UFC Fight Night 125 from Belem, Brazil is upon us and we will get to see if we have a new contender at Middleweight, which currently boasts a murderers row of contenders: Weidman, Gastelum, Romero, Rockhold, and Jacare.  If Eryk Anders can pass his next test against longtime contender Lyoto Machida, we can add one more name to the list.

The card boasts an impressive list of Brazilian prospects, which is the norm for UFC cards in Brazil but the top three fights are what everyone is wanting to see.
Former UFC Bantamweight contender Valentina Shevchenko drops to the newly formed 125 pound division and immediately becomes the favorite to take the belt before the end of 2018 in this weight class.  She just lost a split decision for the 135lb title in a fight that she went off favored.  The current roster at 125lbs is very weak, and she will be a substantial favorite in every match.  Although her opponent’s record is 8-0, the level of competition is questionable at best, and Shevchenko is a huge step up.  The fight will be entertaining, but Shevchenko will prevail.
Former UFC flyweight title challenger John Dodson has alternated wins and losses for the last three years, and if that pattern holds he will win here.  He’s coming off a split decision loss to Marlon Moraes and will take on Pedro Munhoz who’s looking for his fifth straight win.  This is a great contrast of styles, as Dodson has great take down defense and Munhoz has top level grappling.  If he can’t get Dodson down, it’s likely that Dodson can win this fight on the feet over three rounds.
In the main event Eryk Anders got his wish after his call out of Lyoto Machida.  He gets to head down to Brazil and headline the main event against him to introduce himself to the world.  The story of Anders is well known now, as he played for the Crimson Tide as a linebacker, highlighted by his senior season where he started 14 games and a had a big presence in the BCS championship game.  With this background comes great athleticism and work ethic, which have shown in his fights.  Against mid level competition his power has been a huge factor as well, but the movement of Machida may make it difficult for Anders to land.  This fight will tell a lot about both fighters, as Machida is trying to stay relevant late in his career and Anders wants a top contender fight after this.  I think we see a passing of the guard and Anders lands the big punch.
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