Just a week out from the UFC's second NYC card that is arguably more stacked than last year's, we have a card coming up this week that could be one of the best sleeper cards of the year. While the numbers on UFC Fight Night cards don't always excel, they usually have entertaining fights and this week's lineup is no exception to that potential. Let's get into it.
Golm vs. Colombo
To kick off the night, we have a heavyweight bout between young Brazilian KO artist Marcelo Golm and Danish Striker Christian 'Godzilla' Colombo. Golm makes his UFC debut in this 3 round bout against Colombo, and he has won his first 5 pro MMA fights by KO/TKO. He has huge potential coming into the UFC at only 25 years old, and he has only been fighting since 2015. Colombo has had two fights in the octagon, and has had a rough go in the UFC so far despite showing skill. He fought to a draw in his debut and in his last fight was submitted by Luis Henrique de Oliviera. He seeks to get his first win in the octagon this Saturday. This fight is very interesting and as it is in the Heavyweight division, anything could happen.
Figueiredo vs. Brooks
In the second and last fight of the early prelims, we have a Flyweight match-up between UFC newcomers Deiveson Figueiredo and Jarred Brooks. Both men come into this fight undefeated and with wins in their respective UFC Debuts. Stylistically though, there is more of a difference between these young 125-pounders.
Deiveson has legitimate power in his hands, winning 6 of his 12 fights by way of KO/TKO, but he is also skilled on the ground in BJJ with 5 submission victories to go along with it. He won his UFC debut by way of corner stoppage TKO. Jarred Brooks is more of a ground specialist, getting 5 submissions in his 13 fights but he shows a complete game with his striking, a bit more patient than Devieson's. This combined with his ground game has gotten him 2 KO's and 6 decision wins. This fight between two young up-and-comers could go any way, and with the speed that comes in the Flyweight division it is no question that these men will have a highly skilled fight that will be entertaining.
Dos Santos vs. Griffin
To kick off the Preliminary fights, we have a Welterweight bout between Brazilian MMA veteran Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos and American MMA Veteran and former TUF contender Max Griffin. Both men have been fighting since 2009 and have seen their share of MMA competition. Dos Santos has been in the UFC since 2015 and although he lost his debut by a split decision, he came back and has compiled a 3-fight win streak including a TKO over Omari Akhmedov, and a decision win over Lyman Good this past July.
Dos Santos seeks to ride his momentum to another win this Saturday. Griffin Also lost his UFC debut, which was in 2016. However after a decisive First round TKO victory over 170lber Erick Montano, Griffin was ready to start a win streak of his own. This Saturday Griffin try to win his 3rd UFC fight and try to climb the ladder in the welterweight division. This fight could be a sleeper as both men have the majority of wins by TKO, so we could have a match full of striking, or perhaps a surprise submission from the fighter who is the more well rounded of the two.
Dias vs. Gordon
In the next fight of the Prelims, we have a Lightweight match-up between UFC Veteran Hacran Dias and UFC Newcomer Jared 'Flash' Gordon. This will be Dias' first fight back at lightweight following two losses in his former division of featherweight to contenders Cub Swanson and Andre Fili. Dias stands at 3-4 in the UFC and needs a win badly to prove he still has what it takes after going through more than 10 years of pro MMA competition.
Jared Brooks is coming into this fight 1-0 in the octagon, winning his debut by TKO. He is a good striker and a well rounded MMA fighter as well showing good ground game in his long stint with MMA promotion CFFC. He looks great and at 29, he is coming into his prime and is coming into the UFC and the perfect time. Brooks seeks to get his second win in the UFC against a seasoned Hacran Dias, and this fight should be a back and forth battle, between two fighters who are hungry to prove themselves.
Marshman vs. Carlos
Next up, we have a Middleweight bout between MMA Vet and UFC newcomer Jack Marshman, and UFC Veteran and TUF Brazil 3 Heavyweight winner Antonio "Cara de Sapato" Carlos, jr. This bout is a true clash of styles, between a tough and aggressive striker in Marshman and a World Champion, BJJ Black Belt in Carlos jr. 'Cara de Sapato' Faced some adversity early in his career, with losses at the hands of Daniel Kelly and Pat Cummins, but he came back and 3 of his 4 UFC wins came by way of Rear Naked Choke submissions, showing that he is simply dangerous on the ground. Marshman has been around the block, to say the least.
While his fight against Carlos, Jr. is only going to be his 4th in the UFC, he brings a record of 22-6 into this fight with two wins in the Octagon, all at the young age of 27. He's been fighting professionally since he was 20 and started training MMA at the age of 15. Joined the Army to be a paratrooper, and served while also fighting part time professionally. This man Oozes toughness.
Marshman is well rounded with some submission victories, but he's been a striker overall in his career, bringing an MMA Boxing style that is responsible for his 13 T/KO victories. He stands at 2-1 in the UFC, and will try to go 3-1 this Saturday against Carlos, jr. This fight could be one sided if Carlos, jr. gets it to the ground, but we will also see how good Marshman's ground game really is. This will be an interesting fight for sure.
