Saturday, June 3rd, 2017 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for UFC 212: “Aldo vs Holloway” by Daniel Tom

The opinions expressed in this free content are for entertainment purposes only, as my goal here is to provide analysis for those who enjoy the technical or gaming aspects of our sport. If you choose to gamble, I recommend doing so responsibly and legally as it is at your own risk. Enjoy the fights!

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Jose Aldo (26-2)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’8″ Age: 30 Weight: 145 lbs Reach: 70″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Frankie Edgar (7-9-16)
  • Camp: Nova Uniao (Brazil)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Muay Thai
  • Risk Management: Excellent

Supplemental info:
+   UFC Featherweight Champion
+   WEC Featherweight Title
+   Black Belt BJJ
+   4x BJJ Champion
+   14 KO victories
+   11 first round finishes
+   KO power
+   Athletic & agile
^   Good reactive instincts
+   Superb footwork
^   Lateral movement, pivots, back-steps
+   Accurate shot selection
^   Jabs & counter crosses
+   Devastating leg kicks
+   Excellent wrestling ability
+   Strong hips & base
^   92% takedown defense

Max Holloway (17-3)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’11” Age: 25 Weight: 145 lbs Reach: 69″
  • Last Fight: TKO win / Anthony Pettis (12-10-16)
  • Camp: Hawaii Elite MMA (Hawaii)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Switch-stance / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Excellent

Supplemental info:
+   Interim UFC Featherweight Champion
+   Regional MMA Titles
+   Blue Belt BJJ
+   7 KO victories
+   2 Submission wins
+   3 first round finishes
+   Consistent pace & pressure
+   Manages distance well
+   Superb feints & footwork
^   Moves laterally / attacks off angles
+   Excellent shot selection & variety
+   Improved wrestling ability
^   83% takedown defense
+   Deceptively counters clinches/grappling
^   Strikes well off the breaks
+   Underrated ground game
^   Slick submissions in transition


The main event for UFC 212 is a collision of two champions who are looking to bring clarity to the featherweight throne.

Since losing his title to Conor McGregor in 2015, the narrative of Jose Aldo has been a tricky one, to say the least. Returning to top form in the summer of 2016, Aldo would defeat Frankie Edgar for the *vacant featherweight title.

Unable to defend his newfound belt against Max Holloway later that year, the UFC would create another interim championship, giving Aldo’s spot to Anthony Pettis. Holloway would then become the first man to stop Pettis as he took his winning streak to ten, and of course, earned his first piece of UFC hardware.

Now, with his sights long set on Jose Aldo, Max Holloway will have to enter the belly of Brazil to complete his journey. There, Aldo awaits the young Hawaiian, as well as the opportunity to remind the world of who was originally the Kingpin at 145-pounds.

Starting off on the feet, we will be privy to a level of chess-like striking that few matchups can offer. We have Holloway, a dynamic, high-volume pressure fighter versus Aldo, a devastatingly accurate tactician who also harbors some of the best defense this sport has ever seen.

Although offensive aggression was the name of the game early on in Aldo’s career, the Brazilian has steadily developed into a pressure fighter who prefers to counter.

Commanding the cage with a disciplined approach of technical footwork, Aldo will march forward pressuring his opponents into exchanges. Consistently keeping his feet beneath him, the Brazilian champion is seldom out of position as this allows him to counter with conviction.

Displaying a solid sense of head movement, Aldo often slips and returns authoritatively with right hands or leg kicks. When pressing forward, Aldo still shows his classic Dutchie combination as he throws a left hook to the liver that feeds into a right leg kick.

However, that particular combination may not behoove Aldo in this fight. Despite the footwork accompanying this combo coming in handy for getting Aldo offline from oncoming strikes, it also comes with the cost of check hooks and counter crosses.

