It’s been a while my friends, did you miss me? I haven’t posted for a couple months due to the insane stress of final exams as well as a minor heart surgery, but now I’m back to 100% and ready to give you my two cents on this weekend’s upcoming UFC card.
Joe Silva and the rest of the UFC’s matchmakers have done a solid job putting together a number of exciting bouts in a Cable TV broadcast, which has been a challenge in the past. If you can’t watch this showcase live on Friday, DVR it because it might be the best free card of the summer.
Let’s start from the top and move down, shall we?
Gray Maynard vs. Clay Guida
A battle between two of the division’s top wrestlers pits a powerful All-American out of Michigan State in Maynard against a tenacious takedown artist in Guida. Both combatants have faced top competition and produced amazing fights, including a combined seven Fight of the Night and three Fight of the Year honors.
While both men will surely give it their all, I feel Maynard is superior in most all facets of his game to Guida. His 85 percent takedown defense shows he can keep off his back, which is where Guida will try to plant the former lightweight title contender. If Maynard can take Guida down, his superior top control should lead to a solid unanimous decision triumph.
Prediction: Maynard def. Guida via decision
Sam Stout vs. Spencer Fisher
The all-important rubber match of a classic trilogy matches Canadian kickboxer Sam Stout against a high-pace brawler in Spencer Fisher. The pair is 1-1 with two decisions going to either man, including an epic bout on UFC Fight Night in 2007 that was selected one of the 100 greatest fights in UFC history. The two haven’t faced off since that date while cementing themselves as the division’s gatekeepers.
This will surely be another standup war between the two fighters, but father time has made its impact on Fisher. A loser of four of his last five bouts, the 36-year-old is near the end of his career while the 28-year-old Stout still seems to be going strong. If Fisher has one good fight left in him, he’ll give it here against a foe he respects. However, Stout’s superior youth, reach, and takedown defense should provide this striker from north of the border his seventh win inside the Octagon, most likely going to distance for the ninth time since 2008.
Prediction: Stout def. Fisher via decision
Brian Ebersole vs. TJ Waldburger
One of the night’s more intriguing matchups puts Brian Ebersole, an MMA veteran with 65 bouts in six different countries, against TJ Waldburger, a BJJ brown belt coming off a pair of first-round submission wins. Both fighters have taken on their share of tough competition, with Ebersole beating a who’s who of former UFC talents and Waldburger holding submission victories over Pete Spratt and Shannon Ritch.
This fights matches up a fighter in Ebersole who has never been KO/TKO’d against Waldburger who has never been submitted. Another interesting matchup to look at is Ebersole’s 85 percent takedown defense vs. Waldburger’s 77% takedown success rate. This bout is a coin flip in my book, but I feel Ebersole’s nine submission losses are too much of a liability against a submission artist. If Waldburger gets Ebersole to the mat, look for him to finish the bout quickly.
Prediction: Waldburger def. Ebersole via submission
Ross Pearson vs. Cub Swanson
This cross-Atlantic showdown matches an excellent striker who can grapple in Pearson against an excellent grappler who can strike in Swanson. Both fighters have had their share of success, with Pearson being the TUF Season 9 lightweight winner and Swanson as a three-time Fight of the Night winner during his time in the WEC.
Swanson showed an improved standup game in his KO win over George Roop in January, but Pearson is a well-rounded striker with a black belt in Taekwondo. He also holds the rank of brown belt in Judo, which shows in his 79 percent takedown defense. If Pearson makes this into a kickboxing match, which I feel he will, expect Swanson to succumb to strikes in an action-packed bout.
Prediction: Pearson def. Swanson via TKO
For the undercard, I’ll provide a brief summary of how I feel the fight will play out along with my picks.
Hatsu Hioki vs. Ricardo Lamas
Hioki’s superior ground game should help propel Japan’s top pound-for-pound fighter to victory over a solid BJJ specialist in Lamas. Prediction: Hioki by decision.
Ramsey Nijem vs. C.J. Keith
TUF 13’s runner-up faces a tough test in Army veteran C.J. Keith, but Nijem’s solid wrestling should help bring down his lanky opponent and lead to a gritty ground victory. Prediction: Nijem by TKO
Steven Siler vs. Joey Gambino
Siler, who is 15-2 since mid-2007, should be a tough test for unbeaten prospect Joey Gambino. He’ll be a mainstay in the UFC’s featherweight division someday, but Siler is too experienced and long for the young New Yorker just yet. Prediction: Siler by submission
Rick Story vs. Brock Jardine
“The Horror” Story has had success against wrestlers in the past (see his win vs. Johny Hendricks), but the power-punching grappler Jardine will should put up a good fight in a losing effort. Prediction: Story by decision
Nick Catone vs. Chris Camozzi
Catone hasn’t fought in 15 months, so the layer of ring rust should be fairly thick. Look for Camozzi to use his Muay Thai skills and land a knockout blow on the former D-1 wrestler. Prediction: Camozzi by KO
Matt Brown vs. Luis Ramos
Brown may have an iron will to go along with his iron chin, but the veteran has had cardio issues in his last few fights. Ramos is a Nova Uniao trained fighter who has worked with Vale Tudo legend Marco Ruas in the past, so I see him being prepared for his return to the Octagon. Prediction: Ramos by decision
Dan Miller vs. Ricardo Funch
UFC title contender Jim Miller’s older brother is an excellent gatekeeper for his division, defeating lesser talent regularly while falling to the sport’s better fighters. Funch is hoping to earn his first Octagon win, losing his first three tries. Make it four. Prediction: Miller by TKO
Ken Stone vs. Dustin Pague
Stone is a tenacious grappler who has shown excellent takedowns and chokes in his previous fights. On the other hand, Pague fought just a few weeks ago and has the lanky body type that lends itself to being taken down easily. Score one for the wrestler. Prediction: Stone by submission
Thanks everyone for reading my blog. You can follow me on twitter for more prognostication at @LucasKinser or look me up on Facebook. Have a great day and keep the sport growing!