Once more ... from the top.
After denying mixed martial arts (MMA) fans a mandated fourth round in the first fight between Ian McCall vs. Demetrious Johnson on account of scoring shenanigans at UFC on FX 2 earlier this year, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has elected to give us that extra stanza, as well as a potential fifth and sixth, as the two Flyweight standouts headline UFC on FX 3 this Friday (June 8, 2012).
In addition, Charlie Brenneman will look to put his thrashing at Anthony Johnson's hands even further behind him when he takes on Brazilian wunderkind Erick Silva in the co main event of the evening from the Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida..
Yesterday, we previewed the four bouts that comprise the FUEL TV portion of the "Prelims" under card right here. Today, we share breakdowns of the remaining four that will air live -- and for free -- on Facebook/FUEL TV this upcoming weekend.
Let's get cracking:
170 lbs.: Jake Hecht vs. Sean Pierson
*Note this fight will air live on Facebook (not FUEL TV) on fight night.
A wrestling specialist whose nickname I refuse to acknowledge (there is only one "Hitman" and his name is Thomas Hearns, dammit), Jake Hecht (11-3) came into the UFC an underdog against TUF 11 standout Rich Attonito. After dropping a grinding first round, however, he crumpled Attonito with standing elbows while "The Raging Bull" shot for a double. Sadly, his luck was not to last, as he was on the wrong end of a fantastic armbar from T.J. Waldburger at UFC on FX 2. Prior to that bout, his only loss since his debut was to UFC welterweight Che Mills and he has scored eight stoppage wins.
After slapping around Matt Riddle in his Octagon debut, Sean Pierson (11-6) proved both brave and of questionable judgement when he stepped in to face Jake Ellenberger on short notice. The former police officer lasted less than three minutes before eating a left hook to the temple and eating canvas. Things didn’t improve in his next bout, where "Pimp Daddy" dropped a clear-cut decision to "Stun Gun" Kim. Pierson had never won a decision before fighting Riddle and has a habit of ending things in the first round, but could definitely need an impressive win to stay employed.
I honestly think Pierson is actually a pretty solid fighter. While he didn’t manage to bring Kim down, his takedown defense proved solid enough for him to stay on his feet and his striking, while not fantastic, is pretty solid. Because of the types of opponents he’s fought, I have no idea whether his impressive finishing rate is due to poor opposition or legitimate skill, but he’s a pretty fun guy to watch.
Hecht, well, I am the ultimate advocate of "no such thing as a lucky knockout," but things like his win over Attonito make my position difficult to support at times. Attonito was beginning to have trouble bringing Hecht down as the fight went on, but he was clearly winning that fight.
Hecht has good wrestling, but not such that I think he’ll have much success bringing down Pierson, who should enjoy a sizeable advantage standing. Expect a frustrated Hecht to try and fail repeatedly to bring down Pierson before catching something unpleasant in return.
Prediction: Pierson via first-round technical knockout
155 lbs.: Henry Martinez vs. Bernardo Magalhaes
*Note this fight will air live on Facebook (not FUEL TV) on fight night.
A competitor with experience at featherweight, Henry Martinez (8-2) jumped up two weight classes to take on Matt Riddle at UFC 143 after Jorge Lopez was sidelined with injury. Impressively, the Team Jackson fighter put a hurting on the enormous Riddle, though a strong third round from the latter and some questionable judging left him on the wrong end of a split decision.
After winning the CFC Lightweight title, "Trekko" was riding high heading into his UFC debut, sitting on a solid five-fight win streak. Unfortunately for him, however, late replacement Tim Means was in no mood to be number six and put a spectacular hurting on the Australian-based jiu-jitsu specialist. With the enormity of his defeat and a rather fan-unfriendly style, Magalhaes could very well need a victory this Friday if he wants to stay employed.
Magalhaes isn’t a bad fighter in his area of expertise (top control), but he’s hideously one-dimensional; his wrestling is mediocre and his standup is absolutely atrocious. There is literally nobody in the lightweight division I’d take "Trekko" to beat in a standup affair, and while Riddle isn’t exactly the best litmus test for someone’s striking competence, Martinez should have a huge advantage there.
