Octagon jitters—it’s an infamous term. The first time a fighter steps into the UFC’s eight-sided cage, there will always be talk of whether the emotional rush and the nerves surrounding his debut will have a profound impact on his performance.

Pundits and fans making predictions on fights will cite the jitters as a reason to doubt a fighter’s chances. And in the aftermath of a defeat, these same jitters will take part of the blame for the fighter’s downfall.

So, following each UFC event, The MMA Corner will look at the fighters who made their Octagon debuts and provide impressions on their performances and their future potential under the UFC banner. In this edition, we take a look at Marcelo Guimaraes, the lone rookie combatant at UFC on Fuel TV 4.

Marcelo Guimaraes (8-0-1)—defeated Dan Stittgen via split decision

Yes, Marcelo Guimaraes trains with Wanderlei Silva, but that doesn’t mean he utilizes the same berserker attacks for which the legendary “Axe Murderer” is famous. However, the Brazilian, who tried out for The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil but was instead signed to a UFC contract, did show flashes of such potential when he unleashed a grunting and screaming barrage of strikes against opponent Dan Stittgen in the third round of their bout on Wednesday afternoon in San Jose, Calif., on his way to earning a narrow split verdict.

Although that flurry likely aided Guimaraes in securing the decision, it was in stark contrast to the method of attack he used through the majority of the fight, and one he has utilized throughout his career. The former Caveira Team fighter is known not for his striking, but for his wrestling and grinding top control game. It’s the type of style that might earn wins, but it won’t earn fans.

Guimaraes looked for takedowns and maintained the clinch in the opening round against Stittgen, and did more of the same in the second stanza. Only in the final frame, where he opened up on the feet, did Guimaraes really make an impression. Even if his ground game puts many a fan to sleep, the important thing is its effectiveness in securing him rounds and the victory. But, was it realy effective at UFC on Fuel TV 4? Not really. And if the former Jungle Fight champion couldn’t successfully take Stittgen to the mat, he’s not likely to fare well against the rest of the wrestling-heavy welterweight division.

Guimaraes must continue to improve his striking through his work with Silva. It’ll be important for him to use that stand-up attack to better setup his takedown attempts. It actually wouldn’t be a bad idea for him to also seek out high-caliber wrestlers to train with as well—his wrestling worked well for him in Brazil, but now he’s facing a roster filled with NCAA Division I wrestlers.

Fighters can always improve dramatically from one outing to the next, but Guimaraes already has a reputation as a wrestler who blankets opponents and grinds out decisions while seeking to batter them with ground-and-pound. His lack of takedown effectiveness against Stittgen suggests that even his bread and butter might not be enough at this level of the game. He’s the type of fighter who will spend his time in the Octagon drawing criticism for his style while playing gatekeeper, winning decisions against low and mid-tier members of the UFC roster but failing to score the big wins necessary to climb the ladder to title contention.

Potential: Medium

Photo: Marcelo Guimaraes (top) (Colin Foster/Sherdog)

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