-500 Enrique Barzola (11-3-1) vs. +385 Chris Avila (5-3)
Enrique Barzola: “El Fuerte” has been working with the ATT super camp in Coconut Creek as well as his home camp in Peru to diversify his skills. In his last bout, Barzola lost a controversial decision to Kyle Bochniak in a fight that saw the dominant wrestler effectively striking for the majority of the match.
Barzola proved he is not a one trick pony in his last fight, but will need to implement more of his smothering ground game or he may suffer the same fate as fellow TUF champ Glacio Franca, who was cut after going 0-2 post TUF.
Chris Avila: Diaz brothers training partner Chris Avila was unable to mount anything that resembled offense in his debut loss to Artum Lobov. The far more experienced Lobov punished the young Californian’s lead leg and stalked him around the cage in a one sided decision.
23 year old Avila may have been rushed to the UFC to capitalize on the Cesar Gracie vs. SBG rivalry, but now that he is here he is going to need to prove he belongs. Avila displayed Diaz-like durability, but did not have the insane offensive output of a Diaz. This will most likely be a must-win fight for Avila as well.
The Fight: Barzola is an emotional fighter that may be baited into a brawl with the trash talking Cesar Gracie fighter who thrives in street fight scenarios. Two reasons this wont happen: 1. Barzola does not speak English. 2. Barzola’s takedowns will come with such ease that the idea of a brawl will never enter the Peruvian’s head. Barzola Unanimous Decision
-170 Marco Polo Reyes (7-3) vs. +145 Jason Novelli (11-2-0 1NC)
Marco Polo Reyes: TUF Latin America 2 semi finalist Marco Polo Reyes has had two incredible performances in the octagon. His first fight was a back and forth slug fest that ended with Reyes earning a performance of the night knockout of TUF castmate Cesar Arzmendia. Reyes followed that up with another knockout of Dong Hyun Kim in a instant classic that earned the two fight of the night bonuses.
Reyes has been must see TV thus far, but is going to have to tighten up his defense as he climbs his way up the lightweight division. If he encounters someone with knockout power his take one to give one style may prove deadly.
Jason Novelli: “Flipside” suffered a tough TKO loss in his debut to muay thai specialist David Teymur this past June. Novelli landed a few hard single shots on the feet, but was outgunned by Teymur, who was landing seamless three and four punch combos.
Novelli is 37, which would suggest that he does not have much time left in the sport, however he took a nearly ten year hiatus from professional competition, so he does not have the wear and tear of most fighters his age. Still a win or a fight of the night would seem necessary for the Alaska native to keep his roster spot.
The Fight: These two match up very evenly physically and stylistically, expect fireworks on the feet in the early going and Novelli to look to get it to the ground in the later rounds where he will secure a choke. Novelli RNC 3rd
-220 Sam Alvey (28-8-0 1NC) vs. +185 Alex Nicholson (7-2)
Sam Alvey: “Smilin” Sam has been extremely active as of late, this will be his fourth fight in the past five months. Winner of his last two, his most recent victory was an impressive second round knockout over Rickson Gracie black belt Kevin Casey.
The top 15 has evaded Alvey thus far, at 5-3 in the octagon he will make a strong case for a ranked spot if he can stop the surging Nicholson. Alvey’s willingness to engage in stand up wars has made him a fan favorite and secured his spot in the middleweight division for the foreseeable future.
Alex Nicholson: Apopka Florida’s Nicholson bounced back from a debut loss by knocking out newcomer Devin Clark in the first round. His debut loss to Misha Cirkunov was short notice and at light heavyweight, a division up from his natural 185.
Nicholson and team mate “Platinum” Mike Perry have been making waves since coming on the scene earlier this year. “The Spartan” will look to emulate Perry’s FOTN victory last month in this match-up that is almost certainly going to end with a knockout.
The Fight: Nicholson is an aggressive unorthodox striker, his style will play right into Alvey’s technically sound counter strikes. Alvey will test Nicholson previously broken jaw early and it wont pass. Alvey TKO 1st
+140 Henry Briones (19-5-1) vs. -160 Douglas Silva de Andrade (23-1-0 1NC)
Henry Briones: First pick of Cain Velasquez on TUF Latin America, Henry Briones has proven to be game competitor in his first two UFC bouts. He last saw action in July of last year when he went the distance in a loss against title contender Cody Garbrandt. Injures have kept him sidelined and forced him out of two scheduled bouts with Brad Pickett.
Briones has an iron chin and is as tough as they come, he will provide a solid test for up and coming prospects, but at 34 any hopes of title aspirations are a long shot.
Douglas Silva de Andrade: Brazilian striker Andrade earned his spot in the UFC by racking up a 21-0 record with 18 knockouts in the Brazilian circuit. He lost a hard fought decision in his debut to Zubira Tukhov, but bounced back nicely by moving down to bantamweight and pulling off a close decision over youngster Cody Gibson in February of last year.
