Fight Picks – UFC Fight Night 51


For the first time in almost four months the Octagon returns to its home away from home in Brazil as UFC Fight Night 51: Silva vs. Arlovski goes down at the Ginásio Nilson Nelson in Brasília this Saturday night. Check out my picks for the night as well as the bonus predictions and bet of the week.

Antônio Silva vs. Andrei Arlovski

The main event of the card is the underwhelming rematch of Antônio “Bigfoot” Silva and Andrei Arlovski. The first fight, in 2010, saw Silva dominate throughout and win a forgettable unanimous decision. After that, Arlovski, the former UFC heavyweight champion, bounced around organizations before finding his way back to the Octagon for his last fight where he was given a hotly disputed decision win over Brendan Schaub. Silva, on the other hand, challenged for the UFC title and had a fight of the year candidate respectively in his last two fights. He also, though, failed a drug test last time out and is just returning from the resulting suspension – a factor which could play a part depending on how Silva copes both as a clean and ring rusty athlete.

Arlovski is a tough veteran with a solid striking game, superb takedown defence and a chin which has let him down on a number of occasions. Bigfoot will be looking to test that chin. The Brazilian isn’t exactly the most nuanced or technical striker in the world but if he lays a fist on you it’s curtains. Silva has an improved wrestling game also while he uses the clinch and trips to also get his opponent horizontal. I fancy this one to be played out on the feet for the most part, though. Silva showed in his fight with Alistair Overeem that he is more than capable of testing his opponent’s chin before putting them away. That’s exactly what I see him doing here.


Gleison Tibau vs. Piotr Hallmann

Of the six MMA cards this weekend this fight has the possibility of being the best. When Gleison Tibau fights you know what to expect and that’s all out action for as long as he can keep the blood pumping to the 200 odd pounds of muscle in his body. Hallmann is a similarly gritty fighter and will be looking to out-pace the huge Brazilian.

Both men are quite adept on the ground but it will more than likely favour Tibau if it gets there. On the feet I think Hallmann has the ability to jink his way in and out of range to avoid the power. To do that, he will need an extremely confident and disciplined performance. I have a gut feeling that Hallmann is coming in with the right gameplan so I’m going with the upset here and picking against the Brazilian.


Leonardo Santos vs. Efrain Escudero

TUF: Brazil 1 champion Leonardo Santos meets TUF season 8 champion Efrain Escudero here in another interesting fight, if not the highest in quality stakes. In his last fight, Santos drew with Norman Parke in a much debated fight. Leaving the decision aside, Santos showed some good striking ability early before fading to Parke’s grinding pace late in the fight. Escudero should take some heart from that. The American is a solid all round fighter who has also been known to set a strong pace. This really is a pick ’em fight but I think Santos might just have enough to take the first two rounds.


Iuri Alcântara vs. Russell Doane

After an impressive start to his UFC career, Russell Doane draws a tough assignment here in just his third Octagon fight against Iuri Alcantara. Fighting in his home country, Alcantara will be looking to make it three wins in a row following his defeat to Urijah Faber last year. Doane is an athletic fighter with quality in all areas who will likely have most success on the feet in his fight. Alcantara is also comfortable in every department but has a black belt in Brazilian and will want to utilize his superiority in that world. Doane is a quality fighter but, at this stage in his career, I’d be surprised if he took the win. I fancy Alcantara to get his usual rapid start and finish this one early.



Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Wendell Oliveira – OLIVEIRA VIA DECISION
Jéssica Andrade vs. Larissa Pacheco ANDRADE VIA DIECISION
Godofredo Castro vs. Dashon Johnson CASTRO VIA DECISION
Igor Araújo vs. George Sullivan – ARAUJO VIA SUBMISSION
Francisco Trinaldo vs. Leandro Silva
Paulo Thiago vs. Sean Spencer
Rani Yahya vs. Johnny Bedford – YAHYA VIA DECISION


Fight of the night – Tibau vs. Hallmann
Performance of the night – Antonio SIlva and Piotr Hallmann


This week I’m picking a 5/1 double of Yahya and Hallmann.

Podcaster, lead MMA writer and analyst for SevereMMA. Host of the SevereMMA podcast, out every Sunday. Economics and Mathematics graduate from UCC. Also write for Sherdog. Previously of hov-mma and fightbooth. As heard on 2FM, Red FM, Today FM and more. Follow me on twitter for updates @SeanSheehanBA and on Facebook

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