It was supposed to be one of the biggest fights of the summer. The coaches’ fight for the first-ever season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil. A rematch of a fight that took place in the very same Octagon back in 1998. A bout between two of the biggest names that have ever come out of the country of Brazil.

But now? Well. We still have a rematch. We still have former Pride legend Wanderlei Silva. However, a broken hand suffered by his scheduled opponent Vitor Belfort has forced a change in plans. Belfort has been replaced by former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin. “Ace” was originally scheduled to take on Cung Le at UFC 148; however, given the small amount of time to work with, the promotion quickly pulled him out of that card and pitted him against “The Axe Murderer.”

While it wasn’t the fight that the hometown crowd wanted to see, especially after the build up and hype that came as a result of the first local season of the reality show, this is a good second best.

Also on the card will be the two finale fights from the reality show as both the middleweight and featherweight divisions will welcome two new prospects to their ranks at the end of the night. Sergio Moraes comes in to replace an injured Daniel Sarafian, despite the fact that Sarafian knocked out Moraes in the semi-final fight of the show. Opposing him will be Cezar “Mutante” Ferreira, who earned his way into the finals by finishing all three of his opponents on the show. The featherweight finalists have been exciting as well, as Godofredo Pepey has two submissions and his opponent Rony Jason has a TKO and a submission of his own en route to their fight for the contract.

The action starts at 7 p.m. ET on Facebook and 8 p.m. ET on FX with the preliminary card, while the evening’s main card will kick off at 10 p.m. ET on pay-per-view.

The MMA Corner’s panel of Garrett Derr, Gregory Chase and Brian McKenna break down the main card action along with a quick rundown of predictions for the preliminary card match-ups.

FW: Yuri Alcantara (28-3) vs. Hacran Dias (20-1-1)

Derr: Wow. That’s all I have to say about this fight. In a combined 52 fights, Yuri Alcantara and Hacran Dias have combined for an eye-opening four losses.

Dias (L) secures an armbar (Marcelo Alonso/Sherdog)

I believe many fans and media members are making a big mistake by counting Dias out of this fight solely based on the fact that he’s squaring off with one of the up-and-coming fighters in the UFC’s featherweight division. However, Dias simply does not lose and has the conditioning skills to outlast Alcantara.

One thing we haven’t seen is Alcantara tested in the later rounds of a fight. If Dias can survive an early storm, his chances will greatly improve. With that being said, I don’t believe Dias will be able to stand toe-to-toe with Alcantara.

Alcantara via first-round TKO.

Chase: Have to agree with Garrett and say Alcantara has this fight on the feet. After 13 victories in a row, and having not lost since 2009, he is riding great momentum coming into this fight. That being said, Dias himself is on an eight-fight winning streak and hasn’t lost since 2009. Dias is coming over from Shooto and has been finishing most of his opponents. However, he has never fought in the UFC.

Alcantara (top) celebrates (Sherdog)

The debut curse, jitters, or whatever you might call it, seems to play a part when coming over from smaller organizations. Even those in Strikeforce switching to the UFC have had issues. This doesn’t apply to everyone, but because Alcantara has already been under the big lights on the big stage, he has a mental advantage in this fight.

Skill-wise, both men are excellent finishers, but Dias takes the ground game. Alcantara has more submission victories under his belt, but has not used that part of his game as recently as Dias has. On the other hand, Dias has shown some striking, but the stand-up game will have to go to Alcantara. With 11 TKO/KO wins, he brings the best chance to finish this on the feet. I will predict Alcantara by TKO in the first round.

McKenna: While Alcantara is 3-0 under the Zuffa banner, he may be the best-kept secret in the featherweight division. Personally, I have been pretty high on the 31-year-old based on his big 13-fight winning streak that Gregory mentioned, but the fact that he has 12 victories by knockout and 12 by submission is simply scary.

Simply put, Dias is in for the fight of his life in his promotional debut. I wouldn’t be overly shocked to see him land a solid couple of strikes or maybe even a takedown, but he won’t be able to do enough to win the fight. I am in agreement with Garrett and Gregory here, as I too have it as a TKO victory in the first round for “Marajo.”

TUF Brazil FW Final: Rony “Jason” Mariano Bezerra (10-3) vs. Godofredo “Pepey” de Oliveira (8-0)

Chase: This will be a candidate for Fight of the Night, I believe. Between the 18 wins of these two men, it has never gone to decision. Both are very well-rounded fighters that can finish the fight wherever it goes.