Considering that Holloway offers each option—effectively from either stance—I would not be surprised to see Aldo caught stepping or swinging wide, as we saw in both of his bouts with Mendes and McGregor. Given the dynamism of Holloway, I suspect to see Aldo take a similar approach to his last fight, sitting back and countering appropriately, but without the fear of throwing leg kicks.

Nevertheless, Aldo’s legendary, leg attacking acumen will have all it can handle in trying to get a beat on the consistently moving Hawaiian. Despite Aldo possessing dangerous and accurate leg kicks, I feel that Holloway’s movement and ability to dictate distance may compromise the Brazilian’s shot selections, or at the very least limit his looks.

Showing solid striking and footwork fundamentals since coming onto the scene, we saw Max Holloway turn a corner in his Cub Swanson fight. Now, demonstrating technical evolutions from fight-to-fight, Holloway is embracing the creativity and range in his movements and attacks.

Subtly switching stances as he shifts laterally, Holloway will deceptively draw his opposition into reacting as he executes attacks that catch them off guard. Showing superb timing, Holloway will usually wait until his opposition is in mid-motion before attacking and angling off safely.

As one of the few fighters who can hold a candle to Aldo’s offensive consistency, Holloway will need to mind the counter cross from his Brazilian foe, as I see that being the most potent punch to threaten the Hawaiian in this matchup.

Although Holloway is seldom caught clean or hurt, we saw him hit by hard counter crosses from both Ricardo Lamas and Anthony Pettis(who broke his hand in doing so), as I suspect it will be worth looking for here.

Regardless of who you feel has the edge standing, it is Jose Aldo who has the on-paper edge on the floor, making wrestling the wild card in this matchup.

With the quick-footed demonstrations of agility being Aldo’s modus operandi in regards to his takedown defense, we often forget about his offensive takedown game that has been seemingly vacant for the last four years of his career.

Possessing a solid level-change, Aldo gets most of his takedowns after establishing a clinch of some sort. Considering the strengths of his Hawaiian foe, I would not be shocked to see Aldo explore his perceived advantage and implement takedowns.

However, with that in mind, Holloway has only been taken down 3-times in almost 4-years. And considering how often the Hawaiian competes, that stat is especially impressive as Holloway only seems to get better from fight-to-fight.

Aldo will also have to mind his behaviors off of failed shot attempts given Holloway’s Guillotine threats and said defensive fundamentals. For example, despite having his takedown defense tested by one of the best wrestlers in the division, Holloway would successfully thwart the shots of Ricardo Lamas while re-wrestling his way to ride positions.

Not only does Holloway show the balance and defense to stuff takedowns, but he also shows an excellent awareness of how to conduct his hips and grips in close. Deceptively hand-fighting to counter clinches and grappling efforts, Holloway demonstrates a knack for striking off the break as this will be worth watching for in this fight.

We all, including myself, are quick to laud praise to Aldo for his takedown defense as it is every bit deserved. However, nothing comes without its price in both life and MMA as the Brazilian’s prioritization of takedown defense often leaves him open to strikes off of the breaks.

No matter your opinion, this is ultimately a close fight from the odds to the technics. And despite coming into this matchup leaning toward Jose Aldo, I ended up with a surprisingly strong read leading me the other way.

As great as Aldo has become in all areas, we have seldom seen him venture outside of his comfort zone in the UFC, as I suspect a fighter who can push the pace at a high-level can pose serious problems for him as time goes on.

Fatigue criticisms and or assumptions aside, the stereotype of Aldo riding out early momentum to the scorecards is confirmed when listening to his corner. In doing so, you will consistently hear the Brazilian’s coaches stress their concerns about Aldo’s output(advising him to avoid takedowns and save his strength).

The intents and effects of energy management have been a subtle theme for Aldo of late, especially in his second fight with Mendes, where we saw how hittable he could become when not allowed to fight at his preferred pace.

More specifically, Mendes was able to land left hooks on Aldo multiple times in their rematch. In looking deeper, I found that this was no coincidence for the otherwise defensively sound Brazilian.

