For the last month, the UFC has been carving a home out for itself on Wednesday nights, and Wednesday, Oct. 9, will be no different. That’s the night that UFC Fight Night 29 will take place from Barueri, Brazil.

The evening’s main event features two high-level grapplers in welterweights Jake Shields and Demian Maia, who square off in a five-round main event. With champion Georges St-Pierre putting his title on the line against Johny Hendricks in the near future, it is time for the next person in line to step up and convince the higher-ups at the UFC as to who should challenge for the title next. The Brazilian has gone undefeated at 3-0 while at welterweight, while Shields has recovered from a tailspin and would like to keep the plane flying straight. This fight is a key opportunity for Shields and Maia to showcase what they have and why they should move up the rankings, or even get the next title shot.

But that is just one of six fights on the evening’s main card. And it is also one of 10 fights to air live and free on Fox Sports 1, as now undercard fights are airing on the network as well. The first fight of the night takes place at 4:30 p.m. ET on Facebook, with coverage quickly shifting to Fox Sports 1 for the preliminary card at 5 p.m. ET, which leads directly into the main card at 7 p.m. ET, also on Fox Sports 1. The panel of Trey Downey, Joe Chacon and Brian McKenna break down the action on this edition of the Round Table.

BW: Raphael Assuncao (20-4) vs. T.J. Dillashaw (8-1)

Chacon: Raphael Assuncao and T.J. Dillashaw get the main card cracking with an intriguing match-up that will feature the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu expertise of Assuncao against the wrestling and heavy hands of Dillashaw.

Dillashaw has been on a roll since his TUF 14 loss to John Dodson in 2011. Since that fight, he has rattled off four consecutive wins, with the latest coming via an impressive TKO over Hugo Viana. Dillashaw has worked hard to develop himself into a well-rounded fighter, and the 27-year-old out of Sacramento is going to have his takedown defense tested by Assuncao.

Assuncao has a wealth of experience in his 24 career fights, and that might be the edge he needs to get by Dillashaw. Assuncao has battled some big names in his career, including Urijah Faber, whom he lost to in 2010 via third-round submission. If he can get this fight to the ground early and often, then I look for him to put away Dillashaw.

Dillashaw’s key to winning this fight is to stuff Assuncao’s takedown attempts and be aggressive with his striking. Although Dillashaw has been hot, Assuncao is also riding a winning streak. Look for Assuncao to eventually get Dillashaw down and win via submission towards the end of the second round.

Downey: This fight opens up the main card, but it could be the one bout on the night to have the most impact on a division’s title picture. Both Dillashaw and Assuncao are on nice winning streaks. Depending on what happens with Dominick Cruz, the winner of this fight could either find himself in a title fight or title eliminator in his next outing.

Joe is right in pointing to Assuncao’s jiu-jitsu game as his biggest advantage in this fight. However, I am not sold on how big of an advantage that is. Assuncao has a solid ground game, but he is no world-beater, having only submitted his opponent once in the past five years. That submission came in his last fight against Vaughn Lee.

Dillashaw has the typical Team Alpha Male base skills of speed, wrestling and cardio for days. Dodson, the only man to defeat Dillashaw, has amazing wrestling and enjoyed a rare speed advantage on Dillashaw. Dodson was able to catch Dillashaw with a power shot and end the fight. I don’t think Assuncao will have either of those advantages on Dillashaw, not to mention the improved striking of the Team Alpha Male fighter under the tutelage of new head coach Duane Ludwig.

Assuncao is on the best run of his career, but I don’t see him being able to beat Dillashaw anywhere in this fight. Dillashaw can keep the fight standing with his wrestling if he chooses or take it to the ground, where he is no slouch in the submission department. Dillashaw keeps the Team Alpha Male streak alive with a dominant unanimous decision victory.

McKenna: Team Alpha Male has been completely rejuvenated with the appearance of “Bang” Ludwig as the head coach. The team has always been one of the best in the sport, but ever since Ludwig stepped in to clean up their striking, they have been nearly untouchable.

