The UFC heads back to Brazil for UFC Fight Night: Maia vs. LaFlare, an event that is sure to test your knowledge of the UFC roster. The undefeated LaFlare will get his toughest assignment yet in Maia, Josh Koscheck is back for more and undefeated Gilbert “Durinho” Burns looks to run his record to 10-0. Let’s break down the event.
Ryan LaFlare ($10400) vs Demian Maia ($9300)
Demian Maia looks to make one last run at a UFC belt, but the undefeated LaFlare is in his way. LaFlare loves takedowns, averaging almost five per fight in his four UFC bouts. Taking the fight to the ground won’t be the wisest strategy against Maia, one of the best jiu jitsu players of this era. While Maia has steadily improved his striking over the years, it’s odd that he hasn’t had even one sub attempt in his last three fights. All that to say this fight will likely remain standing, where LaFlare has advantages in reach and speed.
Pick: LaFlare by decision
Erick Silva ($11900) vs Josh Koscheck ($7500)
Last we saw Josh Koscheck he was foaming at the mouth courtesy of a Jake Ellenberger choke. He steps in on short notice to take on Erick Silva, but this is not the Koscheck from years past. He’s landed a total of 14 strikes in his last three fights, and he’s been finished in all three. Silva was once a top prospect who has shown flashes of brilliance but has faltered against the upper class of the division. Fortunately for him, Koscheck is no longer a top contender. Silva will get it to the ground and submit Koscheck, effectively ending his career in the UFC.
Pick: Silva by submission
Leonardo Santos ($9900) vs Tony Martin ($9500)
Santos vs. Martin features two ground specialists who have yet to fulfill their potential in the UFC. They’ve combined for one knockout in their 27 pro fights. Santos has never been submitted and Martin has just once. So this could be a war of attrition that will likely go to decision. Martin should be able to get in and out on Santos and land more strikes in the process. It might not be pretty but he will do enough for the victory.
Pick: Martin by decision
Amanda Nunes ($11700) vs Shayna Baszler ($7700)
This here is a moneymaker. Baszler is a pioneer in women’s MMA, but she no longer has the speed to compete with the best fighters. Nunes is coming off a loss to Cat Zingano, but before that fight she registered two consecutive first round knockouts. She won’t have any fear of Baszler’s stand up game, enabling her to sit in the pocket and throw combos — and bombs when the opportunity arises. Nunes will land one and Baszler will go to sleep.
Pick: Nunes by KO/TKO
Gilbert Burns ($12000) vs Alex Oliveira ($7400)
Gilbert “Durinho” Burns is definitely a prospect to keep your eye on in the UFC. A member of the Blackzilians, Burns scored victories in his first two UFC fights, earning a Performance of the Night bonus for his submission win against Christos Giagos at UFC 179. Oliveira is making his UFC debut and it will be a baptism by fire. While he has plenty of punching power, Burns represents a major step up in talent for Oliveira. Burns has had no difficulty in getting opponents to the ground in his first two fights, scoring both takedowns and sub attempts in both bouts. He might have to weather a storm from Oliveira, but he will get him to the ground, pass his guard and submit him.
Pick: Burns by submission
Andre Fili ($11500) vs Godofredo Pepey ($7900)
Besides having one of the most fun nicknames in MMA, Andre “Touchy” Fili is also an up and comer in the UFC featherweight division. The Team Alpha Male fighter is very aggressive and fills the stat sheet with a high volume of strikes and takedowns. Fili has nine takedowns in his three UFC fights, including five in his unanimous decision victory over Felipe Arantes, who Pepey lost to back in 2013. But after a rough start to his UFC career, Pepey enjoyed a great 2014 that saw him win two fights, both first-round finishes. He also has a nice ground game, but has completed just one takedown in his five UFC fights. Fili has the edge on the feet, and that’s where this fight will remain. Fili will strike his way into a TKO win.
Pick: Fili by KO/TKO
Francisco Trinaldo ($10800) vs Akbarh Arreola ($8600)
Arreola opened some eyes when he submitted Yves Edwards last November for his first UFC win. He has 17 of his 23 wins have come by submission, including his last four. Trinaldo is well-rounded and holds a 5-3 record in the UFC. But he has never been able to take that next step. He’s also easy to takedown, and that’s where we think Arreola will be able to win. He can get Trinaldo to the ground and implement his best asset — his ground game. He’ll submit Trinaldo in what can be viewed as a slight upset.
Pick: Arreola by submission
Kevin Souza ($10900) vs Katsunori Kikuno ($8500)
Kevin Souza is a straight-up thumper, with 13 of his 15 wins coming by KO. He’s won both his UFC fights, averaging a beastly 5.27 significant strikes per minute. He’ll love this matchup with Kikuno. Souza is 6’0″ with a 74″ reach, giving him an 8-inch advantage there. Kikuno had a nice submission win against Sam Sicilia last September, but was knocked out by Tony Ferguson before that. Everything here points to Souza, who will likely add another KO victory to his record.
Pick: Souza by KO/TKO
Leandro Silva ($10300) vs Drew Dober ($9000)
Dober dropped his first two UFC fights but came back with a nice win against Jamie Varner last December. Silva is a submission wizard, while Dober has never been submitted and has nine submission wins of his own, so something has to give. I still believe that Silva will be able to take Dober down and he’s also the more accurate striker. I suspect Dober will survive but Silva will take the decision win.
Pick: Silva by decision
Leandro Mafra ($10200) vs Cain Carrizosa ($9100)
Carrizosa had an awful UFC debut against Chris Wade at UFC 177. Wade got a quick takedown, passed his guard and choked him out in just over a minute. Carrizosa didn’t land any punches. Mafra’s last fight was nothing to write home about either. as he was submitted by Rick Story in the second round last July. He was also knocked out in his debut at UFC 147. While all this sounds bad, they have only three losses between them. Mafra has big power, fights out of the legendary Chute Boxe camp and has more experience that Carrizosa. Prior to losing to Story, Mafra posted five consecutive KO wins. We look for him to score a KO win.
Pick: Mafra by KO/TKO