Previewing UFC Fight 140
The UFC returns live Saturday night with their first card ever in Argentina headlined by a hometown favorite in a Top 10 Welterweight matchup. The UFC is on a stretch right now of several weekends in a row of cards, and this week Buenos Aires, Argentina is the host. The main event features Neil Magny (21-7 #8 Ranked Welterweight) taking on Santiago “Gente Boa” Ponzinibbio (27-3 #10 Ranked Welterweight) who will be fighting in his home country. The cards lately for the UFC have been solid delivering repeatedly. This card should hopefully be no different with the 12 matchups we have on the docket.
The night starts out on UFC Fight Pass at Featherweight as Nad “Smiler” Narimani )16-3-1) takes on Anderson “Berinja” Dos Santos (11-2). Nad Narimani is coming off a UFC debut victory over Khalid Taha (12-2) back in July. He now looks to build on that win and extend his 4-fight win streak. That streak includes a win of the Cage Warriors Featherweight title over Paddy “The Baddy” Pimblett (14-3). Narimani is skilled all around and has 5 submissions to his name. The 31-year-old England native will be looking to build up the momentum and potentially start an ascent in the ranks at 145lbs. For the first time in his MMA career, Anderson Dos Santos will enter the UFC. Coming in off a 2-fight win streak the 34-year-old Brazilian will look to make a good first impression. Dos Santos is a guy who has 11 career submissions, but his hands can’t be slept on as he has 5 knockouts including his last victory which was a first-round TKO victory. This is a solid scrap to kick off the night for sure. Prediction: Anderson Dos Santos via Submission.
We close out the Fight Pass portion of the card with two Lightweights as Devin Powell (9-3) takes on Jesus “El Mudo” Pinedo (9-3). Devin Powell uncorked a vicious body kick in July to pick up his first UFC victory over Alvaro “Chango” Herrera (9-6). Powell had seen the judges in his first two UFC bouts that were both losses including a razor-thin split decision. Powell is well rounded with 3 knockouts 3 submission and 3 decision wins. He will need to rely on his 30 plus minutes of Octagon experience to come away with another win. At just 22 years old Jesus Pinedo enters the UFC riding a 6-fight win streak. All 6 of those wins have come via finishes including a stretch of 3 straight submissions. Pinedo has a ton of experience for a guy of his age, and he has shown the ability to finish all around. The kid is super talented and now he gets to put that on display in the world’s largest MMA promotion. Prediction: Jesus Pinedo via TKO.
We head to the Televised prelims and get yet another debuting fighter as Laureano “Pepi” Staropoli (7-1) and Hector “El Charro” Aldana (4-1). The debut of the Argentinian Welterweight Laureano Staropoli will come Saturday night in front of his hometown crowd. A 5-fight win and finish streak precede him as he steps into the UFCS cage. With 5 knockouts the 25-year-old certainly has the power to end a fight at any point. He will have to calm his nerves for this spot, but if he does he could have a fantastic debut. The Ultimate Fighter Latin America Season 2 alum Hector Aldana did not have the best UFC debut. A second-round knockout loss to Song “The Assassin” Kenan (13-4) in June was not the best first impression. He now has a chance to disappoint the hometown fans and get in the win column in the UFC. He showed in that fight that he is willing to stand and trade, so expect some serious fireworks here. Prediction: Laureano Staropoli via TKO.
We drop back down to Featherweight as Humberto Bandenay (14-5 1NC) is set to take on Austin “Golden Boy” Arnett (15-5). A stunning 39-second slam knockout loss to Gabriel “Moggly” Benitez (21-7) in May halted the excitement around the 24-year-old Humberto Bandenay. With 2 fights under his belt, Bandenay has only spent 1 minute and 5 seconds in the Octagon. Bandenay is talented on the feet and ground with 5 knockouts and 6 submissions. Bandenay is going to need to find a home for his punches early and he will have a shot to get back in the win column. Austin Arnett has not had a great run in the UFC. From a loss on the first season of The Dana White Tuesday Night Contender Series to dropping both appearances in the UFC, he is in desperate need of a win. Arnett was 15-2 before this run and he needs to find a way to get back to the winning ways. If he can’t he may need a new promotion after this weekend. Prediction: Humberto Bandenay via Decision.
