UFC Fight Night 137 takes place in Sao Paulo, Brazil this Saturday and while it’s not a bad card by any means, various injuries have taken their toll – including forcing the promotion to completely change the main event from Jimi Manuwa vs. Glover Teixeira to Thiago Santos vs. Eryk Anders.
The show features a former UFC champion in Renan Barao and multiple former title challengers, but overall it doesn’t look like one of the best Fight Nights of 2018. Still, with the likes of Alex Oliveira, Charles Oliveira and Evan Dunham on offer, we could at least be in for some exciting fights.
Here are the predicted outcomes for the UFC’s latest Brazilian offering.
#1 Thiago Santos vs. Eryk Anders
Despite both Santos and Anders usually fighting at 185lbs, this fight will apparently be taking place at 205lbs due to Santos originally signing to fight Jimi Manuwa and Anders taking the fight on a week’s notice. The likelihood is that this won’t affect the outcome – both men are big 185lbers who may well benefit from not having to cut weight.
Both men are coming off wins that drew up as many questions as they did answers. Anders defeated Tim Williams with a flashy head kick knockout a month ago, but prior to finishing Williams, he seemed to be struggling with the long reach of his opponent and arguably lost the first two rounds before the knockout.
Santos meanwhile defeated newcomer Kevin Holland and dominated proceedings, but was unable to put him away despite gaining many advantageous positions throughout the fight. The fight before that was more worrying, though, as ‘Marreta’ was knocked out by grappler David Branch, a man hardly known for his punching power.
This is a tough fight to pick as Anders is very raw and is little more than a power puncher with solid defensive grappling at this point, but while Santos is far more technical in all areas, he’s also very much a glass cannon who can be put away as easily as he can put away his opponent.
Despite a lot of the stylistic advantages going to the Brazilian, his defense is still somewhat porous and I can’t get the image of the Branch knockout out of my mind, especially as that wasn’t the first time ‘Marreta’ had folded under pressure in the Octagon. Anders might be crude but he hits super-hard and he’s likely to land at least one bomb on Saturday – which might be enough.
The pick: Anders via first round KO