Rodolfo “The Black Belt Hunter” Vieira is 32-years-old but only 8-1 as an MMA professional. In the UFC, the Fusion X-Cel fighter is 3-1 with all four fights ending by submission. Wellington Turman, 25, is 17-5 as a pro and 2-3 since joining the UFC in 2019.
Vieira is a sizable and growing favorite ahead of Turman.
- Vieira: -210
- Turman: +175
Vieira has the reputation of being one of the best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners in the world, not just the UFC. Offensively on the mat, watching Vieira’s unique mix of brute strength and fluidity is entertaining. Like a wrestler, Vieira is able to lay heavy and physically maneuver his opponents into vulnerable positions. Like high-level masters of the gentle art, Vieira moves smoothly on his opponent, hunting for a spare limb or open neck. Offensively, Vieira lives up to his expectation. Defensively, though, Vieira can struggle, even in jiu-jitsu exchanges. This is because he gasses out, severely, after only a few minutes of fighting. Once exhausted, Vieira has found himself in vulnerable positions; and, “The Black Belt Hunter” was submitted himself just two fights ago. Equally concerning to his cardio, is Vieira’s striking. On the feet, Vieira looks only to survive long enough to get the fight to the ground. His game plan is simple- survive the feet, get it to the ground, and win within 5 minutes. If round 2 starts, Vieira’s cardio, and chances of winning, could be depleted.
Turman is a young fighter but has solid MMA experience. He came into the UFC a reputation of being a solid striker with a decent grappling game, at least decent enough to keep the fight standing. Thus far in the UFC, only half of that scouting report has proven accurate. Turman has proven to be difficult to take down, holding a 100% takedown defensive stat. Unfortunately, while he has been able to keep the fight in his element, Turman’s striking has underwhelmed. He has a negative strike differential, and both of his wins have come by decision where Turman was within one total strike of his defeated foe. I believe the truth about Turman is somewhere in the middle – he is not as impressive at defending takedowns as his stats show, nor is his striking is as bad either. His fights in the UFC have come against guys who aren’t typically wrestlers (positively skewing his takedown defense) but are solid strikers (negatively skewing his striking stats). Even if he is better on the feet than he’s looked, Turman still struggles to have an edge or clear path to victory.
If Turman can survive round 1, he should be able to beat Vieira because Vieira will likely beat himself. However, I haven’t seen enough from Turman for me to think he can take advantage of Vieira’s blank slate striking and survive round 1. Instead, I see Turman getting taken down for the first time and submitted shortly thereafter.
Prediction: Rodolfo Vieira to win by submission (Round 1)
Michael Pounders is a high school English Teacher, a boxer himself, and is a fan who loves, gambles on, and nerds out about all things MMA.