Statistically, it’s hard to give an advantage to either man. Rony “Jason” Bezerra does have more experience and has fought much more recently than “Pepey,” however. Both are coming off of great win streaks, but I will have to go with Bezerra winning in the first round by TKO or submission.

"Jason" (Gleidson Venga/Sherdog)

McKenna: Gregory is absolutely correct about the hype behind this fight. Sure, both fighters went to a decision within their time on the show, but the fact that needs to be pointed out truly shows how awesome these two fighters have been in their careers.

I am going to have to agree with Gregory in this fight and take “Jason” based on the fact that he has a couple of losses in his career. Generally speaking, when a fighter loses, they go back to the gym to work and train harder, and considering “Pepey” has not faced that anguish yet, he may come into the fight with a bigger head than he should. TKO victory sometime in the second round for “Jason.”

Derr: I believe what Gregory stated is what we can expect when this showdown takes place. These guys simply never see the judges’ scorecards. What that means is we as fans and media members can expect fireworks from the get-go.

It’s likely this bout will be back and forth as both Bezerra and Oliveira share similar styles. Both of their strengths lie in the submission game, but both are also exceptional at defending against the submission.

Call me crazy, but I actually see this one extending three rounds to the final bell. We’ve never seen these guys fully tested in regards to their conditioning, so the last man standing will take home their first official Octagon victory.

Advantage Bezerra.

TUF Brazil MW Final: Sergio Moraes (6-1) vs. Cezar “Mutante” Ferreira (4-2)

McKenna: What a tough break for Daniel Sarafian as he is unable to participate in the finals due to an injury. Fortunately, with the fact that this particular season of the reality show was taped, the UFC had plenty of time to figure out a suitable replacement for him. Sergio Moraes fit the role, despite being knocked out by Sarafian in the semifinals of the show, and was called in to replace him.

Moraes (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

But, with Moraes entering the fight, it scares me that he is simply too one-dimensional. I understand that he is pretty elite when it comes to grappling, but with the fact that “Mutante” knows how to throw the leather, I have a feeling that he will be able to keep the fight standing and land the highlight-reel knockout that fans love to see. Should the fight indeed go to the ground, I feel as though Ferreira will be able to hold his own and get the fight back to the feet.

Look for the knockout by “Mutante” sometime in the first round.

Derr: When I begin to breakdown Moraes vs. Ferreira, I see two fighters who really lack significant experience. If fans were looking for a barn-burner, this is as close as they will get.

Neither Moraes nor Ferreira has finished an opponent via knockout over the course of their 16 combined fights. There’s an overwhelming chance that we see both looking to shoot right off the bat in hopes of scoring an early takedown.

Fans in attendance and those viewing can expect a back-and-forth battle on the ground that may not return to the feet until the end of each round.

I like Ferreira to reign supreme when all is said and done.

"Mutante" (L) delivers a kick (Paul Hernandez/Sherdog)

Chase: Always interesting to see guys like these fight, especially some of the prelim matches. You have guys who are finishers and fight hard each time. Very few people on this card have fought to boring decisions, and this fight is one I think will be yet another candidate for “of the night” awards.

I was thinking the same as Brian, in the fact that Moraes has a ground game, but that’s all we have seen. Ferreira does have hands, and since every fight starts standing, I think we will see a good exchange between these two. I think he knows to watch out for Moraes’ takedowns, and will feel much more confident. This is the time for them to shine, and I think both will go after it intensely.

That being said, I think Moraes is in for a frustrating, or short, night. Ferreira wins using his hands to stop Moraes before the end of the second round.

HW: Mike Russow (15-1) vs. Fabricio Werdum (15-5-1)

Chase: I am very excited for this fight, because Mike Russow has been on a tear since 2007 and will now face his toughest opponent in my opinion. Fabricio Werdum, even coming off of one win, showed improved striking and put on a great fight with Roy Nelson back in February, and I think his striking will get the better of Russow.

Russow (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

This is not to count out Russow by any means though. Russow showed in the Todd Duffee fight that even though he looked like he was going to lose, he pulled out the heart and came back to win in spectacular fashion. The last person to knock out Werdum was current UFC heavyweight champ Junior dos Santos, so it’s hard to determine if Russow’s striking will be a problem for Werdum. Werdum did show some great striking with not only Nelson, but Alistair Overeem as well.

