Fight Picks – UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Dolloway

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After twelve months of thrills and spills for the UFC it all comes to an end for the year this Saturday night as the octagon travels back to it’s South America base with the Ginásio José Corrêa in Barueri, Brazil hosting the latest fight night. Two former champions are featured at the top of the card with a number of up and coming home-country prospects spread throughout the undercard. Here are my picks, predictions and betting tips.

Lyoto Machida vs. C.B. Dollaway

Headlining Saturday’s action is the, somewhat unanticipated, bout between former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida and veteran CB Dolloway. After dropping down to middleweight last year, Machida has seen his career get a new lease of life. The Brazilian took dominant victories over Mark Munoz and Gegard Mousasi but lost to champion Chris Weidman last time out in an extremely close contest. Dolloway has also put some good wins together of late, winning 4 of his last 5 fights with stand-out performances against Jason Miller and Francis Carmont.

Dolloway is a hard-nosed wrestling stylish who puts together his takedowns with increasingly efficient striking. Machida, on the other hand, is a master striker. The Brazilian is a life long karate competitor who is also a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. In the past, Machida has fought many wrestlers and been successful in doing so. This fight should go that way too. Machida has excellent awareness of distance and will try to keep Dolloway out of wrestling range by arrowing in with his strikes and getting straight back out without taking any of the American’s offence. I don’t see Dolloway being able to stop anything Machida does and eventually getting finished.

PICK – Machida vis KO

Renan Barão vs. Mitch Gagnon

Another former champion returns in the co-main event as the last bantamweight king Renan Barao takes on dangerous Canadian Mitch Gagnon. After going 32 fights without a defeat Renan Barao eventually gave up his unmatched streak when TJ Dillashaw demolished him earlier in the year. Initially, Barao was scheduled to get an immediate rematch but instead returns on Saturday night after he was injured on UFC 177 fight week and replaced by Joe Soto. Against Gagnon it will be a tough return as the Canadian is in superb form of late, winning his last four fight on the trot.

Gagnon is an extremely exciting fighter who puts everything together very well. In his 12 carer wins to date, Gagnon has won 11 of those via submission and will pose a serious threat if it hits the floor. Barao, though, will be by far the toughest test of his career. The Brazilian is a jiu-jitsu black belt with varied and precise striking. I can really only see this fight going one way. Gagnon will be looking to get this to the mat quickly and that might work against him. Barao loves to catch opponents coming in and will be looking to time his bulldozer of a spinning back kick while avoiding the takedown as Gagnon drops levels. Eventually, the Canadian will get frustrated or knocked out. Either way, it’s Barao’s fight to lose.

PICK – Barao via KO

Erick Silva vs. Mike Rhodes

As exciting welterweight fighters go, Erick Silva and Mike Rhodes are right up there with some of the most unmissable. Both men have their faults but come to fight every time. Silva has been a highly touted prospect for years but at 4-4 in the UFC at 30 years old it’s make or break for him now. Silva has good wins over the inimitable Takenoti Sato and Jason High recently but has lost the biggest fights of his career including his last outing against Matt Brown. Rhodes is a much less experienced fighter with just 9 bouts under his belt at 26 years old. The Rufusport student has lost both UFC fights so far but has put up impressive fights in both.

Both men love to trade on the feet. Silva is a wild striker who throws from all angles while Rhodes is more of a tight technician. On the floor, Silva is a submission wizz and should be favoured over the American. I see this one being hot and heavy from the start. Silva will try to get inside with big shots while Rhodes will want to slip them and rip on the counter. For Rhodes, making his fight last as long as possible is his best path to victory against a fighter who has been know to wilt in the later rounds. I don’t think he’ll be able to do it though. I see Silva having some success on the feet before tripping Rhodes and sinking in the submission.

PICK – Silva via submission

SHORT PICKS

Antônio Carlos Júnior vs. Patrick Cummins – Cummins via KO
Elias Silverio vs. Rashid Magomedov – Magomedov via submission
Marcos Rogério de Lima vs. Igor Pokrajac – Lima via decision
Darren Elkins vs. Hacran Dias – Elkins via decision
Leandro Issa vs. Yuta Sasaki – Issa via decision
Márcio Alexandre vs. Tim Means – Means via submission
Vitor Miranda vs. Jake Collier – Miranda via decision

BONUS PICKS

Fight of the night – Silva vs. Rhodes

Performance of the night – Machida and Silva

BET OF THE WEEK

With a number of one sided match-ups and UFC newcomers it might be better to steer clear of this card altogether. But, a four way acca of favourites Cummins, Silva, Machida and Barao at 6/4 seems like a low risk money maker.

START TIMES

Sunday 12am – FightPass.com Prelims

Sunday 1am – Prelims on BT Sport 1

Sunday 3am – Main Card on BT Sport 1

Podcaster, lead MMA writer and analyst for SevereMMA. Host of the SevereMMA podcast, out every Sunday. Economics and Mathematics graduate from UCC. Also write for Sherdog. Previously of hov-mma and fightbooth. As heard on 2FM, Red FM, Today FM and more. Follow me on twitter for updates @SeanSheehanBA and on Facebook Facebook.com/seansheehanmma