The Octagon returns to Brazil for the eighth time—and the second time in less than a month—this Saturday night with a stacked card of international fighters facing off at UFC on Fuel TV 10. Airing live from Paulo Sarasate Gymnasium in Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil, the night is sure to be filled with “don’t blink” bouts.

Headlining the card is a huge battle with big title implications, as two of the four Brazilians in the top 10 of the heavyweight division face off on their home turf in what will be one of the most closely watched fights of the year. Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira will step into the ring for the 44th time in his 14-year career to face fellow countryman and seasoned veteran Fabricio Werdum.

Both men are entering the cage after stoppage wins last year. They have both been on the sidelines for at least eight months and need to show up and prove that they deserve a shot at the heavyweight title.

Nogueira, who has been an icon in the sport for a decade, is one of the most highly regarded Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners in all of MMA, with a whopping 21 wins by submission. He is also known for his crisp boxing style. Werdum also holds a black belt in BJJ and a black belt in Muay Thai, so both men are closely matched. Whoever takes this one will have a solid argument for a shot at the belt.

Also highlighting the main card is the finals bouts from the second season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil. Leonardo Santos, a semifinalist on the show, will replace an injured Santiago Ponzinibbio to battle the dangerous up-and-comer William “Patolino” Macario for the title of the next Ultimate Fighter.

The main card will be rounded off with hard strikers Thiago Silva and Rafael Cavalcante meeting toe-to-toe, TUF Brazil finalist Daniel Sarafian facing off against Eddie Mendez, Erick Silva meeting Jason High and TUF Brazil winner Rony Jason trying to earn his third UFC victory when he meets England’s Mike Wilkinson.

The festivities kick off with the preliminary card on Facebook and YouTube at 4:30 p.m. ET. From there, it’s on to the main card, which airs live on Fuel TV, beginning at 8 p.m. ET.

The MMA Corner’s very own Riley Kontek, Ross White and Dan Kuhl break down the entire 13-fight card in this edition of the Round Table.

FW: Rony Jason (12-3) vs. Mike Wilkinson (8-0)

Kontek: TUF Brazil champion Rony Jason makes his return to the Octagon when he faces TUF Smashes alum and former lightweight Mike Wilkinson of the U.K. This could be a “Fight of the Night” underdog when it goes down.

Rony "Jason" Mariano Bezerra (Gleidson Venga/Sherdog)

"Jason" (Gleidson Venga/Sherdog)

Jason has been nothing but impressive thus far in his UFC career. After beating Godofredo Pepey to become the first TUF champ from the Brazilian version of the show, he demolished Sam Sicilia in a two-round war. He has powerful striking to go in unison with his beastly jiu-jitsu ability.

Wilkinson, who is making his featherweight debut, brings an undefeated record to the cage with him. He opened his career with four submissions, but it would be foolish to grapple with a high-caliber ground technician like Jason. Wilkinson does have solid striking, which he showed in his UFC debut victory against Brendan Loughnane.

Wilkinson has promise, but Jason is hot right now and not ready to cool off. He will strike with Wilkinson at his leisure, until he wishes to bring him to the ground. This will be a workmanlike decision for Jason, who will then take a step up in competition.

White: Wilkinson makes the drop down to featherweight after a win in his UFC debut. This should do wonders for his psyche coming down to face the TUF champion Jason in Jason’s home country of Brazil. Wilkinson is a tough scrapper who can finish on the feet and on the ground.

Jason is a fighter who took interim champ Renan Barao to a split decision earlier in his career. He has also dealt with being on the main card in previous UFC fights, which makes him even more at home. Like his counterpart, Jason can finish anywhere in the fight.

Wilkinson (Sherdog)

The English export would be wise to use patience and precision. He would also be wise to not get in a brawl with Jason. Jason will hope to test the chin of Wilkinson and draw him into a high-paced fight. This will benefit Jason, as seen in his previous fight, and the weight cut could hinder Wilkinson’s ability to push the action.

Both fighters like to go for the finish, so the fight should make for some fireworks. I see Jason outworking Wilkinson at a high pace to breeze to a dominant decision.

