Andre “Touchy” Fili is a 31-year-old featherweight with a 21-8 professional record. He has been fighting in the UFC since 2013 and has recently had mixed success. In his last five fights, Fili is 2-2-1 with one no contest. Joanderson “Tubarao” Brito is four years younger than Fili and has only had one UFC fight. Brito dropped his debut via unanimous decision back in January of this year.
Currently, Fili is one of the largest favorites on the card, making Brito a lucrative underdog if he wins.
- Fili: -260
- Brito: +200
Fili is a well-rounded veteran with an extensive and impressive resume. In fact, Fili’s second UFC fight, in 2014, was against Max Holloway; he’s continued to fight a wide array of fighters since then. Regardless of who he is fighting, Fili is a difficult stylistic matchup because of his fast hands and reliable ability to sprawl. Offensively, Fili is a traditional boxer who rarely throws kicks; yet, because of his technique and hand speed, Fili is able to strike from range or in tight and from a variety of angles. Against a willing striker, Fili is capable of engaging and finding success in an exciting brawl. His lanky and rangy frame allow him to land straight shots from outside his opponent’s range while his hand speed in tight allows for him to land damaging shots. If his opponent looks to wrestle, which they often do given Fili’s edge in boxing, he has developed strong and reliable takedown defense. Fili is adept at transitioning from his wide boxing stance into a sprawl position where he can dig in underhooks. If Fili is taken down, though, we’ve seen him be controlled for long periods of time. On the feet, Fili’s balance and range control can be compromised by opponents kicking his lead leg. With such a wide boxing stance, Fili’s lead leg is planted and primed for damage from an experienced kickboxer. If he can make it a boxing match, that stays on the feet, Fili has the cardio and skills to continue winning. If he’s taken down or his lead leg is compromised, Fili can struggle to find success.
In his debut, the hype behind Brito was evident, but, only for one round. He is a powerhouse athlete who uses explosive movements designed to end the fight quickly. From the first second of a fight, Brito pressures his opponent with high output, massive power shots, and takedown attempts. He is a strong wrestler who can use takedowns not only as transitions to the mat; but, given the power in his attempts, as damaging attacks as well. On the feet, Brito will unload overhand rights over and over in an attempt to drop his opponent. His power and athleticism are on full display; but, against a technical opponent with footwork or a counter game, Brito can overextend on his shots and swing at air. If his striking falls short, Brito will quickly look to wrestle. If he can get the fight to the mat, he has the strength and skill to hold his opponent down while hunting submissions. On the feet or the mat, Brito is truly a dangerous fighter. But, the prospect is missing technical striking and a reliable gas tank. After round 1 in his debut, Brito’s cardio was depleted and he had to rely on sudden, often telegraphed, blitz attacks that resulted in him losing the fight. If he can control his cardio better, Brito has the power to end the fight in an instant.
Fili will have the technical edge on the feet and should be able to counter Brito’s overextended power shots with ease. Fili could follow this method of victory for 15 minutes, or until Brito gasses out. But, I like Brito to show more poise in his second UFC fight, lean more on his wrestling, and control his shots better. Brito is far from perfect but he is the more dangerous fighter in this matchup and I like him to get the upset.
Prediction: Brito to win
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.