After a morning of fights in Germany, the UFC heads to Brazil on Saturday night to complete its first-ever dual fight day with The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 3 Finale.

This card was originally set to be headlined by the show’s two coaches, Wanderlei Silva and Chael Sonnen, but injuries suffered by Silva in a confrontation between the two fighters on the set of the reality show ended up pushing the fight back to July. The UFC took the setback in stride and immediately booked a solid heavyweight clash between former champion Junior dos Santos and rising star Stipe Miocic, but a late injury to “Cigano” put the promotion in a tough spot. The UFC were forced to ask light heavyweight slugger Fabio Maldonado to move up in weight and take on Miocic.

On paper, this is one of those cards that fans will point to when they say the UFC is running more shows than its roster can handle. But although there’s admittedly a lack of recognizable names, this has the potential to be a very exciting card. With multiple heavyweight bouts sprinkled throughout the night, a main event featuring one of the UFC’s most exciting brawlers in Maldonado and Brazilian stars like Demian Maia and Rony Jason filling out the main card, we should be in for a good night of fights.

The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 3 Finale takes place at Ginasio do Ibirapuera in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The main card will air on Fox Sports 1 at 10 p.m. ET, with preliminary bouts airing directly before at 8 p.m. A trio of fights will kick off the card on UFC Fight Pass at 6:30 p.m. ET.

The MMA Corner’s Eric Reinert, Dale De Souza and Vince Carey break down the entire card in this edition of the Round Table.

FW: Rony Jason (14-4) vs. Robert Peralta (17-4)

Reinert: Rony Jason looked for a bit like he could be the next great Brazilian featherweight. He won the inaugural season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil and followed that up with two stoppage victories. His hot streak was cooled considerably, however, when Jeremy Stephens separated him from consciousness in November. He didn’t seem to let the loss get him down, though, and finished Steven Siler in just 77 seconds in his comeback.

Robbie Peralta, meanwhile, has had a UFC career somewhat mired in controversy. First, a TKO victory over Mackens Semerzier was ruled a no-contest after it was discovered that an accidental headbutt aided Peralta in his victory. Then there’s the matter of his first UFC loss against Akira Corassani after which Peralta tested positive for marijuana. He does have three UFC wins to go with that controversy, however, including two by knockout.

All that said, it’s pretty tough to bet against Jason here. Despite his loss to Stephens, he still looks very much like he could be a featherweight title contender sooner rather than later, and I’ll predict another quick TKO finish for the Brazilian on Saturday.

De Souza: Even from his time on the first season of TUF Brazil, Jason made it clear that he was going to be a fighter to keep an eye on in the future. HIs style always made for entertaining fights, plus he had the raw tools to make it, so long as he kept putting everything together. On the heels of that knockout loss to Stephens, though, he knew he needed to turn things around.

In stepped Siler, who presented a good test for Jason on paper and needed to right his own ship after a loss to Dennis Bermudez. Jason was able to tag Siler and score a finish over the TUF 14 alum, though the win certainly did not come without its share of controversy, mostly because of what appeared to be an early stoppage.

In Peralta, Jason faces a fighter that is, in some ways, a good match-up for him. Peralta will look to keep this fight standing at every possible turn. Jason always has his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills in his back pocket, but don’t anticipate Jason being able to keep Peralta down long enough to work his grappling game.

Therefore, one should expect that this will end via a knockout of sorts, with Jason getting the win at home thanks to one well-placed knee to the body and a flurry of punches.

Carey: My gut tells me that this fight is going to produce some fireworks.

The loss to Stephens killed a lot of Jason’s momentum, but the door will be open for him to earn another big opportunity if he can put together an impressive performance. His win over Siler allowed him to remind fans how dangerous he could be, and a similar performance might be enough to allow him to jump into the lower levels of the UFC rankings.

Jason’s the favorite, but he’s going to have to be careful of Peralta’s power early in this fight. There’s a reason that almost all of Peralta’s wins have come by knockout. The man hits like a freight train at 145 pounds. Jason’s fought some heavy hitters in the past, but Peralta is a scary opponent to engage in a slugfest. Jason is going to have to avoid getting roped into a war.