Kuhl: Jason is a bad dude, and his win over Pepey is highly underrated on paper, because, 29-28 decision or not, he dominated most of that fight. Jason is a very well-rounded fighter with hard-hitting, quick hands and a mean ground game.

Wilkinson is also a very tough, bigger featherweight. He is no slouch in the submission department. In fact, that is actually more in his wheelhouse. But his TUF performance was lacking anything exciting. However, he is still undefeated, has handed some tough guys their first losses, and won’t be coming in soft.

I agree with my colleagues that both men will be gunning for a finish, but Jason will probably take this one by a thin decision on his home turf.

MW: Eddie Mendez (7-1-1) vs. Daniel Sarafian (7-3)

White: Promotional newcomer and California native Eddie Mendez looks to start his career off on the right foot against the tough Daniel Sarafian. Mendez is a well-rounded fighter who has seen the distance plenty of times in his career. He will have to bring a different type of hunger if he wants to hang with the extremely tough Sarafian.

Sarafian (Aline Baktchejian Djehdian/The MMA Corner)

Sarafian is coming off a split decision loss to C.B. Dollaway in January. He had control at the onset of the match, showing powerful striking and putting Dollaway in danger multiple times. Dollaway battled back and Sarafian looked gassed and let the fight slip away. Sarafian has power in his hands, but it’s his submission and grappling skills that are his strength.

Mendez is stepping up in competition against Sarafian. He does seem to have cardio that could allow him to squeak out the fight if it gets to the late second or third round. Sarafian should know that after his UFC debut he needed to step up the cardio.

Sarafian has the skills to beat Mendez, and after a tough loss last time out, there will be no leaving it to the judges. Sarafian will dominate on the feet and gain a second-round submission victory after Mendez concedes defeat in the stand-up game.

Kuhl: Sarafian was a finalist on TUF Brazil, which he could have won had he not been sidelined with an injury. With his debut coming in a closely contested split decision, I tend to wonder if he would have easily beaten someone who didn’t quite have the wrestling prowess of Dolloway. Sarafian may not have any knockouts on his pro record, but he did put Sergio Moraes to sleep with a wicked flying knee to win the TUF Brazil semifinals. However, don’t count Mendez out.

As Ross pointed out, Mendez is very well-rounded. He has the ability to hang wherever the fight goes. In his one fight under the Strikeforce banner, Mendez earned just enough points to edge out veteran finisher Fernando Gonzalez in a hard-fought battle. Mendez is a much better striker than Sarafian, so I would tend to disagree that he will get dominated in the stand-up game.

Mendez (Sherdog)

If the fight stays standing, I truly believe that Mendez could beat Sarafian handily. Both guys are short, stocky middleweights, but Mendez has displayed more knockout power. However, Sarafian is one of those fighters that won’t let it get to that. Mendez has yet to be submitted, but Sarafian has such a high level of BJJ technique that it’s hard to see it ending any other way.

Sarafian by submission.

Kontek: I will echo my associates in pretty much all they say. Sarafian is definitely the favorite here, but don’t count out the underrated, scrappy Mendez. This should be a fun fight.

Sarafian has been a submission specialist most of his career, but since his time on TUF Brazil, he has shown some powerful striking and competence on the feet. The big concern with the Brazilian is his gas tank, something that was exposed in his close loss to Dollaway. He gassed late in the fight, which likely sealed his fate in an otherwise tight fight.

Mendez is well-rounded, can take a licking and hand one back of his own. He has solid boxing and pretty good wrestling, which translates to a battering ground-and-pound game. The longer this fight goes, the seemingly better of a chance Mendez has of securing a victory.

I can see Sarafian being more conservative than in his UFC debut, when he didn’t pace himself. Whether he takes Mendez down to work submissions or fishes for an atom bomb of a punch, Sarafian will beat Mendez and get his first UFC win.

