Thiago Silva (14-3-2 NC's, 11 KO's, 2 Subs) vs. Rafael Cavalcante (11-3-1 NC, 11 KO's, 0 Subs)
Seriously fellas? Both of you had recent victories overturned because one of you can't stay away from the reefer and then submitted a false urine test (gee, wonder why man?) while the other one apparently didn't realize they test for steroids? Boys, the window of opportunity for a professional fighter is fleeting and neither of you look like you've got any prospects lined up with the Rand Corporation after you're done. Perhaps it's time to exercise a little restraint in addition to your lats, tri's, bi's, quads and pecs.
Thiago Silva has not won a fight in over three years. After a first round knockout over Keith Jardine in August of '09 the roof has pretty much caved in for Silva. He lost a unanimous decision to Rashad Evans, had a unanimous decision victory over Brandon Vera overturned due to a false urine sample, lost to top contender Alex Gustafsson via unanimous decision and then had his first round submission of previously unbeaten Stanislav Nedkov negated because of his chemical romance.
Cavalcante will be making his debut in the UFC after his last fight resulted in a no contest in what would have been an impressive 33 second submission of Mike Kyle. But the tests proved positive for 'roids so here we are. Forget about the odds on this fight, what are the odds that either genius will come in clean?
Okay, so who do we like in this one? Silva has an impressive arsenal of weapons considering his pedigree as a BJJ black belt is impeccable yet he scores most of his victories by KO. But he is the prototypical gatekeeper at light heavyweight. He beats everyone he should but those at the very upper end of the division like former champ Rashad Evans, Lyoto Machida and Alex Gustafsson all proved to be too much for him.
We now have to consider if Cavalcante is in the same rarified air as those who vanquished Silva. Like Silva, Cavalcante is a big banger who just happens to be expert at Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He locked on to Strikeforce veteran Mike Kyle like a viper and would have scored his first submission victory had he not tested positive for a banned substance in his last appearance inside the Octagon. He looked terrific but maybe that was just the 'roids winking at me. Personally, I'm looking forward to this fight as we've got two guys who like to throw but have the chops to make it a chess match on the mat if they choose to do so.
I am going to give the nod to Thiago Silva in our UFC picks simply because he has faced higher caliber opponents throughout his career. Let's just hope they both stay clean long enough to make this fight count.
Daniel Sarafian (7-3, 0 KO's, 6 Subs) vs. Eddie Mendez (7-1-1, 3 KO's, 1 Sub)
Sarafian finally made it to The Show in his last time out and turned in a fine performance despite a losing effort to C.B. Dollaway. He may have dropped a unanimous decision but did pick up some bonus bucks by getting Fight of the Night honors back in January of this year.
I watched some grainy footage of Eddie Mendez systematically and robotically clubbing an overmatched opponent. He's got a strange punching style, almost swinging from his sides as opposed to straight ahead. Nevertheless, he will be cannon fodder for the more experienced and skilled Sarafian.
If you can find decent UFC odds at your shop for this one, play Sarafian by knockout.