The UFC is taking the show on the road to Brazil for the first time this year. Come Feb. 15, Brazilian fans will pack into the Arena Jaragua and go crazy like Brazilian fans normally do.

UFC Fight Night 36’s main event could very well produce the top contender for the UFC middleweight belt after Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort settle their business. Lyoto Machida is making his second UFC middleweight appearance, and Machida’s opponent, Gegard Mousasi, is cutting to 185 pounds for the first time under the UFC banner. Two former champions fighting in a cage, what’s not to like?

The co-main event has another very intriguing match-up. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza fights fellow middleweight contender Francis Carmont. Both men have looked incredible and are nearing the top of the heap.

Every fight on the card features a Brazilian fighting a foreigner, so expect a crazy, hyped-up crowd with a lot of energy. The action kicks off with seven fights online via the UFC Fight Pass beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET. Then, it’s off to Fox Sports 1 for the five-fight main card at 10:30 p.m. ET.

Before we get to hear the iconic “Uh, Vai Morrer” chants or hear the fans scream out “It’s time!” along with Bruce Buffer, The MMA Corner’s Dale De Souza, Richard Wilcoxon and Zach Miller discuss the upcoming fights in this edition of the Round Table.

FW: Andy Ogle (9-3) vs. Charles Oliveira (16-4)

Wilcoxon: The main card of this event kicks off with an English grinder and The Ultimate Fighter veteran facing a young Brazilian finisher.

The Englishman is Andy Ogle. He rose to fame on The Ultimate Fighter: Live, which served as season 15 of the reality series. On the show, he pulled off an upset by submitting Mike Rio. There is no denying that Ogle’s defining characteristic is his toughness. He can take punishment as well as he can dish it out. He can slug it out or grind opponents to a finish.

On the other side of the cage stands the Brazilian, Charles Oliveira. Oliveira is a finisher. Fifteen of his wins come from a stoppage.

At first glance, Oliveira desperately needs a win. He has gone just 4-4 with a no-contest since joining the UFC. However, a closer look shows that “do Bronx” has only lost to elite fighters. Ogle does not fit in that category. Although Ogle will make a fight of it, Oliveira will end this fight in the second round.

De Souza: On paper, it would seem fair to say that Ogle’s style represents the kind of offense needed to shut down Oliveira, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that Ogle will dominate the Brazilian. Anything can happen from the onset of the bout, meaning that Oliveira can find a way to put Ogle down and out inside the distance.

Still, let’s allow “The Little Axe” a deal of credit for what he can do when he finds an opening to land something huge or capitalize on an opportunity to gain positional control. Although Ogle fits the mold of a grinder, he does claim five finishes (three submission and two TKOs) in his pro career. In fact, it would not seem all that surprising if Ogle’s first finish in the UFC came here, not only because Oliveira’s first pro (and UFC) loss to Jim Miller came by submission, but also because Ogle knows how to work his way to a rear-naked choke, despite not having won by that method in the UFC.

Ogle will fight a guy with nothing to lose in Oliveira. While the Brazilian’s losses to Miller, Cub Swanson, Frankie Edgar and Donald Cerrone all stand as respectable, Oliveira will need to win convincingly against Ogle to avoid the chopping block. At age 24, Oliveira best days are yet to come, and with a win over Ogle, Oliveira may finally find a way to show us his absolute best.

Ogle could opt to close the distance on Oliveira, who likely holds the edge in the reach department. Oliveira will look to demonstrate improved striking and superb control on the ground. Ogle may find an opening to temporarily control Ogle from the top, but when he does, Oliveira will hunt for a limb and look to wrench it to oblivion. Oliveira will find a leg and sink in an Achilles’ hold for an early second-round submission.

Miller: This bout has “Fight of the Night” written all over it, especially when you consider the styles of the fighters competing later the same evening in the main and co-main events. Ogle and Oliveira like to fight, and when it comes down to it, the fight will go everywhere and be full of action met with “oohs” and “aahs.”