WW: Jason High (16-3) vs. Erick Silva (14-3)

Kuhl: Jason High and Erick Silva easily bring one of the most closely matched contests of the evening. Both men are submission-heavy finishers who have never been submitted. In fact, Silva has never even been stopped, only losing twice by decision and once by disqualification for punching Carlo Prater in the back of the head repeatedly after being warned.

Silva (Sherdog)

Silva’s career has been peppered with odd outcomes. Nobody expected him to win his UFC debut with a 40-second TKO, only to follow it up with a 20-second DQ. Then he submitted Charlie Brenneman, which is no huge feat for a BJJ and judo black belt, only to follow it up with a hard-fought decision loss to Jon Fitch, who has since been cut from the organization.

High is coming off a 3-0 Strikeforce run, which extended his overall winning streak to seven. He is a dynamic fighter who has fought on many major circuits, including Dream, Affliction and the UFC, so he has faced tough competitors all over the world.

This one is really anyone’s game for the taking. Silva has been just as flashy as he has been lackluster, and there is no guarantee that he will dominate when this one hits the mat. High, on the other hand, is looking to make a big splash in his return to UFC action.

I have this odd feeling that Silva is going to underestimate his slightly older opponent on his home turf and get caught with one of High’s punches, only to recover and use his superior BJJ to tap out the American.

Kontek: I echo Dan’s assessment that this will be one of the most closely contested bouts on the card. High is criminally underrated and Silva has shown to be one of the best prospects/up-and-comers from Brazil.

Silva’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is very good, but a competent, wrestling-based grappler can expose Silva like Jon Fitch did. Luckily for Silva, High is no Fitch in the wrestling category. Furthermore, Silva is a powerful striker and has one-punch knockout capability. If he touches High’s chin early on, it could be night-night for the Strikeforce import and one-time UFC vet.

High (Phil Lambert/The MMA Corner)

However, High is a tough fighter with well-rounded skills. It was unfair that he was cut after just one fight in the UFC a few years ago, as he could have been a staple in the welterweight division. Despite his all-around skill set, he will want to make this an ugly fight by pushing Silva against the cage and landing short shots.

This one is really tough to call. My head says Silva and my heart says High. In looking at every aspect of the fight, I think Silva will get the slight nod here in what could be a “Fight of the Night” contender.

White: Silva is a tough up and comer in the UFC’s welterweight division. He has put on some exciting fights and given stiff competition to tough fighters like Fitch. He has looked very impressive and exciting in his UFC career, and I’d be hard pressed to see him getting derailed at this point.

High’s most impressive win in his current streak has come against the young Jordan Mein. High, although being a well-traveled fighter, has not faced much UFC-tested competition. With losses to Jay Hieron and Charlie Brenneman, High has revamped his game, but against what competition?

High will be walking into a buzzsaw against Silva, who will then take a step up in competition. That buzzsaw will include a second-round finish by rear-naked choke.

LHW: Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante (11-3) vs. Thiago Silva (14-3)

White: In a battle of two Brazilian knockout artists, there is always potential for a “Fight of the Night.” Well, that is if it lasts long enough. However, if this fight is going to win a “of the Night” bonus, the UFC may have to instate a “Drug Test of the Night” award, as both fighters have dealt with positive test results in their careers.

Silva (L) (Sherdog)

Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante has some impressive wins and is a former Strikeforce champion. This means very little when it comes to the Octagon, especially against a killer like Thiago Silva.

Silva’s career has taken a turn for the worse since he was knocked out by Lyoto Machida in a title eliminator. Since that time, Silva has dropped a decision to Rashad Evans, had a win overturned after an animalistic fight against Brandon Vera, and got mauled by the “Mauler” himself, Alexander Gustafsson. Silva then tested positive for marijuana after his last fight. This has made a knockout over the very knockout-prone Keith Jardine his only win since the Machida defeat.

Both fighters have devastating stand-up, but they also possess a great ground game that doesn’t get much use in fights. Both fighters are looking to make statements and that could lead to fireworks. They will need an impressive win to get into title contention, and both may need a win just to stay with the organization. I see Cavalcante being the better technical striker and therefore have him scoring a TKO in the first.

Kontek: This fight has all the makings of an absolute slobberknocker.

