On Saturday February 15, the UFC returns to Brazil for their first show of 2014 as Lyoto Machida takes on Gegard Mousasi in the main event of UFC Fight Night 36 from Arena Jaragua, in Jaragua do Sul. It is a pretty decent card considering it's a free one, with many intriguing matchups on the card. Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza takes on Francis "Limitless" Carmont in a middleweight matchup and some of Brazil's young guns are also on the card, Erick Silva takes on promotional newcomer Takenori Sato, Charles Oliveira takes on the tough Brit Andy Ogle, and Francisco "Massaranduba" Trinaldo takes on Canadian Jesse "The Body-Snatcher" Ronson. Also, the Alcantara brothers will both be on the card and I'm expecting a pretty good card. I break down every single fight on the card give you my picks, predictions, best bets and analysis of the fights.
Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida (20-4) Vs. Gegard Mousasi (34-3-2)
In the main event of the evening we have a battle of two of the best fighters in the world who have both come down to fight in the middleweight division. Lyoto Machida looked great in his middleweight debut against Mark Munoz, landing a brutal head kick ending the fight in the first round. As for Mousasi, his last fight was in April of last year where he took on late replacement Ilir Latifi. Mousasi was originally supposed to face Alexander Gustafsson, but a cut over the brow on the big Swede took him out of the fight. This will be Mousasi's second fight in the UFC and although he isn't a big name within the UFC he definitely has the credentials, Mousasi's last loss came in Strikeforce back in 2010 and looks to continue his hot-streak. Stylistically this is a great matchup as both guys are primarily stand up fighters and both guys have knockout power. Machida comes in as the favourite at -225 and Mousasi the underdog at +185, I agree with this line as Machida's counter attacking style should give him the edge against the aggressive Mousasi. I believe Machida will use his superior karate to keep the distance from Mousasi and land various kicks in the process, Mousasi will be busy trying to catch Lyoto with his jab, but I don't think he will be very successful doing so. I really like Machida in this fight and this should be a barn burner. We're getting a pretty decent price at -225 and would definitely play him in a parlay.
Lyoto Machida -225
Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza (19-3) Vs. Francis "Limitless" Carmont (22-7)
For our co-main event of the evening, we have "Jacare" who has finished his last four opponents in the first round and Carmont who is riding a 6 fight winning streak and has yet to be defeated in the octagon. This is an amazing matchup and has the ingredients to be fight of the night, a win for either fighter will put them higher on the middleweight ladder and that much closer to a title shot. The line originally opened at "Jacare" being the favourite at -380 and Carmont the underdog at +260, since than the line has sky-rocketed up to -525 for "Jacare" and +415 for Carmont. I'm assuming the whole world is on "Jacare" and that has propelled this line so high, but I don't blame them because I really like "Jacare" in this matchup as well and I think he could get it done within the distance. "Jacare" has more ways of winning and although he is known primarily as a jiu-jitsu fighter, he has been showing off his heavy hands of late. Carmont, on the other hand is very durable and trains with the likes of GSP and Rory McDonald out of Tristar gym in Montreal. I think Carmont will be out-matched on the ground and his only hopes of winning will be if he can tag "Jacare" with a big shot, if he can't, it might be a short night for him. I expect the number to go up even more come fight night so my suggestion would be to play "Jacare" in a parlay or some interesting prop bets might be, Souza wins by TKO/KO at +230 or Souza wins inside distance at -175.
Ronaldo Souza -525
Erick Silva (15-4) Vs. Takenori Sato (17-8-7)
The third fight on the main card has welterweight Takenori Sato making his UFC debut against Brazil's own, Erick Silva. This will be Silva's seventh UFC fight and looks to get back on track after losing his last match to Dong Hyun Kim via second round KO. Silva was looking okay in the match and had Kim hurt but he got sloppy, left his hands down and Kim put him to sleep with a left hook. I expect Silva to come out aggressive as he usually does and try to keep the fight standing. Silva is the biggest favourite on the card at -1100 and Sato the biggest underdog at +700, this line is absolutely ridiculous and I actually believe this fight will be closer than most people think. This line makes you think Silva will walk right through Sato but I don't think that will be the case, I expect this to be a back and forth battle and Sato might be worth making a small play. Silva does have the advantages of fight at home and having more UFC fights under his belt but this doesn't mean he should be this much of a favourite. I'm sure the public is all over Silva because he is the bigger name and I expect the line on him to move up more come fight night but we'll just have to see what happens. I believe Silva wins this fight but I wouldn't touch this ludicrous line, there are better prop bets like Silva wins by 3 round decision at +515 or the fight going over 1.5 rounds at +160.