But on the other hand, Assuncao has been untouchable ever since he dropped to bantamweight. He was a respectable featherweight, but he has not lost at 135 pounds. Well, that will only hold true until Wednesday. Team Alpha Male produces great wrestlers, and wrestlers grind. Dillashaw will win the fight by a decisive decision.

WW: Rousimar Palhares (14-5) vs. Mike Pierce (17-5)

Downey: This welterweight fight is filled with intrigue. Rousimar Palhares, who appeared to be a little tank at middleweight, is dropping to 170 pounds. Mike Pierce, on the other hand, is finally getting a main-card showcase as one of the most underrated fighters in the division.

Palhares is getting a fresh start in this division after dropping two straight fights at 185 pounds to Alan Belcher and Hector Lombard. If there is one thing you can say about the Brazilian, it is that his submissions are explosive. Palhares will go for a leg lock in any situation, and seven of his 14 career wins are either by heel hook or ankle lock. The unknown in this fight is how the weight cut will go. Palhares was a very dense and muscle-bound man at middleweight, so it remains to be seen if that strength transfers down 15 pounds. If the weight cut goes rough, he could be in trouble with the grinder, Pierce.

Pierce is one of the most underrated fighters in the UFC. Pierce holds an amazing 9-3 record in the UFC and is currently on a four-fight winning streak. Pierce’s only three losses came against the likes of Jon Fitch, Johny Hendricks and Josh Koscheck. The losses against Hendricks and Koscheck were via split decision. Despite these great stats, Pierce has more often than not been featured on the un-televised portion of cards. The knock on Pierce has been that he just uses his wrestling to press guys up against the fence to grind out victories. That hasn’t been the case recently, as two of his past three wins have been delivered via knockout or TKO. In this fight, he gets his main-card showcase against an extremely dangerous fighter in enemy territory.

Pierce is on the best run of his career and his losses are against wrestlers, something Palhares is not. Pierce also seems to get better as the fight goes on and should be able to win this one if the fight goes past the first few minutes. Now, however, I am going to go back on everything I just said. Palhares will be able to catch Pierce in one of those signature leg locks early and get the victory. There is just something about Brazil…

McKenna: Pierce isn’t one of the most underrated fighters in the UFC. He is the most underrated fighter in the UFC. Two split decisions to top fighters. Lost a decision to Fitch, who was at the top of his game at the time. Pierce’s current four-fight winning streak may not feature fighters who are top-10 talent, but he won all of those fights decisively. As an athlete, you have to beat those guys too.

But on the inverse, Palhares is on the opposite end of the spectrum. He is on a losing streak, but it has been against strong talent. Dropping two straight to the likes of Belcher and Lombard the way that he did is about as understandable as Pierce winning his last four against the talent he took on.

In a classic striker versus grappler affair, Pierce gets the work done by knocking out his opponent, while “Toquinho” gets his by tearing the other guy’s leg off. Something has to give here, and considering how highly I regard the Oregon native, I’m going with him on this one too. The Brazilian will get knocked out in the first round for the third straight time. Mark it down.

Chacon: There’s nothing scary about this match-up for Pierce. Palhares is fighting his way off the UFC roster, whereas Pierce is looking to make the run that many of us have been waiting for.

Palhares was absolutely destroyed in his last fight and needs to put on a spectacular performance to rid UFC President Dana White of the bad taste he was left with following Palhares’’ positive test for elevated testosterone levels.

Pierce and Palhares are identical in height and reach, but Pierce has a big advantage with strength and striking. Look for Pierce to knock out Palhares early in the fight, therefore spelling the end of Palhares’ UFC career.

LHW: Joey Beltran (14-8) vs. Fabio Maldonado (19-6)

McKenna: In this light heavyweight contest, both fighters may be fighting for their promotional life. While Fabio Maldonado and Joey Beltran have proven that they can take a punch, fighters need to be able to deliver the punishment, not just be able to endure it.

