UFC Fight Night: Teixeira vs. Bader is live from Brazil tonight. In the main event, Glover Teixeira (21-2 MMA; 4-0 UFC) faces Ryan Bader (15-3 MMA; 8-3 UFC). Before the main event, UFC Fight Night will include 5 additional main card fights, mainly highlighting Brazilian fighters. Here, we take a look at all the main card action in our Bloody Elbow fight card primer series. UFC Fight Night: Teixeira vs. Bader airs live from Brazil on Fox Sports 1 this Wednesday, September 4 with the main card starting at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT.
Middleweight: Yushin Okami (29-7) vs. Ronaldo Souza (18-3 (1))
With Anderson Silva’s recent loss to Chris Weidman, battles at the top of the Middleweight division suddenly have significantly more relevance. Here, former #1 contender Okami meets former Strikeforce champion Jacare in his second UFC appearance. Jacare is one of the most talented grapplers to ever make the transition to MMA. Since beginning to really focus on MMA in 2006, he’s greatly improved his striking and wrestling and is now much more than just a submission fighter. He’s currently on an 8-1 streak in Strikeforce and the UFC, with the one loss coming against Luke Rockhold. An excellent wrestler and now striker, Okami has been near the top at Middleweight for years. He had his shot at Silva in 2011, and followed that up with a loss to Tim Boetsch. Since those fights, he’s 3-0 and coming off a good win over Hector Lombard. Okami is the perfect gatekeeper to the elite at Middleweight – this is Jacare’s shot to get through that gate.
Flyweight: Joseph Benavidez (18-3) vs. Jussier Formiga (15-2)
With champion Demetrious Johnson quickly moving through possible contenders, this is a fight that could easily determine the next title challenger. Team Alpha Male fighter Benavidez has been very close to title gold in both the Bantamweight and Flyweight divisions, but has come up just short. He lost in the inaugural Flyweight title fight via close split decision, and is 2-0 since. A rematch with Mighty Mouse makes sense, and with the improved striking shown by everyone at Alpha Male, Benavidez may have the needed skills to get that gold. Formiga was one of the most hyped prospects among hardcore fans when the UFC launched the Flyweight division. The Nova Uniao fighter struggled in his UFC debut, losing to John Dodson, though has since bounced back with a win over Chris Cariaso. Formiga is yet to show his best inside the Octagon – if he does, he could be champion himself.
Lightweight: Francisco Trinaldo (13-2) vs. Piotr Hallmann (13-1)
Trinaldo is a former Jungle Fight champion who came to the UFC via TUF: Brazil. A huge Lightweight, Trinaldo fought on TUF at Middleweight and will enjoy a big size advantage over most everyone in the division. In the UFC, he’s 3-1. He’s looked strong in his wins, and his only loss is against tough veteran Gleison Tibau. Hallmann is a Polish fighter making his UFC debut. He’s fought primarily on regional European shows and has yet to face any opponent of note. He’s pretty clearly being brought in to give Trinaldo a win in Brazil, and has a tough night ahead of him.
Middleweight: Rafael Natal (16-4-1) vs. Tor Troeng (16-4-1)
Natal has been competing in the UFC for 3 years. After a rocky start to his UFC career, he’s now on a 4-1 run and coming off a win over Joao Zeferino in May. A strong fighter, Natal tends to win by controlling decision, but he does have stopping power. Troeng comes from the most recent season of TUF. Highly respected by his castmates, Troeng was decently hyped on the show, but failed to make the finals. He’s 1-0 since, taking out TUF housemate Adam Cella in his UFC debut. He’s the underdog here, but shouldn’t be overlooked.
Flyweight: Marcos Vinicius (20-4-1) vs. Ali Bagautinov (10-2)
Vinicius is another TUF Brazil veteran, having made the semi-finals as a member of Team Wanderlei (and, after being traded, Team Vitor). He won his UFC debut with a nice KO of the Night stoppage of Wagner Campos, but followed that up with a KO loss to Johnny Bedford. Bagautinov is a fighter that many hardcore fans are eager to see in the UFC. With a background in Sambo, Pankration, and some (dubious) wrestling credentials, Bagautinov may have the skills to make an immediate splash in the UFC, and in the shallow Flyweight division, a big debut could make him an immediate contender. This is a fight to watch.
Get full coverage of UFC Fight Night: Teixeira vs. Bader live tonight right here at Bloody Elbow.
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