The UFC’s quest for world domination is reaching a zenith this weekend. On Saturday, the organization will be throwing two separate cards at the MMA community, which are occurring nearly 6,300 miles apart. While I could kid you with some faux confidence and attempt to preview the entire Main Cards of each, I would only be doing you a disservice. Half of the fighters on the Fight Pass only UFC Fight Night 41: Munoz v. Mousasi card don’t even possess Wikipedia pages. Subsequently, the TUF Brazil 3 Finale features a mish mosh of fighters that I, a so-called ‘MMA Hardcore’ have never heard of. Instead of providing you with filler material, I’m going to hit my loyal fanbase with in-depth coverage of the two Main Events of the day. Gegard Mousasi and Mark Munoz will clash for Middleweight relevancy, while surging Stipe Mioci will look to avoid disaster against late replacement slugger Fabio Maldonado. On to the previews!
UFC Fight Night 41: Berlin Main Event
Mark Munoz v. Gegard Mousasi
The UFC event Wikipedia scroll lists the UFC Fight Night 41 card from Berlin first, so I will break down that donnybrook first. Interestingly enough, both of these fighters will enter the cage coming off losses to site favorite Lyoto Machida. Munoz was a victim of the friendliest head kick in the history of MMA last October, while Mousasi dropped a decision to The Dragon right around Valentine’s Day. Mousasi is a 3-1 favorite according to the sharps in Vegas and that seemingly makes sense. While neither fighter has been exceptionally active, Munoz hasn’t looked like the wrecking ball we once thought he was since 2011. Mousasi at least locked down two solid performances in 2013, albeit at 205 lbs.
In my opinion, Munoz’s best days may be behind him. He was known as being a granite chinned grappler prior to that Machida loss, but a glancing head kick from The Dragon dropped him like a sack of bricks. Not counting the 2 minutes he spent in the cage with Lyoto, Munoz hasn’t seen a striker with the agility that Mousasi posseses since Obama took office. He has had the benefit of being matched up with powerful grapplers whose advances he could neutralize with superior strength and/or quickness. I like Mousasi to pick apart Munoz on the feet and stay away from any sustained clinching. If I had to call it, I like a late TKO from ‘The Dreamcatcher’. Mousasi by TKO.
TUF 3 Brazil Finale: Miocic v. Maldonado
First, let’s take a look at our collective reactions when Junior Dos Santos had to pull out of this headliner due to a broken hand:
Junior Dos Santos Fabio Maldonado v. Stipe Miocic
JDS v. Miocic would have been an absolute cracker. Two of the most technical strikers in the Heavyweight division doing battle in the former Champ’s home nation? Sign me up! But no, the MMA Gods would not let us have that undoubtable joy. Instead, JDS is replaced with humanoid punching bag Fabio Maldonado. When you look up ‘Dude that will stand and bang until his own concsiousness leaves him,’ Fabio Maldonado is the first picture present…
Maldonado is a Light Heavyweight moving up to Heavyweight for this tilt. His athleticism is, shall we say lacking, compared to the former baseball player Miocic. This fight is really a no win situation for Miocic. If he ices Maldonado in the first round, people will say that is exactly what he should have done to a middling 205er. If he dominates Maldonado and fights safely for five rounds, his #7 ranking and contendership could be in jeopardy. God forbid that Fabio Maldonado somehow wins this thing and Stipe could fall to the bottom of the divisional ladder. In all honesty, I see Stipe ending this thing very, very early. Maldonado has an adamantium skull, but Stipe is his worst nightmare. His crisp boxing, dynamic athleticism, and Heavyweight power create an ideal alchemy for Maldonado’s first true knockout loss of his career. He has absorbed countless haymakers in the last few years and the bump up to Heavyweight may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back regarding his sustained consicousness. Cleveland is coming up in the sport’s world as of late, and Ohio’s own will continue the trend. Miocic by TKO.