This Saturday sees the UFC once again travel to Brazil as it brings us UFC on FX 7: Belfort vs. Bisping. The card is headlined by a middleweight fight between Brazilian legend Vitor Belfort and England’s Michael Bisping. We at The Fight Lounge take a look at the event’s four fight main card and give our thoughts and predictions on it.


Vitor Belfort vs. Michael Bisping


Coming back to middleweight following a light heavyweight title fight against Jon Jones, Vitor Belfort (21-10-0) will be keen to get back into the middleweight title hunt. Nearly sixteen years have passed since he first came to the promotion and he still wows fans with the skills he did back then. He has unbelievable speed and power in his hands and in his last bout also reminded us just how dangerous he can be on the ground. He has seventeen career finishes with fourteen coming by (T)KO and three by submission.

Despite debuting in the promotion over nine years after his opponent, Michael Bisping (23-4-0) has competed in the UFC more times. Since winning The Ultimate Fighter back in 2006 he has become one of the biggest stars in the promotion and has defeated many of the world’s best. Bisping has an excellent stand up games and has one of the best gas tanks in the sport at any weight class. He has great wrestling a jiu-jitsu however he utilises these mostly to keep a fight on the feet. He has eighteen finishes to his name with fourteen coming by (T)KO and four by submission.

This fight brings together two superb, but very different styles of striking. The fight will take place mostly on the feet and could come down to who gets into their rhythm first however Michael Bisping should be able to use his footwork to avoid Belfort’s onslaughts and use his workrate to wear him down and secure either a unanimous decision or a late (T)KO victory, earning a shot a middleweight champion Anderson Silva in the process.


Daniel Sarafian vs. C.B. Dollaway


Making his official UFC debut seven months after he was first scheduled too, Daniel Sarafian (7-2-0) will be hoping to announce his arrival into the UFC middleweight division in impressive style. After making his way to the final of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil last year he was supposed to face Cezar Ferreira to determine the shows winner however an injury forced him out until this Saturday. Sarafian is a submission specialist and all but one of his wins has come by way of submission.

Another man who in the past made it all the way to the final of The Ultimate Fighter, season seven’s C.B. Dollaway (12-4-0) will be hoping to give Sarafian the worst welcoming party possible. An All-American wrestler in college, Dollaway has used these skills well in his MMA career and has developed a good level of striking and grappling. He has finished eight of his twelve victories inside the distance, with five coming by (T)KO and three by submission.

This is another fight that could go either way depending on who implements their game best. It is unlikely that C.B. Dollaway will be keen to go to the ground willingly with a submission specialist like Sarafian so he will look to use his wrestling to keep the fight standing and use his reach advantage to strike his way to a decision victory.


Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Ben Rothwell


Returning to action over a year after making a successful return to the octagon, Gabriel Gonzaga (13-6-0) will be keen to make up for the time he spent on the injured list. He has experience highs and lows in the UFC, ranging from challenging for the title to being released from the promotion, but he will be keen to work towards more highs. He is a former BJJ world champion so obviously has outstanding grappling skills but he also possesses and extremely powerful striking arsenal which can put anyone to sleep.

Fighting in Brazil for the first time in his career, Ben Rothwell (32-8-0) travels to South America in search of some consistency. He has alternated between the win and loss column in each of his last seven contests and has not won more than one fight in a row since 2007. He is a well-rounded fighter and can defeat opponents no matter where the fight takes place. He has twenty nine victories inside the distance, with eighteen coming by (T)KO and eleven by submission.

Both men have the ability to finish the fight in devastating fashion while it is on the feet however on the ground Gonzaga has a significant advantage and he will use these skills to his advantage en route to victory.


Thiago Tavares vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov


Another who is competing for the first time in over a year, Thiago Tavares (17-4-1) will be keen to pick up right where he left off. Prior to his absence from the octagon, caused by both injuries as well as fights being cancelled at the last minute, he put together an impressive two fight winning streak. Tavares is primarily a submission specialist however he has shown that he has the skills and the willingness to get into striking battles. He is a game fighter and three of his four career losses came in fight of the night performances.

Currently undefeated in both the UFC and his career overall, Khabib Nurmagomedov (18-0-0) comes to Brazil with the sole intention of keeping his record perfect. After coming to the UFC in 2012 and adding two more wins to his record, he will be keen to make 2013 an even more impressive year for him. Nurmagomedov is an international master of sports in sambo as well as a black belt in judo so has some world class grappling skills. He also possesses a powerful striking skillset which adds to his arsenal.

This fight should provide an interesting opening to the night’s main card and is another that could go either way. After a closely fought battle Khabib Nurmagomedov will remain undefeated.

UFC on FX 7 takes place this Saturday 19th January from the Ibirapuera Arena in Sao Paulo, Brazil and once again promises to be an excellent event.

For more on UFC on FX 7 be sure to check out The Fight Lounge for all the latest news as it happens.

By Nathan Court (@nathancourt)

Deputy Editor and 3-2-0 professional fighter sponsored by

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