Oliveira is sort of the Erick Silva of his division. He is obviously so talented. He has moments where you think he could get gold around his waist, and then he gets outclassed. Unlike Silva, however, Oliveira is only 24 and seemingly has a while to improve his striking game to match his jiu-jitsu skills, which are phenomenal.

I don’t really know what Ogle can bring to this fight. Granted, he is as tough as my colleagues suggest, and you can never count out toughness. Ogle will stay in it just enough to make the fight fun to watch, and it could go the distance. Oliveira by decision.

WW: Viscardi Andrade (17-5) vs. Nicholas Musoke (11-2)

De Souza: We’ll see two potentially promising welterweights collide when VIscardi Andrade fights Nicholas Musoke. Musoke defeated Alessio Sakara his last time out, and Andrade beat Bristol Marunde. Musoke will enter enemy territory when he fights Andrade, but it won’t mark the first time “Team Musoke” has been the “away” team.

Musoke knows about holding home court, because before submitting Sakara, he held home-field advantage. However, Musoke also stood on the visitor’s side of On Top Promotions’ On Top 2, where he fought Steven Ray, and despite a partisan crowd in Glasgow, Scotland, Musoke still submitted Ray. Therefore, it should come as no surprise if the touted Swede, who owns four wins by a form of knockout and five wins via submission, keeps the ice water running through his veins on fight night.

Against Andrade, though, Musoke will find that the energy of a pro-Brazilian crowd puts a different kind of pressure on a non-Brazilian fighter.Andrade feeds off of that energy, as most fighters do when they fight on home soil, but Andrade threatens Musoke with more than just a strong home-field advantage. Like “Nico,” Andrade also carries a reputation for finishing fights. In his pro career, Andrade owns six wins by the judges’ scorecards and three losses by the same, whereas Musoke only owns one submission loss, one decision loss and just two decision wins in his career.

Nobody can claim a knockout win over Musoke. That would seem to work in his favor, but Andrade’s record includes five wins by a form of knockout. Unless Musoke can execute a game plan solid enough to expose a significant flaw in Andrade, expect that Andrade will break down Musoke throughout the bout and grind out a unanimous decision in a fight that will stay mostly on the feet.

Miller: It’s hard to call these kinds of fights. Both guys looked good in their UFC debuts, and both looked good in careers before getting the call to the big leagues. They have submission skills and knockout power, but who has the upper hand?

Andrade could have some advantage in being at home, as Dale suggests. Hearing the “Uh Vai Morrer!” (translation: “You’re Going To Die!”) chant from the fans could make a foreign opponent shake in his spandex. I, however, don’t really read too much into these kinds of things, because undoubtedly being at home, for all the comforts it might have, adds a lot of pressure as well. Who knows how either man will react?

I’m leaning a bit more towards Musoke. He was able to get an armbar off his back when he fought Sakara, and that is no easy feat. However, Andrade is a jiu-jitsu World champion and black belt. Still, I’m thinking upset—Musoke by TKO.

Wilcoxon: Fights like these are really a coin toss and hinge on the unknowns. Dale pointed out the unknown of how the crowd will impact both fighters. The other big unknowns are how Musoke will look returning to his normal weight class (his last UFC fight came as a middleweight) and the strength of regional competition that these two men faced in building their streaks.

Andrade is currently on a seven-fight winning streak with his last five fights coming via a stoppage. This streak does not include his fights on TUF Brazil, where he won three bouts (with two against the same fighter) before losing in the semifinals.

Andrade’s victims in his winning streak before joining TUF are what you would expect from the Brazilian regional circuit—a complete mixed bag. Brazil’s regional events don’t follow standard logic that as a fighter gains experience they fight better people. For example, the fight Andrade won just before joining TUF was against a fighter in his debut fight, but early on in the streak Andrade fought an opponent with over 20 career victories.

Musoke’s streak is much more similar to what we would find in the U.S. regional circuit. Every fighter Musoke faced had a winning record, and he appeared to face better competition as he gained experience.