For the third time in his career, Beltran will enter the Octagon at light heavyweight. It has been good for him in that he has made the weight successfully twice, but the bad part is that he lost in his first try and the victory in his second fight was overturned to a no-contest after his positive test for performance-enhancing drugs.

Maldonado, on the other hand, has had some success in the UFC. However, losing three straight prior to the win in his most recent fight brings his total to 2-3 with the promotion.

Honestly, I am surprised that both of these guys are currently employed by Zuffa. They do possess great knockout power. Beltran has 11 knockout victories in his career, one less than that of his counterpart. The problem is that they have both lost frequently. Whichever fighter is hungrier in this fight will be able to survive for at least one more UFC outing. I see the Brazilian emerging victorious when the dust settles.

Chacon: This is an elimination fight, but not one a fighter wants to be involved in.

As Brian suggested, the loser of this fight is on his way out. There have been plenty of times when two stand-up fighters are predicted to have a slugfest and end up spending the majority of the fight on the ground. We’re not going to see that here, though. These guys are going to trade haymakers until one collapses.

Beltran only has two wins to show for his previous eight fights. After watching Maldonado take punch after punch from Glover Teixeira, I have to give him the edge with the stronger chin, even though Beltran has only been knocked out once.

Look for Maldonado to get the knockout win towards the end of the second round.

Downey: Both of these fighters might be fighting for their lives, but this match-up should have these guys extremely excited.

Both of them are strikers, and they are going to stand and bang for the duration of this one. As Brian stated, Beltran is a former heavyweight who looked to reinvent himself at 205 pounds upon his return to the UFC. He has put on some very entertaining bouts in his Octagon run, but he found himself on the wrong end of some one-sided decision victories in those bouts. It is rare that you can say a fighter’s best attribute is his ability to absorb punishment. However, that is certainly the case with “The Mexicutioner.” He has taken the best shots of fighters like Pat Barry, Stipe Miocic and James Te Huna and was still standing at the end of 15 minutes. Those fights were losses, but Beltran is in every fight until the final bell because of his knockout power.

Maldonado is looking to start a winning streak in the UFC in this fight. He defeated Roger Hollett in his last outing after losing three straight. He has a better chance of keeping his job if he loses a close but exciting decision in this one. Maldonado is one of the best boxers in the light heavyweight division and has some very technical punches. He took an immense amount of punishment from Teixeira and still was able to fire back due to that technical prowess.

In a match-up of two strikers, you might expect the fight to end by knockout. That will not be the case in this bout. Both fighters chins are made of absolute granite, and they will be going for that knockout until the final bell. Maldonado is the pick in this one. His technical style will win him the bout on the judges’ scorecards over Beltran’s brawling style.

LHW: Matt Hamill (11-4) vs. Thiago Silva (15-3)

Downey: This match-up between well-known light heavyweights is going to give us the classic wrestler versus striker pairing.

The fight marks Matt Hamill’s second on the comeback trail. “The Hammer” came out of retirement last fall with a unanimous decision victory over Roger Hollett. We have not seen Hamill in over a year since that bout, however. He had previously retired following losses to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Alexander Gustafsson, citing that he had lost the fire to compete. He has regained that fire in the time since, and he will need it against Silva. This could be the last opportunity for Hamill, who has spent all but one fight of his career inside the Octagon, to shoot up into contender’s status.

Silva has been a polarizing fighter in the past and has had problems with two failed drug tests derailing his momentum and keeping him out of the Octagon for extended periods of time. In his last fight, he did his best to take eyes off of those bad decisions by scoring a great knockout win over Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante. Silva clearly holds the advantage on the feet in this one, and it will just be a matter of whether he can keep it there against the outstanding wrestling of Hamill.

Both of these guys are looking to spark one last run towards the title, but Silva is the clear pick. He has more left in the tank than Hamill does. Silva’s killer instinct and striking are the difference. He will score a first-round knockout victory in front of his countrymen.

