UFC Fight Night 36 Undercard Preview for Fight Pass Prelims Tonight (Feb. 15)

UFC 147: Arantes v VieiraThe  Arena Jaraguá in Jaraguá do Sul, Brazil is host to UFC Fight Night 36: Machida vs. Mousasi and there’s a host of Brazilian talent looking to prove their worth on the undercard. We start with the preliminary ‘main event’ between lightweights Cristiano Marcello (13-5) and Joe Proctor (8-2), which is one of three lightweight battles on the prelims, and one that pits both fighters coming off losses in a must-win situation. You’ve likely heard tales of Cristiano Marcello and his BJJ greatness, maybe if you’re a die-hard you’ve seen him choke out Krazy Horse Bennett backstage in Pride. In the UFC, he’s 1-2 with his sole win coming from a controversial split-decision over Reza Madadi at UFC 153. Joe Proctor is a student of Joe Lauzon’s who followed up his TKO win over Jeremy Larsen at the TUF 15 finale with a disappointing loss to Ramsey Nijem at UFC on FOX: Diaz vs. Henderson. Proctor is a well-rounded fighter, and takes after Lauzon in a lot of ways. On the feet, Proctor may have the slight advantage, and while Proctor is good on the ground, especially in MMA, this isn’t a BJJ competition after all, but Marcello by far holds the advantage when it goes to the mat. As Carlson Gracie said, “punch a black belt in the face, he becomes a brown belt. Punch him again, he becomes a purple belt.” Proctor needs to make that happen if he’s to stand a chance when it potentially heads down to the ground. The next lightweight battle on the prelims pits Rodrigo Damm (11-6) against Ivan “Batman” Jorge (25-3). Damm is coming off a split-decision win over Mizuto Hirota at UFC on Fuel TV: Nogueira vs. Werdum, while Jorge is riding a seven-fight win streak including a win over Keith Wisniewski at UFC Fight Night 28: Teixeira vs. Bader. Damm is moving back up to lightweight after multiple nasty weight cuts, and he’s 2-1 in the UFC including a Submission of the Night performance in his promotional debut over Anistavio Medeiros at UFC 147. Jorge has been around the game for a long time, and he likely knows this UFC run will be his last big push at 33-years-old. Damm knows this too, and while Damm has fought better competition, Jorge is a beast of a finisher. Batman has 13 submissions and three knockouts to his name, compared to Damm’s six submissions and two knockouts. Both are BJJ blackbelts and we can expect them to test each other’s stand up in this contest. Jorge has the slight edge standing up, but Damm at a healthy weight should be interesting to watch. Completing the trifecta of lightweight fights is Francisco Trinaldo (13-3) playing home-country favorite to Jesse Ronson (13-3). Both men have a lot of pressure on them right now, with the record of 13-3 at stake, but Ronson is 0-1 in the UFC, falling to Michael Richard Prazares via split-decision in his debut, while Trinaldo is 2-2 and coming off a loss to Piotr Hallmann at UFC Fight Night: Bader vs. Teixeira viasecond round kimura. Both men are finishers, with Trinaldo boasting five knockouts and five submissions to Ronson’s six KOs and four submissions. Ronson is a solid overall fighter with great cardio, while Trinaldo tends to gas. With that said, Trinaldo is a very big lightweight, and he packs a punch when he has gas to fuel it. This could be a fantastic battle of attrition. A solid bantamweight matchup is up next, with former Bellator bantamweight Wilson Reis (17-4) taking on Iuri Alcantara (28-5-1) who is fresh off his loss to Urijah Faber back in August of 2013. Reis in the UFC just makes me realize how much some of those Bellator featherweights and bantamweights should be in the UFC, as Reis has two losses to Patricio Freire and a knockout loss to Eduardo Dantas. Alcantara is a solid top 20 bantamweight, but he has seen a rough tiding come to his fight life. He’s 1-2-1 in his last 4, with a win over Iliarde Santos at Belfort vs. Rockhold being his lone bright spot. Both of these men are very talented and don’t shy away from the fight. With both being two of the bigger men in the bantamweight division, we are seeing the closest thing to a good featherweight matchup in 2011 here since, I don’t even know. I got myself in trouble with that analogy. This will be a tough fight to pick. Both men have looked renewed since moving to bantamweight. The Venezuelan superstar who made his name in Japan, Maximo Blanco (9-5-1-1), is looking to put together a few solid wins after going 1-2 in the UFC. Granted, he was destroying Akira Corassani before nailing him with an illegal knee and getting disqualified, and his split-decision loss to Marcus Brimage in his debut could’ve gone either way, obviously, so his opponent, Felipe Arantes (15-6-1-2) has no easy task ahead of him. Arantes lost his last fight via split-decision to Kevin Souza, and is 2-2-1 in the UFC, so we have two good fighters who have been on the wrong side of a few judges’ cards here, desperate for the win. Both men are very well-rounded, and this is my pick for prelim fight of the night. It could also steal the whole show, as both men are always down for a brawl. As far as an official prediction, it’s too hard to say, both men will be coming in with a do or die attitude.

Written by Jason Nawara

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