By TXMMA Staff // Hannah Robinow // Photos by Mike Calimbas & UFC.com via Getty Images
Texas-sized showdown between Smith and Ferreira promises interesting contrast of styles
SAN ANTONIO, TX, July 26, 2014 – This weekend’s UFC Fight Night 44 set for this Saturday in the Alamo City combines the talents of UFC debut fighter Carlos Diego Ferreira with the experience of veteran TUF winner Colton Smith for a titanic undercard battle. The two competitors compete in the headline undercard bout as part of the UFC FN 44 prelims set for Fox Sports 1.
An active-duty US Army soldier fighting out of nearby Fort Hood, Colton Smith will enter the Octagon with a 6-3-0 professional record and a 7-1 amateur record. A lifelong wrestler, Smith also has experience in US Army Combatives through his service as an active-duty Airborne Ranger Infantryman. Smith entered the UFC through TUF, winning the show after getting on with a 2-1 record. Since then he’s gone 1-2 in the UFC having suffered losses to Robert Whittaker and Michael Chiesa. Throughout his competitive career, the Fort Hood-based Smith has been characterized as a hard-nosed, tactical fighter who has used his wrestling advantage and general toughness to overwhelm his opponents. Standing at 6’0”, Smith also uses his height and 71-inch reach to stifle his opponents’ game plans through long-range punches. He also loves to close the distance to clinch and wrestle them to the fence while working for the takedown. More recently he’s also traveled to New Mexico to work with the vaunted roster of talent and coaches at Team Jackson-Winkeljohn. It is no doubt there where he’s crafted his strategy to take with him into this fight.
As for Carlos Diego Ferreira, he enters the UFC with a 9-0 overall record and a belt in tow having won the lightweight title for Legacy FC. The leader of Team Ferreira and a member of the Atos (BJJ) team led by Andre Galvao, CDF also draws on his roots in Manaus, Brazil. Training since he was 10 years old, the 29 year old Ferreira is one you would call a “gym rat.” His life is his passion and vice versa, and he spends nearly all of his time teaching and training. So far his victories have been varied, four coming by submission and four via decision. Ferreira balances world-class Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training with a grinding, vicious ground attack and a striking style one would consider surprising as opposed to the BJJ stereotype. He’s no rookie on his feet. The Brazilian signed with the UFC in March after his successful run in Legacy FC, during which he showcased his striking over seasoned vets like Jorge Macaco Patino. The audience at Fight Night 44 can expect to see Ferreira draw upon his extensive jiu-jitsu experience against Smith. Like his opponent, Ferreira has immense technical talents to draw upon so this should be an interesting chess match between contrasting ground stylists and developing strikers.
Both fighters will walk into the cage with substantial fighting careers behind them. The two men are both dominant grapplers, Smith through his college wrestling championships, and Ferreira through his BJJ career. They have met in a grappling match before with Ferreira winning by points. For Smith, the road to a successful scuffle will come if he can clinch and keep the fight on foot or against the fence, two areas where he’s previously shown dominance. Ferreira needs to take the fight to the ground, a BJJ champion’s natural habitat. From there, he can use his 73-inch wingspan and conditioning to out-fight Smith. In his fighting career, Smith’s achieved victory either in the first round or early in the second. The Texan needs to control the pace of the fight and land enough strikes to finish Ferreira early. Over the course of Smith’s previous fights, he delivered 58% of his strikes standing up, 41% successful. If the Vanguard fighter applies his Muay Thai boxing, Smith may have the tools he needs to welcome Ferreira to the UFC with a head-ringing haymaker or two.
Unlike Smith who is coming down from north of 190 lbs., the Brazilian will be entering the fight without a massive weight cut. This could give Ferreira the edge in sheer muscle endurance he would need to outlast Smith throughout all three rounds to show viewers the dominance that earned him a UFC contract. Throughout his career thus far, Ferreira proved unstoppable on the ground. His decision victory against submission fighter Jorge Patino left no doubt about his ability to compete in that aspect of the fight.
So who’s going to win this fight? Find out Saturday on FOX Sports 1.