Vitor Belfort will welcome Luke Rockhold into the Ultimate Fighting Championship on May 18, when the promotion returns to Brazil for the UFC on FX 8 fight card. The event will be held at the Arena Jaraguá in Santa Catarina.
Here are my predictions for the entire UFC on FX 8 fight card:
Vitor Belfort vs. Luke Rockhold
Belfort (22-10-0, 15 KOs) made a strong statement with his second round knockout victory against Michael Bisping at UFC on FX 7, and he’ll have an opportunity to move even closer to a second shot at the middleweight title when he squares up against the last Strikeforce 185-pound champion. Rockhold (10-1-0, 6 submissions) dominated Strikeforce’s middleweight division, winning all 10 of his fights (2 title defenses) with the now defunct MMA promotion.
If Luke minimizes the striking exchanges by using his wrestling to put and keep Vitor on his back, and doesn’t get careless on the ground, he should emerge victorious in his UFC debut.
Prediction: Rockhold wins via decision.
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza vs. Chris Camozzi
The MMA gods certainly smiled upon Souza (17-3-0, 13 submissions) when Constantinos Philippou was forced to pull out of the UFC on FX 8 fight card due to a cut sustained while training. The Brazilian will now get a much easier opponent in Camozzi (19-5-0, 6 submissions). Chris is a decent middleweight, but it’s hard to see him dealing with Souza’s excellent Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. To make things worse, Jacare’s striking is ever improving, meaning he’s more that capable of dominating the fight standing up as well.
Prediction: Souza wins via submission.
Rafael Dos Anjos vs. Evan Dunham
Both men are decent at defending against takedowns, so there’s a solid chance a majority of their UFC on FX 8 encounter will be spent standing. If that happens, dos Anjos (18-6-0, 8 submissions) should have the advantage, considering how well he’s done against solid strikers in the past.
However, Dunham (14-3-0, 6 submissions) is a game opponent, and he certainly won’t go down without a fight. It should be a back and forth contest, but Rafael — who will also have home-Octagon advantage — should be able to do enough to secure the victory.
Prediction: Dos Anjos wins via decision.
Rafael Natal vs. Joao Zeferino
Zeferino (13-4-0, 9 submissions) stepped in as a replacement for Camozzi, which means he’ll be making his UFC debut on short notice. Zeferino is decent grappler, but so is Natal — who’ll also be the bigger, stronger man when the two meet inside the Octagon at UFC on FX 8. Rafael (15-4-1, 8 submissions) will have the advantage in the wrestling and striking departments, making this his fight to lose.
Prediction: Natal wins via decision.
Nik Lentz defeats Hacran Dias
Francisco Trinaldo defeats Mike Rio
Gleison Tibau defeats John Cholish
Paulo Thiago defeats Michel Prazeres
Iliarde Santos defeats Yuri Alcantara
Fabio Maldonado defeats Roger Hollett
John Lineker defeats Azamat Gashimov
Jussier Formiga defeats Chris Cariaso
Lucas Martins defeats Jeremy Larsen
Previous fight card predictions (UFC 159): 8-3