Photo by Esther Lin via MMAFighting.com.
Things are about to get a little more interesting in the UFC middleweight division.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will make its fourth trip to FUEL TV at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California, on Wed., July 11, 2012, with UFC on FUEL TV 4: "Munoz vs. Weidman," headlined by a 185-pound scrap pitting top division contenders Mark Munoz and Chris Weidman.
The two will be duking it out with a crack at the division title within reach. Of course, with Anderson Silva still reigning supreme, they've got their work cut out for them.
Once again, we've got a six-fight main card in store, meaning only five preliminary card bouts to set the stage. They're good ones, though. Follow me after the jump for a closer look at the first two.
170 lbs.: Marcelo "Magrao" Zilio Guimarães (7-0-1) vs. Dan "The Anvil" Stittgen (7-2)
Considered one of the top prospects in Brazil, Guimarães last competed in August of last year, choking out Lucas Rota to take the inaugural Jungle Fight middleweight championship. Guimarães's primary discipline is Luta Livre, and he uses a relentless takedown and ground-n-pound assault to grind his foes down. "Magrao" owns a victory over highly-touted Ildemar Alcantara, brother of UFC featherweight Yuri.
Stittgen entered the UFC as kickboxing prodigy Stephen Thompson's debut opponent with disastrous results, eating a monstrous head kick late in the first round and going down in a heap. Stittgen's only prior loss came at the hands of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) veteran Justin Edwards, and he has finished six opponents, including five by submission. While he didn't show it against Thompson, Stittgen is a wrestler by trade, and it will be interesting to see how his grappling matches up with his opponents going forward.
Let me just say it flat-out: this fight is probably going to stink. "Magrao" doesn't have big power behind his ground-and-pound, although he does stay busy. His stand-up is alright, but needs a lot of work. Stittgen, on the other hand, doesn't seem to have the tools to deny Marcelo's grinding attack.
I do have my concerns about the weight cut and it being his debut, but he just seems to be way, way better than Stittgen, who looked completely lost against Thompson and just doesn't seem all that good to begin with. Expect Guimarães to win a convincing decision with constant pressure from every conceivable top position, but never really get close to stopping it.
Prediction: Guimarães by unanimous decision
After a 3-3 Zuffa run at 145, Assuncao made the decision to drop to 135, a decision perhaps brought about by Erik Koch punching his face off at UFC 128. He debuted successfully against Nova Uniao's Johnny Eduardo at UFC 134, though he has not competed since. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighter has nine victories by submission, though his last stoppage win came in 2008.
Tamura was brought in on short notice to fill out the UFC 144 card, replacing the injured Leonard Garcia against Issei Tamura. Despite only a single knockout win in his previous six victories, Tamura wiped Zhang out with a monstrous right hand just 30 seconds into the second round. The Krazy Bee representative had not fought outside of Shooto before this, where he used his wrestling attack to become its 2008 Rookie Tournament MVP.
I'm a big fan of Tamura, but let's be honest, that Zhang fight was pretty damn atypical. Tamura is not a finisher; although his last two wins have been by knockout and he does pack some power in that fire hydrant frame, he's a grinder at heart. He gets the takedown, gets top position, shrugs off submission attempts, and lands enough punches not to get stood up.
That should beat Assuncao.
I have concerns about this fight (namely, this being Tamura's first time at 135-pounds and first fight outside Japan), but this stylistic matchup seems tilted pretty significantly in his favor. Assuncao is going to spend all night on the bottom, and with Tamura's defense, he's not finishing it from there. Look for a grinding decision win for Tamura.
Prediction: Tamura by unanimous decision
That's all for now, Maniacs. Be sure to check back tomorrow for a look at the remaining three UFC on FUEL TV 4 "Prelims."
See you then.
Remember, too, that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE blow-by-blow, round-by-round coverage of UFC on FUEL TV 4, beginning with the "Prelims" bouts on Facebook scheduled for around 6:45 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 Wednesday night.