Ultimate Fighting Championship is on SpikeTV for the first time in 2011 and they’re fighting for the men and women who fight for our freedom everyday. Dana White could just pay a buck o five for his freedom like the rest of us but given how cheap he is, he would rather give back by promoting people punching each other in the face. Lets just hope that Fight for the Troops 2 has less casualties than Fight for the Troops 1, which saw six fighters end up in the hospital by the end of the night. Remember that UFC will be raising money all night for the troops through various auctions. All I know that if Brittney Palmer is auctioning off her ring worn outfit, UFC will be able to acquire my life savings and everything I own.
Lightweight Fight: Melvin Guillard vs. Evan Dunham
Originally scheduled to fight Kenny Florian, Evan Dunham returns to the octagon after suffering his first loss as a professional in his last bout. He tries to get back to his winning ways against the explosive Melvin Guillard, who is on a three fight win streak and has won six of his last seven fights.
While Guillard’s fight against Jeremy Stephens wasn’t the slugfest that many expected it to be, it shouldn’t take away from Guillard’s performance. In that fight we saw a smarter and more technical Guillard. He used his speed and movement to leap in, jab, and then leap out before Stephens could catch up with a counter punch. Every time Stephens tried to land his big right hand, he always fell short because Guillard had already moved away. Along with his jab, Guillard controlled the fight with his lead leg. He would constantly use his lead leg to throw a push kick and feint. When Stephens would react to the feint, Guillard with come in with his right hand. Usually lacking in the cardio department, Guillard fought a controlled pace in his last bout. Rarely did he throw anything more than your basic one-two combination or a winging right hand and he certainly never got into any wild exchanges that he’s been prone to doing in the past. Guillard is a solid wrestler but Sean Sherk had a lot of trouble taking Dunham down and even if he does get Dunham down, he’ll have to worry about Dunham’s submission game. Guillard showed improved submission defense against Ronnys Torres and has seemed a lot more comfortable on the ground now that he’s training at Team Greg Jackson. Despite his wrestling skill and newfound comfort on the ground, it’s not the place he wants to be in this fight. Guillard needs to keep this fight standing, possibly get back to his brawling style, and maybe even mix in a few takedowns. I’m not saying he should try hard for takedowns or even spend any time on the ground should he get the takedown but he should try and mix in some takedown attempts. Not only will they throw Dunham off balance but they’ll also allow him to set up his overhand right. Even if Guillard goes for a takedown immediately, gets stuffed, and spends the rest of the fight just faking takedowns, it’ll get Dunham reacting. Dunham could drop his hands to stuff the takedown or go for a knee, which he loves to do. If he does either of those things, Guillard could make him pay with an overhand right or short left hook. Guillard needs to use his speed and power and keep things on the feet. Work the jab, keep a good distance, mix things up, and try to bait Dunham into a brawl. Guillard has the power to end this fight with one strike or he could win a decision by essentially replicating his performance against Stephens where he picks his shots and displays good defense.
Even though Dunham lost his last fight against Sean Sherk in a controversial decision, many viewed him as the winner just based on his performance. Dunham is know for his wrestling and jiu-jitsu but he’s shown some really improved striking in his last couple of fights. Don’t go overboard with how great his striking though because he’s benefitted from facing short guys like Efrain Escudero, Tyson Griffin, and Sherk where he was really able to use his reach advantage, something he won’t have against Guillard. Dunham is a slightly unorthodox striker. He stands southpaw and instead of utilizing a jab, he uses a reaching uppercut, or as I like to call it, a “jabbercut.” He starts pretty much every single one of his combos with this strike. He’ll throw a jabbercut-left straight, jabbercut-left hook-jabbercut, jabbercut-left hook-right hook-right kick, and so on. Dunham has stated that he’s not looking to get into a brawl with Guillard but that’s his style in a lot of ways. He’s a guy that’s willing to take one in order to get two. Even if he doesn’t want to brawl with Guillard, he needs to be aggressive. Guillard had success against Stephens because he didn’t allow Stephens to get off first but when Stephens was pushing forward, Guillard didn’t like that. So Dunham needs to press forward on the feet and use a lot of leg kicks to slow down Guillard’s movement and power. Of course Dunham will most likely be looking to get this fight to the ground. He’s a very good wrestler and his jiu-jitsu is outstanding. Guillard is a good wrestler in his own right but if Dunham is able to get him down, he shouldn’t have too much trouble. While Guillard seems more comfortable on the ground since training with Team Jackson, he seems more comfortable on top. That doesn’t mean that he’ll be comfortable on his back with a good grappler like Dunham on top of him raining down strikes and trying for submissions. Dunham is very good at ducking under the strikes and getting takedowns so look for him to throw some feints, get Guillard reacting, and then look for the takedown. Dunham just needs to keep the pressure up in this fight. Again, I think leg kicks will be very key for Dunham because Guillard doesn’t check them, it will throw Guillard off his rhythm, and it will take away his movement. Dunham could win by overwhelming Guillard with strikes on the ground, catch him in a submission, or pick up a decision by simply controlling the action in all areas.