I don’t foresee Peralta having much more than a puncher’s chance, but he hits hard enough to steal this fight if he lands early. Expect a “Fight of the Night” candidate, as Jason survives an early onslaught from the American before scoring a knockout blow later in the fight.

WW: Demian Maia (18-6) vs. Alexander Yakovlev (21-4-1)

De Souza: Alexander Yakovlev will face a tall order in his UFC debut. After originally planning to face Yan Cabral as part of UFC Fight Night 40, Yakovlev was moved to this bill as a replacement for Mike Pierce, who originally was supposed to face Demian Maia. Now, Yakovlev finds himself in something of an uphill battle.

Despite being the new kid on the block, Yakovlev has been thrown into the deep end to face one of the best grapplers in the welterweight division. In the past, Maia’s biggest asset has been his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game, and he plans on using it in full force, just as he has done against the likes of Chael Sonnen, Ed Herman, Rick Story and others. Add in the fact that his stand-up has improved from what it was during Maia’s middleweight run, and this feels like Maia’s fight, hands down.

Still, don’t count out Yakovlev just yet. The former sambo champion brings enough to the table, in terms of takedowns, stand-up and the ability to mix the two, to where he can hold his own in a fight, regardless of where the fight goes. Mind you, taking down a guy like Paul Daley does not equate to taking down a BJJ ace like Maia, who, by the way, has proven to be more than comfortable on the ground. But in a sport where nobody can afford to be one-dimensional, it always helps to carry a few takedowns, just in case.

The bout does favor Maia on paper, but this one may be a bit more of a challenge than people want to believe. If Yakovlev has a chance to win in this fight, it will be from taking Maia down and keeping him there. Given Maia’s own ground game, though, the newcomer might struggle to effectively work in that area. In short, Maia controls the action on the mat en route to a submission win inside the distance.

Reinert: Wow, talk about a tough test to have to pass in your UFC debut. In Maia, Yakovlev gets a former middleweight title challenger who is also considered one of the best submission grapplers in the world. Maia went 9-4 in the UFC at 185 pounds, and he was stopped precisely one time—in his first professional loss against Nate Marquardt.

After dropping a bout to current middleweight champion Chris Weidman, Maia decided to drop a division and began his welterweight campaign with three straight victories. Maia’s winning ways didn’t last, though, and he enters his fight with Yakovlev coming off two consecutive decision losses.

Make no mistake, Yakovlev is no slouch. With 21 wins in 25 professional fights, the man they call “Sultan” has established himself as a force to be reckoned with outside the UFC. His most recent win—and third straight—came against the aforementioned Daley, a former UFC contender, and a win over Maia would certainly make his a name worth noticing.

Although Yakovlev has notched eight wins each by KO/TKO and submission, three of his four pro losses have come after he tapped out. Against a guy like Maia, a submission ace who will likely also be the slightly larger fighter, he’s going to have his work cut out for him. I’m with Dale here in predicting Maia will apply the submission game for which he has become so well known and coax a tap from Yakovlev inside the distance.

Carey: The UFC decided to throw Yakovlev straight into the fire for his UFC debut. Maia has earned every bit of his reputation as a submission artist, and he’s likely going to showcase those skills against the submission-prone Yakovlev.

Rory MacDonald did a nice job of shutting down Maia’s offense in the Brazilian’s last appearance, mostly by using his range and making it tough for Maia to get the fight to the floor. That’s likely going to be the strategy for Yakovlev as well, but it would be shocking if he is able to succeed in the same manner as MacDonald did.

I agree with my colleagues’ assessment that Yakovlev is no joke, but I don’t think he’s going to be a title contender anytime soon either. Although he has a solid resume and the impressive win over Daley, he is in a welterweight division full of fighters that love to get the fight to the floor and his suspect submission defense could get him into trouble.

It’s never a good idea to completely overlook anyone in a fight, but Maia is likely going to end up being a heavy betting favorite on this card for good reason. Unless Yakovlev can keep the fight standing and pull off a finish, it’s tough to see a way in which he can manage the win here. This one is going to be lopsided, and it’s going to end quickly. Maia by first-round tapout.

