Souza vs. Mousasi: A Complete Guide to UFC Fight Night 50

Scott Harris@ScottHarrisMMAMMA Lead WriterSeptember 1, 2014

Souza vs. Mousasi: A Complete Guide to UFC Fight Night 50

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    Ronaldo Souza
    Ronaldo SouzaUSA TODAY Sports

    Everything that UFC 177 was not, UFC Fight Night 50 is.

    Not to excuse the septic tank fire that was last weekend's pay-per-view offering, but we've all said and thought plenty about that event. Time to move on, at least until the buy estimates come out.

    In any case, Fight Night 50 more than stands on its own. Airing Friday night on Fox Sports 1, the free card features a string of enticing bouts. In the main event, Ronaldo Souza and Gegard Mousasi are two thoroughbreds of the sport. The winner of that one might get the next middleweight title shot.

    Other fights are just plain fun. You like lumbering heavyweights? I like lumbering heavyweights. And the lumbering heavyweights will come out to play in two of the main card bouts.

    Then, you've got Joe Lauzon. If he doesn't get you amped, then I don't know what will. I don't have any backup ideas for you.

    So let's now join hands and hope that no one passes out during weight cutting or slips on a banana peel or anything like that. Let us band together to collectively hope this card delivers on what it promises to be: a rewarding night of fights for a fanbase due some rewards. 

    This is a complete guide to the full 10-fight slate, including information capsules, predictions and viewing coordinates (though that isn't very helpful this time around, given that it's all on FS1, but I'll give them anyway).

Chas Skelly vs. Sean Soriano

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    Chas Skelly
    Chas SkellyUSA TODAY Sports

    Division: Featherweight
    Records: Chas Skelly (12-1), Sean Soriano (8-1)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    The key story here is Skelly stepping in just two weeks after he stepped out. Such a thing might have proved impossible had he not been so clinical in his first-round dispatching of Tom Niinimaki.

    Soriano is a member of the sport's new breed. MMA is the Blackzilian's education and vocation, and he's been at it since he left high school.

    Soriano has heavy and creative strikes (especially kicks) but doesn't get wild with them. That's good for him, because Skelly has his own brand of aggression, namely planting you on the mat as soon as possible and then tenderizing your head or locking on a choke.

    I like both of these new faces in the UFC, but give me the guy with the wrestling advantage and the hotter hand.

    Prediction: Skelly, unanimous decision

Tateki Matsuda vs. Chris Beal

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    Chris Beal
    Chris BealUSA TODAY Sports

    Division: Bantamweight
    Records: Tateki Matsuda (10-5), Chris Beal (9-0)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    Beal's flying knee was the shot heard 'round Baltimore at the beginning of UFC 172. For the rest of the evening, the energy level never dipped back below the level Beal established.

    He's always capable of that kind of electricity, though it does sit atop a sound wrestling base. Matsuda, meanwhile, debuts on short notice and brings a checkered past against top opponents. This one should bring Beal to 2-0 in the Octagon proper.

    Prediction: Beal, TKO, Round 2

Rafael Natal vs. Chris Camozzi

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    Rafael Natal
    Rafael NatalJeff Chiu/Associated Press

    Division: Middleweight
    Records: Rafael Natal (17-6-1), Chris Camozzi (19-8)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    This one has feast or famine written all over it.

    With five consecutive defeats between them, if this is not a loser-leaves-town match, I am decidedly confused about the meaning of that phrase.

    Natal has a pretty unwavering game plan. Fire a few kicks to the legs and then to the body. Then, here comes the trip to the mat, where jiu-jitsu takes over.

    Camozzi's plan is simple, too. He toughs his way in, toughs his way through and toughs his way out. But opponents have lately exposed the limits of that approach. You hold the guy down and smother him like he's on fire.

    Francis Carmont did it. So did Bruno Santos. Natal is more than capable of following suit. If Camozzi gets his way, this could be a barnburner. Here's guessing, though, that there's no way but Natal's way. 

    Prediction: Natal, unanimous decision

Al Iaquinta vs. Rodrigo Damm

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    Al Iaquinta
    Al IaquintaUSA TODAY Sports

    Division: Lightweight
    Records: Al Iaquinta (8-3-1), Rodrigo Damm (12-7)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    Iaquinta is an exciting and sound fighter, and he was on his way to a fourth straight victory until Mitch Clarke ensnared him in a wily D'arce choke at UFC 173.

    The former The Ultimate Fighter contestant and would-be television actor has real punching power and decent, though not exceptional, ground skills. Damm is a pure grinder and has world-class jiu-jitsu credentials.

    That complement of skills has to be a red flag for Iaquinta supporters, given that he just fell into a chokeout. Damm's grappling is better than Clarke's and might just win the day, assuming he can get the action to the mat.

    Prediction: Damm, submission, Round 2

John Moraga vs. Justin Scoggins

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    Justin Scoggins
    Justin ScogginsUSA TODAY Sports

    Division: Flyweight
    Records: John Moraga (14-2), Justin Scoggins (9-1)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    In the evening's first "main card" bout, my gut says John Moraga. But I'm going to go ahead and chicken out like a big chicken here and ride with young master Scoggins.

    The 22-year-old Scoggins is every hardcore fan's favorite "look out for this guy" guy, and that seems to be holding steady despite that split-decision loss to Dustin Ortiz.

    Moraga has underrated wrestling to complement his well-known punching power. And, you know, that's why I want to take him.

    But Scoggins might be too quick, agile and polished for the older veteran. Although I don't think Scoggins will be able to score a knockout with his great kickboxing, he will score enough points to win.

    Either way, we have our Fight of the Night dark horse right here.