It would be easy to write Guillard off in this fight because he’s never done well against top competition while Dunham arguably beat a former UFC Lightweight Champion. That said, this is a good style fight for Guillard if he can keep things standing or if Dunham is overconfident in his striking given his recent performances. Unfortunately for Guillard, I don’t think Dunham will want to keep things standing, he knows his best chance is on the ground, and he’ll eventually get it there. On the ground look for him to soften Guillard up before eventually locking in a choke for the victory.
Prediction: Evan Dunham to defeat Melvin Guillard by Submission in Round Two
Heavyweight Fight: Tim Hague vs. Matt Mitrione
After being released by UFC following three straight losses, Tim Hague is back in the company following two KO victories in his hometown of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada over Zak Jensen and Travis Wiuff. Welcoming him back is Matt Mitrione, looking to remain unbeaten in his professional career.
Hague is probably best known for being on the receiving end of the fastest recorded knockout in UFC history thanks to the right hand of Todd Duffee. That said, Hague is currently fighting in the UFC while Duffee is currently unemployed. So who really won in the end? Hague is a decent striker with power but doesn’t have the greatest defense in the world. He likes to throw a big overhand right, which he sets up with jabs to the body. If the fight stays on the feet, it might be in Hague’s best interest to try and brawl with Mitrione. Mitrione keeps his hands low and is willing to get into wild exchanges. So it’s possible that in one of the exchanges that Hague could clip Mitrione with a right hand. In the clinch he likes to grab the plum clinch and throw knees. Chances are he’ll want to get this fight in the clinch and then eventually to the ground. He’s a purple belt in jiu-jitsu and even holds a submission victory over Mitrione’s teammate Pat Barry. He likes to grab a guillotine choke on the ground so Mitrione will have to keep his chin tucked, especially when trying to scramble up if he finds himself on his back. If Hague can get Mitrione down, he’ll have to protect his left arm and watch out for the triangle. Mitrione loves to isolate the left arm of his opponents and throw up a triangle. I think he uses each more as a threat to get his opponent to react than an actual submission attempt but it’s effective nonetheless. Of course Hague is the best grappler Mitrione has faced so throwing up a triangle for the sake of trying to get Hague to react could allow Hague to advance to a better position. Look for Hague to push Mitrione against the cage, control him in the clinch, and wear him down with strikes to the body. Mitrione has good cardio so Hague needs to try and take that away from him. Hague has the power to knockout Mitrione, he might catch Mitrione in a submission on the ground, or it’s possible that he wins a grinding decision but the longer the fight goes, the more I’d favor Mitrione.
Mitrione went from the guy no one liked with no MMA experience on The Ultimate Fighter 10 to a likable guy who has taken big strides in his game since the show has ended. He’s primarily a striker and he’s a really good offensive striker. He keeps his hands far too low but he moves well so he’s getting away with it, for now. He’s not flashy, he throws a good one-two or swats with his lead hand and throws the straight. He has good leg kicks as well. Don’t be shocked if Mitrione works a knee or an uppercut into his arsenal in this fight to combat Hague’s jab to the body. He doesn’t throw many hooks and I’m still not sure on just how much power he has given his competition but he’s very overwhelming on the feet. From the first round to the third, his output of strikes doesn’t drop off. His takedown defense is a bit questionable, especially early, but he makes guys fight for takedowns, which gasses them out a bit. Mitrione is active off his back but isn’t all that polished. He goes for things more as a decoy to get to his feet rather than believing he’ll finish with the submission. Mitrione won’t want to spend much time on the ground in this fight though because Hague is the better grappler. Mitrione needs to keep the fight standing, use his movement, work his jab, and counter Hague’s wild hooks with straight punches. The leg kicks might get him in trouble in this fight because it’ll allow Hague to get easier takedowns but I think Mitrione is so comfortable with his cardio and ability to get up that he won’t think twice about unleashing his kicks. I’m probably a little premature in saying this but Mitrione really reminds me of a less polished and less flashy Anthony Pettis. I make that comparison because not only do they both train under Duke Roufus but they’re largely similar in what they do. They throw straight punches, have good leg kicks, love the triangle off the back, are active in all areas, and seem to pick up the sport of MMA very quick. Again, don’t expect to see Mitrione throw a cartwheel kick or anything like that but I think like Pettis, you’ll always see noticeable improvements in his game with each passing fight. Mitrione could overwhelm Hague with strikes en route to a stoppage or just out-strike him on the feet en route to a decision.