TUF HW Final: Antonio Carlos Junior (3-0) vs. Vitor Miranda (9-3)

Reinert: Heavyweights Antonio Carlos Junior and Vitor Miranda finished their TUF tournament opponents en route to this final battle. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Miranda’s victories each came thanks to his powerful striking. A former K-1 super heavyweight tournament champion with 24 professional kickboxing wins, he’s obviously going to have the advantage if the fight remains standing.

On the other hand, if the fight goes to the ground, we’ll likely see Carlos with the edge. He only has three professional wins, but each of them have come via submission. In addition, Carlos scored a first-round tapout to earn his spot in the finals, so he certainly hasn’t been shy about taking the fight to the mat.

This is a classic striker vs. grappler match-up, and you can bet that each finalist has been honing those portions of MMA in which his opponent seems to excel. If Miranda has any brains, he’ll have been working extensively on takedown defense, and with his longer tenure in professional MMA, I’m going to have to side with him. Miranda by TKO to win TUF Brazil 3.

Carey: This fight could easily come down to how much damage Carlos is willing to take in order to get his opponent to the floor. Miranda is a scary, scary striker, and it’s safe to say that Carlos has never fought anyone with this amount of kickboxing talent.

Miranda appears to be the more UFC ready of the two, but Carlos has been impressive while staying somewhat under the radar on his way to the finals. His ability to secure a quick submission when the fight hits the mat is his bread and butter, and he’ll have a good chance at getting it against a smallish heavyweight in Miranda.

It’s almost tempting to pick the upset here, but Miranda just seems like the more Octagon ready of the two, and he’ll pull out a win. The former K-1 kickboxer hits hard, and although it’s never failed him before, Carlos’s chin isn’t going to be able to hold up against the onslaught of attack.

De Souza: Something about the striker vs. grappler match-ups always brings a great deal of interest. Perhaps it’s because, on paper, the grappler should hold the advantage due to knowing fully well about how to neutralize the striker’s game, but in reality, even pure strikers understand that MMA requires evolution. And evolution in MMA means using a little bit of everything, even if the ultimate goal remains to get a knockout or a submission. This bout represents one such example of a clash where the grappler should win easily, but may not do so because of what the striker can do.

Why should “Cara de Sapato” win this one with ease? Have a look at his pro record, and the key item that will stick out is that, ever since making his pro debut last year, Carlos has submitted every single opponent he has faced. That, added in with the improvements that he showed in his striking game against Edgard Castaldelli during the quarterfinals, gradually helped many to understand why Carlos was selected as Wanderlei Silva’s first heavyweight pick, which is no minor compliment by any means

Miranda, in contrast, was Sonnen’s second heavyweight pick, but with the way he executed his game plans at every turn, someone might have taken him for Sonnen’s first heavyweight pick. Though his pro record features two losses to Fabio Maldonado, Miranda has evolved from the fighter he was at the time of those respective bouts. Thanks in part to Team Nogueira, Miranda’s all-around game has grown to look quite incredible, even for a striker who, at first glance, many would not expect to be able to grapple.

Does Miranda still have more work to do before we can truly see him at his best? Absolutely, but such is the nature of the the world’s fastest-growing and fastest-evolving sport. Though sitting comfortably at 35 years of age, Miranda can still go a long way, and he will start with “Cara de Sapato” come Saturday. The grappler will fight his heart out in the opening frame, but Miranda will unload with a vengeance and overwhelm Carlos en route to a mid-second-round TKO win.

TUF MW Final: Warlley Alves (6-0) vs. Marcio Alexandre Jr. (12-0)

Carey: It’s an all Team Sonnen final in the middleweight division.

Marcio Alexandre Jr., who was Sonnen’s first overall pick, has had a long road to the finals at this point. He won his last two TUF bouts by split decision, and a leg injury threatened to take the karate fighter out to the competition altogether. “Lyoto” toughed it out and is in the finals, where he’s going to have a chance to try to wow the Brazilian crowd with his striking against the ultra-aggressive Warlley Alves.

