It’s March Madness but not because the NCAA Tournament is going on. It’s March madness because last week Zuffa put a stranglehold on MMA and this week UFC gives us a stacked line up. The main event features one of the most intriguing UFC Light Heavyweight Title fights since the last intriguing UFC Light Heavyweight title fight, the co-main event features the face of a company that UFC recently merged with, a of pair of brothers are also on the card, and a MMA legend opens up the event. It’s Friday, Friday, reading about fights on Friday. Everybody’s looking forward to fight night, fight night. Friday, Friday, talking fights on Friday. Everybody’s looking forward to fight night. One day that’s going to be a hit song, I’ll be trending on Twitter, and Brittney Palmer will know I exist. Just you wait.
UFC Light Heavyweight Title Fight: Jon Jones vs. Mauricio Rua ©
Mauricio Rua looks to make his first UFC Light Heavyweight Title defense against the fast rising Jon Jones, who is replacing his training partner Rashad Evans on six weeks notice.
Jones just fought at UFC 126, where he submitted Ryan Bader in under ten minutes to hand Bader his first career loss. Jones’ striking is flashy and pretty unpredictable but not all that technical. He throws one or two strikes at a time and doesn’t put many combinations together. He’s so quick though that he gets away with a lot of his technical mistakes. He’s also smart enough to realize that he has a massive reach advantage and he knows how to use it. His jab isn’t great but it’s a good range finder, along with his leg kicks. Jones has been known to switch stances in the middle of his fights, something Rua probably won’t be too concerned with as Lyoto Machida was constantly switching stances against Rua as well. When Jones switches to southpaw, you can bet on him throwing at least one head kick before switching back to orthodox. Furthermore, almost every kick Jones throws is from the left side. Whether it’s a head kick, a body kick, a spinning back kick, a cartwheel kick, or a Steven Segal kick of death, it’s always with the left leg. Look for the counter straight left by Jones. Rua has been caught with it multiple times in his career and if Jones is going to have success with his punches, the counter left will be his biggest weapon. Rua has a very good chin and Jones has never shown one punch power but if Jones is going to put Rua out on the feet, it’ll be with a counter left straight. Jones would be smart to use knees in this fight. With his high guard on the feet, Rua leaves his body open for knees. Not only that but Jones’ length and Rua’s aggressiveness would allow Jones to throw knees right up the middle when Rua comes in. The big advantage Jones has in this fight is his wrestling. He’s an outstanding wrestler, in large part due to his explosiveness and strength. He doesn’t really set up his shot but he’s so quick and strong that he gets guys down anyway. Rua has never displayed great takedown defense and given how easily Jones put top notch wrestlers like Bader, Matt Hamill, and Vladimir Matyushenko on their back, I doubt he’ll have too much trouble getting Rua down. Jones’ top game is tighter than Aly Michalka’s abs. He stays close, lands short elbows, and is constantly looking for chokes. He’s never faced someone with the ground game of Rua though. While Rua might not be a slick submission artist off his back, he does have an active guard, utilizes a lot of sweeps, and is very good at getting to his feet. Jones is used to getting guys down and them doing nothing but trying to get up so one has to wonder how he’ll react to the activity of Rua. I’m sure Jones has drilled leg locks a ton over the past few weeks because Rua will no doubt be looking to attack the legs of Jones on the ground. Not only has Jones never faced some as good off his back as Rua, but he’s never faced a striker like Rua. Brandon Vera might be the closest comparison but comparing Vera to Rua is like comparing the performance of Natalie Portman in No Strings Attached to her performance in Black Swan. Even though Jones has the reputation of being a humble and classy fighter, he says a lot of things to hype himself up, which concerns me a bit. I wouldn’t be too concerned with Jones taking this fight on short notice because he’s young and Greg Jackson is very good at making sure that his fighters aren’t over or under trained. If there’s any concern, it would be that since he’s right back into a fight training camp, he hasn’t had time to work on a lot of the technical aspects or the overall improvement of his game. To spin that though, the lack of skill training might not be a bad thing because Jones’ unpredictability is one thing that makes him so special. Jones is obviously going to use his wrestling in this fight. It’s his biggest strength and it’s Rua’s biggest weakness. It won’t be a question of whether or not Jones can get Rua down, it’ll be a question of whether or not he can keep him down. If he can, he’ll rough up Rua with elbows and take a choke if it’s presented to him. If he can’t keep Rua down though, he’ll have to rely on his length and speed on his feet in order to get the best of Rua. Jones can win this fight by overwhelming Rua with strikes on the ground, submitting him with a choke, or staying even on the feet and score enough takedowns to win a decision.
