As Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has often barked: "Boom!"
Two of the Light Heavyweight division's elite battle this Saturday night (June 15, 2013) when former two-division Pride FC champion Dan Henderson and former UFC 205-pound kingping Rashad Evans headline UFC 161, which will emanate from MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Joining "Suga" and "Hendo" on the pay-per-view (PPV) main card are Roy Nelson and Stipe Miocic, two of the Heavyweight division's most powerful bruisers, as well as a pair of talented 135-pound female fighters in Alexis Davis and Rosi Sexton.
Yesterday, we previewed the first three under bouts that comprise the initial UFC 160 Facebook/FX portion of the "Prelims" under card right here. Today, we share breakdowns of the remaining three that will air live -- and for free -- on FX before the PPV begins at 10 p.m. ET.
Let's get cracking:
170 lbs.: Tyron Woodley vs. Jake Shields
While he entered the UFC on the heels of a savage knockout loss to Nate Marquardt under the Strikeforce banner, Woodley wasted no time proving that he belonged inside the Octagon, annihilating Jay Hieron in just 36 seconds in his promotional debut. Previously, Woodley had beaten the likes of Andre Galvao, Paul Daley and final Strikeforce Welterweight champion Tarec Saffiedine.
Woodley will give up three inches of height to his Strikeforce compatriot.
A 14-fight win streak, capped off by a comeback win over Dan Henderson, lent Jake Shields (27-6-1) some momentum entering the UFC. Sadly, poor performances against Martin Kampmann and Georges St. Pierre, followed by a knockout loss to Jake Ellenberger, left Shields’ future in the UFC uncertain. An uninspiring victory over Yoshihiro Akiyama and a drug-overturned win over Ed Herman followed, leaving Shields desperately needing a victory this Saturday night.
I don’t know if it’s something about being in the UFC, but Shields has been flat-out garbage since joining the organization. He has the punching power of a sloth and his grappling has become just about as exciting to watch as one. He can’t finish on the feet, can’t finish on the ground and doesn’t even seem to be making an effort.
Woodley, meanwhile, can and does.
Yes, he can be atrociously boring when he’s got a big enough wrestling advantage, but as the Marquardt fight showed, his Plan B is power punching. While not on the level of an Ellenberger or Johny Hendricks in the thump department, he can put some heat behind his shots and has more than enough wrestling to keep it standing against Shields.
The only real question for this fight is whether Shields survives 15 full minutes. He’s too slow to take down Woodley and too weak to earn any respect from him in the stand up. Expect three unpleasant rounds of Woodley smacking Shields around between stuffing telegraphed takedowns.
Prediction: Woodley by unanimous decision
155 lbs.: Sam Stout vs. James Krause
A stunning knockout of Yves Edwards, the first stoppage victory for Sam Stout (19-8-1) in his UFC career, seemed to herald good things for the inconsistent Canuck. Despite the momentum boost, though, Stout is currently even (2-2), narrow wins over Spencer Fisher and Caros Fodor spaced between losses to Thiago Tavares and John Makdessi.
Stout is five inches shorter than Krause, who is entering the fight on less than one month’s notice.
A late replacement for Isaac Vallie-Flagg, James Krause (19-4) enters the world’s largest fight organization in the midst of a seven-fight win streak, most recently avenging a 2010 loss to Toby Imada this past January. Krause has competed five straight times under the Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA) umbrella after unsuccessful runs in World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) and Bellator in 2009 and 2010.
He has stopped 17 opponents, 12 via submission.
This showdown has solid potential to be an excellent fight -- Stout is a brawler with a serviceable wrestling game and Krause is solid on both the feet and the mat. The Lawrence loss notwithstanding, Krause has been on a tear lately, while Stout appears to be on the way down.
Therefore, I’m leaning toward Krause.
In addition to what is likely a superior ground game, Krause will enjoy a very significant height advantage, being one of the taller lightweights in the division, and can likely play the frustrating counter game that Makdessi used with so much success. This length should also let him stay out of the way of Stout’s wrestling attack and give him an advantage in the clinch.
In a fun scrap with action on the feet and mat, expect Krause to edge enough of the striking and grappling exchanges to take home his first UFC victory.
Prediction: Krause by unanimous decision
170 lbs.: Sean Pierson vs. Kenny Robertson
After consecutive one-sided losses to Ellenberger and Dong Hyun Kim, Sean Pierson (13-6) managed to right the ship with victories over Jake Hecht and Lance Benoist. The victories raised Pierson’s record to 8-2 in his last 10 fights after starting his career 5-4.
Pierson will enjoy three inches of height over Robertson.
Two losses in two UFC appearances had the ZUFFA career of Kenny Robertson (12-2) in jeopardy. Rising to the occasion, Robertson dominated prospect Brock Jardine his last time out, locking up a bizarre kneebar from back mount for "Submission of the Night" honors.
He is replacing the injured T.J. Waldburger this Saturday on short notice.
Even with the short notice, I’m leaning toward Robertson. Pierson is a solid fighter with decent power and solid wrestling, but no outstanding ability in any one department. Robertson is a legit grappler with solid wrestling who -- if he is sufficiently aggressive -- should have success dragging Pierson down.
Pierson has pop, but not enough in my opinion to deter Robertson. Should the Canuck find himself on his back, he hasn’t shown the kind of chops to stop Robertson advancing to dominant position and dropping some hard ground-and-pound before locking up an early submission.
Prediction: Robertson by first-round submission
Injuries have sucked some life out of UFC 161, but several solid scraps still remain.
See you on fight night, Maniacs.
Remember, too, that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 161 fight card on fight night, starting with the Facebook "Prelims," which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, right on through the FX-televised under card bouts at 8 p.m. ET and then main card PPV action, which is slated to begin at 10 p.m. ET.