Chacon: All of a sudden, Hamill is 36 years old. It’s hard to believe, but the truth is that his time has come and gone. Even though he has faced a who’s who of fighters, he won’t be able to keep up with somebody like Silva.

Hamill is still strong, don’t get me wrong, but at this stage of his career he wins his fights by grinding out decisions on the ground. He won’t be able to keep Silva at bay for 15 minutes. Instead, we are going to see an explosive Silva use his speed and strength advantage to win this fight via TKO in the second round.

Silva is only 30 years old, and he’s in a position to rattle off a few wins in a row. Hamill’s time is nearing the end, and a theme for many of the fighters on this card is whether or not they will have jobs following another loss. Hamill has been a wonderful story and it’s going to be sad to see him go, but don’t be surprised to see him leave his gloves in the Octagon after this one.

McKenna: I think it is shocking that Silva is still on a UFC roster, to be perfectly honest. Suspended for a year for falsifying a urine sample after his victory at UFC 125 and testing positive for marijuana after a victory two fights later, for which he was suspended for six months, Silva seemed like a prime candidate to receive his walking papers from the UFC. But the promotion gave him one more chance to redeem himself, and he came away clean after the first-round victory over Feijao.

At one point, Silva was one of the most dangerous fighters in the light heavyweight division. He was tearing through his opponents with relative ease, and even though he lost a fight here and there, it was to top fighters like Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans and Gustafsson. Hamill has always been solid, but more so as a good, not great, fighter. The only way that he stands a chance in this fight is if he can smother Silva with his wrestling, but, as my colleagues have mentioned, this isn’t the same young-gun wrestler from yesteryear. Father Time is catching up with “The Hammer.”

To see the Blackzilian beat Hamill won’t be too shocking, but let’s wait for the results of the drug test before we take the chalk and add the victory to his record.

WW: Dong Hyun Kim (17-2-1) vs. Erick Silva (15-3)

Chacon: Perhaps I’m missing something, but I’m just not excited about Dong Hyun Kim and Erick Silva at all. Maybe it’s because Kim hasn’t won by anything but a decision since 2008. Silva, on the other hand, is the saving grace of this fight because he is so damn fun to watch on the ground.

Kim is going to employ his normal tactic of trying to grind out a win by showing he has dominant position on the ground. It’s just that he generally seems content with holding his opponent on the ground or leaning them against the cage. If Silva succumbs to this tactic, then it’s going to be one heck of a boo-fest.

Kim doesn’t get submitted, because he’s smart enough not to put himself in dangerous situations. This one is a coin flip between a Kim decision win and a Silva submission victory. However, I’m not a fan of the lay-and-pray style and would prefer to see it backfire, therefore I’ll go with neither one of those choices and say instead that Silva wins by first-round knockout.

McKenna: Although I think this fight is a good one, I tend to agree with Joe that it isn’t necessarily the donnybrook of a co-main event that we normally look forward to. However, putting an exciting fighter like Silva in his home country against a consistent fighter like Kim has the potential to be something else.

In the previous paragraph, I used the word “consistent” while referring to the fighter from South Korea, but to piggyback on what Joe said, it really is a polite way of saying boring. That wasn’t always the case, though, because early on in his UFC career, he was a big threat to title holder Georges St-Pierre. It wasn’t until Carlos Condit knocked Kim out at UFC 132 where we really thought otherwise of “Stun Gun.” Laying on top of your opponent, winning and being a top-10 guy is one thing. Once you sprinkle a couple of losses in there is when it starts to become a problem.

A guy with the motor and drive of Silva could be the saving grace here, though. He has a deceiving promotional record of 3-2, but it should really be 3-1 with a no-contest due to a controversial loss for hitting his opponent in the back of the head less than 30 seconds into the bout. The other loss came at the hands of Fitch in what was an absolute war and clear “Fight of the Night.” One way or another, the kid is a gamer and loves to fight.

Although the fight is a hard one to choose, I’m going to pick the Brazilian because he will be fighting on his home soil. Second-round submission victory for Silva.

