Machida vs. Brunson: UFC Fight Night 119 Preview
By Joel Croichy
On Saturday, the UFC will make their return to Brazil, with UFC Fight Night 119. The main card will include the return of Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida, as he competes against the highly talented Derek Brunson in the main event. Along with that, the main card will also feature some of the best Brazilian fighters as they compete on home soil against top competitors from around the world.
Lyoto Machida (22-7) vs. Derek Brunson (17-5)
At the top of the card, Derek Brunson will enter enemy’s territory as he challenges former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida who will make his triumphant return back to the UFC. Machida, a karate and Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner, who is known for frustrating his opponent in the cage because of his unorthodox striking style. However, due to a suspension, Machida hasn’t competed since June of 2015, so it will be intriguing to see how he does in his upcoming contest. His opponent, Brunson is a top-15 middleweight who is coming off an impressive first-round knockout victory in his last bout against Dan Kelly. Brunson is an athletic competitor who always looks to land power punches and scores explosive takedowns. Machida is a master of distance and timing, and it is going to be a challenge for Brunson to get a hold of him. With already having huge victories over elite fighters such as Gegard Mousasi, Dan Henderson, Maurício Rua, and Randy Couture among others, Machida should pick up the win.
Pick: Lyoto Machida
Demian Maia (25–7) vs. Colby Covington (12–1)
Considered as one of the best grapplers in MMA, top welterweight competitor, Demian Maia is set to battle wrestler and rising star Colby Covington in the co-main event. This intriguing matchup has the ingredients of being a strategic grappling chess match. Maia is a high-level Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt who has gathered submission victories over notable elite fighters throughout his professional MMA career. His opponent, Covington, has a collegiate wrestling background including being an All-American and a two-time Pac-10 champion. Along with that, he is currently enjoying a four-fight winning streak in which he picks up wins over Dong Hyun Kim, Bryan Barberena, Max Griffin and Jonathan Meunier. Although Covington is known for his power and ability to keep his opponents down on the mat, Maia should still win because he has already faced and beaten opponents like Covington.
Pick: Demian Maia
Pedro Munhoz (14-2) vs. Rob Font (14-2)
Brazil’s own and former RFA bantamweight champion, Pedro “The Young Punisher” Munhoz looks to thrill his home audience in a bout against former CES MMA featherweight champion Rob Font. Both former champions and up-and-comers are looking to get in the title mix in the UFC bantamweight division. Since joining the UFC in 2014, Munhoz has had a great run so far, in which he picked up four wins and is currently riding a three-fight winning streak. Throughout his professional MMA career, Munhoz has impressively gathered eight wins by way of submission. His upcoming opponent, Font also started his UFC run back in 2014 and has a similar professional MMA record of 14-2. Font, a heavy hitter with excellent footwork, has secured six victories via knockout and four via submission. Like his opponent, Font is also enjoying a winning streak, which includes a knock out victory over Matt Schnell and a submission win over Douglas Andrade. Munhoz will have the home country advantage and should pick up the win if he manages to take Font down and keep him on the ground.
Pick: Pedro Munhoz
Francisco Trinaldo (21–5) vs. Jim Miller (28-10)
Long-time and highly respected UFC competitor Jim Miller looks to end his two-fight losing streak against Brazil’s own Francisco Trinaldo. Trinaldo is a technical striker who is never afraid to exchange strikes and has gathered victories over lightweight contenders such as Ross Pearson, Yancy Medeiros, and Paul Felder. Before receiving a submission loss by Kevin Lee in his last outing, Trinaldo was enjoying a seven fight-winning streak. He will test his skills against Miller, who is a UFC vet that still remains a dangerous opponent for anyone in the lightweight division. Since joining the UFC organization back in 2008, Miller has gathered 17 wins in total with ten coming by way of submission. This matchup will be a close, competitive bout with both fighters looking to get back in the win column. If Trinaldo manages to successfully defend Miller’s takedown and keep this fight on the feet, he should able to get the win via decision.
Pick: Francisco Trinaldo
Thiago Santos (15–5) vs. Jack Hermansson (16–3)
In the second bout of the main card, Brazilian native Thiago Santos and former Cage Warriors middleweight champion Jack "The Joker" Hermansson are set to battle. Both strikers are looking to capture a highlight reel win and extend their winning streak to three. Fighting out of Norway, Hermansson secured his last two wins by way of first-round TKO over Brad Scott and Alex Nicholson. Across the cage from him will be Santos who also gathered his previous two wins via TKO over Gerald Meerschaert and Jack Marshman. Both Santos and Hermansson aren’t afraid to trade and bang on the feet, and this fight has the potential of being a three-round slugfest. With having the home crowd behind him, Santos will have the advantage and should secure another huge win.
Pick: Thiago Santos
John Lineker (29–8) vs. Marlon Vera (10–3–1)
The opening bout of the main card will be a bantamweight bout between title contender John “Hands of Stone” Lineker and Marlon "Chito" Vera. Lineker is a heavy-handed striker who showcased in previous fights his incredible knockout power. Before losing to former champion TJ Dillashaw in his last outing, Lineker picked up wins over notable challengers like John Dodson, Michael McDonald, and Francisco Rivera. He will test his excellent striking skills against Vera, who has been climbing up the bantamweight rankings. Vera is riding a three-fight winning streak, in which he scored a knockout victory over Brad Pickett and a submission win over Brian Kelleher. Lineker is a top five-bantamweight competitor who has already competed with the best and will pick up the win via stoppage in one of the rounds.
Pick: John Lineker