The 5 most intriguing UFC Rio fights for Jiu-Jitsu fans

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Rodrigo Minotauro treina para UFC Rio com Thiago Jambo

Rodrigo Minotauro (in black) training for UFC Rio with Thiago Jambo at Nogueira brothers headquarters / Personal archive photo

Saturday marks the UFC’s third visit to Rio de Janeiro and the second time Anderson Silva headlines a card there.

The chance to get a glimpse of Anderson Silva’s style is already worth the cost of the ticket, even if against an opponent considered slow and contemplating retirement like Stephan Bonnar. Still the fight will likely play out on the feet. “My game plan will be to break Anderson’s hand on my face,” joked Bonnar, the admitted underdog.

The main event apart, GRACIEMAG.com put together the following list of the most exciting fights on the card for grappling fans.

1. RODRIGO MINOTAURO VS. DAVE HERMAN

It won’t be the first time Mino has to shut the mouth of a smack-talking rival. He’s done it before with Mirko Cro Cop and Tim Sylvia, the former UFC champion who hated Jiu-Jitsu, among others. Herman, however, hit where it hurts. First he said he’s going to retire the Brazilian legend. And he topped that off by saying Jiu-Jitsu doesn’t work on him. Herman has some nasty Thai boxing skills but is coming off losses to Stefan Struve and Roy Nelson. Now Rodrigo is coming off a defeat to Frank Mir, the first and only time he has ever tapped out in his career. Who’s going to retire who? Promise of a thriller, just the way Mino likes it.

Prediction: Rodrigo Minotauro

2. JON FITCH VS. ERICK SILVA

As soon as he set foot in Rio de Janeiro, Fitch set about heating the encounter up with some Chael Sonnen-esque trash talk. “My style of fighting no one can copy, nor stop,” said the 34-year-old American in an interview with “Extra” newspaper’s Rafael Marques. “I hope to teach him a lot of things during the fight,” he jibed. A savvy takedown specialist, Fitch (23w, 4l, 1d) dreams of a fight where he’s on top of Erick the whole time, raining down fists from inside guard. It may be an interesting opportunity for Erick to show off some guard tricks, if he doesn’t knock his hard-nosed—and big talking—opponent out first.

Prediction: Erick Silva

3. DEMIAN MAIA VS. RICK STORY

It’s only Demian Maia’s second outing in the welterweight division, where he made his debut with a technical knockout over Dong Hyun Kim. The problem is that Rick “The Horror” Story hits hard and needs a win to stay in good standing with his bosses at the UFC. Can facing an opponent anxious to show he’s fit for the job be a good thing? Here’s a fight where the crowd could make the difference, egging the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu champion on to coax out another tapout for his record.

Prediction: Demian Maia

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_64cRo0lcY

4. GLOVER TEIXEIRA VS. FABIO MALDONADO

This long-awaited fight will finally come to pass, however late it is in coming. While the match-up features two of the Brazilian domestic MMA scene’s biggest bangers, there may just be room for some slick Jiu-Jitsu as well, maybe some takedowns, passes and guard replacements. Fabio Maldonado tried spicing things up early, criticizing his rival’s coach Pedro Rizzo. “The way he talks about Glover, he sounds like his wife. Could his name be Pedra Rizza, by any chance?” Though Maldonado is in dire need of the win and does his Jiu-Jitsu training with the Nogueira brothers, Glover Teixeira is a seasoned ADCC competitor and is coming off much safer performances than he has.

Prediction: Glover Teixeira

5. SÉRGIO MORAES VS. RENÉE FORTE

Two-time world Jiu-Jitsu champion Sérgio Moraes returns to the octagon this UFC Rio to face a colleague of his from the inaugural season of “TUF Brazil” reality show, the striker with proficient wrestling Renée Forte. Sérgio has been training with Mauricio Shogun on a daily basis, so he’ll likely soften his rival up standing to take him down and let his game flow.

Prediction: Sérgio Moraes

What do you say, Jiu-Jitsu fan, is there another fight on the card you feel is bound to come with fireworks? Let us know!

UFC Rio 3
HSBC Arena, Rio de Janeiro
October 13, 2012

Anderson Silva vs Stephan Bonnar
Rodrigo Minotauro vs Dave Herman
Glover Teixeira vs Fábio Maldonado
Jon Fitch vs Erick Silva
Wagner Caldeirão vs Phil Davis
Demian Maia vs Rick Story
Rony Jason vs Sam Sicilia
Gleison Tibau vs Francisco Massaranduba
Diego Brandão vs Joey Gambino
Serginho Moraes vs Renée Forte
Luiz Banha vs Chris Camozzi
Cristiano Marcello vs Reza Madadi

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