The Brain vs. The Heart: UFC Fight Night 87

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 38-27 record while the Heart trails with a 37-28 record. Who will win? Let’s find out!

Heather Jo Clark (+210) vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (-250)

The Brain: Clark will be looking for her third win in a row and her second inside the Octagon when she takes on the undefeated (8-0) Kowalkiewicz. Clark looked solid in her UFC debut, but unfortunately that fight took place all the way back in December of 2014. In her UFC debut, Kowalkiewicz picked an impressive unanimous decision victory over Randa Markos. Clark is a decent fighter, and really likes to try and take the fight to the ground. On the feet she can be rather hittable. That could definitely be a problem against an aggressive striker like Kowalkiewicz. I honestly don’t expect this one to be very close. I think Kowalkiewicz has to tools to keep this fight standing where I feel she has a significant advantage. Also, I think Clark’s long layoff won’t do her any favors either. Kowalkiewicz by Decision

The Heart: Clark didn’t necessarily come off the greatest during her time on TUF, but I try not to read too much into that because the show has a way of painting certain people in a negative light just for added drama. Kowalkiewicz definitely impressed me by the way she controlled Markos and constantly kept her on the defensive. I think her future in the division is bright and I want to see her stay undefeated. Kowalkiewicz by TKO

Francimar Barroso (+165) vs. Nikita Krylov (-190)

The Brain: Barroso has won two in a row with his most recent win coming against Elvis Mutapcic who was making his UFC debut on short notice. He likes to take his opponent down and can land some solid shots or try and submit them as well. Krylov has won three in a row all by stoppage. He will be twelve years younger than Barroso, and at only 24 he is extremely young for the light heavyweight division. Krylov is an extremely active striker and is also good at finding submissions as well. I think Krylov swarms Barroso with punches and ends this one early. Krylov by TKO

The Heart: Barroso is a solid fighter, but nothing about his game jumps out as spectacular. Plus (and this is admittedly very selfish) he beat Mutapcic, who moved to Iowa from Bosnia, and I’ve wanted to see Mutapcic in the UFC for a long time. Krylov helps add a little youth to an aging light heavyweight roster and I definitely want to see him succeed here to help usher in the new wave of young light heavyweight. Krylov by TKO

Anna Elmose (+300) vs. Germaine de Randamie (-365)

The Brain: Elmose will make her UFC debut with a 3-0 professional record with all of her wins coming by TKO. She’s looked fairly solid so far, but it’s hard to gauge how good she is since her competition level hasn’t been that high yet. De Randamie is a tough kickboxer and has much more experience than Elmose. I think de Randamie will be able to control Elmose and finish her off late in the first or early second round. de Randamie by TKO

The Heart: Elmose draws an extremely tough matchup for her UFC debut, and with only three professional fights under her belt, I think this will be tough to pull off. I have nothing against de Randamie, but I think the fact that a 3-0 fighter is getting a shot in the UFC makes me want to see Elmose succeed. Adding a TKO win over de Randamie in her UFC debut would be huge. Elmose by TKO

Gunnar Nelson (+150) vs. Albert Tumenov (-175)

The Brain: This is easily my pick for Fight of the Night. These two welterweights square off in what is almost guaranteed to be an action-packed affair. Tumenov has won five in a row. A major reason for that is because he has been very active on his feet and he is an excellent boxer. Nelson has lost two of his last three, but those stand as his only two losses in 17 fights and they game against Rick Story and Demian Maia. Nelson is a solid striker, but he really excels at grappling. I give the clear advantage on the feet to Tumenov and the clear advantage on the ground to Nelson. The big question is if Nelson will be able to get this fight to the ground. Tumenov has shown enough skill in his recent fights that lead me to believe he’s capable of keeping this standing. I’m not sure if he’ll be able to stop Nelson, but I think he can take a close decision. Tumenov by Decision

The Heart: This is my toughest choice of the night. I had high hopes for Nelson ever since he got into the UFC. He’s mostly delivered on those expectations also. Tumenov was someone that looked decent coming into the UFC, had a minor setback in his debut, and then has seemingly jumped up the ladder ever since. Extremely close call, but I think Nelson needs this win more. Nelson by Submission

Antonio Silva (+170) vs. Stefan Struve (-195)

The Brain: Silva definitely hasn’t looked the same since he stopped using TRT. He’s only managed to win one of his last six fights and is in dire need of a win. Struve hasn’t fared much better as of late as he’s only won one of his last four fights and could definitely use a win himself. Like in practically every fight, Struve will have a significant height (7”) and reach (4”) advantage. Both of these fighters like to strike and are known to go down if you can find their chin. Silva’s case seems more of an aging fighter with a failing chin, where Struve’s case seems to be failing to stay out of range. It also doesn’t help that his chin is the only part of his head that his opponents can reach. This is a close fight and everything tells me that Struve should probably win this, but I have a gut feeling that Silva is going to play spoiler. Silva by TKO

The Heart: Silva has had a solid career and is one of the few (if not only) fighters that actually seem to have a legitimate need for taking TRT due to his acromegaly. I’ve been a fan a Struve for as long as he’s been in the UFC. Although his early inability to utilize his reach was extremely frustrating to watch, I’ve never stopped rooting for him. I’m glad he was able to get his heart condition under control and resume fighting and I want to see him succeed here, even if it means the likely retirement (or at least the release) of Bigfoot Silva. Struve by TKO

Andrei Arlovski (+185) vs. Alistair Overeem (-215)

The Brain: Arlovski will look to get back on track after he had his six fight win streak snapped and chance to fight for the title taken away by Miocic. Overeem is actually on a three fight win streak. These two fighters are now teammates, but Overeem apparently asked for this matchup. Arlovski is a good striker and has better defense than people give him credit for. The majority of Arlovski’s power comes from his right hand. Overeem is a dangerous kickboxer and packs a lot of power in his punches and kicks. He also excels in the clinch. He has also been a very patient fighter since his move to Jackson’s MMA, which has played a huge part in his most recent win streak. Arlovski could end up landing a perfect shot and knocking Overeem out, but I don’t see that as likely given Overeem’s newfound patience. I think Overeem will wait for the perfect opportunity and land some big shots on Arlovski in the second or third round. Overeem by TKO

The Heart: Overeem is an amazing fighter to watch, but given his suspected PED history combined with his failed test a few years ago and I still can’t seem to root for him. It wouldn’t matter in this fight as Arlovski is probably my favorite heavyweight fighter of all time and I would love for him to get one last chance at a UFC Heavyweight Title. That would be an amazing way to end his career, but he needs to win this fight to have any realistic shot at that happening. Arlovski 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!