While UFC Sao Paulo is headlined by two hard-hitting heavyweights, our Nascimento vs Mayes prediction (which is a rematch from a 2020 fight) in the middle of the main card might steal the show.
Brazil’s Rodrigo Nascimento is looking to extend his win streak to three, earn his second win against Don’Tale Mayes, and potentially secure himself a spot inside the UFC’s heavyweight rankings. American Don’Tale Mayes, however, is eager to start a win streak of his own and get revenge for his submission loss against Nascimento back in 2020.
While most UFC heavyweights are known for the power in their hands, both Nascimento and Mayes (Nascimento specifically) boast an impressive ground game, and each have multiple submissions on their record. So although heavy hands will be flying early on, this fight could very well end up being a grappler’s delight. Yet, it could also end with a brutal knockout.
UFC Sao Paulo: Nascimento vs Mayes Prediction
Rodrigo Nascimento Preview
Rodrigo Nascimento is one of the most terrifying prospects in the heavyweight division.
Entering this fight with a 11-1 record and as the modest -200 favorite, Nascimento brings a rare grappling-heavy approach to UFC’s heavyweight division. After losing by first round knockout to Chris Daukaus back in 2020 (the only loss in his professional MMA career), Nascimento has rebounded excellently, picking up two split decision wins against Tanner Boser and Ilir Latifi.
Nascimento’s win against Latifi was particularly impressive because of Latifi’s prestigious wrestling background. Yet, Nascimento showed in the fight that he wasn’t scared to engage with Latifi on the ground, and ultimately edged out a split decision against him (although many believe Nascimento won all three rounds of the fight). In fact, six of Nascimento’s 11 wins have come by submission, which further proves his jiu-jitsu aptitude.
But the biggest reason Rodrigo Nascimento should be feeling confident about this fight is because he has beaten Don’Tale Mayes before. And not only has Nascimento beaten Mayes, but he submitted him with a rear-naked choke in the second round. While this fight was over three years ago, Rodrigo Nascimento proved that he is the much superior wrestler/grappler between these two — and we don’t expect that will change in this rematch.
Nascimento can compete with Mayes on the feet — but his easiest path to victory would be to try and take him down and submit him, just like he did back in 2020. This is likely why bookmakers have Nascimento as the moderate favorite heading into this fight. And we can’t blame them.
Don’Tale Mayes Preview
Don’Tale Mayes enters this rematch against Rodrigo Nascimento hungry for vengeance.
Mayes — who is 6 foot 6 and holds a 10-5 record — has bounced back nicely after losing to Nascimento in 2020; having won three of his last four matchups, including a landing brutal right hook against Andrei Arlovski back in June that ended up with a second round knockout for Mayes.
While Don’Tale Mayes relied on his impressive power early on in his career, he has rounded out his game immensely in recent years — especially after his loss to Nascimento. While he is still a striker at heart, Mayes doesn’t have a glaring deficiency on the ground any longer, which should be a massive benefit for him against the Brazilian.
That being said, Don’Tale Mayes will be looking to keep this fight on the feet. He has felt Nascimento’s power before, and most likely won’t be too worried about getting knocked out. If the Jackson-Wink gym product has trained his takedown defense leading up to this fight, Mayes — who enters this rematch as a +170 underdog — could keep this fight standing from start to finish.
And if he does, the fight might not last very long.
Rodrigo Nascimento vs Don-Tale Mayes Preidiction: Somebody is Going to Sleep
Our Nascimento vs Mayes prediction has Don’Tale Mayes winning this fight by second-round knockout.
Despite Mayes — who has a four-inch height advantage over Nascimento — only having a one-inch reach advantage, we still believe that Mayes is the better striker, and could utilize kicks better than he did during their first fight together in order to set up some of his heavy punches.
Considering that Don’Tale Mayes has now had over three years to prepare for Nascimento’s ground attack, we expect his takedown and submission defense to be much improved.
Therefore, we predict that Don’Tale ‘Lord Kong’ Mayes will stuff Rodrigo Nascimento’s takedowns, keep the fight on his feet, and catch Nascimento with an overhand right hook in the second round that puts the Brazilian to sleep in front of his home crowd — cashing out on an appealing +450 betting line to win by knockout.
Yet, we also wouldn’t be surprised if ‘Zé Colmeia’ is able to replicate how his first fight with Mayes went down, and secure a submission win. Hence why we wouldn’t fault you if you find the +200 betting line for Nascimento to win by submission too good to pass up on.
Regardless of who puts who to sleep in this fight, fans can expect fireworks for as long as it lasts. But we at NYFights are confident that Don’Tale Mayes will stun the hostile Sao Paulo crowd with a finish that could very well earn him a performance of the night bonus — perhaps getting him a spot inside the UFC heavyweight rankings, as well.