Silva has decent striking, but figures to have a better shot of winning this fight on the ground. He has a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, but his ground-and-pound is his featured weapon on the mat. When he is on top, a barrage of boulder-like hammerfists usually follows, making the guy on bottom quite uncomfortable.

Cavalcante is a striker by trade and will fare better on the feet. He has great kickboxing, as showcased in his use of devastating leg kicks and brutal knees. Being on the bottom against Silva would not be ideal for the Brazilian power striker.

Cavalcante (Marcelo Alonso/Sherdog)

This will be a close, exciting fight. Silva has a knack for staying away from his strength and engaging in brawls on the feet. His job is on the line here, though, and I think he will drag Cavalcante down and batter him with ground-and-pound for the win.

Kuhl: I like Ross’ new “of the Night” category. And it’s fitting, considering that Cavalcante is making his UFC debut after popping positive for the same racehorse steroid that made Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino look like a woman that any man would fear. It will be interesting to see how he performs off the juice. Silva, on the other hand, is coming in after a positive test for the sweet leaf, which, although becoming a recurring substance in the sport, is hardly comparable to stanozolol.

The truth is, substances or not, this is going to be an all-out brawl and one of these guys is going to sleep. If Silva’s back is still bothering him, he’s not going to want to drag this one out, which isn’t his style anyway. Cavalcante is an amazing striker and Silva is a wild striker. Although Silva could win on the mat, that just won’t happen in this one.

I have Cavalcante winning by first-round TKO.

TUF Brazil 2 WW Final: William “Patolino” Macario (6-0) vs. Leonardo Santos (11-3)

Kontek: The finals of the second season of TUF Brazil conclude here, as Melvin Guillard lookalike William “Patolino” Macario of Team Nogueira takes on teammate and usual lightweight Leonardo Santos. If you watched the second season of the show, you know that this one should be interesting.

Macario (Sherdog)

Santos is a Nova Uniao representative that has shown great potential at 155 pounds. He actually lost in the semifinals to Santiago Ponzinibbio, but takes his spot due to the Argentine’s injury. In addition to show wins against Luciano Contini, Juliano Wandalen and Thiago Santos, Leonardo had submitted UFC veteran Mark Holst in his latest outing before entering the reality series competition. That victory is a testament to his grappling ability.

Macario went from virtual unknown to star during this season, being an absolute animal along the way. He defeated the likes of Roberto Barros, Thiago Santos, Tiago Alves and Viscardi Andrade en route to the finals.

Macario is a brutally powerful striker that has takedown ability. He would be wise to keep this on the feet with Santos, as Santos is very good on the ground and could possibly submit him. The larger, more powerful Macario will win the second season that was plagued by injury after injury.

Kuhl: Santos is the younger brother of WEC and Bellator veteran Wagnney Fabiano. The 33-year-old has been practicing BJJ since the age of four under the tutelage of one of the founding fathers of Nova Uniao, Wendell Alexander. In addition to his tremendous grappling background, including multiple world championships, he has been competing in MMA since 2002, with his sole knockout coming in 2008.

Macario is a fierce 21-year-old up-and-comer with nothing to lose and everything to gain. In his undefeated, less than three-year-long career, he has only let one opponent out of the first round, and that guy was knocked out within 46 seconds of the second.

Santos (David Lethaby/Sherdog)

As Riley pointed out, the elder fighter is coming into this one as an injury replacement, whereas Macario is coming in with fiery momentum. As long as he can avoid being dragged down by the BJJ superstar, Macario will definitely finish Santos in the first round with a vicious TKO.

White: Macario is similar to Uriah Hall in his domination on The Ultimate Fighter series. He has been impressive in all his wins and looks to bring scary potential to the Octagon. The key for Macario is to win his debut and capture the momentum of gaining stardom in his home country of Brazil. If they love you in Brazil, things tend to bode well for you.

Santos is no slouch and has proven grappling skills. He will look to control the fight on the ground. Being an underdog in this fight, he looks to play Kelvin Gastelum to this TUF Brazil’s version of Uriah Hall. However, he does not bring the power on the feet and does not bring the size to dominate Macario on the ground.

