Caio Machado, Jonas Bilharinho

Welcome to the MMA Information’ Sleeper Scrap! The relentless schedule of the MMA world implies that some followers don’t have a full have a look at a combat card till days earlier than the occasion, leaving the promoters to determine which bouts try to be paying essentially the most consideration to.

Everybody needs to tune in for predominant occasions and fights that characteristic in style names, however meaning significant or doubtlessly action-packed matchups from elsewhere on combat playing cards typically get misplaced within the shuffle. A Sleeper Scrap would possibly spotlight attention-grabbing model matchups, fighters with notable storylines, or bouts that merely have the possibility to be a Battle of the Evening contender.

Fairly just a few prime MMA promotions haven’t even kicked off their 2023 schedules but, however the Legacy Preventing Alliance is about to return with what’s already the group’s third occasion of the 12 months at LFA 151.

Final week’s Sleeper Scrap from UFC 283 noticed Brunno Ferreria rating an upset victory in his promotional debut towards Gregory Rodrigues, and this week we’re having a look at one other all-Brazilian matchup that includes featherweights Jonas Bilharinho and Caio Machado.

The Fighters

Jonas Bilharinho was a bit unfortunate to not earn a UFC contract on Contender Collection 2021, and since then the 32-year-old has gone 1-1 whereas preventing for the LFA.

“Shiva” started his profession in Brazil and captured the Jungle Battle bantamweight and featherweight titles earlier than struggling his first profession loss in 2016. Bilharinho later returned from a number of years off with a first-round flying knee towards Junior Duarte, and one other two-year layoff ended when he met Canaan Kawaihae on Contender Collection 2021.

The combat between Bilharino and Kawaihae ended up being pretty lackluster till “Shiva” uncorked a wheel kick late within the third spherical to cease the Hawaiian, however that end sadly wasn’t sufficient for him to earn a UFC contract.

The 32-year-old suffered one other setback in his subsequent combat when he was outclassed by José Delano in a combat for LFA’s vacant featherweight title, and Bilharinho rebounded from that loss with a robust exhibiting towards Pedro Lopes final July.

A wheel kick end on Contender Collection didn’t earn Bilharinho a UFC contract. (Zuffa LLC)

Caio Machado has had a way more up-and-down profession than Bilharinho, however the 29-year-old is on a two-fight profitable streak and has beforehand shared the cage with a number of notable fighters.

“Lionheart” initially compiled a 5-0 document in his native Brazil earlier than defeating future UFC bantamweight Domingo Palarte at Legacy FC 27. The Brazilian’s good document was shattered by stoppage losses to a different pair of future UFC fighters in Thomas Almeida and Steven Peterson, which resulted in Machado returning to Brazil to start a four-fight win streak.

The 29-year-old skilled essentially the most troublesome run of his profession from 2017-2019 when he as soon as once more tried to seek out some success outdoors of his house nation. Throughout that interval, “Lionheart” suffered three-straight losses, however these setbacks all got here towards future UFC abilities in Miles Johns, Nate Maness, and Jamall Emmers.

One other return to Brazil noticed Machado earn 4 stoppage victories, and final September the 29-year-old rejoined the LFA after practically 5 years and gained a unanimous choice over former UFC fighter Gabriel Silva.

The Matchup

Bilharino is a fighter that largely depends on singular moments to complete opponents, and a fast look over his document signifies that strategy has typically been profitable for him.

One disadvantage to that model is the 32-year-old typically has giant durations of relative inactivity, which value him in his fights with Delano and Kawaihae. Issues ended up figuring out within the latter combat, but when it wasn’t for that late wheel kick “Shiva” might have ended up on the unsuitable finish of the scorecards.

Machado might not have the identical degree of dynamic putting that Bilharinho does, however “Lionheart” makes up for that by always strolling ahead with exhausting mixtures. This aggression and a bent to drop his fingers can depart him open to get countered, however the Brazilian confirmed towards Silva that he’s a harmful fighter when allowed to dictate the tempo of a bout.

Machado bested UFC veteran Gabriel Silva in his final combat. (LFA)

The 29-year-old will virtually definitely be the aggressor on this combat, and Bilharinho has proven in earlier bouts that he might be backed into the cage. “Shiva” has usually relied on his capability to rapidly circle away and keep away from being corned in these conditions, so Machado might want to get to work together with his leg kicks early in an effort to nullify that mobility.

The truth that Bilharinho is a southpaw might create some issues for Machado, and the 32-year-old confirmed how harmful his physique kick to the open aspect of orthodox opponents is when he repeatedly tagged Lopes with it in his most up-to-date outing.

Bilharinho’s measurement benefit and energetic kicking sport must also assist to stifle a few of Machado’s aggression, however “Shiva” will should be cautious of relying an excessive amount of on single photographs to ensure he doesn’t fall considerably behind on the general putting numbers.

The Stakes

In some methods this bout could possibly be a make-or-break second for every fighter’s respective profession, albeit in several methods.

Machado has clearly established himself as a stable fighter that’s going to win greater than he loses, however to date, the 29-year-old has struggled to seek out constant success outdoors of Brazil. The vast majority of his losses have come towards fighters that went on to compete within the UFC, and this combat with a Contender Collection veteran is a large alternative for him to attain an upset and safe his place within the LFA.

For Bilharinho, this combat is an opportunity to proceed constructing again from his failed LFA title bid and doubtlessly add to an already spectacular spotlight reel. “Shiva” threw principally every thing he had at Lopes in his final combat however wasn’t fairly capable of end the 22-year-old, and that was solely the second choice win on Bilharinho’s document.

Bilharinho beforehand fought for the vacant LFA featherweight title however got here up quick towards José Delano. (LFA)

“Lionheart” is able to inflicting issues for Bilharinho together with his quantity and strain, however the truth that Machado typically retains his fingers down and has been completed a number of occasions means there must be openings for “Shiva” to tug off one thing spectacular together with his knees or kicks.

If Bilharino’s final purpose continues to be to make it to the UFC after developing quick on Contender Collection, the Brazilian might take some inspiration from the profession trajectory of Chris Curtis. “The Motion Man” additionally bought snubbed by the promotion after a powerful end on Contender Collection 2018, however Curtis saved working and finally joined the UFC in 2021.

How do you suppose this bout between Bilharinho and Machado will prove? Are there every other fights scheduled for this week that you just really feel deserve extra consideration?