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To kick off the main card, we have an exciting bout in the Middleweight division, as Chris “The Action Man” Curtis takes on Rodolfo “The Black Belt Hunter” Vieira. After retiring several times, Curtis’ unlikely road to the UFC has been nothing short of exceptional. Having won back-to-back fights inside the octagon over top Middleweights, Curtis enters this fight with a chance to crack the division’s top fifteen with a victory. Meanwhile, Vieira bounced back from his first professional defeat, with a submission victory over Dustin Stoltzfus. The submission was Vieira’s seventh in his eight victories.
Even though Curtis has fought up and down weight classes before joining the UFC, I was critical of him fighting at Middleweight. Thus far, he has proven me wrong. In two fights against filled out Middleweight’s, he has scored two knockouts and has shrugged off six takedown attempts. An important aspect to note, as Vieira’s whole game revolves around taking his opponent down. An accomplished BJJ black belt, Vieira is one of the most dangerous fighters to be stuck on the ground with. Having never won a fight via decision, Vieira is a pure finisher. However, on top of Vieira not being a striker, his cardio is awful. It’s an area of his game that will truly plague him. Especially in this fight, as Curtis has thus far showed off stout takedown defense and has only been submitted once in thirty-six fights. So with that said, I believe that Curtis will thwart off Viera’s grappling attempts, eventually seeing the Brazilian tire. At that point, Curtis will strike and pick up yet another knockout victory.