At this point in the Ultimate Fighter Brazil 4 competition, it's clear that Team Shogun is going to put more fighters into the semifinal round of the tournament than their counterparts from Team Nogueira, but if there's one thing all the fighters can agree upon, it's the fact that they are putting their heart and soul into this series.
Following another heartbreaking loss for Team Nogueira last week as Bruno “Korea” Mesquita defeated Leandro “Pitbull” Higo by first round rear naked choke, the scales officially tipped to Team Shogun in the scoring for the season. At this point, the best Team Nogueira can hope for is to put a total of three fighters into the next round, with their hopes landing on the shoulders of Erick da Silva this week as he prepares to do battle with Team Shogun fighter Joaquim Silva, better known as “Netto BJJ.”
The fighters will spend a little time bonding over the hard work they all put forth this season before separating to their corners to prepare for the next fight in the lightweight division. Despite the obvious rivalry built on the team versus team aspect of the series, the fighters from Team Shogun and Team Nogueira realize they are both here competing for the same dream and that doesn't require any amount of disdain shared between the two sides. Instead, the upcoming episode will showcase the kind of brotherhood that gets built when 16 fighters from one country relocate halfway across the world for a chance to change their lives forever.
Whether they are wearing red or blue, fighting for Mauricio “Shogun” Rua or Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, these fighters are all countrymen and warriors and that's something they can definitely appreciate.
The fighters competing this week will also go under the spotlight in the upcoming episode as we learn more about both Joaquim “Netto BJJ” Silva and Erick “Indio” da Silva.
Obviously both competitors left home to travel to Las Vegas to film The Ultimate Fighter this season, but for da Silva it was a particularly tough decision, considering the problems he's dealing with at home. The young lightweight fighter details an issue ongoing with his father back in Brazil and it's easy to see why he's going to be an emotional spark plug by the time he walks to the Octagon to face “Netto BJJ” by the end of this week's episode.
While “Netto BJJ” and da Silva are getting ready to cut weight and face off in just a matter of days, Giovanni “Soldado” Santos is still reeling from the injuries he suffered during last week's episode, and things only seem to compound on the young Brazilian this week.
“Soldado” suffered a shoulder injury while training last week and then discovered he also hurt his groin during the same stretch of practices as well. While almost every fighter goes through any number of injuries while preparing for an upcoming matchup, the competitors on The Ultimate Fighter have an even tougher road to travel because there's literally no time to heal up while trying to get ready for the next fight that could be just days away.
“Soldado” is in a particularly tough spot because he's one of the last remaining fighters that still has to compete in the opening round of the tournament, and with only this week's bout and one other left to go, he's going to be required to fight sooner rather than later. And here's the shocking part to prepare for in the upcoming episode this week -- somehow “Soldado” finds a way to get afflicted with yet another ailment before he gets the fight!
How will “Soldado” react to so much adversity being thrown his way and is there a possibility it affects his chances to not only compete in the opening round, but to stay in the competition? Watch this week and find out.
When it comes down to the fight this week, Team Shogun's strategy continues to play out with the best possible matchups for each of their fighters as they've chosen a great striker in Silva to take on a grappler in da Silva.
It might be a bit confusing, considering his nickname is “Netto BJJ,” but this young Brazilian lightweight is actually a fierce striker with knockout power in both hands who will always try to keep a fight standing if he has the ability. “Netto BJJ” has shown good takedown defense in past fights, and if the action does hit the floor, his power translates into some nasty ground and pound.
As for da Silva, he's a ground practitioner at heart with solid takedown skills and a great submission game. He's no stranger to applying pressure to get his opponent to the mat, and while finishing the fight with a tap out is always likely for da Silva, he also has no problem blasting away with punches and elbows if that's what it takes to win.
On paper it appears Team Shogun has a slight advantage once again in this fight, given “Netto BJJ” has heavier hands and isn't afraid to go to the ground either. The one thing he has to be careful about, however, is not allowing overconfidence to creep into his preparation because his team has found such a high level of success so far in the competition. One mistake could change his fortunes in a hurry and da Silva would be more than happy to pounce on him to get Team Nogueira on the board.
To find out who comes away victorious, make sure to watch the latest episode of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 4 this Monday, exclusively on UFC FIGHT PASS.