Luque vs. Price
In the featured preliminary bout of the night we have a Welterweight contest between Brazilian UFC up and comer Vicente Luque, and Explosive UFC Newcomer Niko Price. Luque comes into this fight 4-2 in the UFC, finishing his 4 wins, two by KO and two by Submission. He has so far showcased incredibly diverse talent and a well rounded MMA game.
At only 25, he has huge potential in the welterweight division, but his opponent sure does as well. Niko Price is undefeated, and currently 11-0, and he has finished 10 of those 11 opponents. 8 by KO/TKO, 2 by submission. He is quite honestly one a legitimate threat in the UFC. He is currently unbeaten in the octagon, and he finished his first 3 UFC opponents, Submitting Brandon Thatch in his debut. He then went on to knock out Alex Morono and TKO Alan Jouban. He seeks to extend his unbeaten streak to 12 against Luque.
This fight could honestly be the best of the night. Two young up-and-coming talents that are coming into their own and both have finishing ability by their submission skill and KO power. This one will be one to watch, for sure.
Vera vs. Lineker
To kick off the Main card, we have a bantamweight match-up between up-and-comer Marlon 'Chito' Vera and UFC Vetaran and KO artist John Lineker. Vera comes into this fight with good momentum, after compiling a 3 fight win streak in the UFC. He lost his debut by a decision, but went on a 4-1 run after that, currently 4-2 in the promotion. He has shown well rounded skills, with a KO over Brad Pickett and an Armbar submission against Brian Kelleher. He's only 24 and has huge potential going forward, and this is one of the biggest fights in his career.
John Lineker, the #5 Bantamweight contender in the world, is no easy customer. He brings a record of 29-8 into this fight and has knocked out 13 of his opponents. Of his 13 UFC fights, he has 5 KO's and also a submission. The way Lineker fights is reminiscent of Wanderlei Silva, with his wide yet powerful shots. His KO power is dangerous and to go along with it he has never been knocked out himself in more than 30 fights. If some people are said to have a chin made of granite...then Lineker's is diamond. He has literally taken some of the hardest shots that people could dish out, but he was never knocked out or even close.
Even against TJ Dillashaw, where he lost by decision. Lineker seeks to get back on the winning track against Vera, and this is going to be a very interesting fight. Will Vera be able to avoidineker's shots? Or will 'Hands of Stone' Lineker land a bomb and get another KO win? We will see.
Santos vs. Hermansson
Next up, we have a middleweight bout scheduled, between #15 ranked Thiago "Marreta" Santos and Sweden's Jack "The Joker" Hermansson. Santos comes into this fight with great momentum, coming off of two TKO victories in his last two fights, both earlier this year. Santos has been a gatekeeper for the 185-lb division, not being able to get through the top Middleweight contenders when he reaches them, coming short in fights against top middleweights at the times he fought them, Uriah Hall and Gegard Mousasi.
However he remains one of the most dangerous strikers in the UFC's middleweight division, getting 6 of his 7 UFC wins by way of KO/TKO, and has always been a dangerously precise striker with a huge arsenal of attacks from powerful punches to devastating spinning kicks. Hermansson is not as flamboyant of a striker as Santos, but he does have some powerful shots. He is a UFC newcomer and Although he lost his debut by submission to Cezar Ferreira he came back and found two decisive TKO victories earlier this year and is now facing his toughest opponent yet in Thiago Santos.
Hermansson has great KO power but since his stand up game isn't as precise as Santos' we could see him try to wrestle and get to mount to do his ground and pound damage, as how he did in his last two wins. This fight will be very interesting, and we'll see who can impose their will first, and who can outlast.
Francisco vs. Miller
In the next fight, we have a lightweight match-up between two true UFC Veterans. Brazilian vet Francisco Trinaldo and American UFC Great, Jim Miller. Miller has been around the block, Numerous times. He's been on the UFC roster since 2008, where he first fought at UFC 89. Let that sink in.
Also let this sink in, this 34 year old is no less savage than he was then, as he is still one of the most active fighters in the UFC today, fighting 4 times in 2016 and twice so far this year. In little over a year, he fought 6 times...something not many fighters at all these days can say. Although he is coming off of a pair of losses to top Lightweights Dustin Poirier and Anthony Pettis, he still is in top form with his aggressive stand up game that showcases some very well rounded MMA striking.
He also has some of the best BJJ in the UFC, and always has had that in his arsenal. Francisco Trinaldo however, is no walk in the park. He is one of the better well rounded lightweights in the UFC, with decisive wins over Yancy Medeiros and Ross Pearson, and even a stoppage victory over dangerous 155er Paul Felder. His striking is dangerous and he also has great Jiu-Jitsu. He's been in the UFC since 2012 and has compiled an 11-4 record over his opponents in the octagon.