Concerned with the right hand, Aldo will diligently shell with his left hand to protect himself from that strike. That said, Aldo will often retract his right-hand low off of strikes, or even preemptively parry defensively. In turn, this tendency has made left hooks the common culprit of Aldo’s career.

Considering that Holloway has an accurate left-hand from both stances(hooks & straight shots), I suspect that will be the punch to look for from the Hawaiian in this contest.

As for Aldo, his best chances will reside within the effectiveness of his leg kicks and counter crosses.

I believe that Aldo can and will hit, counter, and take Holloway down in this fight. However, I also believe that Holloway has the durability and defensive acumen to survive said attacks.

Furthermore, I also feel that Holloway has the gas tank and tools to capitalize where others have failed to do so in the past.

Whether the bout calls for grappling or striking, we have seen Aldo consistently take rounds off to recover. As risky as that may sound, the Brazilian has gotten away with it thus far because of his dedication to the skillset of round-winning.

Yes, Jose Aldo is athletic, technical, and awe-inspiring as a martial artist. But as a fighter, Aldo is a ruthless, round-winning politician who will play every game necessary to gain an edge(late-round stanzas, convenient stalling, etc.).

The problem is, is that I do not see Holloway allowing Aldo the space or comfort to play his preferred games. Not only is the Hawaiian a diverse, high-volume striker, but Holloway has a specific knack for acquiring the weapons of others and adjusting his defense accordingly as he builds progress within fights.

If Aldo cannot stop, hurt, or significantly comprise the fleet-of-foot Hawaiian early, then I see Holloway steadily gaining ground and overloading the Brazilian’s system en route to a late round stoppage that is reminiscent to Barao-Dillashaw 1.

Official Pick: Holloway – Inside the distance

Official Outcome: Holloway – TKO (round 3)

Claudia Gadelha (14-2)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’4″ Age: 28 Weight: 115 lbs Reach: 63.5″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Cortney Casey (11-19-16)
  • Camp: Luttrell-Yee MMA (New Mexico)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Muay Thai
  • Risk Management: Good

Supplemental info:
+   Black Belt BJJ
+   3x BJJ World Champion
+   2 KO victories
+   6 Submission wins
+   7 first round finishes
+   Accurate left hook—right hand
^   Effective off the counter
+   Hard body kicks & knees
+   Strong inside the clinch
^   Favors takedowns from here
+   Strikes well off of the breaks
+   Good wrestling ability
^   26 takedowns in 5 fights
+/-Heavy on lead foot
^   leg kicks & counter opportunities
–    Gas tank bares watching

Karolina Kowalkiewicz (10-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’3″ Age: 31 Weight: 115 lbs Reach: 65″
  • Last Fight: Dec loss / Joanna Jedrzejczyk (11-12-16)
  • Camp: Gracie Barra Lodz (Poland)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Muay Thai
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   KSW Strawweight Title
+   Muay Thai Accolades
+   1 KO victory
+   2 Submission wins
+   3 first round finishes
+   Active footwork
^   Good shifts & lateral movement
+   High-volume striker
^   Fluid combos / variates attack angles
+   Accurate knees & elbows in clinch
^   Strikes well off the breaks
+   Improved takedown defense
^   Cage & under-hook awareness
+   Underrated grappling ability
^   Floats & rides well on top
+/-Agressive in exchanges
^   Counter availabilities
–    Sometimes starts slow


The co-main event in Brazil features a strawweight showdown between Claudia Gadelha and Karolina Kowalkiewicz.

Coming in as the number-one ranked woman under the champion, Claudia Gadelha will be looking to build upon her reputation as one of the baddest ladies at 115-pounds. Seeking to spoil the party and steal her spot is Karolina Kowalkiewicz, the number-two ranked strawweight who is fearlessly stepping behind enemy lines.

Starting off on the feet, we should be in store for a fun fight between an explosive, accurate tactician against a pressuring, stick-and-move stylist.