We drop down to 125lbs as Alexandre “The Cannibal” Pantoja (19-3 #9 Ranked Flyweight) takes on Ulka Sasaki (21-5-2 #15 Ranked Flyweight). Alexandre Pantoja got back in the win column in May when he took a 3 round dominant decision from Brandon “The Assassin Baby” Moreno (14-5). Pantoja came in hot after his loss in the semifinals of Season 24 of The Ultimate Fighter winning his first two UFC fights. He then followed up a loss with the win over Moreno. Pantoja is a guy who can put a quick pace on his opponents. If he must go to the mat, he will be able to get the job done for sure. Pantoja is a guy that if the 125lb division does disappear we may see him at 135lbs if he wins here. Ulka Sasaki has been up and down in his UFC career. Alternating wins and losses every time but once when he lost twice in a row from 2014-2015. Sasaki’s ground game is his go to and the 12 submissions certainly stand out. If he can get the fight to the mat, he has a chance of taking home a submission victory without a doubt. Prediction: Alexandre Pantoja via Submission.
We close the prelims with Michel “Tractor” Prazeres (25-2) taking on Bartosz “The Butcher” Fabinski (14-2). Michel Prazeres moved back to 170 at UFC Fight Night 129 and took home a split decision win. The 37-year-old Brazilian has won 7 fights in a row between 155 and 170lbs. He has only lost twice in the UFC. The weight cut was becoming an issue, so the move to 170 was needed. He is a submission or decision machine. His goal is to get the fight to the mat and add to his 10 submissions or head to the judges. Prazeres doesn’t get the love he probably deserves, but a stoppage win here could go a long way. For Bartosz Fabinski 3 straight wins by decision have gotten his UFC career started very well. Fabinski has 6 knockouts and would prefer to slug it out on the feet. If he can shut down the takedowns and ground game of Prazeres he should have a decided difference on the feet. This is your classic grappler vs. striker matchup which could be either awesome or incredibly boring. Prediction: Michel Prazeres via Submission.
We head to FS1 with two Strawweight prospects as Cynthia Calvillo (6-1) takes on Poliana Botelho (7-1). Cynthia Calvillo suffered the first set back of her career back in December when she dropped her first career bout against former UFC Champion Carla “Cookie Monster” Esparza (13-6 #8 Ranked Strawweight). Calvillo comes in to this fight having missed weight and looking to regain her position as a top prospect. Calvillo’s grappling is where she always looks best. She can get the fight to the ground and control everywhere the fight goes. Calvillo will be looking to get the fight where she can control and walk away the winner. Poliana Botelho followed up her UFC debut with a body kick TKO of Syuri Kondo (6-1) back in May. Botelho’s striking is where she is going to have a decided advantage with 6 knockouts on her resume. She should have the advantage here. If she can keep this fight standing she will walk away the winner. Prediction: Cynthia Calvillo via Decision.
We go to Bantamweight next as Guido “Ninja” Cannetti (8-3) takes on Marlon “Chito” Vera (11-5-1). Guido Cannetti continued his trend of alternating wins and losses picking up a win back in May over Diego “Pitbull” Rivas (7-2). Cannetti is 38 years old so if there was ever a time to make a move it is now. He needs to string together some wins if he expects to move up in the UFC. Cannetti is an Argentina native, so you know the crowd will be behind him heading into the Octagon. Marlon Vera scored a second-round knockout with a body punch of Wuliji “Beast Master” Buren (10-6) back in August. That win snapped a 2-fight losing streak with that win. Vera is 25 years old but has a decent amount of experience at the highest level. Vera needs to stay composed and, in the moment, if he wants to spoil it for the home crowd. Prediction: Marlon Vera via Submission.
We head up to Middleweight as Cezar “Mutante” Ferreira (14-6) takes on Ian Heinisch (11-1). Cezar Ferreira started a 2-fight win streak with a 1st round submission win over Karl “Baby K” Roberson (7-1) in May. Ferreira’s goal is evident and it’s to get the fight to the ground. He isn’t afraid to trade on the feet, but his ground game is great. Ferriera has been in the UFC since 2012 and he now needs to get the wins to pile up if he wants to get back into the Top 15 and another high-level opponent. A spectacular elbow knockout on Season 2 of The Contender Series in the first round saw Ian Heinisch get his UFC dream fulfilled. He enters the UFC on a 3-fight win streak and will be looking to make a big splash over a long-time veteran. He is going to have to calm the first time UFC jitters. This one should be a fun brawl to watch. Prediction: Ian Heinisch via TKO.