He lost most recently, but it was to former Interim Lightweight belt challenger Kevin Lee, so that's sort of forgivable considering Lee is still growing and Trinaldo is now 39. This fight between Lightweight veterans should be a tactical scrap that will have its moments, but both of these men are fighting with great consequences on the line for their career, and that makes this fight very interesting as well. Can't wait to see how it plays out.
Font vs. Munhoz
In the next bout, we have an important Bantamweight showcase between exciting UFC up-and-comer Rob Font and Brazilian UFC Bantamweight contender Pedro Munhoz. Font had proven to be a pretty good prospect showing well rounded skills in other organizations, but he exploded once he got to the UFC, and he has compiled a 4-1 record in the UFC, with all of his wins being finishes.
He came up short in his fight against UFC Veteran John Lineker, but has shown vast improvement since then and is seeking to extend his current win streak to 3 with a win over Munhoz. Pedro himself has proven to be a solid contender in the UFC, compiling a 4-2 record with one No Contest, only coming short to two top 5 135ers, Jimmie Rivera and Raphael Assuncao.
He's shown excellent ground skills and has most of his wins by way of submission, however he does have power in his hands as well. Font however has more technical striking and focuses more on it, which is evident with his 3 KO/TKO victories in the UFC. This will be a great fight to watch as well as both men are coming into their physical prime and also they are ranked #12 (Munhoz) and #13 (Font) so this is for the higher position. An exciting fight in the making, and these two bantamweights should put on a great show for the Brazilian crowd and those watching at home.
Maia vs. Covington
In the second to last fight of the evening, we have a critical Welterweight contest between two top ten 170lbers who are very adept at grappling. In this 3 round fight 10-year UFC Veteran Demian Maia will face off against UFC Welterweight up-and-comer Colby Covington. This is a very interesting matchup as both men heavily employ grappling into their strategy with great success. Demian Maia is a world champion BJJ Black belt and over his 25 UFC fights, he has won 9 of them by Submission.
He is a true specialist and if he didn't submit them then he spent the whole time on the mat landing strikes and making his opponents look like white belts trying to defend submissions and bad positions. He has met tougher competition that he couldn't best, such as Tyron Woodley or Rory MacDonald. But save for the world-class level fighters he couldn't best, he has made everyone else look amateur when fighting him. Colby's style is different, he uses Freestyle, greco roman wrestling techniques and grinds out his opponents with top control, wrestling against the cage, and once he has them down, ground and pound.
He does this until his opponent gives up a bad positioning and he can easily submit them, or until he TKO's them, and it's proven to be very effective for him, as he has compiled a 7-1 record in the UFC with 4 finishes. He's most recently beaten Dong Hyun Kim and has been very vocal on social media about his status as a top fighter and wanting a bigger challenge. This is that challenge. Demian Maia may not chase after and grind out his opponents like Colby, but when they engage him they are usually met with a spiderweb entangling them, in the form of Maia's ability to use BJJ to its fullest potential. If Colby makes a mistake and over commits, giving up his neck like he did to Warlley Alves, he could end up in a submission he can't get out of. This will be a great fight to see two specialists and it will be intriguing to see who's skill outmatches who.
Machida vs. Brunson
In our main event of the evening, we have a 5-round contest in the Middleweight division. Lyoto 'The Dragon' Machida makes his UFC return after a 2 year suspension due to a tainted supplement. He will be facing off against #7 Ranked Middleweight contender Derek Brunson. Machida is an all time great in the UFC.
He's been fighting since 2003, and in his 2nd and 3rd pro fights he actually defeated Stephan Bonnar and Rich Franklin by TKOs. In 2007 he made his UFC debut and went on an 8 fight winning streak. After that his career was a bit back and forth, although he does own KO's over Ryan Bader, Randy Couture, and CB Dollaway and wins Dan Henderson and Gegard Mousasi as well. Although he lost his last two fights, they were to Luke Rockhold and Yoel Romero, who were the best of the best at Middleweight at the time.
Brunson comes into this fight as one of the top Middleweights in the world. He's defeated the likes of Uriah Hall, Lorenz Larkin, Ed Herman, and most recently a huge KO win over Daniel Kelly, showing that his new patient style of striking supplemented with his power is a recipe for brutal Knockouts. Although he's lost to top talent like Robert Whittaker he is still one of the best in the division and a win this weekend could cement that.
Overall this fight is very unpredictable due to the unpredictability of both men's striking, how the time off could've affected Machida, and also how Brunson chooses to approach this fight. Will he charge forward on what he perceives to be a tired and old Lyoto? Or will he be patient? Likewise will Machida be able to avoid and withstand Brunson's shots so he can land his own? Or will the ring-rust take over and hinder him so much that he can't get it done? There is no telling how this fight could play out but one thing is for certain, this fight is going to be exciting and it will truly tell how the level below the top of the Middleweight division will fare in the next few months.