Consistently circling and resetting her position, Kowalkiewicz will enter into combinations like she is an incoming aircraft on a bombing run. However, once inside––she does a great job of shifting her stance with her punches as Kowalkiewicz favors doubling-up on her right-hand when going to southpaw.

For me, these type of technical intricacies speaks volumes to a fighter’s abilities and understanding. Kowalkiewicz’s background in other martial arts also shines through when she throws her kicks.

Often punctuating her combinations with leg kicks, Kowalkiewicz will cleverly parlay missed Thai kicks into side kicks off the same foot. Even though this flow of shifting offense can be difficult to deal with, Kowalkiewicz’s style is not without its consequences.

As is the case with many shifters, this type of offense typically opens you up to shots on the way inside. Considering that Kowalkiewicz tends to lower her hands and strike retractions, she may get more than she bargains for when trading with Gadelha.

Although Kowalkiewicz moves well laterally, it comes at the cost of keeping an unusually narrow stance. Not only will Gadelha’s hard leg kicks challenge Kowalkiewicz’s standing foundation, but the narrowness of her feet could make it easier for her foe to complete a well-timed takedown.

Originally hailing from the renown Nova Uniao camp in Brazil, Claudia demonstrates the Muay Thai staples of her former stablemates. Utilizing a classic high-guard and posture, Gadelha will steadily march forward as she looks to capitalize on openings created by her pressure.

Even though she bears some solid teeps and kicks(particularly to the body), Gadelha prefers to punch as she consistently puts together her shots in a healthy variety.

Now, working with Luttrell-Yee MMA in New Mexico, Gadelha is showing to steadily take her game to the next level as she puts together her impressive set of tools. In her last fight, we would see Gadelha put together her cross–hook combos more smoothly, striking off the breaks and countering with effect.

In fact, I see the Brazilian’s counter right-hand potentially paying huge dividends in this fight. Regardless of how standing exchanges go, Gadelha’s real advantage, at least on paper, is on the floor.

Even though the three-time world champion has not scored an in-fight submission in almost 7-years, Gadelha demonstrates an excellent translation of her grappling game into MMA. Like many Nova Uniao fighters, Gadelha has embraced and excelled in the wrestling aspect of grappling inside the cage.

Preferring to attempt her takedowns from the clinch position, she possesses a decent reactive shot that may be her best chance in grounding Kowalkiewicz given the previous notes on her stance.

Nevertheless, I do not expect the Pole to be a pushover in grappling stanzas, especially since we have seen improvements from fight-to-fight, albeit a small sample size.

Despite not displaying your typical flashiness in regards to submissions or transitions, the details in Kowalkiewicz’s game tell me that she likely a cut above from what we expect.

For example, Kowalkiewicz shows a solid understanding of floats and transitions as she uses intricacies like shoulder-pressure pins to help her pass. Demonstrating improvements to her applications of under-hooks against Rose Namajunas, Kowalkiewicz will undoubtedly have those defensive skills tested again here.

Although Gadelha has a decent shot, she scores the majority of her takedowns from the body-lock which will make under-hooks even more crucial for Kowalkiewicz. Once the Polish fighter establishes a solid under-hook, she does well with utilizing it to reverse position and spin her opposition.

Another fold to Kowalkiewicz’s game is her ability to use offense in close to defend and discourage opponent’s attacks. Similarly to the Polish fighter who currently reigns over the division(Joanna Jedrzejczyk), Kowalkiewicz also utilizes her forearms to frame as she closes the space she created with sharp, short elbows.

Coupled with Kowalkiewicz’s consistency in striking off breaks, Gadelha will have to respect what is coming back at her when trying to get off offense of her own. That said, Gadelha has been able to take down every opponent she has faced under the UFC banner.

Should Gadelha get on top, I feel that her positional style of grappling could stifle the scrappy Kowalkiewicz. Similar to Demian Maia, Gadelha puts an emphasis on her half-guard game, as this route is established and fed through single-leg attempts.

