The UFC jets off to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this weekend where the Jeunesse Arena will host UFC 212. Headlining this stellar card is a featherweight title unification fight between the champion Jose Aldo and interim champion Max Holloway.
Once again we’ve enlisted the services of Ultimate Fight Chat and Octagon legend Brad Pickett to help us pick through the card.
‘One Punch’ came unstuck against The Writer at UFC 211 but he’s back and hoping to get one over the Chat guru.
This time around, Brad has challenged us to pick the outcome of each main card fight as well, ensuring there is no tie break. Ultimate Fight Chat have never backed down from a challenge and they can’t wait to see what excuses Brad has lined-up.
Here’s how The Writer and The Fighter are calling it…
Prior to his devastating loss to Conor McGregor, Jose Aldo had gone undefeated for 10 years and picked apart everyone that had ever challenged his throne.
He bounced back from that loss with a fantastic display against Frankie Edgar at UFC 200 to claim the interim belt; before being promoted to undisputed champion.
Aldo is one of the greatest to grace the Octagon. His skill, speed and devastating leg kicks separate him from the rest of the division.
Max Holloway is a fighter filled with big potential and an even bigger vision – to become featherweight champion.
The proud Hawaiian native has torn his way through the competition, winning his last 10 with only three of those going the distance. ‘Blessed’ continues to evolve with each fight but this will undoubtedly be his sternest test to date.
Holloway isn’t short on confidence, so stepping into the melting pot, that is Brazil, won’t faze him in the slightest.
If he can keep focused on his own game plan, he could cause Aldo serious trouble. The problem with this fight being in Brazil is that Holloway is never going to win a judge’s decision there, so unless he stops Aldo, which looks a tough ask, then we can’t see him gaining the victory.
There could be a few tricky moments early on but as the fight enters the championship rounds, we expect Aldo and his leg kicks to take over and achieve yet another successful title defence.
Ultimate Fight Chat: Jose Aldo by decision
Brad Pickett: Jose Aldo by decision
These women are two of the best in the strawweight division and either deserves to be champion, except that Joanna Jedrzejczyk is and she doesn’t look like she will be beaten anytime soon.
Claudia Gadelha seems to get better each time she fights. Her only two losses have come courtesy of Joanna Jedrzejczyk but she gave the champion her fair share of scary moments both times that they fought.
Gadelha won’t have much trouble against most in the division but stylistically Karolina Kowalkiewicz could be cause for concern.
Kowalkiewicz is a fierce competitor who has only tasted defeat once in her 11 fight career and that was last time out at UFC 205 against the champion.
‘The Polish Princess’ has great stand up and solid takedown defence but has yet to be tested by as strong a grappler as Claudia Gadelha.
Both have a very serious chance at victory here but we just feel Gadelha is that little bit better overall and should go on to claim a decision victory and set up a third encounter with the champion.
Ultimate Fight Chat: Claudia Gadelha by decision
Brad Pickett: Claudia Gadelha by decision
Vitor Belfort and Nate Marquardt are veterans of the sport and between them they have a combined total of 93 MMA fights.
This fight will likely be Belfort’s swansong and he will be looking to end his storied career with victory in his home country. The former champion has been a shadow of his former self of late. Since the banning of TRT, ‘The Phenom’ has gone 1-4, with that sole victory coming against a 44-year-old Dan Henderson.
Marquardt’s career has also been in decline for a while now. Since re-joining with the UFC in 2013, he has gone 3-6, four of those losses coming by knockout. Marquardt was formidable in his day and has some notable victories to his name but as he has aged he has begun to slow down, leaving far too many openings for opponents to connect with.
We think this is the perfect fight for Vitor Belfort to end his career on a high and quite possibly bring back the fearless striker of old. Barring any mishaps, we expect him to go out with a TKO victory.
Ultimate Fight Chat: Vitor Belfort by TKO
Brad Pickett: Vitor Belfort by TKO
This is an exciting match-up for the middleweight division, with two top prospects looking to stake their respective claims.
Paulo Costa is undefeated in his mixed martial arts career thus far, going 9-0. ‘Borrachinha’ has yet to need the judges’ score cards finishing all of his previous opponents within one round.
Costa is not only heavy handed and a danger on his feet but he’s also has a decent ground game to fall back on if needs be.
Oluwale Bamgbose has a professional record of 6-2 and none of his victories are yet to leave the first round either. ‘The Holy War Angel’ is a ferocious striker with genuine knockout power but he does have a tendency to throw wildly and gasses himself out early.
He will also have a six inch reach advantage over Costa.
We can’t see this fight needing the judges’ scorecards and thus we’re both going for a knockout win here, with the greater variety of strikes from ‘Borrachinha’ being the difference.
Ultimate Fight Chat: Paulo Costa by TKO
Brad Pickett: Paulo Costa by TKO
Erick Silva joined the UFC with a record of 12-1, but with his 13 fights for the promotion he has gone 7-6. Silva has impressed in victories but severely disappointed in defeats. ‘The Tiger’ is a submission specialist with 12 wins coming by way of this method.
Yancy Medeiros also entered the UFC with big promise and an undefeated record but he has since gone 5-4 with the organisation. Medeiros has showed glimpses of potential but is yet to string that together with consistent victories.
This is a tough fight to call and is also the make or break fight between us and Brad. We’re leaning towards Silva being the better submission artist.
Ultimate Fight Chat: Erick Silva by submission
Brad Pickett: Yancy Medeiros by submission
BEST OF THE REST
Raphael Assuncao vs. Marlon Moraes
Moraes to win.
Antonio Carlos Junior vs. Eric Spicely
Carlos Junior to win.
Johnny Eduardo vs. Matthew Lopez
Eduardo to win.
Iuri Alcantara vs. Brian Kelleher
Alcantara to win.
Viviane Pereira vs. Jamie Moyle
Pereira to win.
Luan Chagas vs. Jim Wallhead
Chagas to win.
Marco Beltran vs. Deiveson Alcantara
Beltran to win.
The adventurous acca: all 12 predictions in an accumulator is about 585/1.
Ultimate Fight Chat’s Main Card Picks: Aldo, Gadelha, Belfort, Costa, Silva
Brad Pickett’s Main Card Picks: Aldo, Gadelha, Belfort, Costa, Medeiros
And click here for the latest UFC 212 odds.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing