By: Justin Felisko
August 19, 2016
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – With the official Frontier Communications Music City Knockout, presented by Cooper Tires, bracket unveiled Wednesday, fans and followers of the sport have been able to see which riders are facing off against each other in Friday night’s first round.
Fans can also have an idea of potential scenarios if their favorite rider is able to advance through the 36-rider tournament.
PBR.com takes a look at eight hypothetical matchups that would be fun to see happen.
Kaique Pacheco (1) vs. J.B. Mauney (2)
The top two riders from the final 2015 world standings find themselves once again battling for the World Championship.
Both Kaique Pacheco and J.B. Mauney, as well as the other 34 riders competing this weekend in Nashville, love to say it is never rider vs. rider, but rather rider vs. bull. However, this weekend is the one event on the PBR calendar where a rider will have to outperform another rider one-on-one if they hope to win the $75,000 prize.
What better way to see how prepared the young 21-year-old is for a potential seesaw world title race against Mauney than by staring across the bracket and seeing Mauney waiting for him in the championship round.
Things will only get more interesting if the two riders do indeed meet in the final round with both Jared Allen’s Air Time and Pearl Harbor awaiting them.
Will Pacheco be able to do what 2010 World Champion Renato Nunes, who Pacheco’s riding style is similar too, did, and conquer Air Time? Or can Mauney once again make magic on Pearl Harbor like he did earlier this season?
Better yet, if they both were to buck off the two World Champion Bull contenders, which rider could hang on long enough to defeat his opponent?
Kaique Pacheco (1) vs. Silvano Alves (24)
If Pacheco hopes to advance deep into the Music City Knockout, he may just have to eliminate his mentor and three-time World Champion Silvano Alves from the tourney.
If Alves can defeat Tyler Harr (25) in Round 1, that would set up a meeting between teacher and student during Round 2 on Friday night in Bracket C.
Pacheco and Alves have continued to speak highly of the other, and it has been no secret that Pacheco has taken a liking to Alves’ advice and guidance throughout his first two years on the Built Ford Tough Series.
Pacheco is currently attempting to do what Alves did in 2011 by winning the World Championship the year after being crowned Rookie of the Year. Only three Rookie of the Year winners in PBR history have won the PBR world title in their career.
Eliminating Alves and remaining in the Music City Knockout would help Pacheco continue down that path of becoming the fourth Rookie of the Year to win a championship.
And if Alves were to rise from the ashes of his disappointing first half and win the Music City Knockout? Well, he may just be able to miraculously put himself in the conversation about the possibility of a fourth gold buckle around his waist.
Jess Lockwood (14) vs. Derek Kolbaba (11)
For all the talk that Jess Lockwood has received and earned this year, there has been another young rookie battling it out weekly on the BFTS right there beside him.
20-year-old Derek Kolbaba is actually ranked higher than Lockwood in the world standings, and both riders still trail Rookie of the Year leader Wallace de Oliveira for the ROY title.
However, how fun would it be for the two bright-eyed, always smiling buddies to go head-to-head in a winner-take-all Round 2 matchup?
Kolbaba has a bye in Round 1, but if Lockwood can defeat No. 35 Justin Paton then Lockwood and Kolbaba would square off in Round 2 of Bracket B.
Unfortunately, each rider will have to hold off on buying the loser a beer until they each turn 21.
Maybe the loser can buy the other lunch?
Wallace de Oliveira (9) vs. Lockwood/Kolbaba
Why not settle the Rookie of the Year once and for all?
OK, maybe it isn’t the 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals just yet, but let’s give the 37-year-old rookie a chance to go head-to-head with Lockwood or Kolbaba in the semifinals on Saturday night.
Oliveira did struggle some during the BFTS summer break, but he wasn’t afraid to get after the bull riding grind despite being nearly 20 years older than Lockwood, who had to spend the final month of the break rehabbing a knee and hand injury.
Oliveira said in Big Sky, Montana, he will be ready for Nashville, and that he was confidently ready to make a statement.
A win against the next generation of bull riding talent would help his stock rise.
Wallace de Oliveira (9) vs. Valdiron de Oliveira (21)
Who really is the old man between the two 37-year-old best friends?
Is it Wallace de Oliveira or Valdiron de Oliveira?
It is a question the two longtime pals, who were born five days a part, have joshed each other about throughout the 2016 season now that Wallace has joined Valdiron on the BFTS for the first time.
Valdiron has credited Wallace for invigorating him this season, which is his 10th on tour.
He can thank his buddy Wallace by eliminating him in Round 3 of Bracket A competition if he can first advance past Cody Heffernan (28) and Joao Ricardo Vieira (4). Wallace would have to defeat the winner
J.B. Mauney (2) vs. Kasey Hayes (26)
J.B. Mauney and Kasey Hayes have become best friends over the last 10 years since they made their Built Ford Tough Series debuts in 2006.
Since then, Mauney has gone on to win two World Championships and become one of the greatest bull riders in the history of the sport and Hayes has gone on to win over $900,000 in his career.
They are two of the remaining few riders from the Class of 2006 and already have made a slew of memories together in and out of the arena that they will laugh about for years to come.
This weekend, maybe Mauney or Hayes will get the last laugh against the other in Round 2 action of Bracket B.
If Hayes can defeat Nevada Newman (23) in Round 1, he will meet Mauney in Round 2.
Robson Palermo (13) vs. Guilherme Marchi (18)
Similar to Mauney and Hayes, Robson Palermo and Guilherme Marchi have been friends for many, many years and their friendship has continued to grow since first meeting each other in Brazil in 2002.
Both riders have won the World Finals event title, and Marchi has a gold buckle (2008) on his resume.
Now Palermo and Marchi are in search of their first PBR Major victory.
If each rider can win their first three matchups, the two would be set to matchup in Round 4 with a trip to the Final 4 on the line.
J.B. Mauney (2) vs. Silvano Alves (24)
It is hard to believe that for the second year in a row, we are not discussing a J.B. Mauney vs. Silvano Alves world title race. But, as mentioned above, Alves has struggled in his first full season back on tour after breaking his hip last year.
However, there is no questioning that Mauney and Alves have been the two greatest bull riders of this era. The two have combined to win the last five world titles and what better way to see the two titans go head-to-head again then at the Music City Knockout.
If this championship-round matchup does end up happening, there would be much on the line, and an Alves victory would likely mean a potential Mauney-Alves race to the World Championship could be revving up once again.
They are all hypothetical matchups, but are certainly fun to think about.
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