Downey: I have to completely disagree with my fellow panelists on the excitement this fight could bring.

The perfect evidence of that is Silva’s fight last fall with Jon Fitch. Many pegged the fight as Joe and Brian have pegged this one. This bout could be one where Silva gets controlled in an absolute boo-fest, but that won’t happen. Silva has the skills to give Kim trouble, and that means Kim will be pushed to his limits. Silva is the type of fighter that will bring out the best in other guys because he puts them in bad spots. Kim won’t be able to just rely on pressing the guy up against the cage and grinding out a win.

Kim has great judo, top control and some unorthodox striking due to his lanky frame. He is also huge for a welterweight. He will have to use all of those skills to beat Silva, a dangerous prospect. We all talked about how underrated Mike Pierce is, and Kim has to be included in that same basket of the most underrated guys in the UFC. He has wins over Matt Brown, T.J. Grant and Nate Diaz. His only two losses are where he got caught with a flying knee from Condit and injured in a TKO loss to Demian Maia.

With the recent release of Yushin Okami, there is a ton of pressure on Kim to put on a great performance. He simply cannot afford to get steamrolled by Silva in the same way that Okami was by Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. Silva has the skill set to do that, but I’m not sure he is the world-beater that Jacare is becoming. Kim will bring his “A” game and earn a hotly contested split decision that will likely elicit a chorus of boos from the Brazilian fans.

WW: Demian Maia (18-4) vs. Jake Shields (28-6-1)

McKenna: At one point, Jake Shields and Demian Maia were top fighters in the world in the middleweight division. Shields had a reign in Strikeforce where he held and defended the title, and Maia worked his way up from the bottom in the UFC and earned the title shot against Anderson Silva, though he fell short in that effort. Both fighters have shed 15 pounds to move to the welterweight class, with mixed results.

Shields put on a good showing against Georges St-Pierre, but came up empty. Fighting just weeks after the passing of his father, he followed the GSP setback up with a loss that nobody blames him for against Jake Ellenberger. The two-fight skid hurt, but he sprung back from it with two wins and a no-contest.

Maia, on the other hand, has been flawless in his time at welterweight. He is 3-0 in the weight class and most recently became known as the guy who out-Fitched Jon Fitch. The Brazilian was a strong middleweight, and he is currently proving that he is even better and more dangerous at 170 pounds.

Both of these guys are ground specialists, excelling exclusively in jiu-jitsu. The edge goes to Maia on the ground, and the striking goes to Shields. But what matters most here is who emerges as the better fighter come fight night, and that advantage goes to Maia. The Brazilian will secure a choke after he dazes Shields with a solid set of strikes sometime in the fourth.

Downey: This is an odd main event. Don’t get me wrong, both of these guys are immensely talented and Maia, in particular, is on a roll. However, this just has Fight Night co-main event or third fight on a pay-per-view card written all over it.

The UFC is clearly putting a lot of stock into Maia, and deservedly so. He has been nothing short of spectacular since dropping to welterweight. His last appearance against Fitch was nothing short of amazing and a future match-up with St-Pierre would certainly have the hardcore fans salivating. The issue would be selling that match-up to the casual fans, but a fight with Shields isn’t necessarily the way to go about convincing them.

To this day, I still believe Maia is the best jiu-jitsu practitioner in all of mixed martial arts. His striking has also shown improvement in almost every one of his fights since that loss to Anderson Silva. Many thought he had fallen in love with striking too much, and he went years without a submission win until his first-round submission of Rick Story. Maia will be true to his roots in the home country for jiu-jitsu.

Shields is a tricky fighter. It seems like he either absolutely dominates his opponent or ends up in a hotly contested decision that is extremely hard to score. This is a guy who absolutely dominated Dan Henderson in his last fight with Strikeforce. It can also be debated whether he truly deserved the judges’ nod in his three UFC victories over Martin Kampmann, Yoshihiro Akiyama and Tyron Woodley. Shields has similar strengths to Maia when it comes to jiu-jitsu, and he also sports an improving striking game. This is a shot for him to get back to that Strikeforce form against a top-five opponent.