I’ll admit it, I’m on the “Meathead Mobile” and this really is his fight to lose. Hague isn’t a bad fighter and this isn’t a bad style fight for him but Mitrione’s growth over such a short period of time has really impressed me. I think Mitrione is able to keep the fight standing and out-strike Hague for the majority of the fight, possibly finishing him late but at least doing enough to win the decision.
Prediction: Matt Mitrione to defeat Tim Hague by Decision
Featherweight Fight: George Roop vs. Mark Hominick
Mark Hominick tries to earn a UFC Featherweight Title shot against current champion Jose Aldo by defeating “The Korean Zombie Killer” George Roop.
After an up and down career, Roop had his breakout performance in his last fight. Even before he double tapped Chan Sung Jung, Roop was doing well for himself on the feet. Of course Jung’s style lent himself for a lot of openings but credit Roop for capitalizing on those openings. He’s a decent striker and uses a good pawing jab. He likes to throw a switch kick and also a one-two head kick. Has a good overhand right and he likes to use that to get inside and get takedowns. Even though he’s labeled a striker, he seems to do his best work when he’s on the ground, specifically on top. He’s a solid wrestler who does a good job ducking under strikes and getting takedowns. He’s controlling and active on top with strikes. The problem is, his submission defense isn’t all that great. It’s sort of a weird situation for Roop because his best chance to finish Hominick is to put him down and work for a submission but Hominick’s ground game is improving and he’s looking more and more comfortable off his back in recent fights so it’s possible that he catches Roop in an armbar. Of course, Roop doesn’t need to finish Hominick, he just needs to win, and he could do that by keeping things on the feet. Roop could outstrike Hominick but he’ll need to use his reach advantage. That means use a lot of jabs and even throw that switch kick to keep Hominick off balance. Roop can’t let Hominick get close to him unless it’s on his terms. Roop. When Hominick is getting too close for Roop’s comfort, he needs to put him down and immediately look to pass to half guard. Hominick can’t throw up his legs from half guard so if Roop can get to there, he should be in the clear. If Hominick regains guard, he’s best off getting to his feet, standing over Hominick, and kicking at his legs to show that he’s in control. Roop might be able to submit Hominick on the ground but if he’s going to win, chances are it’ll be by controlling decision.
Looking for his fifth straight win and a chance to challenge for UFC gold, Hominick really needs to be on his game in this fight. He’s an excellent technical striker. He has a quick jab, throws nice straight punches, and has very good defense. He has a tendency to jab and duck to his right, which Roop could make him pay for with a head kick so he’ll have to be careful of not doing that in this fight. One thing he does well is push a very controlled pace. In the first round he makes his opponents wear themselves out by constantly getting them to miss with their counter strikes. Then in the second and third rounds, he starts pushing a strong pace and attacking the body. What I like about Hominick is that he shows good ring generalship, something he’ll need in this fight. Roop doesn’t seem to do well when he’s pressed and given that Hominick and Roop have trained together, I’m sure this is something Hominick knows. So Hominick needs to press Roop and gets him uncomfortable on the feet. He’s going to be at a reach disadvantage and the best way to combat that is with leg kicks. So look for Hominick to unleash a lot of leg kicks in this fight to cut off the movement of Roop. Hominick needs to avoid the takedown in this fight. Even though Roop’s submission defense is questionable and Hominick is willing to go for submissions off his back, he’s not going to win this fight if he spends most of the fight on his back. Again, they’ve trained together so I have to believe that Roop knows Hominick’s tricks off his back and given that Hominick isn’t an excellent grappler like say Demian Maia, where you might know what he’s going for but he’s so good that you can’t stop it, I think Roop will be able to shut down whatever Hominick attempts. Hominick needs to use leg kicks and pressure Roop in this fight. When Roop goes for takedowns, make him pay with an uppercut or a knee or elbows if he can stuff the takedown. Then in the later rounds start putting combinations together and attacking the body of Roop. Roop has never been finished with strikes but Hominick has the power and skill to be the first, if not he can win a decision but out-striking Roop on the feet.
