"The Dragon" descends.
After picking up an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight title and defeating several notables at 205 pounds, Lyoto Machida will take his mixed martial arts (MMA) talents to Middleweight this weekend (Sat., Oct. 26, 2013) at Phones 4U Arena in Manchester, England.
Machida will take on training partner Mark Munoz in the main event of UFC Fight Night 30, which was supposed to feature Michael Bisping opposite "Filipino Wrecking Machine" before "The Count" was ruled out with a detached retina.
In addition, former The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 9 winner Ross Pearson will look to extend his finishing streak to three at the expense of Melvin Guillard, who is coming off of a vicious knockout of Mac Danzig. Local knockout machine Jimi Manuwa will also face Canadian karate expert and owner of one of UFC's fastest knockouts, Ryan Jimmo.
The six-fight UFC Fight Night 30 main card will air on FOX Sports 2, the network formerly known as FUEL TV. Meanwhile, the six "Prelims" under card matches will stream live on UFC's Facebook / YouTube pages Saturday afternoon, the first three of which we breakdown below.
Check 'em out:
145 lbs.: Andy Ogle vs. Cole Miller
With an upset of Mike Rio on TUF 15, it looked like the prime jumping-off point for Andy Ogle (9-2) to write his own Cinderella story. Teammate Al Iaquinta, not a fan of fairy tale endings, however, had other plans, wiping out Ogle with a vicious standing elbow late in the first round. He has since gone even (1-1) in UFC proper, losing a questionable decision to Akira Corassani in his debut before downing Josh Grispi in Feb. 2013.
Cole Miller (19-8) just can’t catch a break. Since earning consecutive "Submission of the Night" honors at the expense of Dan Lauzon and Ross Pearson, Miller is just 2-4, including a 1-3 run at Featherweight. Most recently, "Magrinho" was on the wrong end of some controversy against Manny Gamburyan, beating up his former castmate with strikes, but losing on the strength of Gamburyan’s takedowns.
As is almost always the case, Miller will have a height advantage, this time a good four inches.
I’m torn here because Ogle doesn’t have any outstanding capabilities, but at the same time, Miller really hasn’t looked that good since the Pearson fight (save for a Bart Palaszewski brain fart). His offensive wrestling seems a non-factor and he hasn’t consistently shown an ability to use his hugeness on the feet.
This may come back to bite me, but I’m picking Ogle.
Miller has one of the most vicious Brazilian jiu-jitsu games south of 170 pounds, but his utter lack of takedowns is an issue he seems no closer to correcting. Even Nam Phan -- the man with the worst bottom game in the organization --managed to beat him up simply because Miller couldn’t get him down. Ogle is resilient and unfazed by adversity; therefore, I feel he can close the distance with strikes and takedowns enough to earn himself a decision.
Prediction: Ogle via split decision
145 lbs.: Robert Whiteford vs. Jim Hettes
Scotland’s Robert Whiteford (8-1) has been quietly making a name for himself on the European circuit since losing his debut, picking up six finishes during his three-year run. When Mike Wilkinson was forced out just a week before his fight with Jim Hettes (10-1), Whiteford jumped at the chance.
He splits his time between briliiantly-named Scottish team Dinky Ninjas and the more well-known American Top Team.
Hettes turned heads in a hurry with his crazy debut against Alex Caceres and subsequent pubstomping of Phan in 2011. Sadly, injuries kept him out of the cage until a UFC 152 bout with Marcus Brimage, who upset the Judo specialist on the back of a heavy striking assault.
Hettes, who has nine submissions to his name, will enter the Octagon for the first time since that bout 13 months ago.
As incredibly as Hettes looked against Phan, it’s worth noting that he has the worst ground-and-pound defense in the entire universe (save for the Torso People of Bahbulat 8) and got walloped into 10-8 rounds against Mike Brown and Dennis Siver the same way. His striking looked rudimentary against Brimage and he was really only saved by his utter lack of stopping power.
Luckily, Whiteford shouldn’t pose too much of a threat.
Whiteford has some solid hands, decent pop and adequate takedowns. He is by no means a bad fighter, just one with nothing that makes him truly stand out as a contender. I don’t see anything in his arsenal to counteract Hettes’ submission skills and throwing game.
The six-days’ notice doesn’t help, either.
As long as Hettes comes in in shape and can tie up with Whiteford quickly, this should be a very quick out for him. Hettes chokes him out in one.
Prediction: Hettes via first-round submission
185 lbs.: Bradley Scott vs. Michael Kuiper
Winner of "Fight of the Season" on TUF: "Smashes," Bradley Scott (8-2) took out Aussie foes Xavier Lucas and Benny Alloway to earn a spot in the show Finale. Though he put up a great fight, Scott wound up on the wrong end of a decision after his countryman’s power punching and takedown defense carried the day.
After a disappointing debut against Rafael Natal that resulted in his first career defeat, Kuiper came into his next fight looking to make a statement, bulldozing Jared Hamman over two painfully one-sided rounds. He looked to pick up right where he left off against Tom Lawlor, only to get caught in a vaunted "Filthy" guillotine after a dominant first round.
Kuiper has not won via decision since his second professional fight.
I’ll admit I’m probably biased toward Kuiper for reasons that elude me at the moment; that said, I see him winning this comfortably. His Judo looked excellent against Lawlor up until that huge mistake and his demolition of Hamman was hard to watch at times. Scott is a skilled, well-rounded fighter, but not one with the takedown ability to grind down Kuiper nor the power to back him off.
This has the potential to be a mighty fine scrap if it stays on the feet. Even if it doesn’t, Kuiper’s superior power and positional control should win him the day by mid-round stoppage.
Prediction: Kuiper via second-round technical knockout
We've got three more "Prelims" for you tomorrow, and each match involves finishers.
See you then!
Remember that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 30 card this Saturday afternoon, starting with the Facebook "Prelims" at 12:15 p.m. ET, right on through the FOX Sports 2-televised main card bouts at 3 p.m. ET.