UFC Fight Night 36 – Preview

UFC Fight Night 36 – Machida vs Mousasi

by M4

Once upon a time, like three and half years ago, Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida was one of the most exciting and feared fighters in the UFC. His energy in the cage, unpredictable striking ability, and propensity for finishing fights vaulted him to headliner status in a highly talented light-heavyweight division. The Dragon knocked out menace-to-society Thiago Silva, took the belt from “Sugar” Rashad Evans, and defended it against fellow Brazilian Mauricio “Shogun” Silva via unanimous decision. The sky was high, and at 16-0, the Dragon was killing it. And then, suddenly, he wasn’t.

The Dragon needs to awaken
The Dragon needs to awaken

Three minutes into their subsequent rematch, Shogun caught Machida with an overhead right hand that knocked him off balance. Seizing the moment, he pounced on the fallen champ and tenderized his face like a piece of choice steak. The fight was stopped, and Machida lost the belt. But more importantly, he lost his mojo, and the stigma his previously undefeated record afforded him.

Since that fateful night, the Dragon has yet to achieve the consistency that defined his earlier career. Every time Machida got back into the win column (such as his victory over the legendary Randy Couture), he would take a step back (losing to mega-boss Jon “Bones” Jones). A recent two fight win streak (KO over Ryan Bader, Decision over Dan Henderson) was marred by a disappointing loss to Phil Davis. If the Dragon is to climb back to the perch atop the UFC, he needs to string together some solid performances against top competition. UFC Fight Night 36 affords the Dragon a shot at another big win. Can he claim victory and then ride the momentum back to prominence?

Saturday, February 15th, the UFC presents “Fight Night 36”, Main Card live on FoxSports1 at 10:30 pm – from Joragua Do Sul, Brazil

Lyoto “the Dragon” Machida, Brazil, 35 years old

UFC Rank: #4 Middleweight

Record: 20 Wins (8 KO, 2 Submissions, 10 Decisions) – 4 Losses (1 KO, 1 Submission, 2 Decisions)

Vs

Gregard “The Dreamcatcher” Mousasi, Netherlands, 28 years old

UFC Rank: #9 Light-Heavyweight

Record: 34 Wins (18 KO, 11 Submissions, 5 Decisions) – 3 Losses (0 KO, 2 Submissions, 1 Decision) – 2 Draws

Although Mousasi will be making just his 2nd UFC appearance, he is no stranger to professional MMA fighting – racking up an impressive record over a career that includes stints with Pride, Dream and most recently Strikeforce. So he’s been around the block, he is a fighter that looks to finish, and more often than not he is successful. His name is the Dreamcatcher, which works because he is, as mentioned, a finisher. The man has a myriad of weapons and finishing moves that he can lock on at any given moment and put fighters to sleep. Whether it be a kimura, triangle choke, guillotine choke, armbar… or simple ground and pound – Mousasi is a dangerous opponent in the octagon. He has the experience and skills to be a force in the UFC, and Machida will have to be on top of his game if he wants to walk out with the victory. This is a difficult fight to handicap, because Machida has been so “up and down”. Plus,  Mousasi has power and if he catches Machida, it’ll be lights out, dream on.

Prediction: Machida channels his inner Dragon and takes a huge step toward another title defense with a big win over the Dreamcatcher via KO.

Match 11:

Ronaldo “Jocare” Souza, Brazil, 34 years old

UFC Rank: #3 Middleweight

Record: 19 Wins (2 KO, 14 Submissions, 3 Decisions) – 3 Losses (2 KO, 0 Submissions, 1 Decision) – 1 No Contest

Vs.

Francis “Limitless” Carmont, France, 32 years old

UFC Rank: #8 Middleweight

Record: 22 Wins (6 KO, 10 Submissions, 6 Decisions) – 7 Losses (1 KO, 3 Submissions, 3 Decisions)

Souza will be making his 3rd UFC appearance after coming over from Strikeforce. Lacking significant knockout power, he earns his wins mostly as a submission specialist (although he did win his last fight via TKO – punches). He has beaten Robbie Lawler, who will be fighting Johnny Hendricks for the vacant middleweight title, and is 9-1 over his last 10 fights – and a victory here will put him in prime position for a potential title fight in the very near future. Limitless Carmont, however, enters the fight on an 11 fight win streak, including a unanimous decision over Costas Philippou – ending the veteran’s own 5 fight winning streak. The Frenchman will look to silence the raucous Brazilian crowd by stopping Souza and extending his win streak to 12, boosting his ranking and aiming for his own shot at the belt. Both of these guys are relatively new to the UFC, and it will be interesting to see how Carmont deals with the pressure that the fans will surely attempt to suffocate him with. If he is able to stay off of his back and trade strikes with Souza, he stands a chance… but this fight goes to the ground, he could find himself in some real trouble.

Prediction: Souza via Submission

Match 10:

Erick “Indio” Silva, Brazil, 29 years old

UFC Rank: Unranked

Record: 15 Wins (3 KO, 9 Submissions, 3 Decisions) – 4 Losses (1 KO, 0 Submissions, 2 Decisions, 1 DQ)

Vs.

Takenori Sato, Japan, 28 years old

UFC Rank: Unranked

Record: 17 Wins (3 KO, 6 Submissions, 8 Decisions) – 8 Losses (5 KO, 0 Submissions, 3 Decisions)

Apparently Silva was supposed to fight Nate Loughran, but Loughran withdrew due to an injury, so Sato gets the call. Sato struggled to a 5-5-4 record to start his pro fighting career. However, he is on a bit of a run as of late, winning 8 of his last 10 fights (with 2 draws). That said, none of those fights were in the UFC – and he is about to face a level of competition unlike anything he is used to. This ain’t Kansas anymore, or should I say, Tokyo. Indio Silva brings into the cage with him highly specialized submission skills, and sports the “home field” advantage of the fight being in Brazil. Brazilians have crazy energy and unify like no other fan-base in the sport, in my opinion. Sato is a professional, and in the world of fighting, literally “anything can happen”, but he’s a late addition to this card and is really just a body that Silva will have to spar with for awhile. Sato will get a nice payday, comparatively speaking, but he’s not just fighting Silva, he’s fighting an entire nation.

Prediction: Silva by Submission

 

Match 9:

Viscarde Andrade, Brazil, 29 years old

UFC Rank: Unranked

Record: 17 Wins (5 KO, 6 Submissions, 6 Decisions) – 5 Losses (1 KO, 1 Submission, 1 Decision)

Vs

Nicholas “Nico” Musoke, Sweden, 27 years old

UFC Rank: Unranked

Record: 11 Wins (4 KO, 5 Submissions, 2 Decisions) – 2 Losses (1 Submission, 1 Decision)

Prediction: Andrade by Decision

 

Match 8:

Charles “Do Bronx” Olveira, Brazil, 24 years old

UFC Rank: Unranked

Record: 16 Wins (6 KO, 9 Submissions, 1 Decision) – 4 Losses (2 KO, 1 Submission, 1 Decision)

Vs.

Andy “The Little Axe” Ogle, England, 24 years old

UFC Rank: Unranked

Record: 9 Wins (2 KO, 3 Submissions, 4 Decisions) – 3 Losses (0 KO, 1 Submissions, 2 Decisions)

Prediction: Olveira by KO

 

Prelims: 7 undercard fights are viewable on UFC Fight Pass, starting at 7:30 PM.