The Fight Report: UFC Fight Night 32

| November 7, 2013 | 1:29 pm | Reply

UFC Fight Night 32 BoxThe UFC returns to Brazil this weekend with a solid main card and a legendary main event at UFC Fight Night 32. A rematch from Pride many moons ago, Vitor Belfort will take on Dan Henderson to attempt to settle the score in his home country. There are plenty of Brazilians looking to fire up the crowd with spectacular victories, so let’s take a look at who they’re paired with and how it all plays out.

Vitor Belfort vs. Dan Henderson: Two of the UFC old guards, Belfort and Henderson never fought inside the Octagon, yet clashed in the Pride ring in the events first Las Vegas show. A lot has changed since then with both fighters having ups and downs, and this time it’s Belfort who is surging against a waning Henderson.

Both fighters are long in the tooth, but Belfort’s unchecked TRT use has allowed him to defy nature and turn himself into a murderous power striker, having blasted through stiff competition at Middleweight with brutal efficiency. Henderson doesn’t have pillow fists either, yet his mobility is on the decline and he’s taken to trading rather than snaking a punch through his opponent’s defense these days. With one of the best chins in the sport though, it’ll be interesting to see how he can stand up to Belfort’s snappy power punches or head kicks.

This is a fight of minor differences in terms of power and skill, but I can’t shake the feeling Belfort is going to land a takedown on Henderson and destroy him with ground and pound early, as Henderson lacks the mobility to escape to his feet from the bottom. With Belfort being the faster of the two and having the more traditional boxing defense, Henderson doesn’t have a great out to win this five round fight. While I’d like to see Henderson get the win, there’s just too much stacked against him here, opening the door to a Belfort TKO win within two rounds.

Rafael Cavalcante vs. Igor Pokrajac: A fight with bloodbath potential, one shot killer Rafael Cavalcante will look to get back to the winner’s circle, taking on Croatian battler Igor Pokrajac. Cavalcante looked outstanding early in his last fight, but within minutes was falling to pieces against Thiago Silva, making us question his mental and physical soundness at this stage. Pokrajac, on paper, will be eaten alive by a fit and ready Cavalcante, but if he flounders in the first round, it’ll be all the opportunity Pokrajac needs to put him on ice. Count on Cavalcante coming back stronger than before and finding the mark on Pokrajac’s chin within a minute, both reaffirming his power, yet giving us no answers to his long-term stability.

Paulo Thiago vs. Brandon Thatch: One of the big up and coming fighters in the division, Brandon Thatch will take his show on the road, facing Brazilian BJJ ace Paulo Thiago. Thiago is an excellent fighter, yet the division seems to be passing him by at this point, and Thatch may actually be the worst match possible to get his career back on track. Thiago’s single glaring flaw has always been his “wrists-out” boxing style; throwing slapping hooks and leaving his chin wide open to straight shots. Few fighters have been able to call him on it, yet Thatch is an incredibly dynamic striker who will see that opening and capitalize on it in a heartbeat. Given Thatch’s powerful core and accuracy, Thiago has few opportunities to win here, and don’t count on him seeing the second round as Thatch crushes his jaw early.

Rony Jason vs. Jeremy Stephens: A fun scrap at Featherweight, TUF Brazil’s Rony Jason will look to continue his eight-fight win streak, taking on newly minted 145lber Jeremy Stephens. Both men are pulverizing punchers with a growing highlight reel of brutality, but Stephens is far more shopworn than his opponent and I’m not convinced his chin can handle the kind of power Jason will throw his way.  Any fight with powerful strikes like this will be close, but I like Jason’s inside boxing and overall game a bit more than Stephen’s more old-school tactics, giving Jason the KO late in the first round.

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Category: MMA, UFC

About the Author ()

I'm a 20+ year veteran of martial arts and a fan of MMA since UFC 1, when my world was thrown on its head by the budding sport. I'm obsessive in the pursuit of martial abilities and have competed across the country in everything from Vale Tudo to archery to Scottish broadsword. Once my body broke down, I picked up a pen and went in the direction of writing. I specialize in betting advice, predictions, and I'm a walking encyclopedia of MMA trivia. I own a cafe in Exeter, NH called Hammersmith Sandwich Company and write out of my office between customers.

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