Macario will start off his UFC career violently and look to jump up in competition right off the bat. He will finish in a flurry of brutal strikes and become the second TUF Brazil champion.

HW: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (34-7-1) vs. Fabricio Werdum (16-5-1)

Kuhl: The main event showcases two old-school vets who are bringing us a Pride rematch seven years in the making.

Nogueira (Daniel Herbertson/Sherdog)

In 2006, Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira met fellow Brazilian Fabricio Werdum on the other side of the globe in Japan. At the time, “Big Nog” was 27-3-2, with his only losses coming from Fedor Emelianenko and Dan Henderson. Werdum, at only two years younger, was coming in with an 8-1-1 record and was considered a relative up-and-comer to Nogueira’s already Hall of Fame-worthy career. In that battle, Werdum showed he was durable by going three rounds with Nogueira, but he was still a young fighter. A lot has changed since then.

I wish I could say that this is an easy one to score, but this fight is no easy pick. Werdum is a Rafael Cordeiro Muay Thai black belt, a second-degree BJJ black belt under Octavio Couto, and also holds a black belt in judo. He has fought the majority of the best heavyweights in the world and went the distance with the seemingly unstoppable knockout artist Roy Nelson, displaying incredible stamina in a complete slugfest. “Big Nog” is one of the most famous high-level BJJ practitioners in MMA history and has a background in boxing to boot.

Werdum is slightly younger and a lot hungrier, with less miles on his chassis. Although Nogueira is a scary guy in any match-up, his wear and tear is starting to show and was exploited in being both knocked out and submitted by Frank Mir. I have Werdum taking this one by a tight decision.

White: I would have to disagree with Dan’s assessment that this will be a close fight. Werdum is one of the top four heavyweights in the world and one of the most overlooked. If one fighter could topple Cain Velasquez, Werdum could be it. As always, “Big Nog” will stand as the old guard, always consistent and always dangerous, but Werdum has recently come on strong over tough competitors like Nelson and Mike Russow and should take this victory by a dominant decision.

Werdum has good stand-up that he has shown off against fighters like Nelson and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva. He has also shown that he can tap out anyone, even Fedor Emelianenko. Werdum is hitting the top of his game and with a win, he could challenge Daniel Cormier in a title eliminator.

Werdum (Sherdog)

Nogueira can take a beating and can also catch anyone at any time. However, Werdum has been on point since his re-emergence in the UFC. It would be difficult to see Werdum work himself into a bad situation in this fight. Nogueira has been a staple in the heavyweight decision and could still defeat a lot of fighters in the UFC, but not a top-five fighter like Werdum.

Kontek: The rematch is afoot. However, it is not 2006 anymore and Nogueira is far from being the spring chicken he used to be.

Nogueira has slowed down in the later stages of his career, but he does still have some fight left in him. Sure, his chin may have dwindled a bit and he may not be a top-five fighter, but he still has refined boxing and top-notch jiu-jitsu. At any point, he can catch his opponent with some power strikes or a flashy submission.

Werdum, for as weird as it is to say, is in the prime of his career and is vastly improving his striking. There is no doubt that he is one of the best, if not the best, submission fighter at heavyweight right now. Tapping out Nogueira would be no easy task, but he can definitely out-work or out-strike him in this match.

It’s really hard to imagine how this fight will go. I will take Werdum via decision as well He’ll outpace Nogueira en route to a potential top-contender bid.

Preliminary Card
MW: Antonio Braga Neto (8-1) vs. Anthony Smith (17-9)

Kontek: Much hype comes with the debut of Antonio Braga Neto. The Brazilian grappling ace meets Strikeforce import Anthony Smith in what will serve as both fighters’ UFC debut. Smith is a tough guy, but he has been submitted in the past. Neto is very high ranked when it comes to jiu-jitsu, so I expect him to drag Smith down, make him uncomfortable and earn a submission for the win.

