Machida vs. Mousasi: A Complete Guide to Full UFC Fight Night 36 Card

Scott Harris@ScottHarrisMMAMMA Lead WriterFebruary 10, 2014

Machida vs. Mousasi: A Complete Guide to Full UFC Fight Night 36 Card

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    Lyoto Machida
    Lyoto MachidaJae C. Hong/Associated Press

    Is he Demetrious Johnson, or is he Benson Henderson?

    Roughly speaking, that's the question Lyoto Machida will try to answer when he fights Gegard Mousasi this Saturday at UFC Fight Night 36, which goes down from Jaragua do Sul, Brazil. 

    In the case of the former, it's the story of a man who, while successful in a heavier weight class (bantamweight), found his true niche in a lower division (flyweight, where Johnson is the reigning champ). The latter story is one populated by championship-level talent but also by conservative game plans and controversial decisions that routinely overshadow the action in the cage.

    Machida, once the UFC light heavyweight titleholder, moved down to middleweight in October to dramatic effect; he scored a spectacular head-kick knockout on Mark Munoz in the first round of his debut. 

    If it was a sign of things to come, Machida could be a contender again in short order. If not, he could return to the promotional no-man's land, where elite but inconsistent or unexciting fighters, fairly or not, are frequently confined.

    But this is just one of several intriguing bouts and storylines across the card, from Fight Pass to finale. In fact, several fighters are facing these sorts of existential questions. Here's a full guide to UFC Fight Night 36, including information capsules, predictions and viewing coordinates for each and every bout.

Douglas Silva De Andrade vs. Zubair Tuhugov

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    Division: Featherweight
    Records: Douglas Silva de Andrade (22-0-1), Zubair Tuhugov (15-3)
    See it on: UFC Fight Pass (subscription required)

    Last week, the UFC announced that Brazilian 28-year-old super-prospect Andrade had signed with the UFC and will serve as a late replacement for the injured Thiago Tavares. His career has been marked by pure destruction, including 18 knockout victories. And he wasn't doing it in total obscurity either, earning several recent wins in the well-regarded Jungle Fight promotion.

    Though Andrade is the newer guy, Tuhugov may be the more anonymous of the two. But do not sleep on the Chechen. He has the same combat sambo base that has made fighters from that region of the world such a hot commodity of late. And the 23-year-old can box, too, with much better quickness and footwork (if slightly less knockout power) than the average sambo champ (see video).

    I really like both of these guys. This is a close call and a terrific opener for any fight card. Andrade's experience and dynamic power striking will win the day, but there's a case to be made for both men.

    Prediction: Andrade, TKO, Rd. 2

Ildemar Alcantara vs. Albert Tumenov

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    Ildemar Alcantara
    Ildemar AlcantaraAndre Penner/Associated Press

    Division: Welterweight
    Records: Ildemar Alcantara (19-6), Albert Tumenov (12-1)
    See it on: UFC Fight Pass (subscription required)

    The first and only place to start when you talk about Ildemar Alcantara is his size. The guy has fought at light heavyweightand recently to boot. Ergo, he is a titanic welterweight.

    He doesn't have a great deal of, what's the word I want here, skills, but he's respectable in every phase. He's a grinder who will not beat himself.

    Coming off a hard-fought loss to Igor Araujo, Alcantara will be working to rebound when he faces Tumenov. He will want—nay, need—to dirty it up against the Russian, who has won his last six by knockout and last five in the opening round. 

    Tumenov reminds me a bit of Jordan Mein. Green, maybe, but he can outstrike just about anyone. Here's guessing he controls the distance, stays away from those big paws and finds Alcantara's chin. Timber.

    Prediction: Tumenov, TKO, Rd. 2

Felipe Arantes vs. Maximo Blanco

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    Maximo Blanco (right)
    Maximo Blanco (right)Paul Abell-USA TODAY Sports

    Division: Featherweight
    Records: Felipe Arantes (15-6-1), Maximo Blanco (9-5-1)
    See it on: UFC Fight Pass (subscription required)

    Both of these veterans are coming off rather uninspiring losses. Arantes dropped a split decision to Edimilson Souza in September, while Blanco needed only 25 seconds to drop an illegal knee on Akira Corassani and earn himself a disqualification loss in November.

