The UFC is heading to the capital of Brazil for the second time in it’s history with a card headlined by the most terrifying striker there has ever been in women’s MMA, Cris Cyborg taking on Lina Lansberg.
Cyborg needs no introduction at this stage, since suffering defeat in her professional MMA debut she has won all of her fights with only two going to the judges scorecards. Her achievements include beating Gina Carano for the Strikeforce featherweight title and winning the inaugural Invicta featherweight title by beating Marloes Coenen. The level of competition in the Invicta featherweight division has not been sufficient to challenge her, with her three victories coming in the first round, and two of them within a minute. This lead to her fighting UFC bantamweight Leslie Smith in a 140 pound catchweight at UFC 198 where she again won via first round stoppage.
Cyborg is an aggressive muay thai practitioner who loves to move forward and close the distance with big hooks and overhands and if her opponent survives that then she will go to work in the clinch with dirty boxing and knees to the head and body. She throws heavy punches and elbows when in top position, preferring to use ground and pound rather than work for submissions. While Cyborgs style can lend itself to cardio problems, she proved in the Marloes Coenen fight that she can adapt to be more economical and preserve energy for the championship rounds.
As for Lina Lansberg, there is not an awful lot of footage of her in MMA bouts due to her fairly sparse record of 6-1 but she is an experienced muay thai fighter and having that combat sport experience is a big asset here, especially when it comes to the mental aspect. As for her fighting, she displays good fundamentals such as a strong jab to the head and body. She throws kick and powerful kicks off her left leg, with a fast teep kick also in her arsenal and as expected from somebody from a muay thai background, she is strong in the clinch and she certainly lives up to her nickname of “Elbow Princess”
Lansberg looks like a solid fighter who has some potential but unfortunately she is outmatched here. Cyborg’s striking will neutralise her best asset and the size and strength advantage of Cyborg in the clinch will be too much for Lansberg. Should Lansberg succeed in stifling Cyborg in a kickboxing match, Cyborg has the wrestling and jiu-jitsu acumen to take Lansberg down and punish her with ground and pound.
Cyborg’s biggest battle may very well be with the scales. She revealed earlier this week that she still had significant weight to cut to make it to the 140 pound catchweight which causes her serious distress. It is hard to see the motivation for the 140 pound limit, especially for this fight as Lansberg is not UFC bantamweight and has competed at featherweight in the past, including in her last fight.
In the co-main event Renan Barao will take on Phillipe Nover and really needs a win at this stage in his career. Barao moved up to featherweight after losing the rematch to T.J. Dillashaw in July 2015 and made his debut in May against Jeremy Stephens, it was a better performance from Barao but nonetheless he came up short on the judges scorecards which makes this fight vital to his career.
While Barao employed an aggressive style at bantamweight he was more patient and cautious against Stephens, fighting from the outside and attempting plenty of takedowns. Stephens carries a lot of power so Barao understandably wanted to use his speed advantage at the higher weight class, it will be interesting to see how he has developed this new strategy here.
Nover is currently in his second stint with the UFC and is coming off a split decision loss to Zubaira Tukhugov. Nover’s style can be generally described as “low output kickboxing” he likes to circle on the outside and wait for opportunities to throw kicks. He will need to be careful throwing kicks against Barao, who is an excellent grappler with 15 submission victories on his record.
Barao can’t afford to lose this one, and he has all the tools to beat Nover especially if he has been continuing to refine his game since his defeat to Jeremy Stephens.
Elsewhere on the card, Roy Nelson will take on Bigfoot Silva which will be a slugfest for however long it lasts, Francisco Trinaldo will meet Paul Felder in a meeting of top lightweights while fellow lightweights Alan Patrick and Stevie Ray will headline the Fight Pass portion of the card.
Main Card (3 AM, BT Sport)
Cris Cyborg vs. Lina Lansberg – Cyborg will be too big and too strong, first round stoppage
Renan Barao vs. Phillipe Nover – Barao to look impressive and finish with a submission
Roy Nelson vs. Antonio Silva – Roy Nelson should another walk off KO to his collection here
Paul Felder vs. Francisco Trinaldo – Should be a close fight, with Trinaldo just taking the decision
Thiago Santos vs. Eric Spicely – Santos to show his big power with a KO
Mike De La Torre vs. Godofredo Pepey – De La Torre
Preliminary Card (1 AM , BT Sport)
Gilbert Burns vs. Michel Prazeres – Burns
Michinori Tanaka vs. Rani Yahya – Tanaka
Jussier Formiga vs. Dustin Ortiz – Formiga
Vicente Luque vs. Hector Urbina – Luque
Preliminary Card (11:30 PM, Fight Pass)
Alan Patrick vs. Stevie Ray – Ray
Luan Chagas vs. Erick Silva – Chagas
Glaico Franca vs. Gregor Gillespie – Franca
Although Sean Sheehan is off this week, he has kindly picked out a bet of the week:
An accumulator of Cyborg, Roy Nelson, Gilbert Burns and Formiga all to win at just over 2/1