Upon failure of a takedown, or even after being taken down herself, Gadelha has a knack for finding her way onto her opponent’s leg and using if for leverage to help her up, while simultaneously taking a superior position. Keeping excellent control from topside, Gadelha will make like a broken tree as she uses her legs like roots, isolating their legs with a figure-four and compromising their mobility with a shoulder pin(that serves as a cross-face).

Even if the betting line are a bit wide, I believe that the oddsmakers essentially have it right by strongly favoring Gadelha. She possesses all the on-paper tools that can, or have shown to trouble Kowalkiewicz.

If this were a five-round fight, then I would favor Kowalkiewicz to survive the storm and start to turn the tides as Gadelha tends to fade past round two. But given the 3-round nature of this home game, coupled with the improvements Gadelha displayed in her last outing, and I have a hard time seeing the Brazilian lose a fight that will likely hit the scorecards.

Official Pick: Gadelha – Decision

Official Outcome: Gadelha – Submission (round 1)

Vitor Belfort (25-13)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’0″ Age: 40 Weight: 185 lbs Reach: 74″
  • Last Fight: TKO loss / Kelvin Gastelum (3-11-17)
  • Camp: Team Belfort (Brazil)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Southpaw / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Former UFC LHW Champion
+   UFC Heavyweight Tournament Winner
+   Black Belt BJJ
+   18 KO victories
+   3 Submission wins
+   19 first round finishes
+   KO power
+   Accurate left hand
^   Often sets up left kick
+   Superb killer instinct
+/-Improved wrestling
^   Still struggles w/grappling pressure
+/-20+ year of fighting experience
–    Dropped & stopped in 4 of last 5 fights

Nate Marquardt (35-17-2)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’0″ Age: 38 Weight: 185 lbs Reach: 74″
  • Last Fight: Decision loss / Sam Alvey (1-28-17)
  • Camp: Genesis Training Center (Denver, CO)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Good

Supplemental info:
+   Former Strikeforce Welterweight Champion
+   7x King of Pancrase Winner
+   Black Belt BJJ
+   12 KO victories
+   14 Submission wins
+   16 first round finishes
+   Improved striking combinations
+   Often favors countering
^   Dangerous right hand
+   Solid clinch game
^   Favors takedowns from here
+   Good fundamental & positional grappling
–    1-6 against UFC southpaws
–    Dropped or stopped in last 7 of 11 fights


In a middleweight fight featuring veterans of the sport, Vitor Belfort will square off with Nate Marquardt.

A legend of MMA who has been competing professionally for over twenty years, Vitor Belfort will look to taste glory in his home country. Attempting to crash the party is Nate Marquardt, a longtime UFC veteran who is also seeking some late-career redemption.

In what is a potentially nail-biting affair on paper, may surprisingly be subject to a slow start. With both fighters preferring to counter strike and showing surprising stints of action, we could experience some staring and activity lulls early on.

Nevertheless, Belfort should have the on-paper advantage early given his drop-of-a-dime killer instinct. Displaying his retention for space and movement, Belfort often slips and operates in heavily left leaning dips. This movement will get Belfort offline of oncoming strikes, as well as set up his left uppercut—right hook returns.

However, leaning left at an inopportune time could put him on course with Marquardt’s intercepting right hand. Demonstrating effectiveness offensively and off the counter, Marquart will have a few looks he can offer Belfort to keep him honest.

When feeling in stride, Marquardt will dust off his improved combination striking as he typically punctuates his presence with head kicks off his lead foot. Though this technique comes in handy against orthodox fighters who are trying to avoid Marquardt’s power side, his preferred shot selection is seemingly more limited when facing southpaws.

In fact, when looking back a Marquardt’s record, I was surprised to find that he has gone 0-6 against southpaws in the last decade, not including losses to Thiago Santos and Tarec Saffidiene, two orthodox fighters who regularly fight from southpaw. Furthermore, Marquardt also seems to be the more culpable fighter in regards to leaning toward the power side of an opposing stance opponent.