I think Werdum might have the all-around better skill set and will either TKO Russow in the first or submit him later on.

Derr: Let’s be honest, many of us thought Werdum was on the home stretch of his career following his loss to Overeem in June of 2011. But, it turns out, Werdum’s defeat ignited a beast that manhandled Nelson at UFC 143.

In my opinion, if Nelson can’t defend Werdum’s vicious clinch and knees, Russow won’t have much luck either. With that being said, Russow certainly can’t be counted out, as he’s proven he’s a legitimate force in the heavyweight division.

I believe Russow will surprise some people early with his ability to exchange on the outside. But, as stated, I see Russow being put on his back and finished via TKO or submission, whichever Werdum prefers.

I see this coming as early as the later end of round one.

Werdum (Rob Tatum/Bleacher Report)

McKenna: I have not been able to quite put my finger on Werdum. He was fairly consistent in his first stint with the UFC, went to Strikeforce and took down the legendary Fedor Emelianenko, but then basically laid on his back for 15 minutes in his next fight when he lost to Overeem. He looked great against Nelson, but at this point, we’re not sure if Nelson will forever end up as a gatekeeper to the top of the heavyweight food chain.

Meanwhile, Russow has been slowly climbing the ladder, as one should with the UFC. Each fighter that he has taken down is by no means near the top of that ladder, but the experience he is gaining with each fight is the type of progress that a promotion likes to see when it takes in a free agent.

However, even with Werdum being fairly inconsistent over the past couple of years, he is by far the best fighter that Russow has ever faced. Additionally, considering this fight takes place in Brazil and that of the two recent cards in Brazil—UFC 134 and UFC 142—Brazilians are 14-2 in fights where they are not fighting fellow Brazilians. The odds are not in Russow’s favor. With that, I have to go with a first-round submission for Werdum.

190-pound Catchweight: Rich Franklin (28-6) vs. Wanderlei Silva (34-11-1)

Derr: In my opinion, Rich Franklin vs. Wanderlei Silva is by far the hardest bout for me to call. If you’d asked me to pick this fight a year ago, I would have told you Franklin via unanimous decision. However, a lot has changed since then.

Franklin (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

We haven’t seen Franklin take the Octagon in over a year, and many are questioning whether or not this will be the last time we see him on the big stage. If anything, Silva has the momentum heading into this fight, as he’s coming off a career-saving win over Cung Le.

When this bout begins, you can bet your top dollar that Silva will attack Franklin like a bat out of hell. He will want to test Franklin early and often, and everything inside me says that he’ll catch the all-time great.

Therefore, I’m going with my gut when I say I’m taking Silva to knock out Franklin in the first or second frame.

McKenna: I have to agree with Garrett on the thought that this fight is a tricky one to pick. Silva has been so inconsistent ever since he stopped fighting in Pride and started fighting in the Octagon. The days of him rather easily knocking out his opponent have come and gone, and each and every time we see him fight, it is difficult to see the aging warrior struggle in the cage.

But the former UFC middleweight champion has had a rough go at it as of late too. He has alternated wins and losses in his last several fights, never seemingly able to find the necessary groove to keep him continuing the winning ways of old.

Silva (Daniel Herbertson/Sherdog)

The first time that these two fighters went to battle, they engaged in a great fight. I see that happening again, but with a different result than the first time they fought. The biggest factor in my decision to take “The Axe Murderer” in this fight is the location of the bout. Sure, Franklin was able to get the fight changed from 185 pounds to 190, considering he has two weeks less to get his diet on track, but it will be hard for him to cut the weight in comparison to Silva. With this, I see Franklin fading at the halfway point in the fight and Wanderlei getting the TKO sometime in the late second round.

Chase: Garrett and Brian said it very well. I would never bet money on this fight just because I wouldn’t feel confident with either pick. Both are at the ends of their careers, and both are experiencing what I call the “squishy” effect—meaning their heads do not take blows like they used to, thus “squishy.”  We saw it with Liddell, and I think we are seeing it with many others, including these two.

This fight will not go the distance, and someone will end up KO’d or TKO’d. It could be a counter from Franklin that KO’s Silva, or the fast barrage and relentless attack of Silva that overwhelms Franklin. Silva is more likely to make a mistake, but Franklin may not be able to respond in time to a flurry from Silva.

This will be a striking war. It might be a quick war, but a war nonetheless. This fight could go to a second round, but I will predict it will end in a TKO/KO finish in the first.