Musoke had a more impressive debut victory in the UFC and is returning to his natural weight class. On the other hand, Andrade is fighting at home and has had more fights than Musoke. At the end of the day, I think Brazil’s regional scene is much more developed and difficult than that of Sweden. Andrade by late-round stoppage or decision.

WW: Takenori Sato (17-8-7) vs. Erick Silva (15-4)

Miller: When looking at the Vegas odds, this match-up has the biggest underdog and favorite out of all the fights on the card. Takenori Sato comes in as a six-to-one underdog and Erick Silva is a nine-to-one favorite. That being said, it’s not necessarily undeserved.

Silva, who trains with Team Nogueira, is coming off a loss to Dong Hyun Kim at UFC Fight Night 29. Silva is an unbelievable talent, but you never know how getting knocked out will affect one’s mental game, especially since Silva was dominating the match before Kim spectacularly knocked him out. The problem with Silva is that when he’s on, he looks like a future champion, but whether it’s a flaw in his mentality or simply bad luck, he can’t seem to string together some wins to move into contendership.

Sato has gone undefeated since April 2010, but he is making his UFC debut, which explains why he’s such a huge underdog. Since losing three in a row, with a 9-8-5 record, Sato has improved to 17-8-7. He not only captured the welterweight King of Pancrase title, but defended it six times. He has a good ground game, but it may not be apparent against a Brazilian who trains with the Nogueiras.

Silva returns to good form here and wins by first-round TKO.

Wilcoxon: I don’t want to spend a lot of time on a fight that is this big of a mismatch.

Silva has faced better competition and maintained a better record doing it. He is the better athlete and faces each fight with more aggression.

Sato will want to take the fight to the ground, but Silva is better there. If the fight stays standing, however, Sato, who has been knocked out five times, will still face a disadvantage.

At the end of the day, the Vegas oddsmakers got this one right. Silva wins it in the second round.

De Souza: Sato owns a win over recent UFC signee Kiichi Kunimoto, and his record of 8-0-2 in his last 10 outings serves as the longest undefeated streak of his career. The dude makes it tough for guys to finish him, but he never fought a dude that brings it like “Indio.”

Officially, Silva bats .500 in the UFC, but most would still argue that the loss to Carlo Prater should really stand at least as a no-contest, if not a win. However, none will debate that Kim knocked out Silva cleanly in his last fight. Silva must gather his mental bearings in order to get back on the winning path, but this does not mark the first time that Silva would need to rebound from a legitimate loss in Brazil.

As much as it remains in question how Silva will respond to his knockout loss, it equally remains in question whether or not Sato will find a way to survive the aggression Silva brings from start to finish in his fights. Sato will stay in the fight until the bitter end, even if he knows he needs a finish to prevail in the bout.

Silva will hand Sato his first career loss via whatever submission he chooses, and the end will come in the first round of the bout in typical “Indio” fashion.

MW: Francis Carmont (22-7) vs. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (19-3)

De Souza: Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Francis Carmont may share something in common when people look at their records, but the similarities end there. Both own the majority of their pro wins by submission, both have remained untouched professionally since joining the UFC, and both want to take that critical step up in the ranks to get a shot at the UFC middleweight title. One man will get the shot down the line, but could it be Carmont that takes the step up with an upset of Souza?

Never say never, especially if Carmont’s name appears on the bill. His decisions wins over Lorenz Larkin and Tom Lawlor will forever stand in some debate among fans, and his most recent win over Costa Philippou did little to instill faith in him as a future contender. However, he does pose problems for Jacare, regardless of whether or not Souza decides to stand with him. UFC fans know about Carmont’s ability to submit people, since two of Carmont’s first three UFC wins came via submission, but if given the chance to lay on some punishment on the feet, he can hurt people en route to a TKO win.

Carmont can’t discount the possibility of Souza threatening with a knockout or TKO of his own. When Jacare submits anyone, from Robbie Lawler to Chris Camozzi, nobody finds it shocking because he excels in the grappling department. Yet, add in the knockout win over Derek Brunson in Strikeforce, as well as his TKO win over Yushin Okami last June, and Souza brings more to the table than just the ability to submit someone.

