The undercard for UFC 212 is something of a mixed bag, but the succulent steaks in that bag give fight fans a lot to look forward to, particularly the bout between veterans Vitor Belfort and Nate Marquardt, and the sparks that are sure to fly between knockout artists Paulo Borrachinha and Oluwale Bamgbose. It also features what could be a loser-goes-home-permanently fight between Yancy Medeiros and Erick Silva, two lightweights who haven’t lived up to expectations.
So before you tune in this Saturday (June 3rd) to see Jose Aldo and Max Holloway unify the featherweight division, be sure to take a gander at the earlier fights. And if you’re into that whole betting thing, here are my picks and predictions.
He may have just turned 40 and may be coming off three straight first-round losses, but Vitor Belfort (25-13) still has a few fights left in him. His most recent fight was technically deemed a “No Contest” after Kelvin Gastelum tested positive for marijuana (?), but for all intents and purposes, we should write it off as a loss for Belfort.
The last three opponents — Gastelum, Gegard Mousasi, and Jacare Souza — were all very formidable opponents. His next challenge, the 38-year-old Nate Marquardt (35-17-2), definitely is not of the same caliber, at least, not anymore.
Marquardt has lost seven of his last ten fights, and his last notable win was back in 2012 when he defeated now-champ Tyron Woodley for the Strikeforce Welterweight title.
This is a clash between two aging fighters well past their prime, but at least Belfort continues to challenge top-flight fighters. It won’t be pretty, but Belfort definitely stands the better chance.
Pick: Vitor Belfort (-150)
They may not be household names, but the fight between Paulo Borrachinha (9-0) and Oluwale Bamgbose (6-2) promises some fireworks. Borrachinha is nine fights into his professional career and has never allowed a fight to advance past the first round. Before losing his most recent fight by decision, Bamgbose never been past the first round either.
Both fighters are more than willing to stand and trade blows, and they’ll need to pull off something special if they want to make a name for themselves in the stacked middleweight division.
We have two heavy hitters pitted against each other, but Borrachinha is clearly the more technically astute fighter. There’s not a lot of value in picking him, but I can’t justify picking Bamgbose. It’s either Borrachinha or a stay-away if you don’t like the low payout.
Pick: Paulo Borrachinha (-335)
Here are two welterweights that carried a lot of promise but failed to live up to expectations. Yancy Medeiros (14-4) was 9-0 before joining the UFC, but after joining the promotion he’s racked up a checkered 5-4 record.
Likewise, Erick Silva (19-7) had only lost one fight before joining the UFC. But he’s since lost six of his last 13.
We have two inconsistent fighters on our hands, so this is a tough one to pick. Medeiros looked great against Sean Spencer is his last fight, and if he can replicate that performance, the fight is probably his.
Pick: Yancy Medeiros (-115)
Photo credit: Tiago Cata (flickr) [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0]
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