The Light Heavyweights are on display next as Khalil Rountree Jr. (8-2 1NC) returns to take on the debuting Johnny Walker (13-3). Khalil Rountree shocked casual MMA fans when he stopped kickboxing legend Gokhan “The Rebel” Saki (1-2) in July. Big knockout shad become the trend for Rountree who has stopped his last three wins inside the first round. Rountree has 5 knockouts and seems to be coming into his own in the UFC. If the fight gets in tight look for Rountree to unleash his power shots and close this one out early. The UFC debut of 26-year-old Johnny Walker comes after a win on the Brazil version of The Dana White Tuesday Night Contender Series over UFC veteran Henrique “Frankenstein” Da Silva (12-4). That decision puts him on a 6-fight win streak and got him into the UFC. Walker has 11 knockout sons his resume and he will be looking to throw that bomb that ends this fight as soon as possible. Prediction: Khalil Rountree Jr via TKO.
A Top 15 Featherweight Matchup is your Co-Main Event as Ricardo “The Bully” (18-7 #12 Ranked Featherweight) takes on Darren “The Damage” Elkins (25-6 #13 Ranked Featherweight). Ricardo Lamas went from a Top 5 title contender to number 12 at 145lbs after two straight losses. Lamas dropped a hard-fought split decision to Mirsad Bektic (13-1 #8 Ranked Featherweight). Lamas has been around a long time and has face the best 145lbs has to offer. Lamas has fought for a UFC title as well back in 2014. He is a guy who can get the fight done everywhere with either punches or submissions. He is in a big spot here where a win goes far. Darren Elkins dream run finally came to an end at the hands of Alexander “The Great” Volkanovski (18-1 #10 Ranked Featherweight). Elkins was a feel-good story in 2017 and that had carried over with his comeback win over Michael “The Menace” Johnson (20-12) that kicked off the year. Elkins is a guy that comes right at his opponent and walks through anything you throw at him. The damage he can take is borderline scary. He needs to find a way to minimize that in this matchup or he could be on the losing end again. Prediction: Ricardo Lamas via Decision.
We close the show at 170lbs as Neil Magny (21-7 #8 Ranked Welterweight) looks to disappoint the home fans as he takes on Santiago “Gente Boa” Ponzinibbio (27-3 #10 Ranked Welterweight). Neil Magny has rattle off 2 straight wins since dropping a top contender matchup in September of 2017. His last appearance was a 1st round knockout of Craig “Thundercat” White (14-9) in May. Magny is a guy who is just so consistent. He doesn’t really do much wrong inside the cage. No matter where the fight goes Magny always appears comfortable and can change the flow of the fight. He has beat some top talent in the UFC, and it is impossible to overlook the Illinois native. He has a chance to disappoint the hoard of fans who will be behind their fellow countryman. Santiago Ponzinibbio has won 6 straight heading into Saturday night as he headlines the UFC’s first event in Argentina. The most successful Argentinian born UFC fighter is riding a decision win over “Platinum” Mike Perry (12-4) in December of last year. An injury derailed a fight in May, but now Ponzinibbio is healthy and looking to get one step closer to the 170lb title. Ponzinibbio is a knockout artist with 14 career knockout finishes. If this fight stays on the feet, there is a solid chance he can end the fight and send the crowd into an absolute frenzy. This is a banger of a main event and should not be overlooked. Prediction: Santiago Ponzinibbio via TKO.
The UFC keeps the ball rolling as they keep putting on shows in new venues and countries. The stretch of 9 events in 8 weeks Is only 4 events in with this and the UFC is closing the year strong. Heading into the Latin American market is something the UFC has been trying to do and getting into Argentina is big for them. Being able to close the show with a very successful and popular Argentinian fighter will go a long way for them. The year continues to roll on for the UFC and as a fan of fighting, there is nothing better than live UFC events week after week.