After a slow start to his UFC career, Rua reminded fans why he’s one of the most dangerous fighters in the world when he knocked out Machida at UFC 113 in the first round. He’s known as an aggressive striker and when he moves forward, he usually puts three or four strike combinations together. He’s turned into more of a patient striker over the years though. He knocked out Machida with a counter overhand right and that’s his go-to counter punch. Chances are he’ll be a counter striker in this fight because he’s going to have a tough time getting inside on Jones. Expect Rua to throw a ton of leg kicks in this fight. It’s the quickest route to hitting Jones and they’ll take away some of the speed and explosiveness of Jones. You can say that using so many leg kicks will leave him open to takedowns but Rua probably won’t have much success stopping the takedowns anyway so he might as well try and damage Jones in the process. Rua’s muay-thai clinch is legendary but Jones’ has proven that the clinch is one of his strong suits as well. Jones might be stronger in the clinch but Rua is craftier. As with the leg kicks, Rua might be well advised to try and clinch and land some knees. Even if it leads to him being put on his back, he can at least damage Jones. On the ground, Rua needs to remain active and pressure Jones. As mentioned above, Jones has never had to deal with someone active off their back and even if Rua is just punching Jones, it’ll be a new experience for Jones inside the cage. A big feather in Rua’s cap would be if he could somehow get on top of Jones. That might not be out of the question if Rua is able to utilize an omoplata sweep and get side control on the back of Jones. It obviously won’t be easy but it’s definitely not impossible. Rua likes to use an underhook to stand up, which works but when he does that against Jones, he needs to protect his neck. Rua needs to be the aggressor and pressure Jones in this fight. In his last few fights, Jones’ opponents have looked scared early in the fight, like they bought into the hype and they lost before Bruce Buffer finished saying, “fighting out of the blue corner.” Rua isn’t going to buy into that hype and he’s not going to be afraid. To prove that, Rua needs to get off to a quick start because if he allows Jones to set the pace, Jones’ already high confidence will skyrocket even higher. Obviously the concern with Rua is that he’s coming off another knee surgery and he’s only 29 years old. Will he have that explosiveness? Will he be concerned about planting wrong and thus fight cautious? Will it not bother him at all because his nickname is “Shogun” and a shogun don’t give a crap about no knee injury? I believe it will hinder him slightly but he’s fought through injuries before and he hasn’t been off a full year so I don’t think it’s a major concern. Jones’ chin has never really been tested but if I had to guess, I would guess that it’s pretty solid and if Rua is going to finish Jones with strikes, it’ll be a flurry of them and not one shot. Rua could submit Jones and if he’s going to catch him in anything, I have to believe that it’ll be some kind of leg lock. Rua’s best path to victory might be a decision though as he’s been in 20 and 25-minute wars before while almost everything has come easy to Jones in his MMA career.
Being from North Carolina, it’s almost imperative that I follow ACC basketball, otherwise I’d have a hard time fitting in. Given that it’s also March Madness, I liken Jones to the North Carolina Tar Heels and Rua to the Duke Blue Devils. UNC is a very skilled team, made up of mostly freshman and sophomores, who can hang with anyone but haven’t been tested in the big dance. In the final moments of a big game, do you trust Dexter Strickland or Harrison Barnes with the ball? With Duke, they’re a team filled with juniors and seniors, many of whom were on the National Title team last year. You know in the final moments of a big game that Nolan Smith or Kyle Singler is going to perform. To take the comparison further, Duke doesn’t have a 100% healthy Kyrie Irving, which would make them a clear tournament favorite and Rua is coming off knee surgery and an extended layoff, which may keep him from being his usual self. I’m going with experience in this fight but not just Rua’s big fight experience, Jones’ lack of big fight experience. I’m just worried that Jones won’t react well when things aren’t going his way and if that happens, Rua should take this fight. Either Rua pressures Jones, drags him into deep waters, and finishes him late or he catches him early with a leg lock. I’m better on the former of the two. This is an extremely close fight though and if you’re writing either of these fighters completely off, just stop watching the great sport of MMA.
Prediction: Mauricio Rua to defeat Jon Jones via TKO in Round Four
Bantamweight Fight: Eddie Wineland vs. Urijah Faber
Finally getting UFC exposure and possibly one fight away from a title shot, Urijah Faber battles former and first ever WEC Bantamweight Champion Eddie Wineland in the nights co-main event.
