There are not one, but two UFC cards this weekend, the second of which is UFC Fight Night 100, which takes place Saturday night at Ginasio do Ibirapuera in Sao Paulo, Brazil. As you’d guess, the card is full of Brazilian fighters, including a number of exciting prospects to keep your eye on.
Here are the top five things to watch for at UFC Fight Night 100, including my analysis of some of the best fights on the card.
1) Bader Fights Nogueira In Main Event Rematch
The main event of UFC Fight Night 100 is a light heavyweight rematch between Ryan Bader ($9,500) and Brazil’s Antonio Rogerio Nogueira ($6,700). These two first met back at UFC 119 with Bader winning a close decision, and now six years later they meet again in the final fight on Bader’s UFC contract.
Bader, who is 33 now, is one of the top wrestlers in the UFC light heavyweight division and he also packs a big punch. With a 14-5 record in the UFC, Bader is a legitimate top-10 fighter in his division. He’s won six of his last seven fights and in his last outing scored a big knockout win over Ilir Latifi. As for Nogueira, he’s 40 years old now and is only 5-4 in the UFC. But despite his advanced age, he is coming off of a huge knockout win over Patrick Cummins which earned him this opportunity to rematch Bader in a main event in his home country of Brazil.
Analysis: Nogueira looked good against Cummins, but Bader is an elite light heavyweight. Bader should be able to use his wrestling to dictate where this fight takes place, and he’ll use his grappling to either win a decision or knock Nogueira out with his fists. I think Bader is likely to win this fight, but at $9,500 you’ll be looking for him to get a finish to justify the price.
2) Almeida and Morales Meet In Clash Of Top Prospects
The co-main event of UFC Fight Night 99 is a bantamweight bout between Thomas Almeida ($9,700) and Albert Morales ($6,500). Almeida is only 25 and is already 21-1 in his MMA career including a 4-1 record in the UFC. He is coming off of a knockout loss to Cody Garbrandt, but still has the ability to emerge as a title contender at 135lbs. He is an incredible striker and this fight against Morales should be a fun standup fight. Morales is also 25 and is coming off of a draw in his UFC debut to Alejandro Perez. Like Almeida, Morales is a finisher, which makes this an intriguing matchup.
Analysis: Morales is a really good prospect, but Almeida is even better. Look for Almeida to catch Morales’ chin and get a knockout win in this fight. At $9,700 you’ll have to make some room on your roster for Almeida, but I think he should have a big night for your squad.
3) Jotko Takes on Leites in Middleweight Matchup
Poland’s Krzysztof Jotko ($7,900) will compete in the biggest fight of his career to date when he take on Brazil’s Thales Leites ($8,300) in an important middleweight matchup. Jotko is currently 5-1 in the UFC and is on a four-fight win streak, with a knockout win over Tamdan McCrory in his last fight earning him the chance to face a top-15 middleweight in Leites. The veteran Brazilian is 11-5 overall in the UFC and is coming off of a submission win over Chris Camozzi. Leites is one of the top gatekeepers in the division an if Jotko can get by him it would shoot him into title contention, but that’s easier said than done.
Analysis: Tough fight to call. As good as Jotko has looked as of late, he’s still largely untested against top middleweights and Leites certainly qualifies as one. The fact the fight is taking place in Brazil should give Leites an edge here too. My pick is Leites to win the fight at $8,300, but it doesn’t come easy.
4) Alves Fights Usman In Important Bout
In a battle of Ultimate Fighter winners, Brazilian Warlley Alves ($8,800) takes on Nigeria’s Kamaru Usman ($7,400). Alves, who won TUF Brazil 3, is 4-1 in the UFC. He’s only 25 years old and though he lost his last fight, he still has all sorts of potential in MMA and can’t be written off as a prospect just yet. As for Usman, the TUF 21 winner, he’s 28 and already a perfect 3-0 in the UFC. Alves is more of a finisher, but Usman has amazing wrestling and the stylistic clash should make this a very interesting matchup to watch as a fan.
Analysis: Alves is a good fighter, but Usman has a heavy wrestling game that should be able to get him the victory in this fight. However, he’s more likely to win by decision, which makes him a questionable, pricey pick at $8,800.
5) Scoggins Makes Bantamweight Debut Against Munhoz
After struggling to make the flyweight limit of 125lbs, Justin Scoggins ($8,400) has decided to move up to 135lbs and in his bantamweight debut he’ll take on Brazil’s Pedro Munhoz ($7,800). Scoggins is only 24 and went a solid 4-2 as a flyweight before he grew into his frame and could no longer make 125. The striker is currently on a two-fight win streak and a few wins at bantamweight could shoot him into the top-10 of his new weight class. As for Munhoz, he’s 2-2, 1 NC in the UFC, though he’s struggled with inconsistency and a failed drug test. Having said that, there’s no doubt he’s a skilled fighter, especially as far as his grappling and submission game goes.
Analysis: The biggest question mark here is Scoggins moving to 135. If he can make a successful transition to his new weight class, he has a good chance at beating Munhoz. But with that question mark of the new weight class, it’s hard to rely on him here. Scoggins is the favorite and should win this fight, but I think I’ll pass on Scoggins for my lineups.
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