Although he usually fights at welterweight, Alves absolutely ran through his middleweight competition in the house to make the finals, and his quick semifinal tapout over Wagner Gomes showed off a killer instinct that Alexandre is going to have to look out for. Sonnen seemed to think Alves had a ton of potential on the show, but Alexandre was the first fighter selected for a reason and could easily finish the fight if given the opportunity.

As impressive as Alves was in finishing his last two fights, Alexandre is extremely dynamic. His style is going to frustrate and confuse Alves early in the bout. If he’s able to stick around, Alves will be a very dangerous fighter in the later rounds, but I just don’t see it happening. I’ll take Alexandre by a TKO finish inside the first.

De Souza: This bout holds a tremendous amount of potential to steal the show, at least before the main event of the evening. Both men bring undefeated records to the cage on this night, but the intrigue comes from the way they’ve performed to get to this point. Those performances will serve as a sign of what fans can expect from both men.

Alves submitted Gomes in the semifinals after knocking out Ismael de Jesus in the quarterfinals, which comes as little surprise to those who have followed Alves’ career. He owns half of his pro wins by submission, and he also owns a TKO win in his most recent pro outing, which came in August 2013. Remember, though, that Alves is only 23 years old, and so this young man still has the ability to refine his game in all aspects, including the striking realm.

If any man could prove themselves as a good test for Alves in the striking department, it’d be the more experienced Alexandre, who owns 10 of his pro wins by some form of knockout. To hear that this man does not do decisions at all would be shocking, considering that both of his wins in the welterweight bracket of TUF Brazil 3 came by way of split verdict. Still, it helps to know that he can go the distance in fights if he needs to, though his record suggests that he prefers to finish inside the distance in order to leave no doubt about the outcome of the bout.

This clash of Team Sonnen members will bring about an interesting battle in just about every area of the game. Alves unquestionably should have the edge in the grappling department, but something seems to suggest that he might try to stand with Alexandre. If he does, though, that will prove to be his undoing. Alexandre will batter Alves with everything from kicks to punches and cut Alves up badly to where the referee will have no choice but to halt the bout early. It may not be a bad cut, but it will still be enough to warrant a first-round stoppage.

Reinert: The welterweight portion of TUF Brazil 3 was not so clear-cut, with three of the finalists’ four tournament fights ending in split decision victories. Alves achieved the lone finish with a submission in his semifinal bout.

This is a bit ironic, considering Alexandre has finished all of his professional fights inside the distance, and scored 10 of those pro wins by knockout or TKO. No doubt, he’ll be looking to make a mark in the UFC with a similarly styled victory on Saturday.

Alves, meanwhile, seems more prone to grappling, with three submission wins of the six on his professional ledger. As with the heavyweight final, it’s a striker vs. grappler match-up, and again, I’m going with the guy with more fights and more finishes. Alexandre by TKO.

HW: Fabio Maldonado (21-6) vs. Stipe Miocic (11-1)

Reinert: This heavyweight showdown was originally supposed to pit Stipe Miocic against former champion and consistent contender Junior dos Santos, but a hand injury to “Cigano” necessitated a replacement. Although certainly not regarded as championship material, Fabio Maldonado has displayed the sort of guts during his UFC tenure that fans and company officials alike have repeatedly heralded.

If not for a loss to Stefan Struve in 2012, it’s very possible that Miocic, not Fabricio Werdum, would be getting the next heavyweight title opportunity. He has displayed abundant skill in his five UFC wins and is the sort of athletic heavyweight that can cause real problems for other fighters. A win over Maldonado, while perhaps not as weight-carrying as one over dos Santos, will maintain his position as one of the elite heavyweights in the division and, with one more victory, must surely land Miocic in a fight with the heavyweight champion.

As mentioned earlier, Maldonado has shown more heart than skill during his UFC career, repeatedly finding himself in stand-up brawls with powerful punchers, none of whom seem to be able to put Maldonado away. Although not listed in the UFC’s official heavyweight rankings, Maldonado, with three straight wins, has certainly shown that his best days are not yet behind him.

As with all of Maldonado’s fights, I expect this to be a slugfest. While Miocic has been able to finish many of his opponents thus far with knockouts or TKOs, I see Maldonado living up to his Energizer Bunny-like reputation. He’ll keep going and going and going until the final horn. Despite his ability to survive, Maldonado won’t escape Brazil with a win. Instead, Miocic will get the better of the scorecards in what will surely be a brutal battle.

