'Toquinho' has gone from Rio's slums to the HSBC Arena. | Photo: Marcelo Alonso
Rousimar Palhares (12-3, 5-2 UFC) vs. Dan Miller (13-5, 1 NC, 5-4 UFC)
The Matchup: An action-packed matchup figures to unfold here, with the aggressive and compact Palhares squaring off against Miller, a reliable scrapper whose durability and never-surrender attitude hold him in good stead despite decision losses to the better class of the division.
Palhares is one of the sleepers in the middleweight division, with the kind of wrestling and willingness to exchange not always seen in Brazilian jiu-jitsu exponents. His penchant for nasty, fight-finishing holds makes him something of a scary prospect with which to deal. For those who have not seen his brawl with Dan Henderson at UFC 88, that fight alone shows how relentless and tough he can be.
Miller has a tough middle road to negotiate, as Palhares is even or slightly superior on the feet and, yet, exceptionally dangerous off his back. Both have go-forward styles and like to dictate the action as opposed to countering, which should make for an entertaining fight.
Palhares’ incredible upper-body strength makes him a difficult assignment for anyone outside of the division’s elite wrestlers or great strikers; Miller is neither. The AMA Fight Club standout is tough and durable, but Palhares has too many weapons. He will pile up points on the feet and with a grinding ground game, forcing Miller to defend against an assault of passes, submission attempts and ground-and-pound.
The Pick: If Palhares gets a stoppage, it would send a major message to the rest of the middleweight division, since Miller’s five losses are all by decision. He will take over in the second half of the bout and pound his way to a unanimous nod on the scorecards.
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