Anyone missing their weekly dose of mixed martial arts (MMA) violence?
Fear not, Maniacs, our weeks-long drought of upper-echelon ass-kicking ends this weekend (Sat., April 14, 2012), when Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) storms into Stockholm, Sweden, for the first time ever with UFC on FUEL TV 2.
In the main event, 205-pound mangling machines Alexander Gustafsson and Thiago Silva go head-to-head with a place in the Light Heavyweight elite on the line, while Brian Stann and Alessio Sakara wait impatiently on deck to light up their a Middleweight slugfest.
We took a deep dive into the first three UFC on Fuel TV "Prelims" bouts yesterday right here. Now join us after the jump for breakdowns of the remaining three that will stream live -- and for free -- on Facebook from the Ericsson Globe Arena:
170 lbs.: Papy Abedi vs. James Head
One of the most highly-regarded European prospects this side of Alexander Gustafsson, hard-hitting Judo specialist Papy Abedi (8-1) turned heads by tearing through the local Middleweight divisions like wet tissue paper, all this despite standing a measly 5’11." Dropping to a more reasonable weight of 170 pounds, "Makambo" was immediately hurtled into the thick of things in his UFC debut, taking on the vicious Thiago Alves. While Abedi did well for himself in the early going, he was rocked badly near the middle of the first round and wound up giving his back, which Alves pounced upon for a rear naked choke finish.
Against James Head (7-2) this weekend, he has a chance to prove that his reign of terror was reflective of his own prowess and not his opponents’ lack thereof.
Head caught the attention of the UFC by stunning the freshly (and many thought unjustly)-cut Gerald Harris, defeating the recognized contender by unanimous decision. Sadly, Nick Ring proved just too fabulous in Head’s Octagon debut, unceremoniously whooping Head’s behind for 13 minutes before sinking in a merciful rear naked choke. Like Abedi, Head has yet to live up to his potential on the biggest stage in MMA, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he were fighting for his job come Saturday.
While I still have questions regarding Abedi’s cardio, especially at this new weight class, Head had such a horrific UFC debut that I doubt it will become a factor. When Abedi is on, his combination of huge power and effective Judo are hard to match. He’s not Hector Lombard, but he’s got some real pop in his hands and should have the chops necessary to dictate where this fight goes.
Honestly, though, it probably doesn’t even matter. Head had absolutely nothing for Ring, who I consider mid-tier at best, and despite somehow managing to beat Harris, I don’t think he’ll have much more luck against Abedi. Cutting 15 more pounds than usual won’t make you any less helpless off your back or save you from Abedi’s sledgehammers. Abedi by hometown beatdown.
Prediction: Abedi via first-round technical knockout
205 lbs.: Cyrille Diabate vs. Tom DeBlass
One of the few men in MMA so devastating on the feet that Mauricio Rua elected to take him down rather than trade strikes, the 6’6" Cyrille Diabate (17-8-1) proved he still had some life in those old bones of his, coming back from a knockdown to pummel Luiz Cane into oblivion in his promotional debut. Unfortunately for the big Frenchman, however, Gustafsson was on deck, and the young Swede blasted Diabate on the feet before locking in a rear naked choke. Diabate has split his most recent bouts, crushing Steve Cantwell before getting choked out by Anthony Perosh.
At 38, there’s no telling how much time he’s got left, and as such, this may prove a career-critical bout for "Snake."
A Ricardo Almeida Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, well-regarded Tom DeBlass (7-0) has spent his entire career fighting under the Ring of Combat banner, where he is its Light Heavyweight champion. After defeating Randy Smith with a 40-second heel hook in February, DeBlass gets the opportunity to prove his mettle on the biggest stage in MMA, replacing injured kickboxer Jorgen Kruth on short notice.
On paper, the outlook looks rather bleak for DeBlass. Not only is he giving up seven inches to somebody who knows how to fight tall and has had significantly more time to prepare, but he also hasn’t fought outside of America. Unfortunately for Diabate, styles make fights.
Frankly speaking, Diabate’s ground game is awful. He’s used his length to submit inferior competition, but DeBlass is in another universe on the ground. In addition, DeBlass has solid stand up and wrestling, both of which are more than enough to set up "Snake" for a grappling beatdown. Diabate definitely has the power and skill to put away DeBlass with little warning, but he just doesn’t have the grappling to stay on his feet or stay alive once he’s taken off of them. DeBlass by pretzellation.
Prediction: DeBlass via submission in round one
185 lbs.: Francis Carmont vs. Magnus Cedenblad
A training partner of Georges St. Pierre, Francis Carmont (17-7) punched his ticket to the UFC with a solid five-fight streak, including a knockout of veteran Jason Day. "Limitless" proceeded to extend that streak to six with little difficulty, battering The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) veteran Chris Camozzi for three painful rounds. At 6’3," Carmont has proven very effective at using his height and length to pummel opponents at length, and should he derail the streaking Cedenblad, could find himself knocking on the door of the division’s upper echelon.
After losing his first two professional fights, Magnus Cedenblad (10-3) has been a man on a mission, winning 10 of his next 11 and seven of his last eight. Further cementing his status as one to watch, "Jycken" has finished nine of those opponents, seven in the first round. After trying out for TUF 13, but being denied after the show decided to only include welterweights, Cedenblad -- who also stands 6’3" -- finally has a chance to realize his dream against a dangerous opponent.
While a lack of any up-to-date footage has left me relatively clueless as to Cedenblad’s present abilities, Carmont’s ass-kicking of Camozzi makes me think he’ll have a very bad day. Carmont’s cage experience, superior training camp, and well-rounded skills should be enough to win him the day. I apologize for the brevity here, but I haven’t located any video of Cedenblad less than two years old. In any case, Cedenblad has a good resume, but doesn’t strike me as capable of overcoming Carmont.
Prediction: Carmont via unanimous decision
Hell, it’s about time we got some UFC. Been too damn long.
Remember, too, that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE blow-by-blow, round-by-round coverage of UFC on Fuel TV 2, beginning with the "Prelims" bouts on Facebook scheduled for around 12:30 p.m. ET. In addition, we will also provide LIVE, real-time results of the main card action as it happens throughout the afternoon this upcoming weekend.
See you Saturday, Maniacs.