In this match-up of similar guys, Maia holds a slight advantage in every area. This fight will look extremely similar to Maia’s last fight against Fitch. The difference is that this bout is five rounds, and although Shields has been in his share of those fights, he tends to tire in the later rounds. Maia will be able to submit the American late in round four.

Chacon: If there was ever a fight to bring in an audience, this would not be the one. Sure, you and I can appreciate the work Shields and Maia do on the ground. We understand the success when one advances their position after working hard on their opponent for two minutes, but most MMA fans still don’t get it. This fight is going to completely bore them to tears.

Can this fight end in any other way but a decision? My colleagues believe Maia is going to hand Shields his first submission lost, but I disagree. These two guys are on a different planet when it comes to their submission defense, even against somebody as good as each other. These two have a combined 58 professional fights and neither one has ever been submitted.

We are going to see a very tactical fight on the ground; that’s not surprising. Shields has gone five rounds three times in his career and is 2-1 in those fights with the one loss coming against GSP. Both fighters are veterans, but Shields should have his hand raised at the end of this one via split decision.

Preliminary Card
LW: Alan Patrick (10-0) vs. Garett Whiteley (7-0)

Chacon: This is a fight that is worth checking out on the Facebook stream. Garett Whiteley has has won all seven of his professional fights and only one has gone past the first round. Alan Patrick, also undefeated, likes to wear his opponents down in an attempt to finish them later on. Somebody is getting their first loss, and with this match-up look to see Whiteley having his hand raised via first-round TKO.

Downey: As Joe said, both of these guys are unbeaten. That is a bit of a rarity to see in a match-up of two Octagon newcomers. It is really hard to go against the Brazilian in his home country, but it is even harder to pick against an undefeated fighter who has never seen the judges’ scorecards. Whiteley takes this by TKO and becomes a prospect to watch at 155 pounds.

McKenna: Because we don’t really know a whole lot about either fighter, this is the hardest fight to pick. Both men show impressive qualities, but at the same time they could be misconstrued based on the fact that we don’t know anything about their competition. But, as Trey pointed out, the fight takes place in Brazil. It is one thing to make your promotional debut under the bright lights in the comfort of your own country, but to have to sit on the plane for hours and have to debut in a foreign country that always packs the house and backs their guy? It is going to take grit for the American to emerge victorious here. However, Whiteley will continue to show the killer instincts that got him this far.

FlyW: Chris Cariaso (14-5) vs. Iliarde Santos (27-8-1)

Downey: This is definitely an intriguing match-up in the flyweight division. The UFC is still trying to add depth to the weight class, so every fight is huge and draws the winning fighter closer to a title shot. Both men are coming off two straight losses as well, so this is a crossroads fight. I think the winner fights the newly signed Sergio Pettis, whereas the loser could see his pink slip. I like Iliarde Santos in this one. He was extremely competitive against Ian McCall in his last outing. It goes to decision in a “Fight of the Night” contender.

McKenna: Although Chris Cariaso hasn’t been the best flyweight in the division, he has proven something that his opponent hasn’t, and that is that he can hang inside the UFC. Sure, it was at bantamweight and it was a mere 3-3 record, but he proved that he is capable of being successful inside the Octagon. Considering that Santos lost in his first two attempts, that tells me that he will lose here too. Chalk one up for the American.

Chacon: Cariaso has lost his last two fights, but those have come against John Moraga and Jussier “Formiga” da Silva, fighters with a combined record of 28-5. Cariaso is an unheralded fighter who has phenomenal cardio. His stamina is what will carry him to a unanimous decision win.

