Just last year, Raphael Assuncao was riding a seven-fight win streak that included a win over T.J. Dillashaw back in 2013. When matched against T.J. Dillashaw again in UFC 200, a win would have put him on track for a shot at the bantamweight title. Assuncao fell short when it mattered the most and lost a unanimous decision to Dillashaw – unfortunate timing. The Brazilian bounced back into the win column with a close split decision against Aljamain Sterling in January.
Marlon Moraes is defensively sound, and one of the main reasons for his success in World Series of Fighting has been effective distance management. As the fight progresses and he starts to learn more and more about an opponent, he’ll then look to land the finishing blow. Moraes doesn’t hold back either and throws everything with power.
Assuncao is a very sharp fighter with excellent counter abilities, and this will likely be the determining factor in this fight. Assuncao will probably be the one sitting back and waiting for Moraes to engage for the majority of the fight, meaning that Moraes will look more appealing to the judges because of forward pressure and he’ll still land his shots with precision.
While many are excited about this fight, and myself included, there’s every chance it remains at a relatively slow pace for the first two rounds until they open up in round 3.
Moraes by decision makes sense. The previously mentioned forward pressure should be enough to sway the judges, but I think this one will be very close.
Antonio Carlos Junior vs. Eric Spicely
Two jiu-jitsu geniuses go against each other in Brazil, this one will be a beautiful display of grappling!
Antonio Carlos Junior Record: 7-2 Height: 6’1″ (185cm)
Reach: 79.0″ (201cm)
Antonio Carlos Junior, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion, has managed two consecutive wins after experiencing an upset loss against Daniel Kelly in March 2016. Carlos Junior now competes at middleweight in the UFC, despite winning the heavyweight division of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil Season 3, and previously fighting at light heavyweight.
Eric Spicely Record: 10-1 Height: 6’2″ (188cm)
Reach: 73.0″ (185cm)
After featuring on The Ultimate Fighter Season 23, Eric Spicely is now starting to carve his career in the UFC and is now enjoying a two-win streak after victories against Thiago Santos and Alessio Di Chirico. Spicely has looked impressive, especially in the bout against Santos in which he entered as a 9/25.50+4504.504.50-0.22 underdog.
Spicely’s jiu-jitsu is quite impressive and has got him over the line in his UFC appearances, but it’s no match for Carlos Junior, a world champion.
Notably, Spicely is a relatively small middleweight and doesn’t have to cut too much to make weight. On the other hand, Carlos Junior is one of the biggest middleweights out there. The size difference here may mean that Spicely struggles on the mat more so than we were even expecting heading in. An alternative possibility is that the weight difference could suit Spicely more as he pushes the fight for the entire three rounds against Carlos Junior who gasses pretty fast.
Both Spicely and Carlos Junior lack in the stand-up game. I’m expecting Carlos Junior to be the one shooting for takedowns, but I feel as though Spicely can stuff them, keep Carlos Junior standing and tire him out.
The obvious answer is to take Carlos Junior to win at as he should be able to beat Spicely on the mat.
But, what if he doesn’t get the takedown? I’m going to go and seek a huge payout with Spicely by decicion.
Johnny Eduardo vs. Matthew Lopez
The relatively inactive Johnny Eduardo fights in front of his fans in Brazil against Matthew Lopez, who enjoyed a successful debut in the UFC.
Johnny Eduardo Record: 28-1 Height: 5’7″ (171cm)
Reach: 71.0″ (180cm)
Johnny Eduardo has fought just once per year over the last three years and now finds himself in a battle against Matthew Lopez, who is looking to rise the rankings quickly. Eduardo defeated Eddie Wineland in 2014, before losing to Aljamain Sterling in 2015. His stoppage of Manny Gamburyan was enough to Make Gamburyan retire after the fight, too.
Matthew Lopez Record: 9-1 Height: 5’7″ (170cm)
Reach: 70.0″ (178cm)
Matthew Lopez locked up his first win in the UFC with an impressive victory over Mitch Gagnon in December 2016. Lopez was troubled at times, but his grappling and wrestling skills prevailed as he controlled Gagnon in the clinch and on the mat for the fight.
In an interview on The Parting Shot Podcast, Matthew Lopez discussed his gameplan for the Eduardo fight, saying that he’ll look to take Eduardo down to the mat if he’s not having success standing up – as expected.
Iuri Alcantara returns to the cage not long after his comeback victory against Luke Sanders at UFC 209. Alcantara was beaten up badly in the first round, and there was plenty of reason for referee Marc Goddard to step in and stop the fight. Alcantara submitted Sanders with a kneebar, quite an uncommon submission in mixed martial arts (see above photo). The win put Alcantara on a two-fight win streak heading into this one against Kelleher, after a victory against Brad Pickett before the Sanders bout.
Brian Kelleher Record: 16-7 Height: 5’6″ (167cm)
Reach: 64.0″ (163cm)
Brian Kelleher will make his UFC debut at UFC 212 in Brazil, a long way from home for the 30-year-old American. After struggling through the majority of his extensive career, Kelleher has now managed to put together a six-win streak, earning him an opportunity in the world’s largest mixed martial arts organisation. Kelleher hasn’t competed since March 2016 and makes for a strange matchup against Alcantara who has shown significant potential inside the octagon.
Alcantara is this weird mix between ‘flowy’ and wild. He has some sweet movement and can cover distances quickly. He’s also not afraid to throw some wild strikes in the centre of the cage, either.
Alcantara showed some huge vulnerability in the first round against Sanders, after being taken down and controlled with ease by his opponent for close to three minutes.
From what I’ve seen of Kelleher (mind you, it’s just scrappy YouTube footage), he has some decent takedowns and wrestling ability. He’s also fairly dangerous when it comes to submissions, particularly chokes.
Iuri Alcantara finds a way to win, he just does. His odds are short and while I’m totally expecting Kelleher to bring an intense fight to the table, I’ll bebacking the proven Alcantara here at with William Hill.
Raphael Assuncao vs. Marlon Moraes Marlon Moraes to Win via Decision
Sunday 4th June, 1:00 GMT
Odds: 15/82.88+1881.881.88-0.53 – BetFred
Antonio Carlos Junior vs. Eric Spicely Eric Spicely to Win via Decision
Sunday 4th June, 0:30 GMT
Odds: 9/25.50+4504.504.50-0.22 – Skybet
Johnny Eduardo vs. Matthew Lopez Matthew Lopez to win in Round 3 Sunday 4th June, 0:00 GMT
Odds: 12/113.00+120012.0012.00-0.08 – BetVictor
Iuri Alcantara vs. Brian Kelleher Iuri Alcantara to Win
Saturday 3rd June, 23:30 GMT
Odds: 4/111.36-2750.36-2.750.36 – William Hill
Eric has been a sports journalist for over 20 years and has travelled the world covering top sporting events for a number of publications. He also has a passion for betting and uses his in-depth knowledge of the sports world to pinpoint outstanding odds and value betting opportunities.
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