Erick Silva -1100
Viscardi Andrade (17-5) Vs. Nicholas "Nico" Musoke (11-2)
For our second bout on the main card, we have a welterweight matchup of two fighters coming off first round victories in their UFC debuts. Andrade defeated Bristol Marunde via TKO last August and Musoke defeated Alessio Sakara via armbar this past October. This is an interesting matchup as both guys look to have bright futures in the UFC, especially if they can continue finishing guys in the first round. When the line originally came out Andrade was at -185 and Musoke at +145, but the line has moved down a bit and now stands at Andrade -130 and Musoke at +110. Musoke will have a slight height and reach advantage but Andrade looks to be the bigger guy. When the line came out I really liked Musoke at the price and while I still feel he has a good chance to win this fight, i'm starting to lean more towards Andrade. I think if Andrade can keep the fight standing and stay patient he could land a big shot on Musoke and finish it there. I also think this fight could go under 1.5 rounds and the odds are +145 on that happening. Personally, I'll probably stay away from this one but I'll lean towards Andrade.
Viscardi Andrade -130
Charles "Do Bronx" Oliveira (16-4) Vs. Andy "The Little Axe" Ogle (9-3)
Kicking off the main card on Fox Sports 1 is a featherweight matchup between Charles Oliveira and Andy Ogle. Oliveira is in desperate need of a win as he has lost his last 2 and hasn't won since defeating Jonathan Brookins back in June 2012. Ogle's last fight was in October of last year where he lost via decision to Cole Miller, this will be Ogle's fourth UFC bout. Oliveira will have a height and reach advantage over Ogle but that shouldn't stop the British fighter from coming forward and bringing the fight to "Do Bronx". Oliveira is a huge favourite in this matchup coming in at -650 and Ogle at +475, while I like Oliveira in this matchup the line is set so high I don't want to go near it. There are some intriguing prop bet lines that could be found like, Oliveira wins by 3 round decision at +255 or Oliveira wins by submission at -115. With the number being so high I would suggest parlaying him with Souza and Machida, laying the three should get you close to even money.
Charles Oliveira -650
Joe Proctor (8-2) Vs. Cristiano Marcello (13-5)
Both of these fighters were members of team Faber on TUF 15 and now they set to face off in a lightweight matchup. They are both coming off losses and look to get back on track Saturday night, Marcello is coming off nearly a year layoff and Proctor's last fight was December 2012. Ring rust might play a factor in this matchup as they both look to put on an impressive performance. When the line originally came out it was Proctor at -180 and Marcello at +140, but as it stands now Proctor is up to -220 and Marcello at +180. I'm assuming the line is moving up because the public is on Proctor but I think this is a winnable fight for Marcello, in order for him to win he's going to have to take this fight to the ground and work on his jiu-jitsu game. The longer the fight goes the more I favour Proctor as Marcello has shown that he fades as the fight goes on. Proctor will need to fight a smart fight and avoid Marcello's jiu-jitsu, as long as he doesn't make any mistakes he should go on to win this match, I'll lean on Proctor via decision.
Joe Proctor -220
Ivan Jorge (25-3) Vs. Rodrigo Damm (11-6)
A battle between two Brazilian lightweights is in store as Ivan Jorge takes on Rodrigo Damm in the second last UFC Fight Pass preliminaries. Jorge is coming off a unanimos decision victory over Keith Wisniewski in his UFC debut last September. Damm, is also coming off a victory via split decision versus Mizuto Hirota last June, this will be Damm's fourth fight in the UFC, he was originally slated to fight in October but had to pull out due to a kidney stone attack and has subsequently moved up from featherweight to lightweight. Both fighters are very durable and very experienced in MMA, I expect this to be a ground battle as both guys are great at submissions. Jorge comes in as the favourite at -130 and Damm the underdog at +110, the line seems about right as Damm may have some ring rust and i'm not sure how he will adjust to moving back up to lightweight. This should be a competitive battle but i'll lean on Jorge who doesn't come into this fight with much uncertainty.
