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UFC is set to return to Brazil on Saturday night with UFC Fight Night 144 in Fortaleza (8 p.m. ET). While the show hasn’t gotten a ton of buzz going off the night before the Super Bowl in the U.S., it is surely getting plenty in Fortaleza with a pair of legends making their return home.
Jose Aldo and Demian Maia will be back in action in critical fights for their careers. Aldo, fresh off a TKO win over Jeremy Stephens, could be in line for another title shot with a win over the fast-rising Renato Moicano. Maia, meanwhile, is in desperate need of a win after losing three straight to the cream of the crop at 170 pounds (Tyron Woodley, Colby Covington and Kamaru Usman). He gets unranked Lyman Good, who is fresh off a TKO win over Ben Saunders.
In the main event, Raphael Assuncao and Marlon Moraes will run back their 2017 classic that ended in a split decision win for Assuncao. The winner is expected to be next in line for a title shot against TJ Dillashaw.
Here’s a look at the full fight card with the latest odds from Bovada.
UFC Fight Night 143 viewing information
Date: Saturday, Feb. 2
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Centro de Formação Olímpica do Nordeste — Castelão, Brazil
UFC Fight Night 144 fight card, odds
Marlon Moraes -175
Raphael Assuncao +145
Renato Moicano -140
Jose Aldo +110
Demian Maia -185
Lyman Good +150
Charles Oliveira -120
David Teymur -110
Johnny Walker -225
Justin Ledet +175
Livinha Souza -230
Sarah Frota +180
Brian Campbell, Jack Crosby and Brandon Wise are fired up for this card and offering picks for the main and co-main event from Fortaleza.
Assuncao vs. Moraes
Aldo vs. Moicano
Campbell on why Assuncao will win: Assuncao’s refusal to give in to age has allowed him to grow from darkhorse title candidate to the doorstep of a coveted trilogy bout against bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw. The 36-year-old is 11-1 since 2011, with his lone defeat coming to Dillashaw in their UFC 200 rematch. He also holds a 2017 split-decision win over Moraes in 2017. Assuncao will need to keep a high pace and be strategic in landing heavy counter shots to keep the momentum in his favor.
Crosby on why Aldo will win: Yes, I drank the Aldo Kool-Aid once again with his demolition of Jeremy Stephens, but given recent events, those back-to-back losses to maybe the greatest featherweight of all time Max Holloway don’t look so bad now. The veteran Aldo will be savvy enough to stay off the ground with Moicano and keep most of the fight to strikes on the feet. Maybe not a convincing, KO victory for Aldo like his smoking of Stephens, but likely enough points to earn the UD win.
Wise on why Moicano will win: Still a relative unknown to many mainstream sports fans, Moicano has a chance to take advantage of the stage and platform this weekend against the Brazilian legend. Moicano’s lone loss came after getting caught late in a guillotine choke against Brian Ortega. He’s bounced back with strong performances against Cub Swanson and Calvin Kattar, and should use his length and youth to his advantage. Look for Aldo to come out looking for the knockout and Moicano to play to his counters and takedowns for a decision win.
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