UFC Fight Night 137 comes from Sao Paulo and features an exciting match-up between Britain’s own Jimi Manuwa and MMA veteran Glover Tiexiera in what is sure to be… oh. Tiexiera’s out with a shoulder injury. Okay. Britain’s own Jimi Manuwa will face Thiago Santos over five rounds at… I’m sorry? Manuwa is out too? Right. Thiago Santos will face Eryk Anders in Sao Paulo this weekend for UFC Fight Night 137. Are we good? Phew. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s the seventh change to this card since it was announced. With the rest of the week and weigh-ins still to go, we’re writing this preview in pencil, just in case. Quick, let’s take a look at the fights before it all changes again!
Thiago Santos (12) vs Eryk Anders
Thiago Santos came to the UFC five years ago via The Ultimate Fighter, Season 2. His nickname is “The Sledgehammer”, and if the giant tattoo of said tool on Santos’s chest isn’t enough of a giveaway, then his highlight reel is. With black belts in BBJ and Muay Thai and a Green Rope (whatever that is) in Capoeira, Santos is incredibly powerful with both his fists and feet. He has scored some impressive knock-outs over opponents such as Elias Theodorou and Nate Marquardt, while bigger fish such as Uriah Hall and Gegard Mousasi have given him problems. Both Santos and Anders fought last month, Santos coming off a decision victory over newcomer Kevin Holland at UFC 227.
If anyone can kick a head like Thiago Santos, it’s Eryk Anders. His third-round head-kick KO of Tim Williams at Gaethje vs Vick won him Performance of the Night (even if it was borderline illegal). He’s stepping in to take over from Jimi Manuwa on just six days’ notice, so he gets points for being eager. However, it’s going to take a lot for this former football player to see off Santos who is by far the more well-rounded fighter. Who are we kidding, the way this event has gone so far, it’s likely that two entirely different people will enter the Octagon on Saturday night.
Verdict: They’re both powerful and, given how both men have stepped into the voids filled by the former headliners, clearly up for it since they both fought in August. But Santos is the more rounded and experienced fighter, and unless Anders is given another opportunity to drop kick his opponent’s skull into the lighting rig, we think that the Brazilian takes this one.
Alex Oliveira (14) vs Carlo Pedersoli
Alex “The Other Cowboy” Oliveira was expected to be facing Neil Magny, but Magny has been moved to the Fight Night 140 card in November. Instead, the Brazilian welterweight will face Italian Carlo Pedersoli, Jr. A newcomer to the UFC, Pedersoli has 11 wins and one defeat on his record, and is currently enjoying an eight fight winning streak. Oliveira has been with the UFC since 2015 and has 19 wins out of 26 fights. The Brazilian is the rangier fighter of the two, with a slight reach advantage, but both men are as comfortable striking as they are taking things to the mat. Trivia fact: Pedersoli is the grandson of Italian acting legend, Bud Spencer.
Oliveira odds: 4/19
Pedersoli odds: 3/1
Sam Alvey (15) vs Antônio Rogério Nogueira
Antônio Rogério Nogueira, or “Little Nog” as he’s also known, is a legend in Brazil. Together with his twin brother (“Big Nog”), they blazed a trail in the Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight classes for Brazilian fighters. Big Nog has since retired and at the age of 42, Little Nog won’t be far behind. But he’s got at least one more fight in him, against “Smile’n” Sam Alvey. The momentum is with the American, who has won three out of his last four, while Nogueira has won just won of his last four, the last being his second defeat at the hands of Ryan Bader.
Alvey odds: 5/19
Nogueira odds: 49/20
Renan Barão vs Andre Ewell
Andre Ewell makes his UFC debut against Renan Barão who holds one of the most impressive records in MMA. His 31-fight unbeaten streak is one of the longest ever. However, his star has faded somewhat since his 2015 defeat at the hands of TJ Dillashaw for the Bantamweight belt. With just 2 victories out of his last seven fights, Barão is fighting for his place in a stacked division. Ewell is another new face in that division and a victory here will cement his place in the UFC, even if the home fans don’t like it. He has a 76-inch reach, six inches longer than Barão, and so will be hoping to keep the Brazilian at range.
Barão odds: 10/13
Ewell odds: 1/1
Randa Marcos (13) vs Marina Rodriguez
The main event card opens with a visit to the women’s Strawweight Division. Marcos has been with the UFC since 2014 when she won a split decision over Jessica Penne on The Ultimate Fighter. Since then, there’s been a pattern of win-loss-win-loss that currently stands with a loss to Nina Ansaroff in July. Her opponent, Marina Rodriguez is new to the UFC and brings with her a 10-fight winning streak.
Marcos odds: 20/23
Rodriguez odds: 20/23
Charles Oliveira (4/19) greets another new face, Greece’s Christos Giagos (29/10) in the first of two lightweight fights on the card. We think Oliveira has the edge, assuming he can make weight (he’s missed it on four previous occasions). The second lightweight bout features Francisco Trinaldo (20/57) vs Evan Dunham (2/1). Trinaldo’s coming off a loss to James Vick with a victory over Jim Miller before that, while Dunham has a loss to Olivier Aubin-Mercier in his last fight. Since 2012, every one of Dunham’s victories has come from a judge’s decision. Stepping in to replace the injured Mark Goodbeer, newcomer Ryan Spann (5/9) will face local Luis Henrique (13/10) in the Light Heavyweight division. A former heavyweight, Henrique is coming off two losses, while the versatile Spann will be looking to make an impression. Finally, it’s the big lads, with Chase Sherman (19/10) taking on Augusto Sakai (4/11) in the Heavyweight division. Sakai is another newcomer to the UFC, having had a decent career in Bellator. Sherman will be hoping to reverse his two fight losing streak as he welcomes Sakai to the big show.