The Dragon Returns To Action Against a Contender Getting Back on Track

UFC Sao Paulo is this weekend and this card is so much better than the one UFC Gdansk gave us. In the main event “The Dragon” Lyoto Machida returns to action after a year and a half long USADA induced break and faces rising Middleweight Derek Brunson. Rob Font has the chance to make a big statement against Pedro Munhoz and Damian Maia looks to break away the hype-train of loud mouth prospect Colby Covington.

Lyoto Machida (-114) Vs. Derek Brunson (-109)

In his return to action after a long layoff, Lyoto Machida faces tough competition in the Main Event of UFC Sao Paolo in Derek Brunson. Brunson has had a weird 12 months. Last November, he lost in one of the best one-round fights you’ll ever see against Robert Whittaker, then he got absolutely robbed by biased judging against Anderson Silva and KO’ed Dan Kelly within a minute back in June. While Brunson was taking all these fights Machida has been quietly training back in Southern California and is looking really good. This fight reminds me of the Dennis Bermudez vs the Korean Zombie fight back in January. The Korean Zombie was coming off of a couple year layoff and when he came back to the octagon they gave him a good opponent in Dennis Bermudez. Bermudez was Ko’ed in that fight and I kinda think that’s what happens to Brunson this weekend. Lyoto Machida Def. Derek Brunson

Damian Maia (-250) Vs. Colby Covington (+195)

It would be easy for me to pick Maia here simply because of his BJJ specialty and because he’s fighting in his backyard. However, I feel like Colby Covington is gonna win the fight. Covington has been talking mad trash to everyone in the welterweight division and I feel like he wouldn’t be doing it if he wasn’t ready to face possibly the most dangerous fighter in the division. This pick is not based on records, backgrounds or anything else like that, I’m picking this based on a hunch that Covington wouldn’t be talking this much trash without having the skills to back it up. Colby Covington Def. Damian Maia

Rob Font (-144) Vs. Pedro Munhoz (+116)

This is Rob Font’s time to shine. My fellow Massachusetts brother has a good chance of moving up the rankings if he takes this victory over a talented young stud in Pedro Munhoz. Rob Font is 4-1 in the UFC with all of his wins coming via finish. His only loss was a decision defeat at the hands of John Lineker (Impressive that he went to decision anyway). Pedro Munhoz has won his last three fights against quality opponents in Damian Stasiak, Justin Scoggins, and Russell Doane. While I think that Pedro Munhoz is a quality prospect in the bantamweight division, I believe Font is the fighter who gets it done on Saturday night and wins via KO. Rob Font Def. Pedro Munhoz

Francisco Trinaldo (-159) Vs. Jim Miller (+131)

Jim Miller is the perennial gatekeeper of the Lightweight Division. If the UFC wants to see where you would stand as a fighter as a Lightweight, usually they would match you up with Miller. They seem like they are doing that with Francisco Trinaldo at the moment because Trinaldo has hit a roadblock in his career. Trinaldo had won 8 straight UFC fights against high-quality competition but most recently lost to Kevin Lee. Still, going 8-1 in 9 fights is pretty impressive. Miller’s been 3-2 in his last five, with both of his last two fights being losses to ranked opponents in Dustin Poirier and Anthony Pettis, before that he has defeated Takanori Gomi, Thiago Alves and Joe Lauzon (…Kinda). I think Trinaldo’s victories heavily outweigh what Miller has been able to do as of late and I have him winning because of this. Francisco Trinaldo Def. Jim Miller

Thiago Santos (-144) Vs. Jack Hermansson (+116)

Thiago Santos Vs. Jack Hermansson looks like a good fight on paper. Hell, even the odds look like its gonna be something great. Jack Hermansson is a great fighter, but Thiago Santos is even better. Thiago Santos has won two straight fights by absolute annihilation and both against strong prospects in Jack Marshman and Gerald Meerschaert. I think this fight ends the same way. Thiago Santos Def. Jack Hermansson

John Lineker (-303) Vs. Marlon Vera (+247)

John Lineker is a bit of an enigma, He’s got possibly the second most powerful hands in the Bantamweight division (Behind Cody Garbrandt), and has shown he knows how to use them in his win against Michael McDonald. I like Lineker as a fighter, he’s a pretty exciting Bantamweight to watch, however, on the other hand, its impossible to not root for a guy like Marlon “Chito” Vera. His daughter recently had surgery to have a disorder in which she was unable to smile fixed and has since become a bit of a local sensation in his native country Ecuador. Vera took every fight (Short Notice and Full Camp) he could just so he could see his daughter smile and that’s pretty remarkable. Vera has won three straight against Brian Kelleher, Brad Pickett, and Ning Guangyou while Lineker recently lost to TJ Dillashaw after going on a six-fight win streak. I have Lineker winning by decision, but I’m gonna be rooting for Chito the whole time. John Lineker Def. Marlon Vera

Other picks:

Niko Price (UNL) Def. Vicente Luque (UNL)

Antonio Carlos Junior (-353) Def. Jack Marshman (+300)

Jared Gordon (-147) Def. Hacran Dias (+130)

Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (-181) Def. Max Griffin (+180)

Jarred Brooks (-187) Def. Deiveson Figueiredo (+165)

Marcelo Glom (-169) Def. Christian Colombo (+141)

Follow The Sports Tanks resident UFC guy on Twitter: @foleypz16

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