Although Jacare knows the feeling of getting wins in front of North American audiences, he will relish in the opportunity to get a third straight UFC win in his home country. Unless Carmont knows how to render Jacare’s grappling ineffective, he will struggle against the former Strikeforce middleweight champion.

Regardless of whether this one stays on the feet or not, expect the two to significantly test each other in every realm of the fight. When Carmont finally opts to take down Souza, anticipate the beginning of Jacare’s hunt for a submission win. Carmont may fight out of attempts, but unless he consistently finds a way to scramble to his feet at every turn, he will expose his back and Souza will earn his third UFC win via rear-naked choke.

Wilcoxon: At first glance, this fight seems like a punishment for Carmont. He has utilized a grinding, risk-averse, decision-heavy approach in his UFC career to this point. UFC President Dana White absolutely hates this style of fighting. He pushed Jon Fitch and Yushin Okami out the door at the first opportunity when they employed similar approaches. Could this “punishment” blow up in the UFC’s face?

Carmont is very good at what he does. His record shows it, as does his undefeated streak—six straight and counting—in the UFC. He has enough ground skill to avoid average grapplers’ submission attempts. He is tall and long for the division, which gives him an advantage in striking against many opponents.

On the other hand, Souza seems perfectly equipped to handle Carmont’s offense. He isn’t an average grappler. Simply put, he is one of the best grapplers in the world. His credentials include five World Jiu-Jitsu Championships, three open weight championships, an ADCC title and an ADCC absolute division runner-up finish behind Roger Gracie, who outweighed him by 25 pounds. Souza’s recent addition of knockout power and more technical striking makes him an all-around threat to beat anyone.

This fight ends one of two ways. Either Carmont wins by decision or Souza stops it early. It appears Carmont’s only road to victory will be to use his reach and outstrike Souza from the outside, getting points but not showing the power to end it. However, I don’t see that happening. At some point, Souza will rush in and either land a hard strike that ends the contest or get Carmont to the ground, where it will quickly be over.

Miller: Jacare may be one of the most physically gifted athletes in the middleweight division. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and watch the video of Souza competing with heavyweight Fabricio Werdum in a jiu-jitsu match. The guy is so quick and so technical, and an improved striking game could make him a future champion at middleweight.

Carmont is really good at what he does. Fighters like him and Brad Tavares come to mind when considering really solid guys who dictate the pace and win decisions. Say what you will about his style, but Carmont remains undefeated in the UFC.

Jacare, though, is the one to end that streak. He can be competitive anywhere in the fight. He has knocked out Yushin Okami and Derek Brunson, and his jiu-jitsu is impeccable. Honestly, I’m not sure whether he’ll knock out Carmont or submit him, but either is a possibility.

Jacare makes a case for a title shot with a second-round submission win.

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

Wilcoxon: This is what Fight Night events have become. These cards feature a great main event, a decent co-main event and a bunch of fights that appeal to the local area. And let’s be honest, this a great fight. It features the former UFC light heavyweight champion against the former Dream and Strikeforce champion to see who moves on to a possible shot at the winner of the championship contest between Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort.

Machida is well-known to UFC fans. He started his career going 16-0 and defeating a number of well-respected fighters on his way to capturing the UFC belt. He was often described as “elusive” for his ability to avoid taking any damage. Since that initial run, however, Machida is just 4-4. He admits he has changed his style to get more finishes. That change has seen three of his last four wins come from knockout, but it has also added more losses to his record.

On the other side is Mousasi. Mousasi is a sambo master and a kickboxer. He has been known as a finisher throughout his career, with 29 of his victories coming before the scorecards. Although Mousasi has the skill to win this fight, he has to be considered a big underdog. Not only has Mousasi been out for almost a year, but the fighters’ styles seriously favor Machida.

