By Dwight Wakabayashi
Two of the best Brazilian heavyweight’s in UFC history will square off on Sportsnet as Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira will take on Fabricio Werdum in a rematch seven years in the making. Nogueira defeated Werdum via decision in 2006 in Japan and Werdum will get a chance at his revenge as the main event of the The Ultimate Fighter Brazil Season 2 finale.
The final will see undefeated Muay Thai specialist William Macario take on replacement finalist Leonardo Santos. Here is a complete main-card preview including predictions for every fight.
Rony Jason (12-3) vs. Mike Wilkinson (8-0) – featherweight
Rony Jason has been extremely impressive in his first two UFC fights, winning both of them and gaining a Knockout of the Night bonus in his most recent win over Sam Sicilia. The Brazilian is being groomed slowly for success and he gets the undefeated but green Mike Wilkinson in this one. Both fighters are very good on the ground but Jason has a slight advantage in the power strike department and that will be the difference in this one.
Jason via KO, Round 2
Saturday programming alert: Watch UFC on Sportsnet: Nogueira vs. Werdum on Sportsnet ONE at 8 pm ET and catch the live preliminary card on sportsnet.ca starting at 5:15 ET | TV schedule
Daniel Sarafian (7-3) vs. Eddie Mendez (7-1-1) – middleweight
Daniel Sarafian was thrown to the wolves a bit with his debut loss to C.B. Dolloway in January, but the tough middleweight hung in there and took home Fight of the Night honors in the process to make an early impression on the UFC brass. He will now welcome Strikeforce veteran Eddie Mendez into the middleweight division. Sarafian loves the ground game, but he is going to have to deal with Mendez punching him in the face more than he had to with Dolloway.
In the end, I see Sarafian being a bit too big and strong for Mendez to stop him.
Sarafian via decision
Erick Silva (14-3) vs. Jason High (16-3) – welterweight
Top rising Brazilian prospect Erick Silva gets a chance to bounce back from his epic-battle loss against Jon Fitch as he takes on incoming Strikeforce veteran Jason High. Silva was originally supposed to get a big test against John Hathaway, but High will step in as a replacement for a big test. Silva can do it all and he has proven that he does not wilt when the going gets tough. High is a wrestler by base, who has gone somewhat under the radar considering his relative success in Strikeforce.
Silva is too well rounded and tough for High to handle and he will get a bounce-back win.
Silva via decision
Leonardo Santos (11-3) vs. William Macario (6-0) welterweight
William Macario has been extremely impressive in his run on TUF Brazil Season 2 as three of his four fights were finished by TKO. He is a confident and aggressive fighter who will be looking to be crowned the second winner of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil, and keep his undefeated record intact in the process.
Santos lost his semifinal fight against Santiago Pozinibbio but Santiago was injured so Santos gets the call for this fight. Santos is an experienced ground specialist who is going to have to get it to his world as fast as he can to have any kind of shot at a win.
Macario via TKO, Round 1
Thiago Silva (14-3) vs. Rafael Calvacante (11-3) – light heavyweight
Thiago Silva gets another chance at a legitimate win as he will welcome Brazilian star and Strikeforce veteran Rafael Calvacante into the mix. Both fighters have had issues with fighting clean in recent times as Silva has won two “wins” have been overturned due to failed drug tests. Calvacante defeated Mike Kyle in 33 seconds in his last fight, but that was also overturned to a no contest due to a failed drug test. The similarities don’t end there with these two as they both bring a unique aggression to the cage that should make for the most entertaining fight on the card.
Both fighters will be bombing for the kill right from the get go. Debut jitters could be a difference in this one.
Calvacante via submission, Round 2
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (34-7-1) vs. Fabricio Werdum (16-5-1) – heavyweight
A very intriguing rematch between two of the best Brazilian heavyweights in UFC history will headline this card. Nogueira got the best of the decision seven years ago in Japan but has been through several grueling wars since then, while Werdum has only gotten stronger and better in his game. Werdum is looking to solidify himself as a top contender in the division and a win over fading legend Big Nog will definitely do it. Both men bring top-level grappling to the cage, and while many feel that Nogueira still has a slight edge with his technical boxing, Werdum has a much underrated striking game. I just don’t see Werdum losing to Big Nog anywhere in this fight.
Werdum via decision