A lot of people have already crowned Hominick as the next challenger for Aldo’s title but we were all saying the same thing about Josh Grispi and look what happened there. Of course the circumstances are different as Hominick was never scheduled to fight Aldo like Grispi was and didn’t suffer the mental letdown of going from a title shot in the co-main event of a PPV to a prelim fight on ION TV. This is a trap fight for Hominick though and it’s very possible that he could be looking past Roop and towards Aldo. This is a tough fight to call but I’m going to go with Roop because I think this is a good style fight for him and I do think Hominick is already thinking gold. I think Roop will be able to keep a good distance, make Hominick pay for leg kicks, and grind out a decision on the ground.
Prediction: George Roop to defeat Mark Hominick by Decision
Heavyweight Fight: Joey Beltran vs. Pat Barry
Pat Barry and Joey Beltran try to avoid back-to-back losses in a heavyweight clash of strikers.
Beltran is a guy that comes to fight. He’s not the most technical fighter in the world but technique don’t mean crap on the streets because guys got knives. Unfortunately for Beltran, technique does mean something in a MMA fight. He’s a guy that just puts his head down, presses forward with big hooks, and is willing to just brawl. He doesn’t throw many straight punches and he has a horrible habit of leaning to his right. He’s not a terrible wrestler and he showed in the Mitrione fight that he’s willing to go to the ground if it’s to his benefit. It would certainly be to his benefit in this fight because Barry’s ground game is dreadful. Beltran isn’t a submission expert but neither was Mirko “Cro Cop” and he managed to lock in a rather ugly rear naked choke to submit Barry. Beltran doesn’t need to submit Barry though, he just needs to get him down and work his ground and pound. Beltran can’t get into a pure striking contest with Barry because he’s going to lose that battle. Beltran needs to brawl with Barry as Barry doesn’t seem to do well when guys put punches in his face. Beltran needs to constantly pressure Barry, put him against the cage, wear him out, get him down, pound on him, and never let him rest. Both guys have questionable cardio but I’d slightly favor Beltran in the conditioning department simply because I don’t question his heart. Barry isn’t a mentally weak fighter with no heart or anything like that but Beltran has been in 15 minute wars before and he’s fought through fatigue simply because his heart won’t allow him to quit. On the other hand, Barry has never been to a decision and the one time he went to a third round, he was badly gassed and ended up getting finished. Beltran has to get this fight into deep water and he can’t let Barry get into any kind of rhythm on the feet. Beltran could finish Barry late with strikes, maybe catch Barry in a submission if Barry’s submission defense is even worse than we think, or win a decision by grinding out Barry on the ground.
Given all the talk surrounding Barry, you would think that he’s had a lot of success in his UFC career. On the contrary, Barry is only 3-2 in his UFC career and is really in a must-win fight. He’s a very charismatic fighter and one of the best strikers in the division but he just hasn’t put it all together in the cage. In a technical kickboxing contest, Barry beats Beltran 9 out of 10 times. He’s an excellent technical striker with plenty of speed. He normally stands orthodox but he’s been known to switch stances during the fight. He likes to lead with his right hand, no matter which stance he’s in. Barry’s biggest asset is his leg kicks. He throws some of the most powerful leg kicks in MMA today and you can expect him to unleash them in this fight. For as good as his striking his, his ground game is equally as bad. He seems lost in the clinch, he gets overpowered far too easily, and off his back his game plan is to just hold on for dear life. Simply put, Barry cannot let Beltran get him to the ground or even get close to him unless he’s significantly improved his grappling defense over the past half year. I would hope that, even if he’s not going to be surprising people with an armbar off his back, he’s at least learned how to spin out of the clinch or use an underhook to get up because he was lacking both of those things against “Cro Cop.” Barry needs to keep a good distance in this fight and he can do that by establishing his jab and using an uppercut when Beltran recklessly comes in with his head down. The jab of course keeps the distance and the uppercut makes Beltran pay for coming in and thinking twice about doing so. Also leg kicks will be key as they’re another good way to keep the distance and he’s so quick with his kicks that I don’t think Beltran will be able to get a takedown off of them. If Barry is going to win this fight, I think it’ll be by knockout. I don’t think he has the submission game to catch Beltran and the longer this fight goes, the more it favors Beltran.
This is almost a designed win for Barry. It’s clear that UFC is very high on him because he’s a charismatic guy but sooner or later, he has to string together some wins in the octagon. Beltran is a tough guy and if Barry thinks he’s going to walk through him, he’s setting himself up for a loss. But if Barry fights like he has something to prove, he should be able to win this fight. I expect Barry to use a lot of leg kicks early and then unleash a nasty head kick to the right side of Beltran, since Beltran has a habit of leaning too much to that side.
