UFC 237 - Rio Breakdown & Predictions

When is UFC 237? Sunday 12th May, 2019 – 01:00 (UK)

Where is UFC 237? Jeunesse Arena, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

What channel is UFC 237? BT Sport 1

Where can I stream UFC 237? BT Sport subscribers can stream the fight online via the BT website

For viewers in the United States, the event will be shown live and you can take advantage of a free trial with ESPN+ and subscribe now by clicking here!

Are tickets still available for UFC 237? http://uk.ufc.com/event-ticket-info?utm_source=ufc&utm_medium=tab&utm_campaign=tickets

Rose Namajunas vs Jessica Andrade

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‘Thug’ Rose is finally back to defend her crown after more than a year off and she flies into enemy territory to take on the number one contender Jessica ‘Bate Estaca’ Andrade in the capital of the fighting nation of Brazil.

Namajunas has not fought since she defended her strawweight title against Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 223. She shocked the world the first time they met back in November 2017 by knocking her out in the first round, handing her opponent her first ever loss. We knew Namajunas’ stand-up skills were improving but she had never finished anyone on the feet and she was up against one of the best female strikers in MMA. It was an incredible feat and proved it was not a lucky shot by outpointing the Pole in the rematch.

Namajunas has only won eight professional fights but she has had three title fights already. She continues to improve but she has been out for a long time and is up against a beast and completely different opponent and fights on foreign soil for the first time.

After getting outclassed by Jedrzejczyk back in May 2017, Andrade has surged into the form of her life. She bounced back from that loss by earning an impressive decision over fellow strong grappler Claudia Gadelha and repeated the feat against Tecia Torres but her last fight put everyone on notice. She flatlined stand-up specialist Karolina Kowalkiewicz with a monster right hand which is rare at 115 lbs but it illustrated the multifaceted threat of the powerhouse.

PREDICTION

Andrade needs to force the pressure as usual. Close the distance, unleash heavy strikes and mix in clinches and takedowns. She needs to dictate where the fight goes to stifle any rhythm and her power and timing will be crucial to that.

It will be fascinating to see what Namajunas’ strategy will be. She is a cerebral fighter and will have a well-thought out game plan. She will be confident in her stand-up but her defence and in particular her head movement will have to be on point to avoid the wild power punches of Andrade.

She will also be aware that she won’t match Andrade’s power if they tie up but her bread and butter is her Jiu-Jitsu and she will hunt a submission if the fight goes to the floor.

Namajunas in technically a better fighter but it is difficult to predict how she will perform. She is coming off bad spinal injuries and fights in another country for the first time against arguably the most dangerous fighter in the division.

The atmosphere will also be hostile for Namajunas but she will have the ability and strategy to keep Andrade at a distance and pick her apart with combinations, movement and timing but will have to be dominant to earn the decision.

Winner: Namajunas via Decision

Jared Cannonier vs Anderson Silva

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The legendary Anderson Silva walks out in Rio for one of his last ever fights in front of his adoring fans. Standing in his way is Jared Cannonier who has found his home after travelling from the heavyweight division and kicked off his middleweight journey with a brilliant TKO finish over David Branch.

Cannonier looked phenomenal in that fight. He proved his power has carried down the divisions by out-muscling and stifling the grappling of the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt before finishing him in the second round with strikes.

He suffered mixed fortunes in the UFC as a heavyweight and light heavyweight but that is clearly not due to lack of talent; it was more a stubbornness not to drop that body fat and compete at 185 lbs. If he can keep the weight off, he will be a threat in the division and the UFC clearly agree by handing him Branch and now Silva.

Silva has only won once in his last seven fights but he still creates an aura wherever he goes. He is one of the best fighters of all time and although he is past his prime, he still possesses that competitive spirit at the age of 44. He hopes to bounce back from his decision loss to Israel Adesanya and put on a show for the fans.

PREDICTION

The matchmakers have done a good job as this is will be a fascinating contest for the legend. Cannonier is a powerful and technical striker but as we know, Silva is one of the best strikers of all time. Cannonier is no spring chicken but he is the fresher fighter and looks a real force at middleweight. The question is, can Silva pull out his old magic to slip the punches and kicks and counter in devastating fashion?

They are likely to abandon their grappling skills for this one and Cannonier’s explosiveness can easily cause an upset for the fans or leave himself open for the Brazilian to clean up. However, as we saw in the Adesanya fight, Silva’s defence is still impeccable and likely to force the fight to the bell where he will do enough to sway the judges.