Not only does Marquardt tend to keep his hands low, but the American also has a propensity to move straight back with his head often dipping to his power side whenever being significantly pressured. Considering that the left crosses and head kicks(typically in conjunction) are still Belfort’s best strikes, things could quickly go south for Marquardt should he not find success standing.

Where I feel Marquardt has his best chances at winning is when looking at the prospect of ground fighting.

A longtime MMA grappler and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu black belt, Marquardt demonstrates the fundamentals and positional awareness from topside to steal rounds and take the fight out of Belfort. That said, there is a lot that makes me question whether or not Marquardt’s intent will be grappling oriented, much less if his technics will prevail.

Despite having a decent level-changing shot, Marquardt seldom has gone to it in recent years, mainly relying on veteran timing to get his opposition down. And considering he likes to work his takedown game off the clinch, the American will need to mind his entries into space, and not get antsy if he cannot create his preferred terms.

With both men’s game becoming increasingly dependent on comfort and conditions as they age, this fight’s momentum will feel like it is swinging on an electrified pendulum as I recommend keeping your money away from it. Still, I feel the oddsmakers are on point in opening Belfort as a marginal favorite.

Despite having a rough run as of late, losing 3 of his last 4-fights on the floor, Belfort has arguably made a better account of himself than most give him credit for(all things considered). And although I still feel that a little cooking time goes a long way with the Brazilian, Belfort has still shown to make improvements in recent fights, particularly in his takedown defense.

Unless Marquardt can give Belfort a reason to question his confidence, then I see the Brazilian countering the American on his way in, and or closing off his retreats with an intercepting left cross and head kick.

Official Pick: Belfort – Inside the distance

Official Outcome: Belfort – Decision

Paulo Borrachinha (9-0)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’0″ Age: 26 Weight: 185 lbs Reach: 76″
  • Last Fight: TKO win / Garreth McLellan (3-11-17)
  • Camp: CJJF (Brazil)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   TUF Brazil 3 Alum
+   Jungle Fight Middleweight Title
+   BJJ Accolades
+   8 KO Victories
+   1 Submission win
+   9 first round finishes
+   KO power
+   Imposing pressure
^   Feints & stalks well
+   Accurate shot selection
^   Variates rhythm & looks
+   Strong inside the clinch
^   Shows wrestling fundamentals
+   Works well from topside
^   Rides, transitions, strikes

Oluwale Bamgbose (6-2)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’11” Age: 29 Weight: 185 lbs Reach: 78″
  • Last Fight: Decision loss / Cezar Ferreira (4-16-16)
  • Camp: C1-MMA (New York)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Switch-stance / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Black Belt Tae Kwon Do
+   Ring of Combat Middleweight Title
+   BJJ Accolades
+   Black Sash in Kung Fu
+   6 KO victories
+   6 first round finishes
+   KO power
+   Dynamic attack arsenal
^   Dangerous hooks & kicks
+/-Wild explosive entries
^   Counter availabilities
+   Shows wrestling improvements
+/-Good guard retention
^   Willing to fight from back
+/-1 fight in 16 months


In a potential middleweight war, Paulo Borrachinha will do battle with Oluwale Bamgbose.

A young, rising talent coming out of Brazil, Paulo Borrachinha would waste little time once making his debut in the UFC earlier this year, dispatching of Garreth McLellan in minutes. Now, granted a showcase spot on the main card, Borrachinha will seek to make the most of what is his sophomore performance in the organization.

Looking to crash the party is Oluwale Bamgbose, an American-born Nigerian who has a similar taste for quick finishes. Coming off of an inactive year in regards to Octagon time, Bamgbose is eager to get back in the win column by playing the role of spoiler.

Kicking things off, I suspect nothing short of a fast start given that striking is how each man makes their money.

