UFC Fight Night 164 Tips & Preview

The UFC returns to Brazil this weekend for what promises to be another cracking UFC Fight Night card. We’ve got a strong Light Heavyweight main event, with Jacare Souza taking on Pole Jan Blachowicz. Mauricio Rua will also look to use the home crowd to his advantage in the co-main against Paul Craig. We’ll preview both of these fights, providing our best bets in the process.

Jacare Souza vs Jan Blachowicz, Light Heavyweight, Main Event
Blachowicz by KO

Jacare Souza: An undisputed legend of the sport, Jacare enters this clash with a stellar 26-7 career record. He made his name at Middleweight, where he managed an astounding 22 career finishes. The move to Light Heavyweight only emerged this year, after it became clear he wouldn’t receive that elusive title shot. While he does have impressive recent wins over Weidman and Brunson, 3 losses in his last 5 indicate that he could be vulnerable here.

Jan Blachowicz: The veteran Pole also enters this one with a great track record, going 24-8 for his career. He possesses a very strong ground game for a big man, already managing 9 submission wins thus far. He was outstanding against Rockhold last time out, delivering a second round KO that earned him Performance of the Night honours and a main event spot here.

Prediction: Blachowicz by KO

While Jacare is the better story here, I think Blachowicz has a definite physical edge at Light Heavyweight. He should get the better of the striking matchup and has the skills on the ground to avoid Jacare’s submissions. As a veteran of this sport, I also don’t see him getting too phased by the pro-Brazilian crowd. Especially over 5 gruelling rounds, I think he finds a few openings, making one of them stick for a KO.

Mauricio Rua vs Paul Craig, Light Heavyweight, Co-Main
Rua to Win

Mauricio Rua: Now 37 years of age, ‘Shogun’ enters this bout with a solid 26-11 career record. His record in the UFC isn’t as impressive, going just 10-9 over a dozen years with the promotion. Known for having hands of steel, 21 of his wins have come via KO. This proved true last time out in Australia, where he knocked out Tyson Pedro in 3 rounds.

Paul Craig: The Scottish vet makes the trip to Brazil with a solid 12-4 record for his career. He is truly elite on the ground, with 11 of his 12 wins coming by way of submission. He’s already fought 3 times in what has been a very busy year for him, managing wins in 2 out of the 3.

Prediction: Rua to Win

While I think Craig is a solid opponent, there are a lot of factors against him here. Rua has elite striking ability and will definitely look to finish this one early. Craig hasn’t fought in this hostile of an environment before, which will be a major adjustment for him. Combining the experience, striking ability, and home arena advantage, I think Rua wins this quite comfortably, likely fairly early on.