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It's been six hard weeks of living in a house thousands of miles away from home, but The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 4 comes to an end with two more semifinal matchups this week, as Team Nogueira looks to put at least one of their fighters into the finals while Team Shogun looks to make it a clean sweep in the overall competition.
Last week featured an all-Team Shogun battle, as Glaico Franca submitted Joaquim “Netto BJJ” Silva in the first round, while Dileno Lopes earned a three-round decision to get past his teammate, Matheus Nicolau. It was a tough week for Team Shogun, considering all four fighters trained together for the entire season, but following those two matchups, the focus turns back to beating Team Nogueira in the final episode of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 4.
Before the fighters square off for the two bouts that will wrap up the tournament prior to the finals at UFC 190 in Brazil, the UFC will treat everybody to a night out on the town at the Linq in Las Vegas, where they will get to enjoy some time away from The Ultimate Fighter house and even go on the world's biggest Ferris Wheel, the High Roller.
This season of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil has featured as much camaraderie as any in the history of the reality show, with the competitors feeling a true sense of respect for each other for the entire six weeks they spent together. Outside of one member of Team Nogueira being ostracized for a few hours after he decided to go on a rollercoaster adventure with the members of Team Shogun, things have been very cordial between the two squads this year and that won't change going into the final episode this week.
The first matchup after dinner and a night out at the Linq will pit flashy young striker Bruno “Korea” Mesquita from Team Shogun against Reginaldo Vieira from Team Nogueira.
Mesquita was one of the more inexperienced fighters to join the show when the season first started, but he announced his presence with a loud thud as he won his debut fight with a spinning back kick that will probably stand as the best highlight of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 4. He proved his worth once again in his second bout, as he made short work of Leandro Higo from Team Nogueira in fifth fight on the show.
Vieira got back into the competition after Team Shogun fighter Giovanni “Soldado” Santos suffered an injury, as well as an infection, that forced him to drop out off the show. Vieira lost a very close and potentially controversial decision in his second round matchup against Matheus Nicolau before UFC President Dana White offered him the chance to come back to make the most of his opportunity. Vieira certainly didn't waste any time, as he dominated his friend and teammate Matheus Mattos to move into the semifinals this week.
In terms of experience, Vieira is vastly ahead of Mesquita, with 15 professional fights and a ton of wins under his belt. Vieira is probably the favorite to pull off the win if he can control the pace of the fight and put Mesquita on his back a few times to negate his deadly arsenal of kicks, but don't count out the young Brazilian from adding another veteran to his resume. Mesquita has a huge future in front of him if he keeps developing as quickly as he has during the six weeks on the show. He's a devastating and creative striker with good reach and size for a bantamweight. Even if he doesn't pull out a win against Vieira, Mesquita is definitely a prospect to watch for the future.
After the bantamweights finish their fight, the focus then shifts to the lightweights trying to punch their own ticket to the finals.
For all the troubles Team Nogueira had this season, the biggest bright light of them all had to be Fernando Bruno after he cruised to victory in his opening matchup, as well as in his quarterfinal fight as well. Now Bruno has a chance to become the only Team Nogueira fighter to make it to the finale with an unblemished record in the competition.
Bruno is going to be a tough test for any of the lightweights on the show with his suffocating ground attack and versatile striking arsenal, but Nazareno Malegarie will give him everything he can handle and more.
Malegarie defeated Andre Ricardo by TKO back in the second quarterfinal fight of the season, so he's had plenty of time to rest and get his body ready for this next fight. Malegarie will certainly look for the knockout in this fight while trying to keep Bruno guessing on his kickboxing attacks. If Malegarie can do that and stay out of clinch range, he has a great shot at putting another Team Shogun fighter into the finals.
Who will represent their team in The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 4 finale at UFC 190 on August 1 in Rio de Janeiro? Make sure to watch the last episode of the season to find out if Team Nogueira can stage an epic comeback and get two fighters into the finals or if Team Shogun was just destined to rule this tournament from start to finish. The season finale of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 4 debuts on UFC Fight Pass this Monday.