UFC Fight Night Sao Paolo Preview

UFC Fight Night 119 heads down to Sao Paulo, Brazil this Saturday night for a meeting of middleweight bruisers. Derek Brunson makes the long trek down to fight Lyoto Machida in front of a Brazilian crowd. There will be many chants of “you’re going to die” followed by raucous cheers every time Lyoto Machida takes a step. Machida has had quite a long layoff since his loss to Yoel Romero in June 2015. He had also lost to Luke Rockhold in April before that. He’s not even listed in the rankings right now, and as a fan who watched many of his early fights, that’s fucking weird to see.

I’m sure he’s hoping to dive back into the top-10, but standing in his way is Derek Brunson, ranked #7, who just enjoyed a win over Daniel Kelly a few months ago. Coming back from a long layoff to fight a younger guy who just had a round 1 knockout victory is a risky fucking prospect, but Machida gets to do it with an extremely friendly crowd. Brunson fell short against Anderson Silva earlier this year, and is probably looking to take out a different legend of the sport, and do it in front of a hostile crowd. Another interesting wrinkle is that every time Derek Brunson goes up against someone who has held a championship belt, he loses. It’s happened four times. Regardless of the outcome, you know a Brazilian crowd is going to go bonkers for this main event. I like to tune in just to hear the crazy people in the background. If someone gets knocked the fuck out, that’s just a bonus.

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That’s not the only match on the card where a legend is looking to bounce back. We also get to see Demian Maia and Colby Covington go at it. I love Covington’s style because he’s kind of a crazy person. You can definitely tell during his interviews, too. He’s on a 4-fight win streak right now and has been calling out every person he can think of. I think he may have even started beef with an inflatable tube man at one point. He dispatched Dong Hyun Kim back in June, and now holds the #7 welterweight ranking. Demian Maia, meanwhile, sits at #3 after a failed title challenge against Tyron Woodley. Now I love Demian Maia, but he looked….just….god awful in that fight. I hope to god he’s been working on doing something else besides laying on the mat and begging his opponent to grapple with him, but at 39 he may not be able to change his game that much. You know Colby Covington has done nothing but work on his takedown defense for this fight. It remains to be seen how well that defense will hold up against the division’s best submission artist, but a win would propel Covington into the title mix.

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Another Halloween treat is top-15 bantamweights Pedro Munhoz vs Rob Font. There are some eerie similarities with these guys. They’re ranked 12 and 13, respectively, both have 2 performance of the night bonuses, and both are 14-2. The bantamweight division is also in need of a shakeup. Cody Garbrandt and TJ Dillashaw have dominated bantamweight talk for much of the year, and Dominick Cruz sits back waiting for his next turn. All it would take is a statement win and some good trash talk and one of these guys could be in the mix.

Ohhhh but I’m not done with the legends talk just yet. Did you think that was it? You silly bitch, how could you forget Francisco Trinaldo vs Jim Miller? Trinaldo is popular enough in his own right with a record of 21-5 and 15 fights for the UFC, in addition to being kind of a wizard at arm-triangle chokes. However, Jim Miller is about to have 28 UFC fights, which is the most EVER in company history. His UFC career goes all the way back to UFC 89. He has NINE performance of the night bonuses. He’s fought damn near everyone. I keep expecting him to retire, and he keeps not retiring. At 34, he’s not even that old, but he has had some BRUTAL fights. One of the things I like least about this sport is fighters I love that stick around too long and take too much damage. I really hope Jim Miller doesn’t end up one of those, but I will tune in to his fights every time.

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If you want to see a guy who gives not one fuck about his own safety, make sure to watch John Lineker vs Marlon Vera. Lineker is a guy who wants to do nothing but knock you out. There is nothing fancy here; he will stand in front of you and take as many shots to the head as you care to throw, and having never been knocked down in the UFC, he’ll shrug them off and push forward to try and knock you out again. With a nickname like Hands of Stone, he is usually successful. He only falls short when guys like TJ Dillashaw aren’t dumb enough to go for it. Marlon Vera is known for his grappling and wrestling, and you can bet your ass he will rely on those if he’s smart.

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It all goes down Saturday night on Fox Sports 1, with the prelims on Fox Sports 2 and UFC Fight Pass. LSU has a bye week this weekend so I’m able to remain calm and collected during the fights. Otherwise, I’m already worked up and then go into a frenzy whilst watching my favorite blood sport. Maybe I can actually relax and not scream profanities at the tv, or maybe just relax. Now here’s hoping no one misses weight so I don’t have to go back and edit this.

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