UFC FIGHT NIGHT “BADER VS. NOGUEIRA 2” PRIMER – Ecochard’s Preview & Predictions of Fight Pass Early Prelims through Main Event

By Matt Ecochard, MMATorch contributor

AIRED 9 P.M. ET ON FS1 (with prelims on UFC Fight Pass)

The second UFC event on Saturday features another rematch, but this one is from 2010 when Ryan Bader takes on Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Taking place in Sao Paulo, Brazil the card’s TV prelims and main portion will be on Fox Sports 1. The following are previews and predictions of each fight:

UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims

Francimar Barroso (18-5) vs. Darren Stewart (7-0) – Light Heavyweight Bout:

A pair of light heavyweights will kick off the second UFC card on Saturday night with Francimar Barroso taking on Darren Stewart. Francimar Barroso has shown off some kickboxing skills, but has struggled opponents who are larger than he is. Darren Stewart has shown to be a dangerous striker with 5 of his wins coming from KO/TKO. He uses a taekwondo background, ending a portion of his bouts by elbows and knees and being the shorter at 205 lbs, he closes the distance to land some hard clinch shots. Barroso is much more experienced, but is susceptible to the knockout. Stewart could pull off the upset here and make an impressive debut.

Prediction: Darren Stewart via TKO Round 2

Pedro Munhoz (12-2, 1NC) vs. (#11 Flyweight) Justin Scoggins (11-2) – Bantamweight Bout

Pedro Munhoz has a chance to make it into the rankings against the determined Justin Scoggins. Pedro Munhoz is only 2-2 and 1 NC in the UFC, but has top level BJJ and can submit just about anyone if given the chance. Scoggins is a black belt in Karate, a champion in kickboxing and was ranked number 11 at flyweight but is stepping up to bantamweight for this bout. Justin Scoggins is still the bigger fighter in this bout and if he keeps the fight standing it will be all Scoggins. Munhoz has the ability to submit Scoggins but will most likely have a hard time getting to the mat with him. The durability of Munhoz should allow him to survive but ultimately lose the contest.

Prediction: Justin Scoggins via Unanimous Decision

Fox Sports 1 Prelims

Luis Henrique (9-2, 1NC) vs. Christian Colombo (8-1-1) – Heavyweight Bout

Two very large heavyweights will look to take each others’ heads off in the opening bout of the Fox Sports 1 prelims. Both of these men are large and fairly slow but certainly have the strength to finish the bout at any moment. Luis Henrique definitely has the better ground game however and he will most likely look for a way to get it there. Henrique has been knocked out twice, but it most recently came to a very quick striker in Francis Ngannou. Standing up and on the ground it looks like Luis Henrique probably has more skill, unless he gets caught look for a finish by Henrique.

Prediction: Luis Henrique via Submission Round 2

(#13) Johnny Eduardo (27-10) vs. Manvel Gamburyan (18-10, 1NC) – Bantamweight Bout

Johnny Eduardo and Manvel Gamburyan are two relatively inactive veterans who are trying to stay relative in the current UFC landscape. Eduardo is looking to rebound from a tough loss to Aljamain Sterling last December while Manvel Gamburyan a devastating TKO from John Dodson. Eduardo has the better BJJ and has polished off his standup to become a true mixed martial artist, but still can be taken down against high level grapplers. Gamburyan has always been known for a heavy top game with strong ground and pound, but against better strikers or better wrestlers he really struggles. If Gamburyan does get a takedown it’ll just play more into Eduardo’s strengths. No matter where the fight goes Eduardo should be stronger and come out the victor.

Prediction: Johnny Eduardo via Unanimous Decision

Marcos Rogerio de Lima (14-4-1) vs. Gadzhimurad Antigulov (18-4) – Light Heavyweight Bout:

A war should be coming when Marcos Rogerio de Lima and Gadzhimurad Antigulov step into the octagon. The striking of Rogerio de Lima should give him the edge on the feet, but the ground game is definitely much more the area of domination for Antigulov. The fight will be fast paced for a light heavyweight bout; Antigulov will stand and trade for a short amount of time before going to his comfort zone and really taking the fight away from de Lima. Look for a fun back and forth fight before Antigulov gets his first UFC victory.

Prediction: Gadzhimurad Antigulov via Submission Round 1

Cezar Ferreira (11-5) vs. Jack Hermansson (14-2) – Middleweight Bout:

Cezar Ferreira is looking to make it three straight wins for the first time since his UFC debut when he faces off against the 9 fight streaking Jack Hermansson. Ferreira hasn’t lived up to his potential yet in the UFC, being the protégé of Vitor Belfort has come with a lot of expectations. His striking is fluid and he is a 3rd degree BJJ black belt. Jack Hermansson has very high level kickboxing and a decent wrestling background to stay standing. The fight against Scott Askham showed Hermansson to be quite smart in the striking department and with Ferreira’s history of being KO’d, look for a fun showing from Hermansson with a late stoppage.