Prelims Quick Picks

FW: Felipe Arantes (14-4) vs. Milton Vieira (13-7-1)

McKenna: Arantes not only has the better record, but he has the Octagon experience. The UFC jitters will get to Vieira and Arantes’ superior talent will earn the promotional veteran the lopsided decision.

Chase: Brian read my mind. Arantes has the better experience and is much more consistent. I see this one going to Arantes by unanimous decision.

Derr: I’m going to agree with Brian and Gregory that Arantes walks away with a decision victory. Vieira has fallen short seven times in his career, but he’s never been finished. Nonetheless, I expect a close bout.

FW: Vinicius “Vina” Borges (19-3-1) vs. Wagner Campos (11-3)

Derr: Borges and Campos both have the tendency of finishing their opponents. Regardless of the outcome, we’ll see both of these guys again. Borges’ experience gives him the slight advantage.

Chase: Both guys are finishers and have well-rounded skills, but I see Borges taking this one by decision at the end of the night.

McKenna: I only really see Campos taking this fight if he can get a knockout in the first couple of minutes. When “Vina” weathers the storm, he’ll get the upper hand and cruise to a decision victory.

MW: Thiago “Bodao” Perpetuo (8-1-1) vs. Leonardo Mafra (5-0)

Chase: While Mafra is undefeated, I see this fight going to Perpetuo. He is more experienced and proven with his hands. I predict a TKO/KO from Perpetuo early on.

McKenna: Of their collective 13 victories, only one has come as a submission. “Bodao” will win this fight, but ultimately so will the fans, as we’re in for a slugfest.

Derr: Mafra is one of the more promising up-and-coming fighters in the UFC today. He’s a smart fighter and knows when to play his cards and when to fold them. He’ll be playing them pretty often en route to an impressive finish over Perpetuo.

FW: John Teixeira (13-0-1) vs. Hugo “Wolverine” Viana (5-0)

McKenna: While Viana proved he is capable of winning a fight outside of a decision with his TKO to enter the house, it won’t be enough against Teixeira. “Wolverine” will be another submission casualty of Teixeira.

Derr: This is another one of those fights that’s extremely tough to predict. I think too many are counting Viana out. He’s a workhorse, and I think this bout will resemble Charlie Brenneman vs. Rick Story. Upset alert.

Chase: Have to agree with Brian. I see this fight ending in a tapout with Teixeira as the victor. Viana has been winning decisions, and if anyone is going to finish this fight, it will be Teixeira.

MW: Delson Heleno (23-6) vs. Francisco Drinaldo (10-1)

Chase: Drinaldo has much more momentum coming into this fight with his winning streak, but like the Teixeira fight, I see the submission game being the factor here. Heleno is vastly more experienced and will submit you if he gets a hold of you. I predict Heleno via sub.

Derr: I have to disagree with Gregory on this one. If anything, Heleno has the momentum heading into this one having won 10 of his last 11 bouts. I do however agree that Heleno will walk out with a submission victory.

McKenna: The fight will be decided upon how well Drinaldo can play defensive grappling. I personally think he will do good enough of a job to hang on for a while, but get caught in one of Heleno’s chokes late in the fight.

FW: Rodrigo Damm (9-5) vs. Anistavio “Gasparzinho” Medeiros (15-7)

Derr: I’d hate to piss on the parade, but Damm does not belong anywhere near the UFC Octagon. At least, not in the past four years. He lacks a significant win and it’s likely he won’t find it here either. I like Medeiros to finish via TKO in the first or second frame.

McKenna: I wouldn’t be as extreme as Garrett in my opinion of Damm; however, I do agree with him that “Gasparzinho” will win the fight. Medeiros is just the better fighter, and he will prove it with a decision victory.

Chase: It’s been quite the rough patch for Damm the past few years, but he is still a finisher. That being said, Medeiros is coming off a win, and a quick finish at that. He has a knack for submissions, but based on his losses and Damm’s abilities, he will want to be careful on the ground. I predict Medeiros wins via TKO/KO.

Top Photo: Wanderlei Silva (Daniel Herbertson/Sherdog)

About The Author

Brian McKenna
Staff Writer

Brian McKenna was born and raised in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts. A sports nut from as long as he can remember, he came to be a fan of Mixed Martial Arts from a roommate watching The Ultimate Fighter while attending Westfield State College. Brian came to writing by starting his own blog, Four Down Territory, which focuses on Boston based sports, life, and of course MMA.