Wineland is on a four-fight win streak and now looking to get back in the title picture with a win over Faber. He’s a good striker who moves well on his feet and has quick hands. He pumps a nice jab and likes to double it up a lot of times. He also has a good straight right hand, which will probably get a lot of use in this fight. Defensively, he has good head movement but he doesn’t check leg kicks. Faber isn’t known for his chopping leg kicks but if he’s going to pick a fight to unleash some, this would be it. Wineland is a decent wrestler and Faber’s wrestling is actually a bit overrated by some. Wineland might be able to stuff the shot of Faber but he’s going to have a hard time dealing with Faber in the clinch. Wineland needs to desperately avoid getting in tight with Faber. He can’t fight in the clinch, off his back, or even on top unless he has Faber hurt because if this fight turns into a grappling contest, Wineland won’t win. Wineland needs to use his superior striking and range in this fight. Keep Faber at bay with the jab, put the straight right behind it, and move out of the way when Faber comes rushing in. Faber has been baited into brawling before so Wineland should definitely try and get Faber into a wild exchange because he’ll be more likely to keep his composure and throw straight punches while Faber throws looping hooks. Not only that but I give the power advantage to Wineland, and even though Faber has a solid chin, Wineland has a stout beard as well. In reality though, Wineland needs to use his speed, footwork, and length to frustrate Faber. Wineland has the power to catch Faber and put him down but chances are, if he’s going to win this fight, he’ll do so by stuffing the takedowns and picking Faber apart standing.
After being the face of the WEC for so many years, Faber finally makes his UFC debut. Faber is sort of a “jack of all trades, master of none” fighter. That’s not to take anything away from him because he’s very talented but I do believe that a lot of people give him more credit for his technical abilities than is actually deserved. He’s fast on his feet and he uses that speed to make up for his lack of technical striking. He likes to rush in, lead with a right hand, and sometimes follow with a left hook. He comes in with his hands down though so if opponents can time him, they can catch him. The problem is that he’s so quick that he’s tough to counter. One thing Faber likes to do is open his fights with head kicks. Wineland famously knocked out Antonio Banuelos with a straight right as Banuelos threw a head kick so if Wineland can time when Faber throws his opening fight head kick, maybe he can catch him. Faber’s known for his wrestling, and while he’s a good wrestler, he doesn’t have great takedowns. What he’s good at is getting inside, clinching, and then initiating scrambles. The majority of his takedowns also come from the clinch so not only does Wineland have to worry about Faber grabbing a front headlock and then spinning to the back but he also has to worry about getting put on his back. Faber has a huge advantage if this fight turns into a grappling contest because he’s quicker in the scrambles and he’s just an all-around better grappler. In fact, as much as people overrate Faber’s striking, I think they underrate his grappling. He’s very strong on top, he stays tight, and he’s always looking to finish, especially with chokes. Team Alpha Male is famous for their guillotine chokes and given that Faber is the leader of the pack, his guillotine might be the best of them all. Faber needs to get this fight in close corners. He has to get past the reach of Winelandm get inside, and make this a dirty fight and a scramblefest. Faber sets an incredible pace and even though Wineland is well-conditioned, Faber has worn out well-conditioned fighters before with the pace he keeps for 15 minutes. People may say that there is a lot of pressure on Faber, and while there is, it doesn’t concern me with Faber. He’s had plenty of fights where all the pressure has been on him given his stature in the WEC and he’s headlined a PPV before. If there’s any concern with Faber, it’s that this is a trap fight for him. If he beats Wineland, he’s likely making plans to spend a few weeks in Las Vegas to coach The Ultimate Fighter 14 opposite Dominick Cruz, thus setting up a WEC Bantamweight Title fight. Faber could finish Wineland by overwhelming him with strikes, catching him in a submission, or winning a decision by being more active in all positions.
A lot of people seem to be overlooking Wineland, and while I understand given Faber’s track record, Wineland definitely has a chance in this fight as long as he can keep it standing. I don’t think he’ll be able to do that though simply because Faber is so great at getting inside and just outworking his opponents in the clinch in order to set up better positions for himself. The first round might be a little slow but Faber will turn it up in the second round, find the neck of Wineland, and put him to sleep.
Prediction: Urijah Faber to defeat Eddie Wineland via Submission in Round Two
Lightweight Fight: Kamal Shalorus vs. Jim Miller
Still battling for respect and a crack at one of the top guys, Jim Miller takes on former WEC lightweight standout, the undefeated Kamal Shalorus.
