and recently, a 2nd round TKO to Dong Hyun Kim. At 29 years old, he’s still got time but needs to put a string of wins together. He welcomes injury replacement Sato, making his UFC debut. A Sakuraba disciple, the 28-year-old is unbeaten in his last 10 and has submission wins in his last two.

Silva: Nason, FRB, Juon, Storm, Sawyer, Copp, Martin, Sempervive, Meltzer, Pollock

Viscardi Andrade (17-5) vs. Nico Musoke (11-2-0-1)
Welterweight

Scratching your head at who these two are? I don’t blame you. Andrade made his Octagon debut in August with a :96 TKO of Bristol Marunde. The 29-year-old is riding a seven-fight win streak, and has finished his last five fights. Musoke made his UFC debut in October with a first round armbar win over Alessio Sakara. He’s unbeaten in his last seven dating back to June 2011.

Andrade: Nason, FRB, Juon, Storm, Copp, Martin, Sempervive, Pollock
Musoke: Sawyer, Meltzer

Charles Oliveira (16-4-0-1) vs. Andy Ogle (9-3)
Featherweight

The 24-year-old Oliveira is set for his 9th career UFC fight already, having been a Zuffa employee since 2010. After Jim Miller handed him his first career defeat, he’s gone just 2-4-0-1 and moved to featherweight from lightweight. Cub Swanson and Frankie Edgar have handed him consecutive defeats. The 24-year-old Ogle is 1-2 since coming off the TUF Live season, and last was seen losing to Cole Miller via decision in October.

Of note, Ogle hasn’t been submitted (or finished) since his second career fight, while 15 of Oliveira’s 16 wins have come via finish.

Oliveira: Nason, FRB, Storm, Sawyer, Copp, Martin, Sempervive, Meltzer, Pollock, Juon

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