Monday, December 7, 2009

UFC 107 Preview: Palhares vs Linhares

Rousimar Palhares (9-2) vs. Lucio Linhares (13-4): Paul Harris versus Lynn Harris! Finally we get to see a second finn in the UFC! The first Finn to fight in the Octagon was of course Tony Halme, who kickstarted the career of one Randy Couture by losing to him back at UFC 13 in 1997. So it’s been a long time since a Finn has stepped into the octagon and some squint-eyed people might point out, that even this time there’s no Finn in the fight since both guys are born and raised in Brazil.

But to us Finns, Lucio “Spartan” Linhares is an adopted son, who has lived, trained, coached and competed in Finland for years now. Among the things already listed, Lucio has also had a very positive impact on finnish MMA scene and it’s fighters. Ok, enough with the patriotic rambling. Reason why we get to see BJJ black belt Linhares at the UFC, is that he has made some waves recently and is 5-0 in his last five. Winning streak begun when Linhares KO’ed a european top ranked Karl Amoussou in the first round followed by a quick armbar victory over Kamil Uygun. Even better things were to come as Linhares completely tooled UFC vet Sean Salmon at the Fight Festival 26 in Helsinki. Linhares come out strong and rattled Salmon with a heavy punch. As Salmon was clearly hurt, Linhares took advantage of the situation by taking Salmon’s back and sinking in a fight ending RNC. Last two victories for Linhares came from the M1 promotion as he first KO’ed the Nogueira trained Valdir Araujo and then avanged a loss to tough russian Mikhail Zayats by choking him in one minute.

The other Harris brother, Rousimar goes with a nickname Toquinho (tree stump), which was given to him, because of the way his body is built. Palhares, who is about as wide as he is tall, was a promising up-n-comer well before he signed to the UFC. The BTT pupil was ripping off and taking home the legs of seasoned veterans like Fabio “Negao” Nascimento and Daniel Acacio. Palhares made some noise also with his UFC debut where he put on an outstanding BJJ clinic on Ivan Salaverry, who is a very good grappler of his own. Unfortunately for Palhares the next two fights didn’t go so well. First Palhares met the granite-chined powerhouse Dan Henderson, who was a big step up in competition and nightmarish match up for Palhares. In a boring, uneventful fight Toquinho was outclassed on the feet and unable to score a takedown on Henderson, which probably didn’t surprise anyone, not even Rousimar and his camp. Palhares fought his latest fight about a year ago, when he laid down a beating on veteran Jeremy Horn. While Palhares earned a decision after dominating Horn for three rounds, he paid a heavy price for it as his hand was broken to pieces. The hand healed in time and Palhares was set to face Alessio Sakara at UFC 101, but during the training camp for this fight, Palhares fractured his shin bone and needed surgery. So it’s been a long lay off for Rousimar from both fighting and training.

Prediction: This is an awful match up for Palhares, who probably won’t be at his best considering the injuries he’s had. Linhares has a significant reach advantage and his boxing is lightyears ahead of Palhares’. Palhares only chance is to get this fight to the ground and that won’t be a easy task against a legit BJJ black belt who knows what’s coming up. So I believe Linhares will sprawl and brawl his way to victory as the Big Bertha (Lucio’s right hand, no nazi) will find it’s target at the end of the first round. 
Linhares by KO R1.


  1. Great breakdown, I also have Linhares as any amount of time this spends on the feet favors Lucio. Desperate takedowns are usually bad takedowns so I like Linhares to take a decision.