Shalorus has a very high opinion of himself and with pretty good reason. He’s not a very technical striker but every time he swings, it’s with bad intentions. He likes to lead with a left hook and then put a wild right behind it. An underrated part of his game is his leg kicks. He throws very heavy leg kicks, and while he doesn’t always set them up well and he drops his hands when he throws them, he’s unafraid to throw them because he trusts his chin and takedown defense. His striking defense is very suspect. Because he throws punches from wide angle, he can easily be countered with a straight punch. He also leaves his hands low, especially as the fight wears on. Shalorus has gone on record as to saying that he’s the best wrestler in the division and that no one can take him down. His takedown defense is very good and his takedown attempts are good, especially early. On top, he doesn’t need much space to work. He throws a lot of right hands and mixes up his attack from the body to the head. When he’s able to get space on the ground, like on the feet, he throws with heavy power. We haven’t seen much of his submission game in his MMA career but he has competed in high level grappling tournaments and held his own. That said, if he finds himself on his back against Miller, I don’t think he’ll have much success. Shalorus’ biggest problem has always been his cardio. He looks great in the first round but as the fight drags on, he fades. A lot of that has to do with the fact that he puts everything into his strikes. If Shalorus could learn to pace himself, he could be extra dangerous but because of his style, he’s dangerous for the first five minutes and then begins to fade. Shalorus will look to take the fight to Miller. He’ll throw his power punches, look for the takedown, and then work from there. Shalorus would be well advised to try and slow things down a bit by clinching with Miller and imposing his will against the cage but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that happening. Shalorus could finish Miller with strikes if he catches him clean with one of those powerful right hands or win a decision if he wins round one and can find a way to win round two or three.
Miller has often been overlooked in the lightweight division but after his quick victory over Charles Oliveira, people are starting to take notice. Miller’s striking has improved a lot of the years. He stands southpaw, has an effective jab, and a nice straight left. Often times he leads with his straight left and then puts a right hook behind it. He uses kicks and when he does, he’ll use an inside leg kick to get the distance and set things up and then he’ll use an outside leg kick to end his punch combinations. Miller is a wrestler by trade and while he’s a good wrestler, he’s not great. He has a quick shot but he’s a tad small for the division and he can’t finish his takedowns on guys who are also good wrestlers. Miller will probably have trouble getting Shalorus down early but if he can, Shalorus will be in a lot of trouble. Miller’s ground game is very underrated. He surprised a lot of people with his kneebar on Oliveira but Miller has always loved to go for kneebars on the ground. If Miller can get this fight to the ground, whether he is on top or on his back, he’s going to go for a kneebar. Miller is a guy who can go 15 hard minutes and not get tired so expect him to push a very strong and quick pace in this fight. He’ll need to weather an early storm from Shalorus and he may end up losing the first round. Maybe he uses the “rope a dope” strategy in the first round. Let Shalorus wear himself out with heavy punches and takedowns and then take over in the second and third round. Miller will likely want to keep this fight on the feet. He’ll use his speed and straight punches to get in and get out on Shalorus, all while avoiding the power hooks. He’ll look for takedowns but I don’t think he’ll have much success in that department. Miller might be able to overwhelm Shalorus with strikes late in the fight, he could catch him with a submission at any time, or he could win a decision via conditioning.
This will be a much tougher fight for Miller than a lot of people expect. Shalorus’ power and wrestling make him a dangerous opponent and even though Miller is the more well-rounded fighter, Shalorus will give him trouble. That said, I like Miller in this fight because of his conditioning and speed. Shalorus might win the first round but Miller will turn it up in the second and third and just overwhelm Shalorus. Shalorus is tough to finish but Miller should be able to win a decision if he stays aggressive throughout the fight.
Prediction: Jim Miller to defeat Kamal Shalorus via Decision
Middleweight Fight: Dan Miller vs. Nate Marquardt
Originally scheduled to fight Nick Catone on the undercard, Dan Miller fills in for Yoshihiro Akiyama (who I wish well during this time tough time) against former title contender Nate Marquardt.
