I do my fair share of lurking around the mixed martial arts (MMA) blogosphere, mostly laughing haughtily at other sites' feeble attempts to be as awesome as MMAmania.com. One thing I did genuinely enjoy, however, was CagePotato's "The New Guys" section before Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) events, which I haven't seen in some time.
Therefore, I'm bringing it back for one night only this evening.
Seeing as I have some time to kill, and being a model employee (I totally am ... seriously), I thought I'd dig a little deeper into UFC on FUEL TV 6: "Franklin vs. Le," which is scheduled to take place at the Venetian Macao Resort Hotel in Macao, China.
And I'm talking much deeper than my amazing "Prelims" preview that I shared last night right here.
Follow me for a closer look at the notable fighters making their official Octagon debuts this weekend below:
Fights Out of: The Arena
Notable Wins: Eduard Folayang
Fighting: Tiequan Zhang
History: Most of you have probably only seen Tuck’s fight with Al Iaquinta in the elimination rounds of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 15, during which he badly damaged his toe (see the gnarly pic here), but survived to a decision loss. What you may not know is that Tuck -- the promotion’s first Guamanian fighter -- has yet to go past the first round as a professional, splitting his wins between knockouts and submissions. As mentioned above, he defeated ONE FC standout Eduard Folayang, crushing the Filipino bruiser in just eight seconds.
Tuck packs big power and is a high-level brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, making him dangerous wherever the fight goes. The big question mark, aside from his cardio, is his wrestling, as the "beat ‘em up on the feet, submit them off my back" archetype endemic to the Asian and European scenes has historically struggled in the UFC.
Chances of Victory: High. The only conceivable area where Zhang has an advantage is in his guillotine, but his shaky wrestling, poor cardio and nonexistent striking will basically leave him more and more at Tuck’s mercy as the fight progresses. Plus, Tuck is by far the better overall grappler, meaning he can beat Zhang no matter where the fight goes. Unless he dives headlong into Zhang’s guillotine, he should come out on top.
Strange, why did I get a horrible sense of deja vu when typing that? Eh, it’s probably nothing.
Tuck in Action:
Fights Out of: Cobra Kai MMA Dojo
Notable Wins: Shunichi Shimizu
Fighting: Alex Caceres
History: One of Japan’s top Bantamweight prospects, Tezuka has been on an absolute tear since suffering two submission losses in three fights in 2008, going 13-1-2 with his sole loss a split decision to current King of Pancrase Shintaro Ishiwatari.
Tezuka’s strength lies in his grappling. And while not the greatest finisher, he’s highly aggressive on the ground, occasionally to his own detriment. His stand up is mediocre, but his wrestling is solid, particularly in the scrambles he inevitably finds himself in. Considering Caceres’ own scrambling abilities, this has the potential to be a high-octane grappling match.
Chances of Victory: Low to moderate. Caceres’ biggest weakness is almost certainly his takedown defense, which he has so far compensated for with an active guard. Should Tezuka get him to the ground, however, he should be able to stay out of harm’s way.
The issue is that he’s taking this fight on a week’s notice as Kyung Ho Kang's replacement and, to my knowledge, has never fought in a cage, offsetting what homefield advantage he might have. Happy as it would make me to see another Japanese fighter score a victory, the more likely outcome is a "Bruce Leeroy" striking clinic. If you can get Tezuka at +250 or better, though, the possibility of him coming out on top in a grappling match is worth the gamble.
Tezuka in Action:
Hyun Gyu Lim
Fights Out of: Korean Top Team
Notable Wins: Lucio Linhares
Fighting: David Mitchell
History: Since dropping two fights in two months in the winter of 2008, Lim has looked unstoppable, reeling off five consecutive first-round finishes with four coming by way of (technical) knockout. Training alongside the likes of Dongi Yang and the "Korean Zombie," all but one of "The Ace’s" victories have come inside the distance.
Let me put it in Disney terms: Lim is roughly the size of a barge. At 6'2" with a 79-inch reach, he may be the biggest Welterweight I've ever seen -- he makes "Stun Gun" Dong Hyun Kim look like a Lightweight.
He fights as big and strong as he looks, using long, heavy punches and vicious knees to batter his foes into paste. While two of his losses have come by submission, he has reportedly won national grappling tournaments at Heavyweight and, with training partners like Jung, is in as good a place as any to improve on the mat.
Chances of Victory: High. Even ignoring Lim’s physical advantages, Mitchell is coming in on short notice, hasn’t fought in more than one year, and doesn’t have great wrestling. Plus, he’s a non-entity on the feet, which is a pretty big liability to have against a bruiser like "Ace."
In short, LIM SMASH.
Lim in Action:
-via blog.naver.com, posted by Lim's manager.
That's a wrap for our brief UFC on Fuel TV 6 prospect preview.
Be sure to check them out, as well as the rest of the "Franklin vs. Le" field this weekend LIVE on Facebook and FUEL TV, beginning early on Saturday around 7 a.m. ET.
Remember, too, that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE blow-by-blow, round-by-round coverage of UFC on FUEL TV 6: "Franklin vs. Le," beginning with the "Prelims" bouts on Facebook scheduled for around 7 a.m. ET. In addition, we will also provide LIVE, real-time results of the main card action as it happens throughout the early morning this upcoming Saturday.