WW: Yan Cabral (10-0) vs. David Mitchell (12-3)

McKenna: At first glance, it would be easy to pick Brazilian Yan Cabral over David Mitchell based on his perfect record and victories on TUF Brazil 2, but if you want to dig deep, haven’t we seen this story before? Look at Uriah Hall. He had a strong record entering the reality-series contest, crushed inferior talent and then was defeated by good fighters. Could Cabral be in the same boat, beating up relative nobodies on the local circuit and crushing tomato cans in the early round of the reality show before having to leave to injury. Considering Mitchell isn’t exactly the stiffest competition he could face, Cabral will walk out of the cage after his hand is raised in victory.

Chacon: I agree with Brian. There are many examples of fighters carrying impressive records out of Brazil that may lead to one making them a heavy favorite without understanding the type of people they’ve faced. Yes, Cabral is 10-0, but his last four wins have come against fighters with a combined record of 54-42. Mitchell has been fighting guys such as Mike Pierce and Paulo Thiago. Mitchell will get his 13th win with a submission victory over Cabral.

Downey: Although Cabral is a newcomer, some of the comparisons my colleagues are making are unfair. Uriah Hall is simply his own animal and suffers from some sort of nice-guy syndrome. The level of fighter that goes on that reality show is just as good, if not better than what you are going to find on the local circuit. Mitchell has faced some tough competition inside the Octagon, but he has lost those fights. This is the type of match-up that the UFC gives to a fighter with potential in his promotional debut. Cabral wins by submission.

WW: Igor Araujo (23-6) vs. Ildemar Alcantara (19-5)

Downey: This match-up of Brazilian welterweights has all the makings of a finish. Sixteen of Alcantara’s 19 wins are finishes, and Araujo holds 18 finishes with 17 submissions. The difference in this one is experience. Araujo has more fights, but this is his UFC debut. Alcantara is unbeaten in his first two bouts under the Zuffa banner. He extends that streak to three with a TKO finish of Araujo.

Chacon: I really like Alcantara. He showcases heavy hands and a great ground game. Araujo has fought a list of absolute nobodies in recent times. Although he is 23-6, his last four opponents have records of 12-5, 0-1, 21-19 and 8-10. Not exactly something to hang your hat on. Alcantara should win this by first-round TKO.

McKenna: There is something that absolutely fascinates me with Alcantara as a human. In his UFC debut in January, he fought at light heavyweight. Just five months later, he fought at welterweight. The difference between the weight classes is 35 pounds. That is insane. I don’t know if he has been working the Brazilian equivalent of Mike Dolce, but one way or another it worked, as he was victorious in that fight. Sure, he doesn’t still have the muscle mass of a light heavyweight, but mentally he more than likely still does. As a result, he will land the first-round knockout and continue his solid run in the UFC.

FW: Rodrigo Damm (11-6) vs. Hacran Dias (21-2-1)

Chacon: Looking at this match-up on paper, as well as doing some homework in watching their previous fights, it’s hard to imagine anybody picking Rodrigo Damm to beat Hacran Dias. Damm has a horrible recent history in which he has a record of 3-5 over his last eight fights. He’s been knocked out, submitted, stopped by a doctor, you name it. Dias, although coming off a loss, is 9-1 over his last 10. Damm will hang on for dear life and his UFC roster spot, but Dias will come away with a unanimous decision win.

McKenna: Although Damm is 3-5, he is still a threat, as is anyone who holds a third-degree black belt in jiu-jitsu. But ultimately, Joe is right in that Dias should cruise to this victory. In 24 career fights, Dias has not been submitted once, which should speak for his submission defense. Considering that the No. 1 weapon for Damm will be the submission game, this doesn’t bode well for the 33-year-old. I’m in agreement on the easy unanimous decision victory.

Downey: I have to agree with Brian and Joe on this one. This is a fight tailor-made for Dias to get back on track. He did lose in his last outing, but it was against fast-rising featherweight contender Nik Lentz. Damm is 2-1 in the UFC and does have great jiu-jitsu. I just think Dias is strong enough on the mat to neutralize that jiu-jitsu and earn a unanimous decision win.

Photo: Demian Maia (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.