Costa Philippou (12-2, 6 KO's, 1 Sub) vs. Ronaldo Souza (17-3, 1 KO, 13 Subs)
The only reason Ronaldo Souza is not headlining this card and squaring off against Vitor Belfort is because the last man to defeat him over a year and a half ago, Luke Rockhold, has that distinction. Rockhold claimed the Strikeforce Middleweight championship that night from Souza by unanimous decision. However that only served to stoke the flames and reinvigorate Souza who has since finished his last three opponents by either submission or knockout.
Though Souza will be making his UFC debut, Philippou has gone 5-1 in the big leagues of MMA and is looking to make some noise by upending the former Strikeforce titleholder. Phillipou has an excellent take-down defense and very sound striking mechanics. He fully understands few people in the world can roll with the world class mat master Souza, who has won international titles in jiu-jitsu and submission wrestling. He's also a black belt in judo just for good measure.
Unless Philippou can lure Souza into a standup match (which is about as probable as Tank Abbott being added as a last minute substitute) then Souza wins this handily.
Play Souza -220 at 5Dimes.eu in your UFC betting picks.
Rafael dos Anjos (18-6, 2 KO's, 8 Subs) vs. Evan Dunham (14-3, 3 KO's, 6 Subs)
A pair of UFC veteran lightweights looking to move up the food chain will throw down when Rafael dos Anjos squares off against Evan Dunham. If you want to know who wins this fight perhaps we should ask Gleison Tibau who won a split decision over dos Anjos and lost the same way to Dunham.
However, in a match that features two highly skilled BJJ black belts, this one may end up being decided by who throws the heavier leather. Dunham has no problem turning a chess match into a shootin' match and dos Anjos, though more disciplined, may decide to oblige.
This one is close but the lingering impression of dos Anjos's most recent victory over Canadian Mark Bocek seals the deal for me. I believe dos Anjos has improved in each of his last three consecutive victories to the point that defeating Dunham here seems like the next logical step.
Play dos Anjos -180 at 5Dimes.eu in your UFC betting odds.
Rafael Natal (15-4-1, 3 KO's, 8 Subs) vs. Chris Camozzi (19-5, 5 KO's, 6 Subs)
Chris Camozzi don't need no damn rest as he is stepping back into the Octagon after earning his fourth consecutive victory with a split decision over Nick Ring on March 16th. Rafael Natal will welcome him to the middle of the cage after rebounding from a knockout loss to Andrew Craig with a slick submission of Sean Spencer in January.
Natal may not be a Muay Thai master but there was certainly evidence of that aspect of his game when he softened up Paul Bradley en route to a unanimous decision at UFC 133. He's got surprisingly heavy kicks but his key to victory in this match will be getting Carmozzi to the mat. Natal will not get away with kicking and retreating against the heavy-handed Carmozzi.
Though the match will take place in Natal's backyard, Brazil was very good to Chris Carmozzi the last time he fought there back in October of last year at UFC 153. He came away with a unanimous decision over Luiz Cane who, like Natal, is a native of Brazil. Therefore, Carmozzi is unafraid of a home town decision because in his mind, the people may boo him when he walks into the Octagon but they'll cheer him on the way out. I happen to agree.Play Carmozzi (line unavailable as of this writing) in your UFC betting odds.