Andrade looked unstoppable against Brazilian regional competition, but in his two fights in the UFC he has been fair to middling. Not awful, just not the world beater the he was in Brazil. This match-up will be a good measuring stick of his talent.
The Fight: Briones is the more aggressive fighter of the two and will bring the fight to Andrade. Briones will eat some shots on the feet but will be able to control this fight in the clinch and with hard shots on the inside. Briones Unanimous Decision
+135 Erick Montano (8-4) vs.-155 Max Griffin (12-3)
Erick Montano: TUF Latin America 2 winner Erick “Perry” Montano, looked to be well on his way to continuing his winning ways in his debut against Randy Brown. Monatano had taken the first two rounds of their September bout when he took a careless shot at the start of the third and was submitted in a no arm guillotine.
Montano is a very technically sound fighter, but lacks the explosiveness that most elite guys possess. He does not jump out as exceptional in any one area, but is well rounded enough to carve out a niche for himself beating guys who don’t have the technical proficiency to be competing at the highest level.
Max Griffin: Sacramento’s Max Griffin put together an impressive list of knockouts to earn his UFC call up, included on that list is Team Alpha Male and UFC vet David Mitchell who Griffin Ko’ed in 0:43. However his August Octagon debut was not as triumphant, Griffin was rag dolled for three rounds by Colby Covington, before the ref stepped in in the third to put an end to the one-sided beat down.
Griffin is an exciting guy with dynamite in his hands, but if he does not improve on his wrestling his UFC stint will be a short lived one. In Griffin’s defense he is not the first person Covington has tossed around the octagon, so it might be an unfair gauge of his talent.
The Fight: Griffin will want to turn this one into a brawl, while Montano will look to slow it down with clinching and takedowns. Griffin will have some early success on the feet but Monatano’s superior grappling and cardio will take over in the later rounds. Montano Split Decision
Marco Beltran (8-4) vs. Joe Soto (16-5)
Marco Beltran: TUF Latin America semi-finalist Marco Beltran has made drastic improvements since his stint in the TUF house. 4-0 in the UFC, Beltran’s last fight against TUF Brazil 4 winner Reginaldo Veira was his most impressive to date. He overcame a noticeable strength disadvantage by using his long limbs to inflict damage at a distance before securing a rear naked choke in the second.
Much of Beltran’s evolution can be credited to striking coach Mike Valle and training partner Yair Rodriguez. Beltran might not have the potential that young Yair has, but his unorthodox striking style and rangy body type will make him a tricky puzzle for bantamweights to solve.
Joe Soto: Former Bellator featherweight champion and UFC Bantamweight title challenger, Joe Soto will step in for Gudio Cannetti on less than a weeks notice. Cannetti was pulled from the card when he was flagged by USADA for testing positive for a banned substance.
This is a risky move for Soto who is 1-3 in the octagon and runs the risk of getting cut if he comes up short in this one. He’s coming off of a dramatic come from behind submission victory over Chris Beal which showcased his lethal BJJ for the first time in the UFC.
The Fight: Beltran will want to keep this one at range and stay away from Soto’s takedown attempts. Soto has high level BJJ, but does not have great takedown abilities. If Beltran limits his high risk strike attempts he will be able to avoid the ground and pick Soto apart on the feet over three rounds. Beltran Unanimous Decision
-190 Erik Perez (16-6) vs.+165 Felipe Arantes (18-7-1 2NC)
Erik Perez: “Goyito” displayed his fierce Mexican fighting spirit in his last match up against Francisco Rivera. In a fight that Perez was clearly two rounds up, he chose to forgo the easy takedowns that he was landing all night and stand in the center of the ring and trade with the muay thai fighter. His move was ballsy and risky, but it paid off and Perez won the decision and put on a epic show for the fans.
At 6-2 in the octagon, 26 year old Perez is looking to make the move from up and coming prospect to top 15 challenger. He has been vulnerable to submissions in the past, a victory over a dangerous submission threat like Arantes would be a testament to the evolution of Perez’s game.
Felipe Arantes: 28 year old Chute Boxe fighter Felipe Arantes has made a flawless transition to the bantamweight division. 2-0 since dropping down from featherweight, in his last fight Arantes submitted Oklahoma State wrestler Jerrod Sanders with a slick arm bar after being smothered for one and a half rounds.
Arantes has high level muay thai and BJJ, but has had trouble with strong wrestlers. The Sanders fight is a positive sign for his future at 135 where it will be difficult for fighters to overpower him on the ground.
The Fight: Perez’s wrestling will make the difference in this one. Arantes has a more technical stand up game, but will spend the majority of this fight on his back. Perez Unanimous Decision