Basically, the one thing that will decide the fight is whether Magalhaes can take this fight to the ground. Riddle had some success late against Martinez, but Magalhaes doesn’t have the twenty or so pound weight advantage that Riddle did. The one thing that Magalhaes has for him in this fight is toughness, but all that will earn him is a very long, very unpleasant fight. Sprawl-and-brawl decision for Martinez.
Prediction: Martinez via unanimous decision
185 lbs.: Caio Magalhaes vs. Buddy Roberts
Back at his usual weight class, Calo Magalhaes (5-0) proved that he’s got a set of brass ones by offering to take on professional gutbuster Fabio Maldonado 20 pounds north at UFC 142, though an injury to Maldonado scuttled that bout. The unbeaten Nova Uniao grappler, who has competed in Shooto and Amazon Fight, certainly earned some brownie points for his ability to step up, and could earn quite a few more with a solid victory this Friday.
In one of the latest cancellations since Kevin Randleman lost a fight to a low-hanging pipe on the way to the ring, Buddy Roberts (11-2) had his UFC debut at "Sanchez vs. Ellenberger" short-circuited when opponent Sean Loeffler busted his ankle in the dressing room. Roberts, who fights out of Team Jackson and owns a win over heavyweight Tony Lopez, has won five straight going back to 2009.
My insane devotion to South American prospects such as "Hell Boy" may be well-documented, but I’m leaning towards Roberts here. While both are making their UFC debuts, Magalhaes has yet to fight out of Brazil and has half the experience of Roberts. Further, the all-important wrestling advantage goes to Roberts, and while neither man has exactly beaten world-class opposition, Roberts’s win over Lopez is a hell of a lot more impressive than anything Magalhaes has done.
I am worried about Roberts’s layoff, but he should have the wrestling and striking to stay away from Caio’s grappling and pull out a clear-cut, if uneventful, decision.
Prediction: Roberts via unanimous decision
155 lbs.: Tim Means vs. Justin Salas
A long-reigning King of the Cage champion, Tim Means (17-3-1) didn’t manage to score a sixth-consecutive stoppage against Bernardo Magalhaes, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. Using the Thai clinch to brilliant effect, "The Dirty Bird" absolutely destroyed Magalhaes with knees and punches, stopping virtually every takedown attempt and making the Australian-based veteran pay for it. The 6’2" Means will be enjoying a six-inch height advantage over the highly-touted Salas and has finished 12 foes by knockout.
It wasn’t a walk in the park, but Justin Salas (10-3) -- who owns a win over the powerful Joe Ellenberger -- managed to grit his way to a decision victory over powerful Finnish striker Anton Kuivanen in both mens' debut. A former wrestling standout, Salas has won six consecutive bouts, using solid takedowns and an ever-improving striking game to stifle and damage opposition. He also has the distinction of being one of Bloody Elbow’s five top prospects in the lightweight division.
This one is probably the toughest fight on the prelims for me to pick. While Salas has a very high ceiling and a probably wrestling advantage, Means’s height advantage is almost unheard of at this weight class and he’s demonstrated the ability to take full advantage of that. Despite his lanky frame, he’s proven a right handful to take down and is quite good at punishing those who try.
The difference here is that Salas actually has something to offer on his feet.
Magalhaes had literally nothing to offer Meanse standing aside from a convenient target and TDD practice. While Salas still has some growing to do in that department, he’s got enough skill behind his hands to make Means pay attention.
This should be an excellent, back-and-forth fight, but one that Salas eventually pulls away in thanks to his ability to dictate position.
Prediction: Salas via unanimous decision
Nothing like a couple of elite flyweights duking it out to welcome the weekend.
See you again soon, Maniacs.
Remember, too, that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE blow-by-blow, round-by-round coverage of UFC on FX 3, beginning with the "Prelims" bouts on FUEL TV scheduled for around 6 p.m. ET. In addition, we will also provide LIVE, real-time results of the main card action as it happens on FX throughout the evening this upcoming Friday night.