The Octagon will touch down in Brazil this weekend as UFC Fortaleza is upon us.
With a total of thirteen fights on tap and an exciting booking of established veterans and up-and-comers, UFC Fortaleza should be a must watch for any MMA fan.
While Raphael Assunção and Marlon Moraes will garner the majority of the headlines heading into this weekend (rightfully so), there are a number of promising prospects peppered throughout the card to keep the hardcore fan interested. However, names like José Aldo and Demian Maia will help reel in the much-needed casual fan.
Livia Renata Souza
The women will kick off the main card with one heck of a strawweight contest.
Livia Renata Souza (12-1) will take Sarah Frota (9-0) in a feature main card bout. Souza is riding a three-fight winning streak that stretches back to May of 2016. She most recently defeated Alex Chambers via submission at UFC Fight Night 127 last September.
Both women are extremely well-rounded fighters and either woman could make a run at the strawweight title. As of this writing, Souza was a -235 favorite to win this fight.
A quick Google search of Johnny Walker will yield you a page full of Whisky bottles. However, many MMA prognosticators believe Walker will one day defeat Jon Jones for the light heavyweight title.
If Walker is to one day challenge “Bones” then he best earn another W inside the Octagon this weekend. The 26-year-old Brazilian will be facing Justin Ledet on the main card.
Walker generated a ton of excitement with his elbow KO of Khalil Rountree last November. Another impressive KO could skyrocket this young man into the top 15.
Anthony Hernandez vs. Markus Perez
Anthony Hernandez and Markus Perez will throw down in an early frontrunner for UFC Fortaleza Fight of the Night honors.
Both Hernandez and Perez are serious prospects in the middleweight division. For “Fluffy”, this marks his official UFC debut. As his fight with Jordan Wright was on the Contender Series. Perez will make his fourth walk to the Octagon on Saturday night, however, he is coming off of decision loss to Andrew Sanchez in August.
Thiago Alves vs. Max Griffin
Thiago Alves and Max Griffin will provide fans with another prelim gem.
“The Pitbull” is a true veteran of the sport. Oh, and by the way, he is Brazilian. Alves’ head hunting style is fan friendly and it will be interesting to see how a real tactician like Max “Pain” counteracts that.
That being said, both men are coming off losses and will be looking to get the new year off to a fast start in Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 2/1/19.