Ivan Jorge -130
Francisco "Massaranduba" Trinaldo (13-3) Vs. Jesse "The Body Snatcher" Ronson (13-3)
A lightweight matchup between two fighters with identical 13-3 records, as Trinaldo and Ronson look to get back in the win column. Trinaldo, an alum from TUF Brazil 1 is coming off a submission loss to Piotr Hallman and Ronson lost via split decision in his UFC debut last September. Trinaldo comes in as the favourite at -185 and Ronson the underdog at +160, I think the public is going to be all over Trinaldo and considering he's fighting at home, he has an edge there. I question Trinaldo's cardio because he seems to fade significantly in the later rounds, Ronson on the other hand is younger and in my opinion a bit more conditioned. I think the longer the fight goes the better the chances are for Ronson. Trinaldo's best chances will be to catch Ronson in a submission early and I believe Ronson will be fully aware of this, if this fight goes to a decision, which it very well could, I would lean towards Ronson. I know it's not a good bet to go against a Brazilian in Brazil but in this one I'll take my chances.
Jesse Ronson +160
Iuri "Marajo" Alcantara (28-5) Vs. Wilson Reis (17-4)
Two ultra-competitive Brazilian bantamweights face off in the only bantamweight fight on the card. Iuri Alcantara is coming off a loss against Urijah Faber via decision last August, while Reis looked pretty good in his UFC debut versus Ivan Menjivar. Both guys are durable and are good on the ground, so i'm expecting a pretty competitve fight. Alcantara comes in as the favourite at -270 and Reis the underdog at +230, the line keeps moving up in favour of Alcantara which means the public is probably all over him. I like Alcantara in this matchup but I wouldn't say Reis has no chance, I believe that this will be a back and forth battle with Alcantara coming out with the decision.
Iuri Alcantara - 270
or Over 2.5 Rounds -150
Maximo Blanco (9-5-1) Vs. Felipe Arantes (15-6-1)
In an interesting featherweight matchup we have two fighters coming off a loss and trying to get back in to the win column. Arantes is coming off a split decision loss to Edimilson Souza and Blanco a DQ loss against Akira Corassani. Blanco, who has fought most of his career in Japan needs to adapt to the UFC rules as he has been very prone to making these mistakes, for example, kicks and knees to a downed opponent, something that is legal in Japan. If Blanco can get discipline himself from making these fouls I believe he can make some noise in the featherweight division. When the line originally came out it was at -120 a piece, but as it stands now, Blanco is the slight favourite at -115 and Arantes at -105. This is the closest line you'll find on the card and rightfully so, as both fighters matchup pretty well. I like Blanco in this matchup and would lean towards him winning via decision.
Maximo Blanco -115
Ildemar "Marajo" Alcantara (19-6) Vs. Albert "Einstein" Tumenov (12-1)
For our second fight on the UFC Fight Pass prelims, we have yet another young Russian fighter making his debut, as 22-year old Albert Tumenov takes on native Brazilian Ildemar Alcantara. Tumenov has won his last 8 straight and hopes to transfer that success into the UFC, as for Alcantara, who is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Igor Araujo, will be fighting in his fourth UFC bout, all UFC fights being held in Brazil. Ildemar's older brother Iuri will also be fighting on this card as well. Albert Tumenov comes in as the favourite at -165 and Alcantara the underdog at +145, this is interesting as the promotional newcomer is coming into this fight the favourite. I agree with the line and I really like Tumenov in this fight, I think he can even get a finish within the distance so that might be a juicy prop bet you can find come fight night.
Albert Tumenov - 165
Zubair Tuhugov (15-3) Vs. Douglas "D'Silva" Silva de Andrade (22-0)
Kicking off the prelims on UFC Fight Pass, we have a matchup between two featherweights making their UFC debuts. Tuhugov was originally slated to fight Thiago Tavares, who pulled out of the fight due to an injury and taking his place will be the undefeated Brazilian Douglas Silva de Andrade. I believe both of these fighters are going to come out trying to leave a good first impression and I expect fireworks. D'Silva has 18 KO/TKO's out of his 22 total fights and his last 7 fights have ended in this fashion. Tuhugov is another one of these young Russian kids that has made his way to the UFC and at the age of 23 already has 18 professional fights under his belt. Tuhugov comes into the fight a slight favourite at -125 and D'Silva is the underdog at -105, having not seen either of these guys fight it's really hard to predict who will win but I would lean towards this fight ending within the distance, so I'll lean on it going under 2.5 rounds.
Under 2.5 Rounds -135
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