    Blanco was a victim of his own unbridled enthusiasm, but hopefully the DQ won't deter the tough-guy ex-boxer from doing his thing on Saturday. Arantes can take things to the ground but also enjoys a nice fistfight on the feet. For the sake of entertainment, here's hoping Arantes takes the bait and slugs, despite having a disadvantage there.

    Prediction: Blanco, Unanimous decision

Iuri Alcantara vs. Wilson Reis

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    Wilson Reis (right)
    Wilson Reis (right)Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

    Division: Bantamweight
    Records: Iuri Alcantara (28-5), Wilson Reis (17-4)
    See it on: UFC Fight Pass (subscription required)

    The other member of the Flying Alcantara Brothers takes on human bowling ball Wilson Reis at the undercard's halfway point.

    Reis is a respected jiu-jitsu black belt, but so is Alcantara. Reis can put Alcantara on his back, but Alcantara won't panic. The striking exchanges should all favor Alcantara.

    Expect a bit of a slow burner here, with an occasional flash of grappling tastiness.

    Prediction: Alcantara, Unanimous decision

Jesse Ronson vs. Francisco Trinaldo

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    Francisco Trinaldo
    Francisco TrinaldoJason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

    Division: Lightweight
    Records: Francisco Trinaldo (13-3), Jesse Ronson (13-3)
    See it on: UFC Fight Pass (subscription required)

    The march of the Brazilian journeymen continues when Trinaldo squares off against Canadian Jesse Ronson.

    The jury is definitely out on Ronson's nickname, "The Body Snatcher." It's either really good or thoroughly terrible. I can't decide. Maybe I need to watch more film.

    Either way, he dropped a close one in his UFC debut, and while Trinaldo has been a model of inconsistency, he has proved he belongs in the Octagon. Give the edge to the proven guy.

    Prediction: Trinaldo, Unanimous decision

Rodrigo Damm vs. Ivan Jorge

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    Ivan Jorge
    Ivan JorgeJason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

    Division: Lightweight
    Records: Rodrigo Damm (11-6), Ivan Jorge (25-3)
    See it on: UFC Fight Pass (subscription required)

    Though he is a party to the occasional stinker (see Antonio Carvalho), Damm proudly wears his brawling shorts into the cage. The last time he stepped in, he eked out a split decision after three tough rounds with Mizuto Hirota.

    But the story of this fight might be told in its takedown attempts. Jorge is all submission grappler but had plenty of trouble getting Keith Wisniewski to the ground in his UFC debut. Damm can grapple, but I imagine he'll want to keep this one vertical. If he can find the same success as Wisniewski, he should be able to wade in and get the better of the exchanges on the feet and in the clinch.

    Prediction: Damm, Unanimous decision 

Cristiano Marcello vs. Joe Proctor

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    Joe Proctor
    Joe ProctorGregory Payan/Associated Press

    Division: Lightweight
    Records: Cristiano Marcello (13-5), Joe Proctor (8-2)
    See it on: UFC Fight Pass (subscription required)

    Jiu-jitsu resumes don't come much more sterling than Cristiano Marcello's—what with the training under Rickson Gracie and educating scads of UFC luminaries during his time as a coach.

    But he's 36 and has a bit of an old-dog-new-tricks problem. The immortal Kazuki Tokudome showed in a ground-and-pounding of Marcello in March that Marcello may not have the kind of game you need to compete in the modern UFC. 

    The same concern applies to striking. Sure, Marcello swings a heavy right hand and can throw some kicks and stuff, but he doesn't have a lot of boxing acumen or defense.

    And yet, I like Marcello. Proctor is a nice fighter, but he's been out of action for more than a year with injuries. This really is, to me, a referendum on Marcello. I'll give it to him, but if it doesn't go his way, it's hard to see where his UFC career goes from here.

    Prediction: Marcello, Unanimous decision 

Charles Oliveira vs. Andy Ogle

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    Charles Oliveira
    Charles OliveiraJayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

    Division: Featherweight
    Records: Charles Oliveira (16-4), Andy Ogle (9-3)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    Ah, yes. Welcome to the main card.

    When we last left Oliveira, he was taking everything Frankie Edgar had to dish out at UFC 162. It seems this fight is a kind of remuneration for that performance. 

