Jose Aldo (22-1) vs. Chan Sung Jung (13-3)
Sportsbook.ag Line: Aldo -800, Jung +500
Looking for his 16th straight win and seventh consecutive title defense, Jose Aldo will put the featherweight belt on the line against Chan Sung Jung, more commonly known as The Korean Zombie, to headline UFC 163’s main card on Saturday in Brazil.
Aldo has ruled the featherweight division since winning the WEC belt in 2009 from Mike Brown. But beating Korean Zombie won’t be easy, as Jung has excellent submission skills and a jaw of steel that gives him uncommon endurance even when it looks like a punch should end his night. Although Aldo has won the majority of his fights via KO (14 of 22 wins), three of his past four victories have come via decision so he has no qualms taking this to the judges. These odds, however, favor him too strongly to get there against one of the best submission artists in the game. Jung’s last fight was more than a year ago, but in that May 2012 bout he won Submission of the Night and Fight of the Year honors when he finished off Dustin Poirier in the fourth round. In 2011, he won Submission of the Year against Leonard Garcia, becoming the first UFC fighter to ever end a bout with a Twister submission.
Aldo is trained in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with multiple championships. He is an excellent striker with knockout power. What makes him so dangerous is that he combines that strength with an elite ground game, meaning he’s more than happy to fight this on his feet or on the mat. “Junior” Aldo has just one submission victory in his career though. After dominating WEC, which included three KO of the Night Awards, he has regularly made easy work of whomever UFC has thrown his way, most recently beating Frankie Edgar (decision), Chad Mendes (1st-round knockout), Kenny Florian (decision) and Mark Hominick (decision). His Jiu Jitsu should be enough to combat Jung’s grappling game, but that will be put to the test Saturday. However, the 26-year-old Brazilian whose lone defeat came back in 2005, will certainly have the crowd in his favor.
Jung has now won three in a row, beating Dustin Poirier (submission), Mark Hominick (1st-round knockout) and Leonard Garcia (submission). Eight of his 13 career wins have been via submission, but The Korean Zombie’s favorite attack method is punching, earning him three career KOs. Jung admits that Aldo has more punching power, but Jung uses punches to wear down his opponent little by little. The 26-year-old Jung is also a deft kickboxer, sporting a 15-6 record with 11 KOs in his kickboxing career. A major concern with him will be rust, not having fought in over a year, but his heavy underdog status in this one discounts his ability to end the fight with a surprise submission.
Lyoto Machida (19-3) vs. Phil Davis (11-1)
Sportsbook.ag Line: Machida -340, Davis +260
Former light heavyweight champ Lyoto Machida returns to the Octagon for a bout against Phil Davis on Saturday in a main-card showdown for UFC 163 in Brazil.
Machida first won the belt in 2009 against Rashad Evans and successfully defended it once against Mauricio Rua, before losing it to Rua in the next fight, his first career loss. Davis is coming off a decision win against Vinny Magalhaes on April 27, before which he submitted Wagner Prado after a no-contest against Prado. Although Davis doesn’t have the ideal consistency for a top-notch fighter, he has proven his skills against elite competition. He fell to Rashad Evans 19 months ago for his lone career loss, but made it all five rounds to bring it to the judges. Davis owns wins against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Tim Boetsch and Alexander Gustafsson. And he catches Machida at the perfect time, following a shaky split-decision win over Dan Henderson on Feb. 23.
“The Dragon” Machida stands at 6-foot-1, one inch shorter than Davis. Where he truly is at a disadvantage, however, is with reach: Machida’s is 74 inches while Davis’ is 79. The 35-year-old Machida’s karate is powerful, giving him seven career knockouts, but generally he tries to outlast his opponents with 10 decision victories. His combination of karate, speed and Jiu Jitsu makes him an unorthodox fighter, but certainly a dangerous one. Some people see this Brazilian-born brawler still as the top fighter in this division. While that may be true, he didn’t look like he was in top form his last time out, and his odds are too short in this one. <P>
With “Mr. Wonderful” Davis’ lengthy reach, he may present a difficult matchup for Machida. That reach will come into play if Davis can dictate the style of this fight, which he will try to do as an aggressive wrestler who enjoys fighting on the mat. The 28-year-old Davis is a former Division I wrestler at Penn State who has four wins by submission and just two by knockout. He has five career decision wins and if he ends it early (four first-round finishes), he prefers to set up submissions with his wrestling skills. That might be the key to victory in this one as Machida should be able to fight well enough to prevail in a decision if it goes to the final ding.
Cezar Ferreira (6-2) vs. Thiago Santos (8-1)
Sportsbook.ag Line: Ferreira -500, Santos +350
It has taken a little longer than expected for Cezar Ferreira to make his return back to the Octagon, but the time has finally come. Ferreira will square off against fellow Brazilian Thiago Santos at UFC 163 in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday night.
This is a big fight for both competitors, as they are both trying to prove that they belong. With all of the expectations that have been put on Ferreira, the protégé of UFC legend Vitor Belfort, he must come out and not only win, but win in dominating fashion. For all the people that like to root for the underdog, this might not be the best match for you.
After winning TUF Brazil 1 on June 23, 2012 via unanimous decision in his UFC debut versus Sergio Moraes, “Mutante” Ferreira was supposed to compete at UFC on FOX 8, but had to pull out due to an injury. Ferreira was scheduled to take on Clint Hester, but Hester suffered an injury during his training camp, setting up this match against Santos, his first since June 23, 2012. There has been a lot of hype for the 28-year-old Ferreira to get in the Octagon, and rightfully so. Ferreira has the ability to win if the fight is taken to the ground, but has the type of knockout power that can end a fight in a blink of an eye. Of his six wins, four have been by knockout with one submission. It is Ferreira’s knockout power that makes him a heavy favorite headed into the match against Santos.
One thing “Marreta” Santos has going for him is the home-ring advantage, as he hails from Rio de Janeiro. The 29-year-old also participated in TUF Brazil 2, where he made it to the quarterfinals before losing to Leonardo Santos, who went on to win the tournament. Much like Ferreira, Santos is at his very best when the fight turns into a brawl. A quick and explosive athlete, Santos forces his opponents to be ready at all times as his striking game can be lethal. Four of his wins have come by knockout, with the past three KOs all being first-round finishes. This includes his most recent fight on July 27, 2012 when he beat Denis Figueira de Silva with a Head Kick and Punches TKO. However, Santos’ ground game is not where it needs to be (one submission victory), and that could prove to be the difference in the bout. These fighters are the same weight with the 6-foot-1 Ferreira holding a one-inch height advantage.