Prediction: Jack Hermansson via TKO Round 3

Fox Sports 1 Main Card

Sergio Moraes (10-3) vs. Zak Ottow (14-3) – Welterweight Bout:

When two high level submission artists fight, sometimes the bout will become a standup bout. Zak Ottow will be taking on Sergio Moraes and that very well may be the outcome due to their similar styles. Moraes is the better BJJ practitioner and will look to go to the ground early and often. Ottow should be able to stuff the takedowns and keep the bout standing. Both men have decent striking but Ottow’s should be just a touch better. Moraes either gets the fight down and finishes by submission, or Ottow keeps it standing and gets a decision. I expect a duller fight so Ottow it is.

Prediction: Zak Ottow via Unanimous Decision

Warlley Alves (11-1) vs. Kamaru Usman (8-1) – Welterweight Bout:

Some quality matchmaking occurred with this fight where two ultimate fighter winners in Warlley Alves and Kamaru Usman will be facing off. Warlley Alves has an explosive style where he darts in and out, not only in his striking but will jump at any submission opportunity. Kamaru Usman is one of the strongest wrestlers at welterweight and hasn’t been stopped yet. He has strength to back up his strikes and showed off some submissions skills in his UFC debut as well. Unless Usman gets caught in a fast submission by Alves he will most likely make this four straight wins.

Prediction: Kamaru Usman via Unanimous Decision

(#11) Thales Leites (26-6) vs. (#15) Krzysztof Jotko (18-1) – Middleweight Bout:

An appropriate step up in competition for Krzysztof Jotko occurs when he takes on Thales Leites. Leites looks to keep recovering after upsetting back to back losses against Michael Bisping and Gegard Mousasi kept him outside the top 5. The BJJ skills and power of Leites makes him a difficult challenge for most middleweights. Jotko has been submitted once by Magnus Cedenblad so he is open to that happening against the better grappler in Leites. The striking and technical prowess of Jotko is his strongest aid in his fights, but Leites might just be a little too much for him. The power of Leites will keep Jotko guessing and open him up for a takedown and submission.

Prediction: Thales Leites via Submission Round 2

(#1) Claudia Gadelha (13-2) vs. Cortney Casey (6-3) – Women’s Strawweight Bout:

Claudia Gadelha becomes more active than usual when she takes on Cortney Casey. Gadelha has only fought a handful of times in the last 2 years, but is still considered to be one of the best strawweights in the world. This fight against Casey is a large step down in competition, but still a fight Gadelha needs to win impressively to stay near the top of the division. The striking, submissions and grappling of Gadelha have kept her impressive so far in the UFC and gave two solid performances against the champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Casey has never won a decision, because she has finished all of her victories inside the first round. Starting off strong is Casey’s best option against Gadelha but unfortunately for her, her opponent is a very strong starter as well. In the course of 3 rounds I don’t see how Gadelha doesn’t get the finish.

Prediction: Claudia Gadelha via Submission Round 1

(#11) Thomas Almeida (21-1) vs. Albert Morales (6-0-1) – Bantamweight Bout:

The co-main event is another bout that seems to be set up to appease the Brazilian crowd when Thomas Almeida takes on unranked Albert Morales. Almeida is such a vicious fighter that is incredibly fun to watch as he brings out the best in his opponents. His Muay Thai, precision and power allow him to take out most opponents before the final bell rings. He leaves himself open to counterstrikes and has shown his chin as being hittable yet durable. Albert Morales went to a majority draw in his UFC debut against Alejandro Perez. Morales is a solid MMA fighter, being built from the ground up as a complete mixed martial artist. He just shouldn’t be ready for a fighter like Almeida so expect an early, brutal finish by Almeida.

Prediction: Thomas Almeida via KO Round 1

(#4) Ryan Bader (22-5) vs. (#9) Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (22-7) – Light Heavyweight Main Event:

The main event is a somewhat unnecessary rematch from several years ago. This is the first time Nogueira has fought twice in one year since 2011. Nogueira is always down to surprise the audience with an unexpected win. Bader should just be too much for “lil Nog”, he hasn’t gotten worse since they first fought and has only lost to Lyoto Machida, Glover Teixeira and Anthony Johnson. The wrestling mixed with the power in Bader’s hands allows him to either win by KO or grind out a grueling decision. Nogueira made his name in Japan taking out names like Dan Henderson, Alistair Overeem and Sakuraba, but this isn’t 2004. He still has great striking and power, but just isn’t as quick as he used to be at 40 years old. Look for an early victory by the younger and physically fit Ryan Bader in his last bout of his current UFC contract.

Prediction: Ryan Bader via KO Round 1.

NOW CHECK OUT MATT’S PREVIEW OF THE OTHER UFC CARD ON SATURDAY: UFC FIGHT NIGHT PRIMER – Ecochard’s Preview & Predictions: Mousasi vs. Hall, Pearson vs. Ray, Johnson vs. Volkov

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