    Prediction: Scoggins, unanimous decision

Nik Lentz vs. Charles Oliveira

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    Charles Oliveira
    Charles OliveiraUSA TODAY Sports

    Division: Featherweight
    Records: Nik Lentz (25-6-2), Charles Oliveira (18-4)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    Back in 2011 a fight between these two derailed when Oliveira landed an illegal knee in the second round. Now comes the rematch.

    Lentz is a rock-solid athlete, and he uses his strength and stamina to apply and hold the pressure. The wrestler will get inside for short shots or takedowns and then work ground-and-pound from top control. He'll do it until the horn sounds, if you let him.

    Although Oliveira was whipping Lentz at the time of his illegal strike, that one was at lightweight. Lentz will have more power at featherweight. Then again, so will Oliveira. The young "do Bronx" is looking great against non-contenders since dropping down, and his submission game is simply excellent.

    He'll make it uncomfortable for Lentz, either by throwing up submission attempts from the bottom or sweeping himself to top. And on the feet, Oliveira should have a substantial advantage. This one will unfold much as the first, minus the no-contest.

    Prediction: Oliveira, TKO, Round 2

Joe Lauzon vs. Michael Chiesa

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    Joe Lauzon
    Joe LauzonUSA TODAY Sports

    Division: Lightweight
    Records: Joe Lauzon (23-9), Michael Chiesa (11-1)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    Intelligent and likable outside the chain link and video game-violent inside it, Lauzon and Chiesa are going to fashion a wicked one Friday night, and it has performance bonus written all over it.

    Both these men love to mix it up on the ground, meaning this could be a fascinating mat battle. Chiesa's powerful chokes against Lauzon's spidery jiu-jitsu: What else do you want?

    Striking-wise, Lauzon is starting to box more; his cardio and toughness will help him as well. He's gone the distance his last three fights, while Chiesa has done so only three times in his entire career.

    Chiesa is brimming with confidence, though, and it's hard to blame him. He fights like he knows he can take anyone down at will and manipulate them from there. This one will be close, and I wouldn't be surprised with either outcome, but I'll give the nod to Chiesa and his strength and wrestling advantages.

    Prediction: Chiesa, submission, Round 2

Matt Mitrione vs. Derrick Lewis

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    Derrick Lewis
    Derrick LewisUSA TODAY Sports

    Division: Heavyweight
    Records: Derrick Lewis (11-2), Matt Mitrione (7-3)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    That picture kind of says it all. Lewis is an intense and thudding brawler with tree trunks instead of arms. You know what that means: He's perfect for lumbering. Yes! Fist pump.

    Mitrione is powerful but less consistent, and like Lewis, he doesn't have a foundation in any grappling discipline.

    So, yes. Sloppy slugfest coming your way. Both men are tough, mean and strong, but Lewis is just a little more so.

    Prediction: Lewis, TKO, Round 1

Alistair Overeem vs. Ben Rothwell

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    Alistair Overeem
    Alistair OvereemGregory Payan/Associated Press

    Division: Heavyweight
    Records: Alistair Overeem (37-13), Ben Rothwell (33-9)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    Now for Lumbering Heavyweights Part II. Are you excited? I'm excited. It's like eating cookies for dinner.

    It would be so fun to see The 'Reem and underdog Rothwell fight the bout that they are both capable of: Overeem comes in smirking, grabs the early advantage, lets his guard down, starts to tire and gets his lights shut off by Rothwell—who has one-punch knockout power.

    There are two problems with that. One, Rothwell gasses faster than Overeem. Maybe faster than anybody in the UFC. Two, Overeem is not a dumb guy. You could see it against Frank Mir; he's learning to fight smarter, incorporating more conservative ground fighting and better overall defense into his game.

    That will be the difference against Rothwell. Big Ben will want to duke it out in classic lumbering heavyweight fashion. Overeem will, or at least should, want no part of it.

    Prediction: Overeem, unanimous decision

Ronaldo Souza vs. Gegard Mousasi

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    Ronaldo Souza (center)
    Ronaldo Souza (center)USA TODAY Sports

    Division: Middleweight
    Records: Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza (20-3), Gegard Mousasi (35-4-2)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    Sometimes the main event is not the cut-and-dried best fight on the card. This time, it most assuredly is.

    Are these guys talented or what? And they're both on arguably the best streaks of their careers, with each one making strong statements in his young UFC tenure. Souza is 3-0, while Mousasi is 2-1.

    In a way, these two are sort of mirror opposites—exactly the same but exactly different, if you know what I mean.

    Mousasi is younger but more experienced. Both fought for a long time in other promotions before finally reaching UFC soil. Mousasi is a kickboxer who has brought up his grappling to meet the level of the former. Flip that idea on its ear and you have Souza.

    So what's the difference between these two? Not much. What is the difference since they fought in 2008, when Mousasi knocked Souza out? Plenty.

    Mousasi might have more quickness and better footwork, while Souza probably has a small power edge. (They are both 6'1", with Mousasi enjoying a two-inch reach advantage.)

    Jacare has shown off his improved striking lately. Remember that spinning high kick on Francis Carmont or that first-round devastation of Yushin Okami? That was not novice stuff. 

    But now the pendulum flips over to Mousasi. Remember his ground domination of Mark Munoz? He made it look easy, and Munoz coaches wrestling to other UFC fighters. 

    So, I really don't know. It might be the toughest fight to call on a card full of close ones. I'll go with Jacare because I think he'll have tighter defense and a better mat game, which is where I believe the match will turn.

    Prediction: Souza, unanimous decision

    Scott Harris covers the various serious and less serious aspects of MMA for Bleacher Report. Follow Scott on Twitter if you feel so inclined.