Training in Tae Kwon Do and other traditional martial arts since childhood, Bamgbose has developed a unique style of striking. Often opting to circle along the outside, Bamgbose will constantly switch up his stances and direction.

Once able to find a look to his liking, Bamgbose will explode into blitzing combinations that are typically punctuated by powerful kicks. Given his speed and sheer knockout power, Bamgbose is certainly a live threat to an oncoming Borrachinha.

That said, I see the Brazilian’s striking style potentially being a good fit against Bamgbose’s unpredictable attacks. A natural pressure fighter, Borrachinha will smartly work behind feints as he stalks down his prey. This approach, in particular, could be effective in drawing out Bamgbose’s wild array of striking threats.

Despite starting off his martial arts experience in the grappling art of Jiu-jitsu, Borrachinha is a natural striker in every sense. Whether he is feint-baiting his opposition into crushing check hooks and body kicks, or crashing distance to intercept his opponent with a devastating cross, Borrachinha seems genuinely comfortable inside of exchanges.

Even when caught clean, Borrachinha will no-sell his opponent’s shots as he comes right back in their face, but with an adjusted and varied rhythm. For me, it is an impressive feat to see a young fighter who otherwise seems like a bully, using subtle tactics like rhythm changes to avoid predictability on strikes.

Should this fight make it to the floor, it will be interesting to see who ends up on top. Although neither man has a great sample-size of ground work, I feel that Borrachinha is the more skilled grappler.

Each fighter shows a serviceable, and developing acumen of wrestling both defensively and in the clinch, but Borrachinha seems to maintain a solid sense of positioning in grappling stanzas as he prefers to work from topside, transitioning between strikes and rides.

Whereas Bamgbose, whose leg dexterity translates well for guard work and retentions, demonstrates a willingness to fight from his back as he typically elects to strike and not stand. With that in mind, Bamgbose has been out for over a year, as fight-to-fight improvements are equally potent on his end of the equation.

Despite the fact that this fight has potential chaos written all over it, I do not disagree with the oddsmakers opening Borrachinha at a 2-to-1 favorite. Even though the growing price tag may keep away any straight plays on the Brazilian, I feel that he will catch Bamgbose after a few flurries that have the audience holding their breath.

Official Pick: Borrachinha – Inside the distance

Official Outcome: Borrachinha – TKO (round 2)

Erick Silva (19-7)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’0″ Age: 32 Weight: 170 lbs Reach: 74″
  • Last Fight: Submission win / Luan Chagas (9-24-16)
  • Camp: Tigers Den (Brazil)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Switch-stance / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Black Belt BJJ & Judo
+   4 KO victories
+   12 Submission wins
+   11 first round finishes
+   KO power
+   Athletic & agile
+   Dangerous & dynamic striker
^   Improved technics & fundamentals
+/-Aggressive offensive entries
^   Counter availabilities
+   Solid wrestling ability
^   Takedowns to get-ups
+   Excellent transitional grappler
^   Slick chokes & back takes

Yancy Medeiros (13-4)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’10” Age: 29 Weight: 170 lbs Reach: 75″
  • Last Fight: Submission win / Sean Spencer (9-10-16)
  • Camp: Gracie Technics (Hawaii)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Switch-stance / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Karate & Wrestling base
+   6 KO victories
+   4 Submission wins
+   6 first round finishes
+   KO power
+   Good footwork
+   High-volume striker
+   Accurate shot selection
^   Check hooks, crosses, head kicks
+   Strong in the clinch
^   Shows improved wrestling
+   Underrated grappling
^   Slick chokes in transit
+   Physically durable / recovers well


Kicking off the main card for UFC 212 is a looming welterweight war as Erick Silva takes on Yancy Medeiros.

Coming off an entertaining fight with Luan Chagas last year, Erick Silva will continue to explore the latest stage of his career. Standing in his way is Yancy Medeiros, a tough Hawaiian who is also coming off some growing pains as he once again steps up to 170-pounds.

