Diamonds are forever ... but so are zombies. Funny how that works out.
In an effort to solve this conundrum, featherweight contenders Chan Sung Jung and Dustin Poirier will headline UFC on FUEL TV 3 this coming Tues., May 15, 2012, at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Virginia. The winner will likely earn a title shot.
But, before all that, we've got a stacked set of "Prelims" loaded with up-and-coming talent and rising stars, set to be shown on Facebook. Yesterday, we looked closely at the first three fights lined up for the Facebook portion of the broadcast. Dive in after the jump for part two of our UFC on Fuel TV 3 "Prelims" breakdown:
135 lbs.: Jeff "The Big Frog" Curran (33-14-1) vs. Johnny Eduardo (25-9)
With his little brother devouring the Bellator featherweight division and making it look easy, "The Big Frog" looked to do the same 10 pounds south, but was stymied by the wrestling chops of Scott Jorgensen back at UFC 137. Now winless in his last five ZUFFA appearances, the respected submission specialist could very well need a victory just to remain gainfully employed with the world's largest fight promotion.
Fighting out of the Nova Uniao camp that has taken the lighter divisions by storm, Eduardo got the UFC’s attention with an 11-fight winning streak dating back to 2008. He was booked opposite Raphael Assuncao in the latter’s bantamweight debut but, despite his impressive credentials, fell before Assuncao’s aggressive grappling attack, dropping a clear cut unanimous division. With almost 16 years of experience and fights against the likes of Takanori Gomi, Eduardo is one of the most well-traveled veterans in the organization, but he desperately needs a victory this Tuesday.
Stats almost never tell the whole story, and Eduardo’s last defeat in this fashion was around four years ago, but I just can’t ignore seven submission losses, especially against someone with the grappling chops of Curran. No, he still isn’t a threat in the stand-up, but Assuncao wasn’t either and he found considerable success dragging Eduardo to the floor despite the vaunted Nova Uniao takedown defense. Curran’s not a top tier wrestler by any stretch of the imagination, but he should have the goods to bring Eduardo down.
Curran isn’t elite and will most likely never crack the top 10. Against someone like Eduardo, though, he has an opportunity to shine, and after some back-and-forth action, will latch onto Eduardo’s back and squeeze the life out of him, exploiting his ring rust and insufficient takedown defense to finally pick up his first UFC victory.
Prediction: Curran via second-round submission
155 lbs.: Cody "AK Kid" McKenzie (12-2) vs. Marcus "The Prospect" LeVesseur (21-5)
Famed for his murderous guillotine, Team Georges St. Pierre member Cody McKenzie produced one of the most amusing moments in The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) history when he put Team Josh Koscheck’s top pick, Marc Stevens, to sleep in less than 30 seconds with his signature technique. After being battered by Nam Phan, however, McKenzie has had trouble replicating that success, suffering consecutive submission defeats to Vagner Rocha and Yves Edwards after winning his UFC debut. If he can’t get past the debuting LeVesseur, he and his "McKenzietine" could very well find themselves out of a job.
Replacing Aaron Riley on short notice, standout wrestler Marcus LeVesseur was unbeaten throughout his collegiate career, taking home four Division III national titles and graduating with an incredible 155-0 record -- he even defeated Ben Askren in high school. He has won six of his last seven MMA bouts, falling only to Dakota Cochrane in that time. With his impressive credentials and proven stopping power, LeVesseur could have a bright future ahead of him if he gets his foot in the door with a win over McKenzie.
McKenzie is an interesting character with a nasty signature move. The problem, of course, is that he has no game besides the guillotine.
I consider developing a signature move an integral part of fighting; not only do you have something to turn to in dire straits, it opens up countless other techniques when the opponent becomes fixated on it. Cody, however, hasn’t expanded his game in this fashion. His takedowns stink and his striking is pathetic.
Really, this is about as bad a match-up as you can get for him. LeVesseur has solid stand-up and there’s pretty much no way in hell Cody’s going to take him down. Really, his only hope is that Marcus dives headfirst into that nasty guillotine, but I’m pretty sure that’s not happening. Expect Marcus to batter Cody with his hard leg kicks before swarming his exhausted foe and securing a late stoppage.
Prediction: LeVesseur via third-round TKO
185 lbs.: Brad Tavares (7-1) vs. Dongi "The Ox" Yang (10-2)
After an impressive run on TUF that saw him make it to the semifinals before falling to eventual winner Court McGee, Tavares put together two solid wins in the UFC before losing a narrow decision to Aaron Simpson in a fight that saw him match the vaunted wrestler’s grappling abilities impressively. Unfortunately, injuries torpedoed a UFC 137 clash with Tim Credeur, and Tavares will be competing for the first time in ten months come Tuesday. If he can put the durable "Ox" away, though, he could find himself right back on track towards the division’s elite.
A murderous power-puncher, Yang has yet to have a boring fight in the UFC despite going 1-2. He gave veterans Chris Camozzi and Court McGee everything they could handle and put Rob Kimmons away decisively with ground-and-pound. He’ll be out to improve his record against TUF 11 competitors to 2-1 and make his headlining teammate proud against Tavares.
I won’t deny that I’m fond of Yang, but I’m picking him based on his skills. He’s got a solid base that should keep him upright, and considering the kind of power he’s got in his hands, that spells bad times for Tavares. The American may have some luck bringing it to the ground or working in the clinch if he can stay alive for three rounds, but I expect the heavy fists of "The Ox" to come into play before that has a chance to happen. Look for Yang to clip Tavares early on and unload his vicious ground-and-pound for an emphatic stoppage.
Prediction: Yang via first-round TKO
Nothing like some good mid-week fighting to help carry you to the weekend. See you Tuesday, Maniacs.
Remember, too, that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE blow-by-blow, round-by-round coverage of UFC on Fuel TV 3, beginning with the "Prelims" bouts on Facebook scheduled for around 5 p.m. ET. In addition, we will also provide LIVE, real-time results of the main card action as it happens throughout the evening this upcoming Tuesday.