After a rough patch and three straight losses, Miller has bounced back to post back to back wins. He’s a decent striker who likes to move his head but it’s more for show than anything. He throws a nice left hook-right uppercut-left hook combo and has a solid straight right as well. Miller’s biggest problem on the feet is that he’s a little too willing to stay in the pocket and exchange. If he’d get in and get out like his brother does, he’d probably be more successful. Instead he’ll hang around after he’s thrown and a lot of times he’ll get tagged with a right hand. Miller is a good wrestler and what I like about him is that he drives through on his takedowns. Miller will have to watch out for the guillotine of Marquardt though when he goes for the takedown. Miller has a very controlling and active top game. He’s content on staying in guard and just grinding out his opponents from there. On top he likes to punch with his right hand and elbow with his left arm. On bottom, when he’s not trying to push his opponent away to get up, he’ll be looking to set up a triangle choke. While Miller is taking this particular fight on short notice, he’s not taking a fight on short notice. Miller was originally training to be on this card, when he got the call a week ago to fight Marquardt. While Marquardt is a higher caliber opponent than Catone, it’s not like Miller was pulled off the couch a week ago to fight. Miller needs to pressure Marquardt in this fight. Marquardt doesn’t do well when he’s moving backwards so Miller needs to stay in his face with punches. Miller should also look to get the fight into the clinch and rough up Marquardt from there, before going for a takedown. Marquardt is tough to finish but Miller could lock on a submission, likely a triangle of guillotine, but his best route to victory is winning a decision by being more aggressive and out-grappling Marquardt.
Marquardt was one win away from another crack at Anderson Silva but now he has to work his way back up. Marquardt is a powerful striker and solid technically but he hasn’t been throwing many combinations as of late and he’s been over-relying on his right hand. He has a deadly quick and accurate straight right but he doesn’t set it up well and he hasn’t been following with anything either. Marquardt is a solid wrestler although his takedown defense is a bit suspect. Instead of defending the takedown attempt, he looks to grab a guillotine. He has a decent top game and likes to strike try and overwhelm his opponents with strikes but he’s become way too passive as of late. He’s not much of a threat off his back although he is good at getting to his feet when he’s on the bottom and he throws a lot of elbows off his back, which is something that Miller had trouble handling against Joe Doerksen. Marquardt gets handled in the clinch a lot but one thing he does well is throw a strong knee to the body. Before Dana White called Marquardt a “choke artist” following his loss to Yushin Okami, I questioned Marquardt’s mental toughness. I don’t think Marquardt is a bad fighter but I think he’s been way too passive in a lot of fights and that really came to light against Okami. Marquardt needs to get back to that aggressive style that he displayed against Martin Kampmann and Wilson Gouveia. He needs to stop relying so much on his straight right and start throwing head kicks and left hooks again. He needs to get off first with his strikes and also look to takedown Miller. While Miller is a good wrestler, he, a lot like Marquardt, likes to grab a guillotine rather than defend the takedown. So Marquardt could get Miller down, avoid the guillotine, and then he’s best off standing in the guard of Miller and winging down punches. Miller is extremely tough to finish but if Marquardt can land his straight right flush, he could definitely put Miller down. If not then he’ll have to settle for a decision victory, which can be achieved by out-striking Miller and landing timely takedowns.
This is a very tough fight to call. I’ve always liked Miller and thought he was underrated by a lot of people but he’s struggled against top guys in the UFC. Marquardt is a top guy but I don’t know which version of Marquardt will show up. If he shows up with something to prove, he’ll win but if he shows up feeling sorry for himself because he’s facing a guy who was on the prelims and still feeling like he won the Okami fight then he’s going to lose. I’ll go with Marquardt because I think he’ll show up with some fire in his eyes, looking to make a statement. I think he’ll be able to tag Miller on the feet, rough him up on the ground, and win a comfortable decision.
Prediction: Nate Marquardt to defeat Dan Miller via Decision
Heavyweight Fight: Brendan Schaub vs. Mirko “Cro Cop”
Trying to continue his rise to the top, Brendan Schaub aims to knock off MMA legend Mirko “Cro Cop,” who is out to prove that he has one more run left in the tank.
