The UFC makes another foray in to Brazilian territory with this the latest in a long line of TUF finales, but only the third to have come out of Brazil. In addition to the heavyweight and middleweight tournament finals, a heavyweight bout featuring Stipe Miocic and Fabio Maldonado will headline the evening’s entertainment.
Saturday night also marks the first time that the UFC have held two events on the same night, with UFC Berlin also available for our viewing pleasure and you can read more about that fight card here.
Now, on with The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 3 Finale preview.
(#7) Stipe Miocic vs. Fabio Maldonado – 265lbs.
This was originally meant to be Stipe Miocic vs. Junior dos Santos, which of course would have been a far more anticipated and reasoned match-up, but as JDS had to withdraw through injury, the ever-tough Fabio Maldonado took his place with a smile. Maldonado will be going up in weight from his usual home of 250lbs and is currently riding a three-fight win streak with a decision victory over Gian Villante his most recent triumph. Miocic is also riding the crest of the wave, with consecutive wins over Roy Nelson and Gabriel Gonazaga setting him up nicely for this one.
Miocic will be bigger, faster and better prepared, but when it comes to a guy like Maldonado it is hard to say that this will be easy. Maldonado possesses solid boxing skills, power shots, but perhaps most importantly of all, a ridiculous chin. This guy can absorb pretty much everything and still come back swinging. That’s why I’m going to go for Miocic to outclass Maldonado, but not finish.
Prediction – Miocic via decision
The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 3 Heavyweight Final
Vitor Miranda vs. Antonio Carlos Junior – 265lbs.
Both of the heavyweights involved in their tournament final at the TUF: Brazil 3 finale have shown that they are capable of ending a fight in an instance. Miranda secured his place in the final through two TKO finishes and Carlos Junior wound up here as a result of a TKO and submission finish in his two bouts.
While Carlos Junior has demonstrated that he can finish a fight with strikes, he would be foolish to stand with the far superior striker, Miranda. Grappling will be Carlos Junior’s best chance, but I can’t see him getting it to the floor quick enough.
Prediction – Miranda via KO/TKO
The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 3 Middleweight Final
Marcio Alexandre Junior vs. Warlley Alves – 185lbs.
Both Alves and Alexandre Junior have perfect records heading in to this bout, but very different paths to this TUF: Brazil 3 middleweight final. Alves looked dominant in securing two finishes, while Alexandre Junior had to make do with two close decision victories.
Alves has looked a killer in the show and I will be very surprised if he is not getting his hand raised after this one.
Prediction – Alves via KO/TKO
(#8) Demian Maia vs. Alexander Yakovlev – 170lbs.
After finding early success as a welterweight with wins over Dong Hyun Kim, Rick Story and Jon Fitch, Demian Maia has found the going a little tougher of late. Back-to-back defeats at the hands of Jake Shields and Rory MacDonald have left Maia clinging on to his top ten ranking and serious questions are likely to be asked should he falter against the relatively unknown Alexander Yakolev. Yakolev has fought exclusively on the Russian MMA scene, but may be familiar to UK MMA fans, as his most recent performance was a decision victory over Nottingham’s Paul Daley.
Yakolev has shown he is a capable fighter in his 26 fights and will actually carry an edge in experience over Maia. That being said, Maia takes this by being a better fighter in almost every aspect of MMA.
Prediction – Maia via submission
Rony Jason vs. Robbie Peralta – 145lbs.
Winner of the inaugural TUF: Brazil series, Rony Jason got back to winning ways in his most recent performance, TKO’ing Steven Siler earlier this year at UFC Fight Night 38. Peralta also recovered from a loss last time out, KO’ing Estevan Payan back at UFC 168 last December.
Both men are no strangers to a brawling type of fan friendly violence, and here’s hoping they can replicate previous performances on Saturday night. I’m going to side with Peralta on this one, as he will hold a slight power advantage over Jason in the striking exchanges.
Prediction – Peralta via KO/TKO