De Souza: It would shock me if we did not see a slugfest, if Miocic were fighting anyone other than Maldonado. In fact, before dos Santos suffered an injury, I instantly thought of “slugfest” as a logical description of how the bout could go simply because Miocic can take a punch, as can dos Santos. Still, other factors come into play when discussing this bout, and thus, I personally would not be surprised to see a little bit slower of a fight.

See, for all that Miocic brings to the fight in regards to his stand-up skills, the guy also packs a mean wrestling game. Granted, he doesn’t push guys like UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, but then again, is it really fair to compare any heavyweight’s wrestling to that of the champ? Besides, in fights against Gabriel Gonzaga, Roy Nelson and the late Shane Del Rosario, Miocic blended in a more kickboxing-esque striking game with takedowns and solid wrestling offense in order to help turn the tide in his favor.

Hitting Nelson and Gonzaga doesn’t register in the same class as the prospect of having to hit Maldonado in his face. In fact, if we’re to talk about the best part of that man’s game, besides his crippling body shots, we’d have to discuss Maldonado’s incredible chin. The big question with Maldonado, who has shown himself to be able to withstand the heat of battle for five rounds, is whether or not the dude can keep it up for five rounds straight.

Considering that Maldonado traditionally fights to steal the show every time out, I would expect nothing short of the same when he fights Miocic in Brazil. The move to heavyweight should hold no negative effect on Maldonado’s performance, but Miocic will still find a way to pick Maldonado apart and capitalize on openings for takedowns, all while messing up Maldonado’s ugly mug. Miocic takes a unanimous decision after five rounds.

Carey: Like most other fans, I’m pretty bummed that dos Santos was forced out of this fight. As far as replacements go, though, Maldonado is about as good as the UFC could get in order to save this card. He’s exciting, he’s durable and he has a knack for winning “Fight of the Night” awards.

To be honest, I don’t expect too much out of Maldonado in this bout. The Brazilian is a solid boxer and can take damage with the best of them, but against a pinpoint striker like Miocic, it’s easy to envision Maldonado getting into some trouble. It’s not the best comparison of styles, but Miocic had a field day against the granite-chinned Nelson last year in a fight that could mirror this one if Maldonado is unable to get out of the gates. There’s no doubt that Maldonado is one of the tougher fighters on the UFC roster, but this is a seriously bad match-up for him. The only way I see him avoiding a finish is by taking a beating on the way to the scorecards.

The toughest thing about this fight for Miocic is that he really has nothing to gain with a win. Obviously, I’m taking Miocic, which makes it a clean sweep on this panel, but I have a feeling we could poll the entire staff of The MMA Corner and Maldonado wouldn’t get a vote. Something tells me that we’re still going to get the dos Santos match-up before the year ends, but Miocic is going to have a field day teeing off on Maldonado for 25 minutes in the meantime. Maldonado is tough enough that he’s going to go the distance, but it’s likely going to be ugly.

Preliminary Card
BW: Matt Hobar (8-1) vs. Pedro Munhoz (10-1)

De Souza: Pedro Munhoz is a top-caliber bantamweight in his own right, but let’s keep it real: he only got Raphael Assuncao because Assuncao needed an opponent to fight at UFC 170. This time, Munhoz will come in with a full camp and a chance to show the world why he is called “The Punisher.” That said, Matt Hobar is as game as they come, and he will make Munhoz fight hard for a win. Munhoz secures a third-round guillotine victory after a grueling first two rounds.

Carey: These were two of the better prospects in the bantamweight division heading into the new year, and it took less than six months for both guys to get scooped up by the UFC. Munhoz hung in tough against Assuncao in his UFC debut, but he was thrown into the fire a bit too quickly for my liking. I’m excited to see what he can do against a fighter that’s more on his level. Hobar is a tough out with his solid grappling skills, but it will be interesting to see how he handles the submission skills of Munhoz if he takes the fight to the floor. This is another one that might be a toss-up, but I’ll take Hobar by a close and possibly controversial decision.

