UFC Fight Night 28 Prelims: 5 Reasons to Watch

By Mike Whitman Sep 4, 2013
Can Yuri Villefort stop the bleeding from a two-fight skid? | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

Just in case you are somehow not reeling from the volume of caged violence we have witnessed in the last couple of weeks, the Ultimate Fighting Championship has you covered.

Sure, a casual observer might look at this bill and consider the event to be a little excessive, but not you guys. You guys are hardcore. You guys paint “Just Bleed” on your naked chests. You guys make charts in order to remember the color of speedo Ken Shamrock wore during each of the fights in his first Octagon run.

As such, you will no doubt be tuning in for UFC Fight Night 28, which takes place on Wednesday at Jornalista Felipe Drumond Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The show is headlined by a light heavyweight showdown between Glover Teixeira and Ryan Bader and airs live on Fox Sports 1.

Here are five reasons to sit on down with a big old bag of Bugles and watch the prelims:

Sherdog Fantasy MMA: UFC Fight Night 28 Free Fan Pick’Em

Yuri Worries

It was not so long ago that Yuri Villefort was heralded by some as the sport’s top welterweight prospect.

Then, as with so many talented young athletes, an injury derailed Villefort’s plans. The Floridian underwent knee surgery in the summer of 2011 and returned to action in May 2012, dropping a split decision to Quinn Mulhern in his first and only fight under the Strikeforce banner. As it did in his clash with Mulhern, Villefort’s endurance appeared to wane in his UFC debut against Nah-Shon Burrell in February, and he made some questionable decisions in that bout, namely absorbing a flurry of hard shots to the grill while refusing to let go of a third-round heel hook attempt.

Still, Villefort is only 22 years old, and he has plenty of time to mature and refine his game. The only question: will that evolution come in the UFC or does he require more seasoning? I think his bout with Sean Spencer could tell us much about where Villefort stands as a UFC welterweight.

Making Martins

It is difficult to know what the future holds for Lucas Martins.

Martins is no doubt an exciting prospect, and it feels unfair to evaluate him based on his lone career defeat, which came to lightweight wrecking machine and all-around nice guy Edson Barboza in past January. At the same time, it is equally hard to ignore what appear to be glaring flaws in the 24-year-old’s striking game. For as aggressive and eager as he is in the standup, he also leaves himself wide open to counter attacks and straight punches. The Brazilian has a bad habit of keeping his head straight up during exchanges, which allowed Jeremy Larsen to tune him up for two rounds before Martins caught him coming in during the third round of their UFC on FX 8 showdown.

How will Martins look when he locks horns with Miletich Fighting Systems rep Ramiro Hernandez?

Welcome to the Jungle

Elias Silverio is one of three Jungle Fight champions who will be in action, and you would be wise to keep an eye on each of them.

If you will recall, two years ago, most viewers did not recognize the name Erick Silva. As the reigning Jungle Fight welterweight champion, Silva joined the UFC in impressive fashion, rattling off three sharp performances -- one of which was controversially declared a disqualification loss -- before succumbing to the experienced Jon Fitch. Still, Silva’s recent submission of Jason High seems to indicate he will be a UFC staple for some time, and I think the same type of potential could lie within Silva’s successor.

The reigning Jungle fight welterweight king, Silverio is a well-rounded 170-pounder. Though he does not own a finishing rate akin to the other Jungle Fight champs on this card, Silverio is quite capable of exploding in a flurry of violence, as he exhibited in his Jungle Fight 46 massacre of Julio Rafael Rodrigues. Now paired with countryman and former Nitrix champ Joao Zeferino, Silverio will undoubtedly look to follow in Silva’s footsteps when he hits the Octagon.

Introducing Kevin

Jungle Fight featherweight champion Edimilson Souza is a violent striker whose aggressive style is fun to watch. Also, “Kevin” is just about the best nickname you could give a guy who makes his living by putting people to sleep with his fists.

Souza can get a little off-balance at times, but he is relentless in pursuit of the finish. The 28-year-old has never seen the judges’ scorecards in 16 pro outings and has earned each of his last seven victories by some form of knockout. On the flip side, “Kevin” has shown a tendency to leave himself open to submissions, as all three of his losses have come via tap out.

I do not anticipate that will be an issue for Souza when he meets Felipe Arantes, however, as his fellow Brazilian has also done his best work standing. Can Souza score his eighth-straight victory, or will “Sertanejo” continue his winning ways in the Octagon?

Batman Debuts

At 32, Ivan Jorge is the oldest of the three Jungle Fight titleholders to debut at UFC Fight Night 28. The lightweight champ has scored 13 of his 24 career wins by submission and has finished his last five opponents by rear-naked choke.

Better known as Ivan “Batman” in his home country, Jorge has won 10 of his last 11 fights and enters the Octagon on the strength of six consecutive submission wins. Like his fellow Jungle Fight champs, “Batman” also makes his UFC debut as an injury replacement, stepping in for Marcelo Guimaraes against durable veteran Keith Wisniewski.

Can the grappler grab a big win in his UFC debut or will Wisniewski drag him into deep waters and drown him?


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