The Brain vs. The Heart: UFC Fight Night 88

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. The Brain is narrowly in the lead with a 44-32 record while the Heart trails with a 43-33 record. Who will win? Let’s find out!

Josh Burkman (+245) vs. Paul Felder (-285)

The Brain: Burkman dropped down to lightweight for his previous fight in desperate need of a win. He was able to pull it off with a unanimous decision over KJ Noons. Burkman is tough and well rounded, but I’m still not sure how healthy he can fight at lightweight. Felder has done well in the UFC and didn’t look out of place even in his losses to Barboza and Pearson. He is primarily a striker and does a nice job of timing his counter strikes. Felder is the biggest favorite on the main card, but the odds are still fairly close as they should be. Burkman definitely can’t be counted out in this fight and he did look decent against Noons. However, Felder should be a much stiffer challenge. I think Felder will get the better of the striking exchanges and win this fight Felder by Decision

The Heart: I like Burkman, but I really dislike his choice to drop down to lightweight. Though he had a successful debut, I didn’t like the way he looked at all. I understand he didn’t have a lot of options after going winless in three fights upon his return to the UFC. Felder is extremely tough and fun to watch. Although I think Burkman probably needs this win more I’m going to go with Felder here. Felder by TKO

Lorenz Larkin (-125) vs. Jorge Masvidal (+105)

The Brain: This should be an interesting matchup between two fighters that have hit a bit of a rough patch lately. Masvidal recently went up to welterweight from lightweight and Larkin recently dropped down from middleweight. Masvidal has lost two of his last three including a welterweight fight against Benson Henderson in his most recent fight. Larkin has dropped four of his last six. Masvidal is pretty well rounded and is hard to finish. He also has a fairly good pace and has solid wrestling as well. Larkin is a diverse striker with good power. He likes to keep the fight standing and has good enough takedown defense to keep it there. I think Masvidal will have a hard time getting Larkin to the ground. On the feet I think Larkin will land some very solid shots throughout the fight on his way to a win on the scorecards. Larkin by Decision

The Heart: Both of these guys could really use a win here. I don’t necessarily think either will be cut with a loss, but they will need a win soon after. Larkin looked solid in his drop to welterweight. I think he could have some success in the division. Masvidal is a solid fighter, but I’m not sure how much success he’ll have at welterweight in the UFC. I like both of these guys, and although I think Larkin needs this win quite a bit more, I’d like to see Masvidal finally have some sustained success inside the Octagon. Masvidal by Decision

Chris Camozzi (+190) vs. Vitor Miranda (-225)

The Brain: Miranda has won three in a row, all by TKO. Camozzi has won two in a row since his short-notice loss to Souza in his UFC return. Miranda is a kickboxer and has shown quite a bit of power in his last few fights. Camozzi is a solid striker, but is also fairly hittable. I expect this fight to be an exciting striking battle. Camozzi has never been TKO’d, but I think Miranda is finally the man to do it. Miranda has looked very solid lately and I think he has a diverse bag of tools to get it done. Miranda by TKO

The Heart: This is kind of tough to call. Miranda has looked good lately and at 37, he can’t afford to lose if he ever wants a shot at the title. Camozzi was cut from the UFC after dropping four in a row. He won two in a row and then got the call for a short-notice fight against Ronaldo Souza. He was easily submitted in the first round, but the UFC gave him another fight afterward as a courtesy for stepping up. He’s made the most of that opportunity by winning two in a row. I like Camozzi and believe it or not he’s only 29. I want to see him go on a run. Camozzi by Decision

Tarec Saffiedine (-118) vs. Rick Story (-102)

The Brain: Saffiedine was finally able return from injury in January of this year. He was able to take a unanimous decision victory against Jake Ellenberger. He was almost forced off of this card earlier in the week though. He suffered a cut on his knee in training and was questionable to remain on the card, but Saffiedine was cleared to fight. Story will be fighting for the first time since his October 2014 win over Gunnar Nelson. Story had a broken ankle after the fight followed by neck surgery. Saffiedine is a dangerous kickboxer and has some relentless kicks. He also has excellent takedown defense. Story really excels in the clinch. He does a great job of controlling his opponent and working for takedowns. This should be a fairly close fight, but I think the striking of Saffiedine can carry him to a decision. Saffiedine by Decision

The Heart: I like Saffiedine and I really wish injuries wouldn’t have kept him from fighting. He was the Strikeforce Welterweight Champion and has only fought in the UFC three times since the merger. Story seems to be the underdog in all of his fight, but he never backs down and always shows up to fight. Both of these guys are tough fighters, but I’m going to lean towards the constant underdog. Story by Decision

Renan Barao (-185) vs. Jeremy Stephens (+160)

The Brain: Barao looked unstoppable until he ran into T.J. Dillashaw. Many thought their second fight would turn out different, but it was more of the same with Dillashaw constantly getting the better of Barao. Unlike most fighters, Barao actually decided to go up in weight following the last loss to Dillashaw. He draws Stephens in his first fight at featherweight. Stephens is a powerful striker and is as tough as they come. Barao is well rounded, but his best bet is definitely to get the fight to the ground. I’m not sure if he’ll be able to get the finish on the ground, but he is definitely good at finding opening. Stephens is never an easy fight, but I think Barao can do enough work to earn the close decision. Barao by Decision

The Heart: I like when fighters are able to realize that their weight cut is unhealthy and move up in weight. It doesn’t happen often enough, and hopefully with the new weight cutting plans the UFC is implementing it will cause more fighter to follow suit. Barao is extremely tough and I think a lot of people are unfairly writing him off due to his two recent losses to Dillashaw. Stephens has been around a long time and continues to work on his game. He’s come a long way since he first stepped into the Octagon. He has lost three of his last four, but they were all to tough competition. I’m going to go with the Iowan Stephens in this one. Stephens by TKO

Thomas Almeida (-160) vs. Cody Garbrandt (+140)

The Brain: Two bantamweight prospects meet in the main event to determine who will make the leap from prospect to contender. This is my hands down pick for Fight of the Night. Both fighters are undefeated and known finishers. Garbrandt is 7-0 and has only been to a decision once. Almeida is 20-0 and has only been to a decision once as well. Garbrandt is an extremely solid boxer and as such, prefers to keep the fight standing. Almeida is a good boxer and well and does a nice job of attacked the head and body. He also pushes forward, but that can lead to him getting hit at times as well. Both of these guys are extremely powerful and could end the fight at any moment. I expect this fight to be a war and although both fighters are tough, I think eventually one fighter will fall. Almeida’s experience could be a deciding factor, but I feel Garbrandt is tighter and more controlled in his striking and I think he can attack the aggressive Almeida. Garbrandt by TKO

The Heart: I’m a big fan of both of these fighters. This is by far the hardest fight to pick on the card. A loss will definitely sting for these undefeated fighters, but both are only 24 years old and have a long career ahead of them. There are a lot of exciting young fighters currently in the bantamweight division and I think it can become one of the most exciting divisions in the near future. I wouldn’t be surprised if Garbrandt and Almeida ended up fighting a couple more times before their careers are over. As far as who I want to win goes, I’m going to root for Almeida based on fight experience. Almeida by TKO

Any questions or comments? Hit me up on Twitter @IAMMAEverlast or comment below.


About the Author:

IAMMA. MMA superfan looking to be the voice of the fans. Tune in to read my Brain vs Heart picks & MMA event recaps!