Welcome to The Brain vs. The Heart. Everyone has that internal battle with themselves about which fighter you think will win vs. which fighter you actually want to win. The Brain vs The Heart takes you on a journey inside the mind (and heart) of IAMMA to tackle the battle head-on. Who will win? Let’s find out!
Efrain Escudero (+120) vs. Leandro Silva (-140)
The Brain: The main card kicks off with a fun fight between Escudero and Silva. Both of these fighters have very similar all around stats. Silva tends to land more takedowns, but Escudero has competent takedown defense. Escudero does tend to land more strikes than Silva, and his experience against high level competition could be a big factor in this fight. Silva is much more athletic than his opponent, which could give Escudero some problems. This is a hard fight to pick and I could see either fighter winning, but I’m leaning towards Silva. Silva by Decision
The Heart: I like what I’ve seen out of Silva lately, but I’m a sucker for a good comeback story. Escudero is 2-1 since he returned to the UFC, and I’d like to see him pick up another win so he can stick around for a while longer. Escudero by Decision
Enrique Barzola (+130) vs. Horacio Gutierrez (-150)
The Brain: This is the TUF Latin America 2 Lightweight Final. I didn’t watch the season, but I have seen some fight footage on both fighters. Gutierrez is a powerful striker. Barzola is a very unorthodox fighter. From what I’ve seen, it looks like Barzola is probably a little more well-rounded, but I think Gutierrez’s power will be the difference here. Gutierrez by TKO
The Heart: I don’t have too big of a preference either way in this fight. Both fighters seem fun to watch in different ways. I do tend to like fighters with unusual styles and that definitely applies to Barzola. I’m going to side with him in this fight. Barzola by Decision
Enrique Marin (-185) vs. Erick Montano (+160)
The Brain: This is the TUF Latin America 2 Welterweight Final. Like I said above, I didn’t watch the season, but I did watch a few fights of each fighter. Montano has never gone to a decision. He showed plenty of hesitation in the fights I watched, and he has three losses by submission. That could be a bad combination in this fight. Marin seems like a fairly aggressive fighter and does a good job of putting his opponents in bad positions where he is able to lock in a submission. Both fighters have the majority of their wins by submission, but I think Marin is more dangerous. I think he’ll add another submission win to his resume. Marin by Submission
The Heart: Just like the other TUF final, I don’t really have much of a preference either way in this fight. Their records are similar, as are a lot of their results. In this case I’m going to choose using the “very scientific” method of examining their nicknames. Montano goes by “Perry”, while Marin goes by “Wasabi”. The results are in, and Wasabi is by far the better nickname. Marin it is. Marin by Submission
Henry Cejudo (-500) vs. Jussier Formiga (+400)
The Brain: The Olympic gold medalist Cejudo looks to continue to work his way to the top of the UFC flyweight division against the formidable Formiga. Both fighters land a high volume of takedowns and have excellent takedown defense. Formiga will probably try to find a way to get Cejudo to the ground so he can work his submission game, but that definitely won’t be an easy task as Cejudo has never been taken down in an MMA fight. Cejudo is an aggressive fighter with a surprisingly competent striking game. He averages four times as many strikes landed per minute than Formiga. Cejudo should be much quicker than Formiga as well. I expect most of this fight to play out on the feet, where Cejudo should comfortably outwork Formiga for the decision victory. Cejudo by Decision
The Heart: As long as Cejudo truly has put his weight issues behind him, I’m 100% rooting for him to continue his climb to a title shot. He’s an exciting fighter and would be a fresh challenge for Mighty Mouse. I think it would be an excellent fight and would love the chance to see it. Therefore, I definitely want Cejudo to win here. Cejudo by Decision
Ricardo Lamas (-600) vs. Diego Sanchez (+450)
The Brain: Sanchez is finally returning after a knee injury and collarbone surgery. He’ll be dropping down to featherweight to face Lamas. He’s 2-3 in his last five fights, but I personally believe he should be 0-5. Sanchez has shown quite a bit of wear in his last few fights. His style has transformed from well-rounded to recklessly aggressive. Sanchez swings wildly trying to connect on his opponent. I’m not sure what Sanchez will look like at featherweight, but I think the cut will take a toll on him. Lamas should be able to use his speed to land shots while avoiding Sanchez’s attack. I don’t think the odds are that wide, but I still think as long as Lamas doesn’t get complacent that he should be able to pick up the decision. Lamas by Decision
The Heart: I love the heart of Sanchez. It’s been frustrating seeing him receive two wins that I felt were clearly not his, but that is in no way his fault. I watched a few interviews with him this week and I thought he looked terrible. I hope he doesn’t look as drained at the weigh-ins, but I’m worried this cut to featherweight is going to be bad for him. While I admire his heart, I don’t really enjoy his style anymore. I want Lamas to take this one. Lamas by Decision
Kelvin Gastelum (-300) vs. Neil Magny (+250)
The Brain: Magny steps in on three weeks’ notice to face Gastelum. Even though it’s short notice this fight will still be five rounds. Like usual, Magny will have a huge height and reach advantage, 6” and 9” respectively. He lands a high volume of strikes and has good defense as well. Gastelum returns to welterweight after being required to fight at middleweight for his last fight. His game relies on pressure and he will surely look to close the gap on the rangy Magny. I think Gastelum will be able to get Magny against the fence and score points. I see him controlling most of the fight on his way to a decision victory. Gastelum by Decision
The Heart: I like both fighters, but Gastelum’s weight issues have really bothered me. Hopefully he can regain my trust. This will be Magny’s fifth fight of 2015. He also fought five times in 2014. Of those fights, Magny only lost to Maia. There is definitely something special about being able to successfully fight that many times against such a high level of competition. It’s practically unheard of in the UFC anymore, especially when we have champions that fight once or twice a year max. Tough choice, but I like Magny’s anyone, anytime attitude so I’m going with him. Magny by Decision
The Brain is leading with a 24-10 record. The Heart is still trailing with a 16-18 record.
Any questions or comments? Hit me up on Twitter @IAMMAEverlast or comment below.