Reinert: Munhoz’s lone pro loss came against Assuncao, who would have fought for the bantamweight title at UFC 173 had it not been for a nagging injury. Certainly, there’s no shame in that loss. That said, I see Munhoz being motivated to show just why he was given such a challenging match-up in his UFC debut and, with all due respect to the debuting Hobar, Munhoz will submit his opponent quickly.

FW: Mark Eddiva (6-0) vs. Kevin Souza (14-3)

Carey: I was admittedly half asleep when Mark Eddiva made his UFC debut in China earlier this year, but I don’t remember being all that impressed by his minor upset win over Tuerxun Jumabieke that morning. Meanwhile, I do remember, quite vividly for some reason, Kevin Souza squeaking by a very tough Felipe Arantes last September. Souza’s striking was impressive enough that I think a fight without the effects of Octagon jitters is going to allow him to showcase his power and score a quick win. Souza by an early knockout.

Reinert: It’s tough to argue with Vince’s assessment of this fight. Before the decision victory over Arantes, Souza had notched seven consecutive victories by knockout or TKO. In addition, he brings more experience to the cage, which cannot be discounted. Make it two for a Souza knockout victory to hand Eddiva his first pro loss.

De Souza: Let’s call this a sweep, boys. Here’s the deal: I like Eddiva’s upside, but there’s something about Souza that I just cannot go against. I don’t know if it’s the striking or if it’s something else about the dude, but I also think that Souza finishes this fight with one clean knockout shot. I’ll give Souza until the end of the second to land the deciding blow on Eddiva.

WW: Paulo Thiago (15-6) vs. Gasan Umalatov (14-3-1)

De Souza: At this point, Paulo Thiago must know that to turn things around, he needs to return somewhat to the shades of his old form. He knows how to fire shots with intentions to score the TKO or knockout, and he knows how to use his jiu-jitsu in ways that leave fellas like Gasan Umalatov with no option outside of submitting. The question, however, is whether he can still do it. Having not finished a fight in four years, Thiago will look to send a serious statement to the UFC brass by proving he can still finish his opponent. Though a victory over Umalatov does little outside of getting Thiago back in the win column, Thiago still ends this one with a rear-naked choke.

Reinert: With the exception of Brandon Thatch, every fighter who has defeated Thiago was at the time or is currently regarded as one of the sport’s elite. Umalatov, on the other hand, lost to Neil Magny in his UFC debut back in February. Despite impressive resumes, I don’t expect either of these fighters to finish the other, and therefore will go with Thiago’s UFC experience as the x-factor that allows him to get the decision win.

Carey: Thiago’s been sticking around the UFC for a long time, but he’s likely only a loss away from being the latest UFC veteran to hit the open market. He’s lost three of his last four, and he didn’t exactly look like a killer in his win over Michel Prazeres a little over a year ago either. Yet, Umalatov didn’t do enough against Magny to prove that he can beat an established vet like Thiago. Thiago may not stick around for too much longer, but he keeps his UFC career alive for at least a little while more with a decision win.

LW: Rodrigo Damm (12-6) vs. Rashid Magomedov (16-1)

Reinert: This is actually a tough one to call. While I want to go with Rashid Magomedov due to his eight KO/TKO wins, I’m curious what will happen if this fight goes to the ground. Magomedov has never been submitted, but he likewise has never submitted an opponent himself. With that in mind, I see this fight eventually going to the ground (at least, if Rodrigo Damm has any mind for strategy all) where he’ll dominate positioning en route to a decision victory.

Carey: I have a feeling this is going to be an incredibly close fight. Damm has a solid submission game and his boxing has gotten better seemingly every time he’s fought in the Octagon, but he’s yet to fight a true top-tier opponent in the UFC. That won’t exactly change against Magomedov, who is just a fight into his UFC tenure, but the Dagestani fighter has a solid resume and looked good enough in his UFC debut to give Damm a fight. This is likely going to be a close decision, and I won’t be shocked to see this one go either way, but my gut tells me Magomedov earns a close victory.