    That may sound awfully harsh toward Ogle, but it goes to show how dangerous Oliveira is. Hard to believe, in fact, that he's still only 24. He has great size for a featherweight and knows how to use his long limbs to strategically constrict various parts of his opponent and score damage on the feet. He's also tough as nails; much tougher than he looks. 

    Ogle is tough too, but against Oliveira, it will probably only be a matter of time.

    Prediction: Oliveira, Submission, Rd. 2

Viscardi Andrade vs. Nicholas Musoke

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    Viscardi Andrade
    Viscardi AndradeFelipe Dana/Associated Press

    Division: Welterweight
    Records: Viscardi Andrade (17-5), Nicholas Musoke (11-2)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    Andrade announced his UFC presence with authority in August, when he destroyed Bristol Marunde in only 96 seconds.

    Musoke does not, on paper, present a stiffer challenge. He hasn't lost in more than two years, and he submitted Alessio Sakara in his first UFC fight, but Andrade is better on the ground than Sakara. Andrade also has a bit of swagger about him that should allow him to shake off any jitters and take care of business Saturday night.

    Prediction: Andrade, TKO, Rd. 1

Erick Silva vs. Takenori Sato

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    Erick Silva
    Erick SilvaFelipe Dana/Associated Press

    Division: Welterweight
    Records: Erick Silva (15-4), Takenori Sato (17-8-7)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    It's been a strange ride of late for Erick Silva. He looked great in two Submission of the Night bonus winners and fought very honorably in a defeat to Jon Fitch.

    But on further review, maybe the Fitch fight wasn't as impressive as it seemed at first glance, given Fitch's recent decline. Silva also appeared decidedly sub-elite in his second-round KO loss to Dong Hyun Kim.

    Through it all he has remained one of the more intriguing welterweights in the UFC. It's kind of unfortunate that we probably won't learn anything more about him Saturday night against a scrambled-up injury replacement in Sato. Unless Silva loses, that is.

    Prediction: Silva, TKO, Rd. 1

Ronaldo Souza vs. Francis Carmont

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    Ronaldo Souza
    Ronaldo SouzaJason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

    Division: Middleweight
    Records: Ronaldo Souza (19-3), Francis Carmont (22-7)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    I keep picking against Francis Carmont, and he keeps coming back to haunt me.

    But this is where it ends, dagnabbitagainst Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza. 

    Submitted for your consideration, Souza's last seven victims: Tim Kennedy, Robbie Lawler, Bristol Marunde, Derek Brunson, Ed Herman, Chris Camozzi, Yushin Okami. I'm no Bas Davies, but to me, that's a pretty good list. His only loss in that stretch was to Luke Rockhold.

    Hey, I have an idea. If Jacare wins this fight, I would definitely pay to watch a rematch between him and Rockhold. The winner gets a title shot, even. Oh, wait, never mind. Rockhold is already fighting Tim Boetsch. Well, that's, eh, also very nice.

    Carmont rolls with Tristar; he's a good fighter and a grinder. He likes to clinch people against the fence and throw stay-busy knees and so on. That's not going to get it done against Souza, who has beastly trips and takedowns to complement some world-class jiu-jitsu. That blend of skills is really the key to his success. But his striking is pretty good, too.

    Bottom line: If Carmont can smother Souza, he needs to be fast-tracked a little bit. However, I don't see much fast-tracking in Carmont's future.

    Prediction: Souza, Submission, Rd. 2

Lyoto Machida vs. Gegard Mousasi

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    Lyoto Machida
    Lyoto MachidaJae C. Hong/Associated Press

    Division: Middleweight
    Records: Lyoto Machida (20-4), Gegard Mousasi (34-3-2)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    As I've combed through it, I've noticed something of a theme in this card. It's a card of referendums. Marcello, Blanco, Silva, Souza and, to my mind, Machida are all fighting not just to grab a bonus or the next rung on the ladder—they're fighting for their identities as fighters.  

    Because who are these guys? It's especially applicable to Machida. This fight will determine whether he's a contender or pretender as a middleweight. Mousasi is talented, but I don't think he'll be able to get to Machida. 

    This feels like a card where all the guys do what they're supposed to do. Machida won't wow the crowd this time, but he takes a decisive step forward. 

    Prediction: Machida, Unanimous decision


    Scott Harris writes about MMA for Bleacher Report. You are hereby invited to follow Scott on Twitter should you so desire.