Time for round ... well, the rest of round one.
After headlining the first trip for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) to the FOX Sports network in a fight that wound up lasting little more than one minute, Cain Velasquez looks to settle the score against reigning champion Junior dos Santos in a rematch a long time coming.
In addition, UFC 155: "Dos Santos vs. Velasquez 2," which is scheduled to take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 29, 2012, two lethal submission specialists will go to war as Jim Miller takes on Joe Lauzon in the co-main event.
And let's remember that Tim Boetsch and Alan Belcher will look to continue their surprising runs in the middleweight elite at the expenses of Constantinos Philippou and Yushin Okami, respectively, on the pay-per-view (PPV) main card.
Yesterday, we previewed the first three bouts that comprise the initial UFC 155 Facebook portion of the "Prelims" under card right here. Today, we share breakdowns of the remaining four that will air live -- and for free -- on FX before PPV-televised event starts at 10 p.m. ET.
Let's get cracking:
155 lbs.: Melvin Guillard vs. Jamie Varner
Despite looking fit to take on the entire lightweight division at once after stompings of Evan Dunham and Shane Roller, the mixed martial arts (MMA) career of Melvin Guillard (30-11-2) career can best be described by the sad little farting sound that comes out of a balloon when you slowly let air out of it.
Consecutive submission losses to Joe Lauzon and Jim Miller followed, then a rather pathetic decision win over Fabricio Camoes. Things were looking up in the first 10 seconds of his most recent fight against Donald Cerrone when he dropped "Cowboy" with a counter left hook, but a shin upside the head and a follow-up right hand ended his comeback hopes in a hurry.
"The Young Assassin" was 8-1 in his precious nine before his current slump.
Jamie Varner (20-7-1), a former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) champion, was written off as little more than cannon fodder for Edson Barboza when he was tabbed to replace Dunham on short notice against the Brazilian destroyer. Unfazed, "C-4" went on to destroy Barboza in the first round before battling Joe Lauzon in 2012’s potential "Fight of the Year," falling via late triangle choke.
Varner was originally scheduled to face Guillard on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 16 Finale, but fell ill just hours before they were set to fight.
Flu or no flu, I can’t see this as being anything other than an easy win for Varner. He’s tough enough to eat a bowl of nails for breakfast without any milk, he can probably takedown Guillard from halfway across the cage, and he hits more than hard enough to put him to sleep.
It’s almost painful to watch Guillard at this point -- he’s an absolute physical monster saddled with the fight IQ of a particularly dim sponge. If he fights a smart fight, there aren’t many in the division who can beat him. He just won’t -- he’ll pour on the heat when he should back off and back off when he should pour on the heat.
Whether by knockout or submission, Varner will end Guillard’s UFC career in definitive fashion. You can’t fix stupid.
Prediction: Varner by first-round submission
135 lbs.: Brad Pickett vs. Eddie Wineland
While his return from a one-year layoff was unceremoniously shut down by Renan Barao, Brad Pickett (22-6) has been on fire in 2012, rocking and submitting Damacio Page in April and annihilating Yves Jabouin via uppercut in front of his countrymen in September.
With his back against the wall following back-to-back losses to Urijah Faber and Joseph Benavidez, former champion Eddie Wineland (19-8-1) delivered in a big way against Scott Jorgensen, blasting him into unconsciousness with a lovely 1-3-2 on FX.
Wineland, who has been finished just once in the last eight years, has finished all three of his latest wins via knockout.
I’m almost giddy for this fight because it’s going to kick all sorts of ass. Neither of these two guys is physically capable of being in a bad fight and both have the cardio to lay down the hurt for a full 15 minutes.
Wineland will lay down a little more.
Pickett is only one inch shorter than Wineland, but he fights small and lacks a jab, weaving his way in and exploding with hooks and uppercuts. The weakness of this style is and always will be longer guys who know how to fight long, which Wineland most certainly is. His footwork and head movement are top-notch and his straight punches are lethal.
Ordinarily, I’d point to Pickett’s wrestling as a trump card, but Wineland’s takedown defense has improved exponentially, ensuring that these two are going to bang it out.
It would not surprise me in the least if Pickett hurt Wineland on more than one occasion, but Eddie’s range and movement will be the key to a razor-close victory that probably earns "Fight of the Night."
Prediction: Wineland by split decision
135 lbs.: Erik Perez vs. Byron Bloodworth
A late replacement for Byron Bloodworth (6-2) opposite John Albert in June, Erik Perez (12-4) took full advantage of his opportunity, submitting TUF veteran after escaping a tight-looking rear-naked choke. "El Goyito" further impressed his second time out, crushing Ken Stone with a counter and putting him away in just 17 seconds at UFC 150.
The Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA-trained product, one of the few Mexican-born fighters on the roster, has seven tapouts to his credit.
In his UFC and Bantamweight debut, Bloodworth had the unfortunate task of welcoming Mike Easton to the UFC after two years away from the sport. He suffered the dual humiliations of missing weight and getting his sternum imploded by an Easton knee.
Bloodworth has not competed since that Oct. 2011 bout, as injury scuttled a match with the aforementioned Albert this past June.
Perez really deserves better than this -- his two finishes so far have been spectacular. And, while Albert and Stone have proven vulnerable to submissions and knockouts, respectively, I still consider him a solid talent, especially since he’s only 23 years old. Bloodworth is less experienced, hasn’t fought in a year, and has demonstrated no exceptional talent in any facet of MMA so far.
Things might be close in the early going, but Bloodworth’s ring rust and Perez’s grappling superiority will result in a tired Bloodworth tapping out to a rear-naked choke sometime in the second round.
Prediction: Perez by second-round submission
155 lbs.: Michael Johnson vs. Myles Jury
Since cardio issues cost him a win on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 12 Finale, Michael Johnson (12-6) has reinvented himself under the tutelage of the Blackzillians camp, going 4-1 with upset wins over Shane Roller and TUF 13 winnerAnthony Ferguson. Most recently, "The Menace" bounced back from a disastrous first round to put Team Alpha Male'sDanny Castillo to sleep on UFC on FX 5.
Johnson will have fought four times in 2012 after the fight with "Fury."
With nine first-round finishes -- four in the first minute -- Myles Jury (10-0) entered TUF 15 with some momentum. After a less-than-stellar win in the elimination round, however, Jury found his run cut short by eventual finalist Al Iaquinta, who defeated him by split decision. Jury righted the ship with a guillotine submission of Chris Saunders on the Finale, remaining undefeated in professional fights.
Six of his victories have come by submission.
Jury's record is gaudy, but his performance on the show is a pretty clear sign that he's not the killer it says he is. His striking and submission games are decent, but those finishes were a byproduct of weak opposition rather than exceptional skill on his part.
Submissions may be Johnson's Achilles' Heel, but he's developed the footwork and takedown defense to make that a non-issue against Jury. Plus, he's finally got the gas tank he was lacking on the show, while "Fury" has yet to leave the first round.
Johnson should take control of the bout early on and never lose it, potshotting and avoiding the takedowns of an increasingly-tired Jury en route to a dominant decision victory.
Prediction: Johnson by unanimous decision
It's not often you get to see the two best heavyweights on the planet go at it. It's really not often you get to see them do it twice.
See you Saturday, Maniacs.
Remember that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the main card action on fight night (Sat., Dec. 29, 2012), which is slated to air at 10 p.m. ET on PPV. The latest quick updates of the live action will begin to flow earlier than that around 6:30 p.m. ET with the "Prelims" bouts on Facebook and FX Channel.