The fight will likely stay standing. However, Machida does have the wrestling background to take the fight down if he chooses. As impressive as Mousasi’s wins have been, Machida’s victories are better and Machida is the better athlete. Mousasi does have knockout power, so he will never be completely out of the fight. But if Mousasi doesn’t land flush, Machida wins this by a third-round knockout.

Miller: Does Mousasi present problems for Machida? You bet your left foot he does. Mousasi, as Richard pointed out, has been a champion in multiple promotions, and these are actual world-class promotions. He’s had a great kickboxing career in K-1 and almost boxed in the 2012 Olympics.

Is it realistic that those problems manifest themselves in this fight? I wouldn’t bet your lunch money, let alone your foot. Machida is at a completely different level beyond most competition. It’s not that he’s been doing karate since he could walk, or that he’s trained, or is a Nogueira jiu-jitsu black belt. It’s that he’s able to mix all his skills together so seamlessly.

I really don’t know where the “more aggressive Machida” talk comes from. Yes, he got an exciting knockout over Mark Munoz, but he looked like the same Machida who only moves forward when there’s an opening. He was perfectly content to circle and feint. The only way I he loses this fight is through complacency. His losses to Phil Davis and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson could have been considered wins, but the judges didn’t see it that way due to Machida’s perceived lack of aggression.

Hopefully it’s a more exciting fight than that scenario. Machida will probably spend a round figuring out Mousasi, but he will go in for the finish after that. Machida by second-round knockout.

De Souza: I also don’t see where this supposed “more aggressive Machida” bit is coming from. He seems like the same dude that knocked out Thiago Silva and Rashad Evans. He still brings an elusive karate-based style to the Octagon, he still counterstrikes effectively, and he still stands as one of the top light heavyweights in the world. Against Mousasi, though, it is unclear exactly what Machida will face.

On one hand, the former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion brings more problems to Machida than one might believe. He packs a solid kickboxing game and strings punches together very well. When it comes to the ground game, the judo black belt brings an impressive array of takedowns. Also, in addition to owning 18—yes, 18—wins by some form of knockout, Mousasi knows his way around the submission game, forcing a tap from 11 opponents in his career. Incorporate the fact that he owns some of those submission wins over the likes of Melvin Manhoef, Mark Hunt and Mike Kyle, and Mousasi presents a great challenge to Machida.

On the other hand, Mousasi came into UFC on Fuel TV 9 hungry to fight Alexander Gustafsson, but instead wound up facing Ilir Latifi. Although he did avoid takedowns from Latifi and dominated on the feet, the performance left the world wanting more from “The Dreamcatcher.” Chalk up that performance to a knee injury or the change in opponents, but now Mousasi will try handling the heat at 185 pounds.

Will the weight cut impact Mousasi negatively? It didn’t affect Machida when he dropped to 185 to fight Munoz and it should not affect Mousasi.

Machida presents the kind of striker that will force Mousasi to come forward and find him. That will allow Machida to tag Mousasi with a left and overwhelm him with strikes en route to a second-round TKO.

Preliminary Card
WW: Ildemar Alcantara (19-6) vs. Albert Tumenov (12-1)

Miller: Old vs. young here. Ildemar Alcantara is 31, whereas Albert Tumenov is only 22. Alcantara is coming off a loss, but he is 2-1 in the UFC so far and knows what those bright lights feel like. Tumenov has knocked out his last six opponents, but he is making his UFC debut. Usually I side with the veteran, but I’m thinking the Russian comes away with the win. Tumenov by decision.

De Souza: Alcantara may be coming off a loss, but he still proves a threat for anyone. Despite losing to Igor Araujo, Alcantara will get a tough test in Tumenov, who has not lost since May of 2011. With 10 knockouts and six submissions on his pro record, Alcantara will look to test Tumenov. Yet, something about Tumenov just stands out. With seven finishes in his current eight-fight winning streak, the Russian prospect seems destined to score another knockout in his UFC debut. Tumenov by a first-round TKO at the midway point of the opening frame.