After losing to Roy Nelson in The Ultimate Fighter 10, Schaub has not-so-quietly won three fights in a row. He’s primarily a striker, he moves well, and he hits hard. He pumps a nice stiff jab and a lot of times he likes to double up on his jab and then put a straight right behind it. He’s almost exclusively a boxer though as he rarely throws kicks. He gets in and out quickly although he is very willing to stay in the pocket and throw down. Defensively he keeps his hands a little lower than he should but he’s able to get away with it for the most part due to his speed. He doesn’t check leg kicks though, and if Mirko decides to unleash them in this fight, Schaub could be in trouble. Schaub has solid takedown defense, thanks in large part to his quick hips. He’s also good at getting up off his back. He is one of the few guys who were able to get the moon off of him on December 5, 2009. Otherwise his ground game is largely untested and I doubt Mirko will be the guy to test him. Schaub needs to use his speed and strength in this fight. He’s deceptively strong and if he so chooses, he could probably bully Mirko in the clinch, where Mirko has always had a lot of trouble, especially in recent years. Mirko’s chin is very questionable at this point in his career so we should all expect Schaub to test that chin early and often. Schaub will look to be the aggressor in this fight and press Mirko, who has never reacted well to pressure. Schaub needs to set a high pace, not let Mirko rest, and use his speed to get in and out. Schaub has the power and Mirko has the lack of chin for Schaub to end this fight with one punch or Schaub could win a decision if he out-strikes Mirko but can’t finish him in 15 minutes.
At the age of 36 and with nearly 40 MMA fights under his belt, Mirko isn’t going to change his game. He’s still a southpaw and a deadly accurate striker. He throws a nice straight left hand, which is set up by a right hook, and his kicks are powerful if they land. The problem for Mirko is that he’s old in MMA age and he’s been in a lot of wars in his career. Because of this, he doesn’t move as fast as he once did and because he’s still relatively predictable with his striking, his opponents have an easy time moving away or getting off on him first. Mirko used to have a saying, “right leg hospital, left leg cemetery.” The joke now is “right leg band-aid, left leg robitussin.” There is more to Mirko than his striking though. His takedown defense is very good and if he can get on top, he has vicious ground and pound. Unfortunately he rarely tries to get on top of his opponents unless he’s knocked them down. Granted he doesn’t have the greatest wrestling in the world but the element of “holy crap, Mirko tried a takedown” could work for him. Before every Mirko fight, we always hear, “the fire is back in Mirko” or some variation of that. I don’t doubt Mirko’s desire to want to compete and win in the UFC, and if he’s fighting for money and not because he wants to, he should have retired a long time ago. But fighters can still want to compete and just not have it anymore. Mirko can’t be the “Cro Cop of PRIDE” in this fight because the “Cro Cop” of PRIDE was younger, much hungrier, and faster. He needs to almost re-invent himself, which I don’t think he’ll be able to do. He can’t rely on his usual “right hook-left straight” combo or his left high kick with little to no set up. He needs to get back to throwing body and leg kicks and he needs to try a takedown because who the hell expects Mirko to try a takedown? He could even switch to an orthodox stance for a short time, just to give Schaub a different look. If he’s going to be the same old Mirko though, he could at least try and throw in more leg kicks because Schaub doesn’t check them. He also needs to avoid the clinch, unless he didn’t get enough ear candy from Frank Mir in his last fight. Above all else though, Mirko needs to be the aggressor. He’s at his best when others are backpedaling from him, not when he’s backpedaling from others. Mirko still has power in his strikes and if he catches Schaub, he could end his night. It’s also possible that Mirko wins a decision if he can land the more damaging strikes.
As much as every old-school MMA fan wants Mirko to return to form, I just don’t see it happening. If I had faith that Mirko would come out and re-invent his game, then I’d give him a chance in this fight, even if I don’t trust his chin. I just don’t have that faith. I think Schaub uses his speed, avoids the left straight, and eventually puts a power right hand on Mirko’s fading chin.
Prediction: Brendan Schaub to defeat Mirko “Cro Cop” via TKO in Round One
Preliminary Fight Predictions
*Luiz Cane to defeat Eliot Marshall via TKO in Round Two
*Edson Barboza to defeat Anthony Njokuani via TKO in Round One
*Mike Pyle to defeat Ricardo Almeida via Decision
*Gleison Tibau to defeat Kurt Pellegrino via Decision
*joseph Benavidez to defeat Ian Loveland via Submission in Round One
*Erik Koch to defeat Raphael Assuncao via Decision
*Nick Catone to defeat Costantinos Phillipou via Submission in Round One
This is an absolutely stacked card, folks. When one of the best bantamweights in the world, Joseph Benavidez, can’t even crack the Facebook prelim card (which is an absolute joke, although I suspect his fight will air on SpikeTV or PPV) then you know a card is stacked. It’s a huge night on Saturday with six straight hours of live fights, including a one-hour overlap with Bellator and the UFC Facebook fights. Enjoy the fights and get ready for The After Party.