Fantasy Fights

Intelligent, unique MMA analysis

UFC Fight Night Rio Quick Picks

I find this event to be quite a letdown, being one week after what proved to be a great fight card at UFC 185. I think the main event between Ryan LaFlare and Demian Maia is interesting, and Erick Silva fights are always exciting one way or the other, but there are very few above-average UFC fighters here. Does this card really need to have 12 fights?

Ryan LaFlare vs. Demian Maia

My metrics have LaFlare as the slightly better fighter overall, but see this as a good matchup for Maia. LaFlare has an offense centered around takedowns, but very few fighters are willing to take Maia down. It will be interesting to see if LaFlare chooses to strike with Maia, or if he will shoot takedowns and test Maia’s guard game. Very close, coin flip type of fight. Maia by decision.

Josh Koscheck vs. Erick Silva

It’s easy to dismiss Koscheck here given his dismal performance against Jake Ellenberger just last month, but I think there’s a lot of potential for Koscheck to pull off the upset. Koscheck’s wrestling is likely to be much more effective in this fight, and Silva fades badly after the first round. I can’t pick Koscheck out-right though, given Silva’s finishing ability and the potential that Koscheck is only interested in a paycheck. Silva by TKO.

Tony Martin vs. Leonardo Santos

Martin is a huge lightweight with good striking and wrestling and a very suspect gas tank. Santos doesn’t have Martin’s ability in strikes or takedowns, but has a much better ground game and should be poised to capitalize if Martin fades after the first round. Martin will probably need to show off better cardio if he wants to win this one – and I still think moving up to 170 pounds would be a good thing for him. Martin by decision.

Shayna Baszler vs. Amanda Nunes

Speaking of suspect gas tanks, Amanda Nunes will be taking on Shayna Baszler on this card. Nunes will likely be dominant early as usual, especially because Baszler’s striking is a disaster. Of course, Nunes always fades after the first round, because she fights like she’s been fired out of a cannon, so there’s certainly a chance that Baszler can win late. In the end, though, I have to take the better fighter to win. Nunes by TKO.

Gilbert Burns vs. Alex Oliveira

Burns has been impressive enough in his brief UFC career that he was originally matched up against Josh Thomson, but a Thomson injury has left him replaced by the debuting Alex Oliveira. Burns seems to have developed quality striking and wrestling to go along with his excellent Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, so I highly doubt that Oliveira will be able to expose any holes in his game on short notice. Burns by TKO.

Andre Fili vs. Godofredo Pepey

The UFC has done its best to rehabilitate Pepey’s career, giving him a match against the hopelessly one-dimensional Dorian Johnson in his last outing. Fili is a far tougher opponent, a Team Alpha Male fighter with aggressive striking and a fairly well-rounded game. Pepey’s striking is average at best and his wrestling is a sore spot. I expect Fili to be better everywhere. Fili by TKO.


  • Francisco Trinaldo over Akbarh Arreola
  • Kevin Souza over Katsunori Kikuno
  • Leandro Silva over Drew Dober
  • Leonardo Mafra over Cain Carrizosa
  • Christos Giagos over Jorge de Oliveira
  • Bentley Syler over Fredy Serrano

2 responses to “UFC Fight Night Rio Quick Picks

  1. r.mattioli March 19, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    not much going on here…..I`m looking forward to gaethje vs palomino is about a week….on this card a friend and I both like silva and nunes and he suggested a 3-way parlay with fili at roughly even money………..I think it sounds like a plan…

    there`s a titan fc card Friday night on cbs sports network that has a handful of ex-ufc/bellator guys fighting(pat healy/desmond green and a few others)…`s at 11 eastern so I should be around to catch it….beats a sharp stick in the eye…..

    waiting on the nfl draft and mayweather/manny…congrats on the nice effort last week.t

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