In what is my pick for a potential fight of the night winner, nothing short of a barnburner would surprise me in regards to heated exchanges standing. That said, each man has shown to evolve their game in recent outings, applying more measure and technics into their approach.

Silva, the more dynamic striker of the two, will switch stances to give different looks as he is effective from both. Primarily working out of the orthodox stance, Silva shows to be more willing to utilize jabs and feints to feel his way inside, something I feel will be crucial in this matchup.

Although Silva’s blitzes are still dangerous, he does have a tendency to retract his strikes low as I feel Medeiros’ counters will be live in this fight.

With his lanky frame and high-volume punching approach, Yancy Medeiros certainly earns the comparisons to his friends, the Diaz brothers. Working behind a pawing jab, Medeiros will variate his timing and tempos in order disguise his intentions.

Whether he is setting up the unique angles on his crosses and lead uppercuts or throwing spin kicks when feeling in stride, Medeiros has a lot to offer to the traditionally porous defense of Silva. The Hawaiian also does a good job of mixing in body shots, something I think will also pay dividends in this matchup.

Nevertheless, the Hawaiian is not without his defensive holes as well. We have seen Medeiros’ head sometimes go upright in retreat as he will be subject to the same costs as Silva when things get heated.

If this truly is a matured version of Erick Silva, then I would like to see him take this fight to the floor where he has the on-paper edge. A Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and Judo black belt, Silva is an excellent grappler who makes most of his money in transition.

Possessing solid takedowns from the clinch or in the open, Medeiros could be forced to work from a deficit should Silva get him down. However, the Hawaiian has also shown improvements to his wrestling, particularly in the defensive realm.

Not only does Medeiros demonstrate standard under-hook and hip fundamentals, but he also does a good job of circling and striking off of the breaks. And outside of a submission loss to Jim Miller(no shame there), Medeiros has shown solid submission defense in both victory and defeat.

Given that Silva, in my opinion, has more paths to victory as well as a size advantage, I was surprised to see him as an underdog in this spot as he was my initial lean.

But in reviewing the tape, I feel that Medeiros’ style will draw out the dog in Silva and force him out of position. There, I cannot help but see the Hawaiian’s check hook landing as I feel that will be the punch to watch out for in this fight. And though I am reluctantly siding with Medeiros, I ultimately suggest keeping your money away from this firefight.

Official Pick: Medeiros – Inside the distance

Official Outcome: Medeiros – TKO (round 2)

Preliminary Card Predictions:

  • Moraes def. Assuncao
  • Carlos Junior def. Spicely
  • Lopez def. Eduardo
  • Alcantara def. Kelleher
  • Pereira def. Moyle
  • Chagas def. Wallhead
  • Figueiredo def. Beltran

Dan’s Plays:

(*like my breakdowns, these are for your reference & entertainment)

Props worth looking at(@

-Holloway – Inside the distance +389 (0.5 Unit)
-Lopez – by submission +175 (0.5 Unit)
-Chagas – Inside the distance +100 (0.5 Unit)

-*Fun flier* Aldo-Holloway Draw +5500 (.25 Unit)

Playable parlay pieces(My most confident favorites who are not out of price range):

-Claudia Gadelha
-Marlon Moraes
-Matthew Lopez

Fights to avoid(the dog is likely live and or the line is very off):

-Pereira vs Moyle
-Alcantara vs Kelleher
-Beltran vs Figueiredo

For further technical and betting analysis, listen and subscribe to: The Protect Ya’ Neck Podcast and for future & past UFC breakdowns, stay tuned to:

  • Binho Vianna

    My picks: Aldo, Gadelha UD, Marquardt ITD, Medeiros ITD, over rounds Rafael-Marlon, Antonio Carlos, Johnny Eduardo (best underdog), Moyle UD, Chagas-Wallhead under rounds. Thanks!

    • Dan Tom

      Thanks for commenting and following along!

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