Wilcoxon: Not since Gunnar Nelson have I been this excited to see a prospect. Tumenov is considered something of a striking phenom, proven by his last six fights and seven of his last eight ending in knockout. He is a counter-striker with great footwork and power. He has decent takedown defense, but not much is known about his ground game. Alcantara is a tough fighter, but if he can’t get the fight to the ground quickly, he will be out cold in the first.

FW: Felipe Arantes (15-6-1) vs. Maximo Blanco (9-5-1)

Wilcoxon: Felipe Arantes is younger and has had more fights than Maximo Blanco, but the edge in competition definitely goes to Blanco, who has competed in Sengoku and Strikeforce before joining the UFC. Blanco is one of the better fighters Arantes has faced. Blanco’s wrestling ability will dictate where this fight is going to take place, and I see Blanco walking away with the knockout victory in the third round.

De Souza: Blanco’s over-aggression might overwhelm his opponents, but his past tendencies to either throw illegal strikes or attack after getting the win caused him to garner the reputation of a “loose cannon.” Additionally, anyone who comes in overly aggressive against a calmer fighter should expect to go out in a flash. Arantes will get a knockout here. I suspect Blanco’s over-aggression will kick in early and cause him to go out as early as the first round.

Miller: No arguments here. My fellow panelists made good points, and I have come to the same conclusion. If Arantes can weather an early storm and wait for Blanco to gas, he should be able to walk away with a decision win.

BW: Yuri Alcantara (28-5) vs. Wilson Reis (17-4)

De Souza: WIlson Reis scored a nice unanimous decision win over Ivan Menjivar in his UFC debut, bumping his streak to five wins in a row since a September 2011 defeat to Bellator bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas. Reis faces Yuri Alcantara, who has not competed since his loss to Urijah Faber at UFC Fight Night 26. The same trips and top control that stifled Menjivar fall in line with the type of takedown offense and top control that traditionally shuts down anything Alcantara wants to do on the feet. Unless Alcantara shows some improved takedown defense and keeps it standing, he’ll lose another unanimous decision verdict, as Reis moves up to a six-fight winning streak.

Miller: Alcantara is a beast, and anyone that’s not named Renan Barao would lose to Urijah Faber, so I’ll let that one slide. Let’s not forget that Alcantara had “The California Kid” in trouble during that first round. This one will be a ground battle between two solid black belts. I’m taking the Brazilian this time. Alcantara with a submission win in the third.

Wilcoxon: This is tough one for me. I have been following Reis since his EliteXC days. He is tough and great on the ground, but there is no doubt Alcantara is at an elite level. If this stays standing, Alcantara wins easily with both his reach and power advantage. On the ground, it will be a closer fight. The fight starts standing, and I’m not sure this ever reaches the ground. Alcantara wins by a first-round TKO.

LW: Jesse Ronson (13-3) vs. Francisco Trinaldo (13-3)

Miller: Jesse Ronson is looking for his first UFC win in his second appearance in the promotion. The Canadian previously lost by split decision at UFC 165. Francisco Trinaldo has a UFC record of 3-2, with all of his wins in the promotion coming through finishes. It’s an easy one for the home team—Trinaldo by submission in the first round.

Wilcoxon: I can’t argue with anything my colleague said. Although Ronson put up a great fight in his UFC debut, he still came out on the wrong side of a split verdict. Look for a repeat. Ronson will put up a fight, but Trinaldo will pull out the win.

De Souza: Ronson knows he needs to do something big here, because a loss might signal his end with the company. Trinaldo, in contrast, might be safe if he gets bumped down to the .500 mark in the UFC. Ronson faces a tough challenge head on and secures the better end of a unanimous decision win.