White: Smith hopes this fight will not go like his last fight, which ended with a Roger Gracie arm triangle. Fighting submission fighters in the past, Smith has tried to punch his way through them before they can take him down. Neto is a World champion in jiu-jitsu, he is a competitor and looks to have a long career in the UFC, so expect for him to get the the takedown and the W in the second round.

Kuhl: My fellow panelists seem to have missed some very important facts leading into this fight. Smith is 12-3 in his last 15 bouts, most of which have come against top guys in Strikeforce and regional organizations. The young vet has knocked out most of his opponents in that time, but still submitted four and has never been to decision. In his fight with Gracie, he was destroying the Brazilian in all aspects until Gracie poked him in the eye twice, leaving him partially blinded in the second round. Neto may be a great grappler, but that’s it. His stand-up is quite poor. I have Smith winning by TKO.

MW: Caio Magalhaes (5-1) vs. Karlos Vemola (9-3)

White: Five-time UFC vet Karlos Vemola looks to rebound from a submission loss 11 months ago. Caio Magalhaes is also trying to rebound from a loss in his UFC debut against Buddy Roberts. The fight looks like it could have pink-slip implications for the loser. Although both fighters have shown ability on the ground, Magalhaes, in his last fight, demonstrated that he has a lot of work to do on his stand-up game. Vemola has proven knockout power, highlighted in a “Knockout of the Night” performance against Seth Petruzelli in 2010. If Vemola can keep the fight standing, he should look to finish this fight early.

Kuhl: Ross nailed this one on the head with the fact that this is a do-or-die contest. With the current thinning of the herd, most of those cut have had recent records of 2-1 on the good side to 0-3 on the bad. Vemola is coming into this one on a 1-2 run and Magalhaes has yet to win in the Octagon. So, which one wants it more? Vemola is a former champ, an extremely well-rounded fighter, and is itching to get back to .500 in the UFC. He has been able to persist and win wherever the fight goes. Of Magalhaes’ six pro fights, he’s let three go to decision. Vemola wants this fight more and he will dominate the Brazilian with a quick TKO.

Kontek: Magalhaes has a lot to prove here, as his debut against Roberts was anything but enlightening. Vemola is a physical specimen, has top-notch wrestling and has powerful striking. Magalhaes will have the home-field advantage, but Vemola is superior and will earn a TKO victory.

FW: Rodrigo Damm (10-6) vs. Mizuto Hirota (14-6-1)

Kuhl: Rodrigo Damm and Mizuto Hirota make for your typical striker versus grappler affair. Damm is a high-level BJJ black belt and a former member of the Brazil National Wrestling Team. He has most of his wins by submission and most of his losses by knockout. Hirota is a knockout artist who has never won by submission and has only been submitted once. Hirota is the bigger fighter, having recently dropped weight to meet Rani Yahya at featherweight for his UFC debut. Hirota may go the distance a lot, but that will not bode well against Damm, who will constantly be looking for submissions. I have Hirota coming out hard and taking this one by TKO.

Kontek: Damm may have the home field here, but Hirota is among the toughest outs at 145 pounds. Just ask Pat Healy, who struggled against the Japanese fighter in Strikeforce. Damm may have his moments, but I expect Hirota to out-hustle the Brazilian in every facet en route to a decision.

White: If you want to be a grappler in the UFC and dominate fights on the ground, being bigger helps. Damm is a smaller 145-pounder compared to Hirota. Hirota will keep the fight on the ground and use his striking to dominate. I will have to agree with Dan on this one and take Hirota by TKO.

WW: Ildemar Alcantara (18-5) vs. Leandro Silva (11-0-1)

White: Former Jungle Fight champion Ildemar Alcantara looks to capitalize off his UFC debut, where he beat Wagner Prado with a kneebar to win “Submission of the Night.” Leandro Silva will be looking for a similar statement in his UFC debut. Silva, an accomplished grappler, will seek to take the fight to the ground and finish early. Alcantara has proven he can finish the fight anywhere. Dropping down two weight classes will be interesting to see, but Alcantara should continue his current winning streak by finishing Silva inside the distance.