Prediction: Pat Barry to defeat Joey Beltran by TKO in Round One
Lightweight Fight: Matt Wiman vs. Cole Miller
Matt Wiman and Cole Miller look to move up the lightweight ladder in a showdown between aggressive competitors.
Wiman didn’t show too much in his last fight except for his BJ Penn-like ability to troll the referee into stopping the fight when he said Mac Danzig was out from a guillotine choke when Danzig was still perfectly conscious. Wiman is a very aggressive fighter. He’s known as a wrestler but he really likes to strike. He throws a good number of legs kicks and usually sets them up with a double jab, he also throws a lot of feints, and he likes to duck under, throw a left hook, and then come back with a right hook. He’s a good wrestler and when he goes for takedowns, he does a nice job setting them up with his punches. He likes to go for the single leg and then drag his opponents down. On top he mainly uses elbows to soften up his opponents and he seems pretty content just staying in guard to inflict damage. On the ground, whether he’s on top or bottom, he’s always looking for the guillotine. Expect Wiman to push a strong pace in this fight, duck under the straight punches of Miller, counter with an overhand right, and get takedowns. If he’s on top, Wiman can’t get reckless with his strikes and he’ll need to show good posture in order to avoid the submissions of Miller. I think Wiman will take this fight how it comes. If he’s having success on the feet and tagging Miller, then he’ll keep the fight standing. But if he’s having problems with Miller’s reach or eating too many leg kicks, then he’ll go for a takedown and trust his submission defense. Being the superior wrestler allows him to dictate where the fight takes place and I’m sure Wiman will use that fact to his advantage. Wiman has the power to finish Miller with strikes or he could win a decision by sprawling and brawling or grinding him out on the ground.
Even though he only fought twice in 2010, Miller really opened some eyes with his performances. He finished Dan Lauzon with a beautiful modified kimura early in the year and then upset Ross Pearson later in the year. He’s primarily a grappler but he showed a lot of improvement in his striking in his last fight. He’s a lanky guy and he uses his reach really well with his jab and push kick. He pumps a nice jab and puts a good right straight behind it. He also throws a good counter right straight, which Wiman will have to look out for given Wiman’s tendency to throw hooks. One bad habit Miller has on his feet is that he stays in the pocket a little too long. Instead of leaping in and leaping out with great quickness, Miller throws his combination, and then sticks around for a counter punch. He got tagged a couple of times against Pearson but I’m sure that it’s not something that he wants to make a habit out of. Miller isn’t a great wrestler and he’ll probably have a tough time getting Wiman down but he’s a guy who is very willing to pull guard because he’s so confident in his jiu-jitsu. He’s only a brown belt in jiu-jitsu but he’s submitted black belts and he’s active with his submissions. Of his back he loves to go for the triangle choke and he usually attacks the left arm of his opponents to set up the choke. If Wiman puts Miller on his back, don’t expect Miller to try and fight his way up. Instead he’ll be looking to attack and forcing Wiman to defend. Sadly, that’s an easy way to lose a fight unless he does lock on a submission since most judges feel that if you’re on the bottom, you’re losing. Miller will need to use his reach on the feet and not get into a wild exchange with Wiman. Wiman has a good chin and power while Miller’s chin is a bit questionable. Look for Miller to throw a lot of leg kicks, not only to take away from the movement of Wiman but to also bait Wiman into going for takedowns. Miller will probably look for some takedowns but if he doesn’t get them, he should look to put Wiman against the cage and rough him up in the clinch. I’m not sure Miller can finish Wiman with strikes but he could easily submit him either on top or off his back or he could win a decision by winning the fight on the feet and neutralizing Wiman’s wrestling either with his takedown defense or active ground game.
I’m really looking forward to this fight because both guys are relatively well rounded and they both bring it in the cage. I think it’s a tough fight to call because both guys are evenly matched but I slightly favor Miller simply because he seems to be on more of a roll right now and he’s improving with each passing fight while Wiman hasn’t shown as much, although a lot of that has to do with how his last fight went. I think Miller does enough on the feet and is active enough on the ground to win the decision.
Prediction: Cole Miller to defeat Matt Wiman by Decision
*Yves Edwards to defeat Cody McKenzie by TKO in Round Three
*Mike Guymon to defeat DaMarques Johnson by Submission in Round Two
*Mike Brown to defeat Rani Yahya by Decision
*Willamy Freire to defeat Waylon Lowe by Submission in Round Two
*Charlie Brenneman to defeat Amilcar Alves by Decision
*Chris Cariaso to defeat Will Campuzano by Decision