De Souza: Here’s a very intriguing bout if there ever was one. Magomedov will fight for just the second time in the UFC against a former Strikeforce title challenger in Damm, who, as Vince pointed out, has really stepped up his boxing arsenal since joining the UFC. Magomedov puts Damm away via TKO.

LW: Ernest Chavez (7-0) vs. Elias Silverio (10-0)

Carey: Elias Silverio is going to get a lot of the hype heading into this contest against Ernest Chavez, and I’m fully prepared to jump on board. “Xuxu” has looked pretty solid in both of his UFC wins thus far, and I expect him to keep on rolling here. Chavez showed some grappling skills in his lone UFC win, but he may be in for a long night against the undefeated Brazilian. Silverio by decision.

De Souza: There’s always something about battling Brazilians in their home country that makes it hard to pick against them, but in Silverio’s case, it also helps to have an undefeated record. The problem here is that Chavez also comes in with an unblemished mark, and someone’s “0” will have to go. I’ll side with the gut feeling I have about SIlverio’s striking and say that he knocks Chavez down and out, but not until late in the second round.

Reinert: Both of these lightweights will be looking to maintain undefeated professional records, and with neither showing much favor for ground fighting, this has the makings of a real scrap. Silverio has looked anything but a neophyte in his first two UFC bouts. Look for him to continue his undefeated streak with a TKO win over Chavez.

HW: Marcos Rogerio de Lima (11-2-1) vs. Richardson Moreira (7-1)

De Souza: This fight between Marcos Rogerio de Lima and Richardson Moreira has me going both ways, because Lima has finished eight of his opponent via TKO stoppage and Moreira’s modus operandi on the show involved out-grappling guys and working for submissions. The choice becomes a little tougher when one realizes that Lima owns two career wins by submission (though one came by punches), meaning that he won’t totally be lost in the grappling department. I’m inclined to believe that Moreira will come out with a ferocious hunger to show the UFC brass why he deserves a contract, and knowing that this might be his last chance to do so, he will submit Lima in whatever way he wishes.

Carey: Someone’s getting finished here, it’s just a question of which guy can catch the other first. Both men made it to the semis before getting bounced from the TUF competition, but Moreira was a little more impressive when he earned a stoppage win in the quarterfinal round. That’s reason enough for me to pick him here. I’ve got the Team Wanderlei fighter by submission.

Reinert: Lima might have achieved his lone TUF tournament win by decision, but outside of the UFC he’s been much more of a finisher, taking out 10 of his 11 pro opponents before the end of the fight. Moreira has a similar resume, with all seven wins coming via some form of stoppage. I don’t, therefore, expect this one to go the distance. Nothing about these fighters’ histories does much to indicate who will win, but Moreira’s grappling advantage could be the difference-maker. I’ll go with “Rick Monstro” by submission.

MW: Ricardo Abreu (4-0) vs. Wagner Gomes (3-0)

Carey: Undefeated Team Wanderlei teammates Ricardo Abreu and Wagner Gomes are going head-to-head in this one, and someone’s “0” has got to go. Abreu was a judge away from making the finals and he’s likely going to be the favorite here, but Gomes really didn’t have a chance to get out of the gate in his fight against Warlley Alves. Gomes, therefore, might end up getting a bit overlooked here. Gomes redeems himself after getting finished so quickly in the semifinals and scores a decision win here.

Reinert: Abreu could have found himself in the middleweight final on Saturday if not for a split decision loss in the semifinals. Gomes, on the other hand, was submitted in the first round of his semifinal fight. Look for Abreu to continue his undefeated streak with a decision win in this preliminary fight.

De Souza: Abreu’s chances were halted only by a split verdict, and in a majority of cases, split decision losses usually imply that the other man had a case towards a win. Gomes didn’t get so lucky against Alves on the show, but he does bring the sort of “kill or be killed” mentality that most MMA fans still love to see in 2014. Therefore, I have this one going to a split decision as well, but this time Abreu takes it by staying more active on the feet and keeping this bout away from the ground.

About The Author

Vince Carey
Staff Writer

Vince Carey has been writing about the sport of mixed martial arts since 2010. Although he is just 21 years old, the Omaha-based writer is looking to provide readers with interesting content on all things related to MMA.