Kontek: Fellow Brazilians fighting in Brazil usually make for fun fights, so keep an eye on this one. Silva is a great prospect and I expect him to stick around the UFC for at least a couple of fights. Alcantara proved his worth in beating a much bigger Prado on short notice and via submission. Though the two-class weight drop could be draining on Alcantara, I expect a civil pace that earns him a decision victory.

Kuhl: Even though this is Silva’s UFC debut, he has proven himself as dangerous and durable in his weight class, which makes this an interesting match-up. With Alcantara dropping weight, I don’t see it so much as a disadvantage as I do a big problem for his fellow countryman. I see Alcantara finishing his much smaller opponent by TKO.

FW: Felipe Arantes (14-4-1) vs. Godofredo Pepey (9-1)

Kontek: Brazilian compadres meet at featherweight in a match-up of striker vs. grappler when Felipe Arantes battles Godofredo Pepey. Arantes is 1-1-1 in the UFC, and the kickboxing Brazilian has been a tough out for every man he has faced. Pepey is a grappler by trade, but does have some striking skills. However, Pepey will look to get this fight down and take a decision.

Kuhl: For a guy that came into the UFC undefeated by finishes, Pepey’s performance against Rony Jason in the TUF Brazil finale was lackluster at best. However, Arantes hasn’t exactly come out in a ball of flames either. Even though both men are coming in on stretches of fights that have gone the distance, I see this one going to Pepey by first-round stoppage.

White: Pepey and Arantes both have a good amount of finishes, but have a combined total of one loss via a stoppage. Arantes will look to keep the standing and use his black belt in Muay Thai to help get him the victory. However, I see Pepey taking the fight to the ground and earning a hard-fought decision.

MW: Derek Brunson (10-2) vs. Ronny Markes (14-1)

Kuhl: Derek Brunson and Ronny Markes may have great records on paper, but neither has done anything spectacular on a big stage. Not to discount either man, but when you pull out their respective important fights, their fight histories look padded. This is an important fight for both men, and the best thing they can both do is go big and let it all hang out. Brunson can hang with a certain level of fighter, but in his last four outings, he has either won by decision or lost by decision or stoppage. Against his toughest opponents, he hasn’t been able to seal the deal. Although Markes may be on a seven-fight winning streak, he, too, has had trouble finishing fights. It just feels that sometimes Brunson rides his training pedigree a little too much, whereas Markes is just a brawler. I have Markes by decision.

White: Brunson is coming off an impressive win over Chris Leben where Brunson was an underdog. He did look to gas completely in the third, but so did Leben. Markes likes to hang loose and get into scraps during his fights. Brunson seems apt to counter that with his wrestling. He should take a very boring decision this Saturday.

Kontek: This is a clash between two of the most underrated middleweights in the world, and it should be an interesting one. Markes proved in his fight with Karlos Vemola that he has good offensive and counter wrestling, which means he may be able to stave off any offense that Brunson presents. Brunson can strike a bit, but I expect a grinding pace and an ugly fight from Markes, who will earn a decision.

BW: Raphael Assuncao (19-4) vs. Vaughan Lee (13-8-1)

Kontek: If you are a fan of grappling matches, this fight may be up your alley. Unfortunately for Vaughan Lee, he is taking on a guy in Raphael Assuncao who is far superior on the ground. Assuncao has improved his striking as of late, so he could make this a well-rounded fight. Assuncao will get a late submission or decision.

White: Assuncao brings to the table more experience and tougher fights under his belt. His previous fight against Mike Easton did showcase that he has been working on his striking, but he does like to grapple with his opponents. Lee is game enough to neutralize the ground game of Assuncao, but the Brazilian will cruise to an easy decision through the utilization of his striking game.

Kuhl: To me, this match has “Fight of the Night” written all over it. Both of these guys have crisp striking, mad ground skills and are durable fighters. I feel that Assuncao has the upper hand from a training camp perspective. With guys like Junior Assuncao, the Lima brothers and Roan Carneiro getting him prepared, Assuncao will be ready for war and probably take this one by decision.

Top Photo: Fabricio Werdum (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)