UFC analyst Vitor Miranda is confident that Brazil could end 2022 with a handful of belts in the promotion.
The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 4 heavyweight finalist became a successful content producer in the final years of his UFC career, racking up over 400,000 subscribers on YouTube before landing signing as an analyst for UFC in his native country.
As 2022 kicks off with Deiveson Figueiredo looking to regain the flyweight championship at Saturday’s UFC 270 in Anaheim, Calif., Miranda sees more opportunities for Brazil to collect titles inside the octagon.
“Lex Luthor” stopped by MMA Fighting’s Portuguese-language podcast Trocação Franca to break down Brazil’s best championship hopes.
Flyweight: Too close to call
“I can’t predict [this fight] because the other two were way too close. Deiveson’s style is about power and strength and Moreno comes in and out, so it’s about who can impose his game first. If Deiveson can land some good clean hands right off the bat [he has the advantage]. If not, Brandon Moreno comes forward slowly and steady and makes it more difficult. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but it will definitely be a great fight.”
Bantamweight: Jose Aldo’s second UFC belt
“Aldo is a phenom, a legend of the sport, and what happened [against Conor McGregor] was a crazy loss that will never happen again. McGregor got inside his head but not in terms of fear, but got him so pissed off to destroy McGregor that he fought out of his usual style, which is being calm, conscious and disciplined.
“He’s enjoying being in this weight class and is excited, and a fighter needs that motivation to conquer more. I believe Aldo has what it takes to go for another title run and win this belt. Petr Yan is a badass, he’s tough, and has a fighting style similar to Aldo’s. He starts slow, studying what his opponent is doing and then he starts to grow — and he’s peaking by the time his opponent is slowing down. That’s why I think it’s a tough fight for Aldo. It’s a similar style, but I believe he has enough technique and experience and hunger to become champion.”
Lightweight: Charles Oliveira beats Justin Gaethje
“I think it’s a good match-up [for Oliveira]. No one thought he’d knock [Michael] Chandler out and he was hurt in the first round. And then we had Chandler’s fight with Gaethje and it was a war, but Gaethje couldn’t drop him. I think Charles has what it takes to win, especially because wrestlers tend to give up their backs to get back to their feet, and that’s Charles’ thing. Charles is on a roll. Gaethje might come back and dominate in the future, but right now I think it’s going Charles’ way to remain champion.”
Welterweight: Vicente Luque can ‘bother’ Kamaru Usman
“Vicente Luque’s striking is great and I think Usman doesn’t have stand-up to go with him. Of course, when Usman fights a better striker he goes with his crazy wrestling game, which he’s great at, but Luque is not an easy fighter to read and prepare for because he’s super versatile, has dangerous attacks, and I think he can bother Usman. Usman is in a great moment, but there’s always a day to lose. Usman’s striking is evolving every time he fights, but wrestling is still his thing — and we need a few years to get to that level of experience.”
Middleweight: Alex Pereira is the one
“I’m upset about this booking between him and [Bruno] ‘Blindado.’ I fought ‘Blindado’ on TUF and he has absurd hands of stone. I can say I was one of the few that ate those hands and survived to tell the story [laughs]. It’s a shame one of them has to stay behind, they both deserved to get to the top. But I hope it’s a thrilling fight and even the loser wins the respect [he deserves]. But I think, right now, I’d invest good money on ‘Poatan’ because I think he has what it takes to beat [Israel] Adesanya. I think it would be a kickboxing match with small gloves. I’m sure Adesanya wouldn’t try to take ‘Poatan’ down. The octagon is too big and Adesanya is a specialist with the way he moves. He’d have plenty of space to move and work, [but Pereira] would catch him with a punch in 15 or 25 minutes.”
Light heavyweight: Jiri Prochazka is ‘super dangerous’
“This guy is dangerous. He comes with something crazy out of nowhere from every angle. Knees, elbows… He’s a super dangerous fight for Glover if he stays on the outside. He has to do what he does best: pressure him and keep his hands on his face, just like he did against [Jan] Blachowicz. You can’t give Prochazka space to create. He’s reckless, even. He keeps his hands low and bounces all over the place, but you can’t predict what he’s going to create.
“You’d better smother him as quick as possible and once Glover does that, it’s his fight. Prochazka moves well but keeps his hands low and it’s hard to stay on the feet after taking a hand from Glover. He’ll keep his hands low to defend the takedowns and do some feints, and [Teixeira] can come in with his hand and even knock him out.”
Strawweight: Marina Rodriguez’s one win away
“I really like Marina’s style. I really do. She’s very smart. Her head coach does an excellent job, they are very strategist, and she has great future [in the UFC]. I think she’ll get to thew top and fight for this belt.”
Women’s bantamweight: Amanda Nunes’ revenge
“The only person that can answer [what happened at UFC 269] is Amanda herself, and maybe not even her. The pressure, two belts, training for so long to stay as champion, it all matters. And then a loss like that kind of gets more natural, it felt like she had enough. ‘You know what, let’s go for the next one.’ She kind of slowed down. It was weird to watch. But, if you really think about it, we’re human beings and there are moments where we’re not fine or something didn’t work out, or sometimes we have an injury that set her back, but the rematch, if she really wants to get that belt back, I think Julianna won’t last long.”