Giving the Staples Center a refreshing reprieve from hosting another crushing Clippers disappointment, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will be heading to Los Angeles, California, for its fourth trip to the FOX network.
Leading the way are Mauricio Rua and Lyoto Machida, both looking to erase the memories of their defeats to Jon Jones as they take on Brandon Vera and Ryan Bader, respectively. The main card will also see the return of Mike Swick, who has not been in action since UFC 109 all the way back in 2010.
Before all that, however, we've got a half-dozen "Prelims" bouts on the docket that will air on FUEL TV prior to the network television broadcasted main card.
Check out part one of our UFC on FOX 4 "Prelims" breakdown after the jump:
A UK submissions specialist, De Fries was actually scheduled to face Thompson (9-3) at UFC 138 before injury forced Rob Broughton to take his place. De Fries (8-1) outgappled Broughton in a dull affair, bringing his seven-fight submission streak to an end, before getting crushed in two by Stipe Miocic.
De Fries has finished six opponents inside the first round and has five rear-naked choke victories.
A former successful strongman, Thompson translated his strength into a grapple-heavy attack that brought him into the UFC on a five-fight winning streak. Unfortunately, the speed and athleticism of Shawn Jordan was too much for Thompson, who was overwhelmed and finished with strikes in the second round. Thompson has eight finishes to his credit.
Let me be blunt: I think these two are probably the worst heavyweights on the roster alongside Broughton. De Fries's wrestling and striking are nonexistent and Thompson has neither competent standup nor solid wrestling technique. In all likelihood, this fight is going to stink.
And Thompson will come out the victor.
A competent striker will eat Thompson for breakfast, but De Fries is anything but. Despite being a submission specialist, his technique on the mat is rather mediocre, and with Thompson owning the wrestling, strength, and size advantage, I don't think he'll be able to stop submit Oli off his back or keep from getting put there.
Neither of these gentlemen are in any shape to challenge the elite and I doubt either one will last two more fights in the promotion, but De Fries gets booted first. Thompson by uneventful grinding decision.
Prediction: Thompson via unanimous decision
Gamburyan's (11-7) stunning upset knockout of Mike Brown has not led to good things for the Armenian Judo specialist. Since then, he has been knocked out by Jose Aldo and lost decisions to Tyson Griffin and Diego Nunes. He had previously beaten the likes of Leonard Garcia (by decision, no less), Nate Mohr, and Jeff Cox under the Zuffa banner. He also owns a knockout win over Jorge Santiago dating back to 2003.
Omigawa (13-11-1) entered the UFC on a wave of hype following controversial decisions over Hatsu Hioki and Marlon Sandro, but was unable to overcome the wrestling prowess of Mendes in his return to the UFC. A robbery loss to Darren Elkins, a decision over Jason Young, and a one-sided decision loss to Yuri Alcantara followed. Omigawa is a protégé of PRIDE legend Hidehiko Yoshida and owns a knockout win over the final DREAM featherweight champion, Hiroyuki Takaya.
I still believe in Michihiro Omigawa, although I don't like the changes he's made to his boxing. He's switched from his effective peekaboo style to a straightforward shift-punching style and I'm not sure that was the right decision.
Still a hell of a lot better than Manny's striking.
Manny has a reputation for being a power-puncher, but I haven't seen him demonstrate it outside of Brown. While he is significantly smaller than Santiago, Jorge is notorious for his glass jaw. Those are all the knockouts Manny's ever had. Admittedly, he did rattle Nunes, but still lost the fight. And his technique is unquestionably terrible.
It will be interesting to see how their Judo compares, although I believe it will either cancel itself out or favor Omigawa, who will probably want to keep it standing anyway. Omigawa picks him apart for a clear decision win.
Prediction: Omigawa via unanimous decision
125 lbs.: John Moraga vs. Ulysses Gomez
Originally scheduled to face Ian McCall, Moraga (10-1) last fought just over a month ago, beating Maurice Senters by unanimous decision. Moraga had previously submitted three consecutive opponents following a decision loss to John Dodson. Moraga has five submission wins to his credit and one finish via strikes.
Gomez (9-2) has spent the majority of his career under the Tachi Palace Fights banner, where he was the flyweight champion, but has also competed in Bellator. The submission whiz, who has finished seven opponents via tapout, lost his title to Darrell Montague on the same card where McCall upset number-one flyweight Jussier da Silva. Gomez's only other loss was to strawweight GOAT Rambaa Somdet and he has six wins by form of choke.
There's soft competition, there's hideously soft competition, and then there's Moraga's competition. Only one of the people he's faced since Dodson currently has a winning record and Senters is 0-3. It's impossible to tell just how good he is.
Gomez has big-show experience. He hasn't always come out on top, but he's been on a far bigger stage against much better opposition than Moraga. He's also the more proven commodity, and even on short notice, I see him owning this fight. Again, it's impossible to judge Moraga's skills, but Gomez has the intangibles.
Gomez submits Moraga with a rear-naked choke in the middle after Moraga succumbs to being thrown into a much bigger pond.
Prediction: Gomez via second-round submission
Three UFC on FOX 4 "Prelims" in the books ... stop by tomorrow for the rest.
See you then!
MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the main card action on fight night (Sat., Aug. 4, 2012), which is slated to air at 8 p.m. ET on FOX. The latest quick updates of the live action will begin to flow earlier than that around 5:00 p.m. ET with the "Prelims" bouts on FUEL TV.