Winner: Silva via Decision

Jose Aldo vs Alexander Volkanovski

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The King of Rio Jose Aldo is back for another three-rounder and welcomes the next elite contender to Brazil in the shape of Alexander Volkanovski who is on a 16-fight winning streak.

No one can question the heart of Aldo who has been fighting at championship level for ten years. He has had 14 title fights in his last 16 outings for the UFC and WEC and although he has lost the belt twice, he still has the motivation to take on young and hungry lions who have been studying him for years.

After losing his rematch to Max Holloway, he went back to the drawing board and took on the dangerous veteran Jeremy Stephens. Just when people where questioning his heart, he finished Stephens in the first round following a thunderous hook to the liver. Aldo then went on to finish the next top contender - Renato Moicano - with a vintage onslaught of strikes and now welcomes the next savage in line in the form of Volkanovski.

The Aussie only has one loss on his record and since joining the UFC, he has proven he has what it takes to perform at the very highest level. He has flown in under the radar but after dominating all of his opponents and knocking out the perennial top contender Chad Mendes, he announced himself as a legitimate threat to the featherweight strap.

PREDICTION

Aldo is the most devastating finisher the featherweight division has ever seen but he will need to study the tape as you cannot afford to underestimate Volkanovski. The Aussie also has knockout power with an arsenal of strikes and is a very strong grappler. His wrestling is outstanding and his ground-and-pound is brutal. He is just as dangerous in the clinch with murderous elbows.

However, the key factor in this fight will be Aldo’s takedown defence. It is battle-tested and proven against the very best grapplers in the division which will force this fight into a stand-up battle. Volkanovksi is most dangerous at close range but Aldo will have the movement and speed to control the range where he has disposed anyone with a similar reach.

Both guys are very durable and Aldo has the experience to earn a decision and avoid any knockout blows but in three-round fights he is frightening and will look to empty the gas tank after the first round which usually ends terribly for his opponents.

Winner: Aldo via KO/TKO

Thiago Alves vs Laureano Staropoli

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Thiago Alves has been around for a hot minute but his career has been ravished by injuries. That said, he has fought four times in the last two years against top welterweights. After earning his first win in over two years against Patrick Cote, Alves lost his next two fights against Curtis Millender and Alexey Kunchenko. However, he picked up a much-needed win over Max Griffin but only just earned a split decision.

He welcomes fellow South American Laureano Staropoli for his second UFC fight. The Argentine is riding an impressive six-fight winning streak and finished all of his opponents (five knockouts and two submissions) leading up to his UFC debut where he met Hector Aldana. Staropoli earned a dominant decision but hopes to pull off another finish to upset the Brazilian faithful.

PREDICTION

Both men are exceptional strikers and we are unlikely to see any grappling. If the Alves of old turns up, he will be the aggressor and will set up thunderous leg kicks with punches. The Brazilian is past his prime with retirement looming so if he is hesitant to throw, Staropoli will capitalise and counter with long strikes.

Alves will be spurred on by the home fans but it may not be enough to stop the young contender who is desperate to add a big name to his record. This is by far Staropoli’s biggest fight but he is fully expected to rise to the occasion and maintain a high output of strikes for the three rounds to earn the points.

Winner: Staropoli via Decision

Francisco Trinaldo Carlos Diego Ferreira

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The wily old veteran Francisco Trinaldo heads to the capital for his 19th UFC fight. He has proved that he is a tough fight for anyone with a UFC record of 13-5 and is coming off one of his best wins. He met Evan Dunham last September and delivered a devastating knee to the body to fold his fellow veteran. This was off the back of a disappointing decision loss to James Vick but him and Kevin Lee are the only fighters he has lost to since 2014.

He takes on another experienced Brazilian in the shape of Carlos Diego Ferreira. After two losses in a row, Ferreira has had a resurgence with four impressive wins on the bounce. He earned a unanimous decision over Oliver Aubin-Mercier before knocking out Jared Gordon and Kyle Nelson. Then, in his last outing he came away with another unanimous decision over Rustam Khabilov, handing him his first loss in seven fights.

PREDICTION

Ferriera is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu wizard as a 3rd degree black belt but he can also crack. As for Trinaldo, he is a black belt in kickboxing but is also an excellent grappler so this will be a fascinating contest wherever it goes.

Trinaldo will hope the fight stays on the feet where he will look to pick his shots and rely on his exceptional defence to out-strike Ferreira. If Ferreira eats too many shots, expect him to shoot in for a takedown where he will back himself to wrap up a choke but this fight will be close wherever it takes place.

Winner: Ferreira via Decision

Striking and grappling stats sourced via FightMetric