LW: Rodrigo Damm (11-6) vs. Ivan Jorge (25-3)

De Souza: On paper, it seems as though it’ll take a devastating knockout artist to put down Ivan “Batman” Jorge, who won by unanimous decision against Keith Wisniewski in his most recent UFC tilt. However, fights don’t always play out as they do on paper. Rodrigo Damm defeated Mizuto Hirota in his most recent UFC appearance, and he will come off a layoff due to an injury that took him out of UFC Fight Night 29. Unless Damm proves healthy enough to complete his takedowns in the same manner as Wisniewski did in the first round against Jorge, fans will see Batman outwork Damm in the first two rounds, rock him in the third and choke him out midway through the final stanza.

Wilcoxon: Dale hit this one on the head regarding Damm’s health. Damm is now 34 years old, and you have to wonder if his body is just breaking down after so many years in the sport. He hasn’t strung together back-to-back wins since 2008. Damm is moving back to lightweight after competing at featherweight in the UFC, but it won’t change the results. Jorge rocks Damm and finishes him with a submission in the second.

Miller: I feel like the UFC is feeding Damm to the wolves in this one. Jorge is a complete stud on the ground and has 13 submission wins. He’ll do it again on fight night. Jorge by submission in the first round.

LW: Cristiano Marcello (13-5) vs. Joe Proctor (8-2)

Wilcoxon: It is somewhat surprising to see that Cristiano Marcello is still in the UFC. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt is the very definition of one-dimensional. He lacks both effective striking and takedowns. However, he is matched against another submission specialist in Joe Proctor. Proctor has struggled against fighters he couldn’t get to the ground. The fighters’ styles makes this a tough call, but I will lean towards the Boston product to avoid the ground and win a decision by out-striking Marcello.

Miller: On one hand, we’ve seen how Proctor can be successful when/if he gets people to the ground, but on the other hand I feel that Marcello would outclass him there. I’m going to stick with my hometown and keep it Boston Strong. Proctor by decision.

De Souza: I believe this is what we refer to as a “sweep,” gentlemen. Nothing against Marcello, who holds home court by default (and is a beast on the ground), but Proctor represents one of the few people that can hang with him if it goes there. I agree with my colleagues that Proctor will avoid the ground, however, and he will edge out Marcello in the first round and take the third round rather handily en route to a unanimous decision win.

FW: Zubair Tuhugov (15-3) vs. Douglas Silva (22-0)

Miller: It should be an exciting fight between Zubair Tuhugov and Douglas Silva to start of the prelims. I don’t know how Silva will react now that he’s in the UFC, but how can you not pick the guy who’s undefeated with 18 knockout wins? Them Russians are tough, but Silva will knock out Tuhugov in the first.

De Souza: The 18 knockout wins for Silva are fantastic, but to be 28 years old and 22-0 as a pro? You don’t hear of records like that in MMA, outside of Alexander Sarnavskiy, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Julio Cesar Neves, and even then, it feels ridiculous. But that ridiculousness also makes it kind of cool. It seems natural to pick Silva over Tuhugov because of the records alone, but the 22 year-old Tuhugov originally planned to see Thiago Tavares, who chose to drop to featherweight not long ago. Keep an eye on Tuhugov, because that kid could prove himself as something special. However, Silva will earn yet another rapid-fire knockout win and keep his streak going.

Wilcoxon: Tuhugov is a top prospect that I may have favored against Tavares. He is a sambo champion that prefers to strike. He has fast hands, nice head movement and knockout power. He was set to meet Tavares, who would want to get the fight to the ground, but he is now faced with a power striker. My colleagues have said that Silva has knockout power, but that is an understatement. Furthermore, he is built like a tank, which helps him fend of takedowns. This fight will be technique versus raw power. Although I would like to say that technique will win out, I have a feeling that Silva will connect with the one punch he needs late in the first round.

About The Author

Zach Miller
Staff Writer

Zach is a Boston native and has had a fascination with martial arts since playing Mortal Kombat at five years old. He was introduced to MMA after watching The Ultimate Fighter 5: Team Pulver vs. Team Penn. A recent graduate of the University of New Hampshire, Zach seeks to one day become a full-time MMA journalist. In addition to watching the sport, he has also trained in Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu, kickboxing, and tae kwon do. Zach has also written for NortheastMMA.