COMMENTARY | UFC Fight Night 36 will be headlined by an intriguing striking matchup featuring Lyoto Machida and Gegard Mousasi, a bout that might determine who gets the next shot at the Ultimate Fighting Championship's middleweight title after Vitor Belfort squares off against the defending champ, Chris Weidman.
Here are my predictions for the entire UFC Fight Night 36 card scheduled for Feb. 15 at the Arena Jaragua in Santa Catarina, Brazil:
Lyoto Machida vs. Gegard Mousasi
Mousasi (34-3-2, 18 KOs) looked decent during his UFC debut, putting on a workmanlike performance against Ilir Latifi, but "The Dreamcatcher" will be in for his first serious test inside the Octagon when he squares up against Machida (20-4-0, 8 KOs) on Saturday. Both men are top tier strikers with cautious styles, so there's a very good chance a technical standup battle will break out at UFC Fight Night 36.
Expect lots of circling around before Machida eventually finds a hole in Mousasi's defense, handing the latter his first (T)KO loss. .
Prediction: Machida wins via KO.
Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza vs. Francis Carmont
Souza (19-3-0, 14 submissions) established himself as a force to be reckoned with in the UFC's middleweight division during his last outing, walking right through Yushin Okami, winning via TKO at 2:47 of the first round.
Carmont (22-7-0, 10 submissions) also made a strong statement during his last outing, manhandling Costas Philippou for 15 minutes, improving his UFC record to 6-0.
Both men are solid grapplers, but Jacare clearly has the advantage BJJ wise. The Brazilian has struggled against solid wrestlers like Carmont in the past, but he's made lots of improvements since his last loss, so that likely won't be the case at UFC Fight Night 36.
Prediction: Souza wins via submission.
Erick Silva vs. Takenori Sato
Things didn't go so well for Silva (15-4-0, 9 submissions) during his last outing against Dong Hyun Kim. The Brazilian ended up getting knocked out cold during the second round of his showdown against Kim, his second legitimate loss inside the Octagon (he was questionably disqualified for punches to the back of an opponent's head after dominating Carlo Prater at UFC 142).
Sato (17-8-7, 6 submissions) is on an impressive streak, winning eight of his last ten fights with two draws. However, the quality of opposition he's faced hasn't exactly been top level, and he'll likely find himself overwhelmed by Silva's striking at UFC Fight Night 36.
Prediction: Silva wins via TKO.
Viscardi Andrade vs. Nicholas Musoke
Andrade handed Bristol Marunde a vicious beating during his last outing, forcing the first round TKO stoppage, and "The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 2" alumni is set to take on an opponent who was just as impressive during his UFC debut. Musoke only needed a little over three minutes to put Alessio Sakara away at UFC Fight Night 30.
It should be a closely-contested bout between two well-rounded MMA fighters, but Andrade seems to be the better man on paper.
Prediction: Andrade wins via TKO.
Charles Oliveira vs. Andy Ogle
Oliveira (16-4-0, 9 submissions) is coming off back-to-back losses to Cub Swanson and Frankie Edgar, so he'll be motivated to get back on the winning side of things when he faces Ogle (9-3-0, 3 submissions) at UFC Fight Night 36. Oliveira will have a decent advantage on the ground, and, given what I've seen from Ogle so far, he shouldn't have any problems getting the fight there.
Prediction: Oliveira wins via submission.
Cristiano Marcello defeats Joe Proctor
Ivan Jorge defeats Rodrigo Damm
Francisco Trinaldo defeats Jesse Ronson
Iuri Alcantara defeats Wilson Reis
Maximo Blanco defeats Felipe Arantes
Ildemar Alcantara defeats Albert Tumenov
Douglas Silva de Andrade defeats Zubair Tuhugov
Previous fight card predictions (UFC 169): 9-3
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