Time is winding down on The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3 and there's been a lot to see this season.
For the first time ever, the fighters were engaged in judging a contest to pick the next Brazilian Octagon girl, which ended up as a way for some intermingling between all of the contestants involved. The fighters from the American version of the reality show have to be begging for this competition to be added at some point down the road.
We also saw the first ever fight between coaches as Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva got into a brawl just prior to a weigh-in, and while UFC President Dana White will never hold this moment up as a shining display of what the show is all about, there's no denying it was one of the most talked about moments in TUF history.
And then there were the fights, and with those came plenty of outstanding performances and spectacular finishes. At the end of the day, The Ultimate Fighter is always about the actual fights, and as the season comes to a close, the final two hours of the series will be focused on the semifinalists as they head into their bouts in the heavyweight and middleweight divisions.
On the latest episode airing this Sunday night exclusively on UFC Fight Pass, before the two semifinal matches take place, the competitors will whittle down the competitors in the TUF Brazil Octagon girl contest. The two girls selected will then be voted on by the fans, with the winner serving as an Octagon girl at the TUF Brazil 3 finale on May 31 in Sao Paulo.
The fighters also enjoy a special guest on this week's show - a member of the UFC since the early days of the promotion, but for all these years of The Ultimate Fighter, this will be his or her first time visiting the set of the reality show. Who comes to visit? Tune in Sunday night and see who greets the Brazilian cast.
As far as the fights go, there are two matchups this week and we'll start in the middleweight division, where Team Wanderlei's Wagner Silva Gomes takes on Warlley Alves from Team Sonnen.
Silva is a submission specialist who needed three rounds to win his last fight to advance in the competition, while Alves is primarily a striker, who looked fantastic in his bout against Ismael 'Marmota' De Jesus.
In terms of the actual matchup, this fight seems to favor Team Sonnen's middleweight, Alves. While he had one of the tougher bouts to get into the house, Alves looked like a favorite to make the finals with his dangerous combination of powerful striking and deceptive submission skills. Alves has shown a lot of confidence during his time in the house, and while that may rub some other fighters the wrong way, it's been beneficial to him thus far.
Silva has to know that Alves has the advantage on the feet, so look for him to drag this one to the mat as quickly as possible. The last thing Silva can do is be tentative in the face of Alves' attacks, and if that happens, this fight could be over in a hurry. All signs point to a Team Sonnen victory with Warlley Alves making the finals.
The other bout takes place in the heavyweight division, with Antonio 'Cara de Sapato' Carlos taking on Marcos 'Pezao' Rogerio. These two fighters were both the top picks in the heavyweight division for each of their respective teams, so this could easily be a finals-level matchup, but instead it takes place in the semifinal round.
Both fighters are competing at higher than their natural weights, although Cara de Sapato will have a size and reach advantage on Rogerio, who has fought as low as middleweight in past fights. Cara de Sapato has proven to be a real threat on this show with his knockout power and aggressive style in the cage.
Through two fights thus far on the show, Cara de Sapato has knocked out both opponents with strikes in the first round. Now the question remains, what happens when he doesn't get the finish early? Can he go late and still have the same effectiveness? What bodes well for him in this fight is the size advantage because with both of them competing at heavyweight, neither are going through a brutal weight cut that could potentially zap energy late in the rounds. If Cara de Sapato's cardio is on point, then it's his size if he lands on top that could wear Rogerio down as the minutes tick away.
On the other side, Rogerio was Sonnen's top pick in the heavyweight division, but he did struggle a bit in his last fight against Jollyson Francisco. He still got the win, but it wasn't the dominant, one-sided performance Sonnen had to be hoping for from his No. 1 choice in the division. Things don't get any easier for Rogerio this time around because he's facing a real killer in Cara de Sapato.
To pull off the upset, Rogerio has to stay away from Cara de Sapato's power and range. In and out movement and avoiding the clinch against the cage are key because the last thing Rogerio wants is to get trapped where he can't spin away or move out from Cara de Sapato's grasp. The same can be said for the fight if it hits the ground - Rogerio either needs to be on top or not get stuck on the mat at all.
If the fight plays out the way their performances have shown thus far, Cara de Sapato should punch his ticket to the finals on May 31 in Brazil. As a physically strong and gifted fighter, Cara de Sapato, despite his lack of experience compared to Rogerio, has the tools to get to the finals and then make a real run at a UFC future by most likely dropping down to 205 pounds when the season is over.
To see who wins make sure to watch The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3 this Sunday night on UFC Fight Pass, and with only one more episode to go the stakes are higher than ever.
TUF Brazil 3 - Episode 11 Preview
The Ultimate Fighter Brazil's third season, featuring coaches Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva, continues, only on UFC Fight Pass...