Title fight, knockout artists, women's mixed martial arts (MMA), oh my!
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will roll into Seattle, Wash., this weekend (Sat., July 27, 2013) with its eighth FOX-televised fight card in tow. Leading the way is a Flyweight title fight between reigning 125-pound champion Demetrious Johnson and Ben Henderson stablemate John Moraga.
In addition to the the five-round main event scrap is a clash between Welterweight elite when Rory MacDonald looks to overcome the atomic punches of Jake Ellenberger. Robbie Lawler and Bobby Voelker will also square off in a clash between two of the 170-pound division's most vicious strikers, while Liz Carmouche welcomes Brazilian finishing machine Jessica Andrade to the Octagon.
That's not all.
In addition to the four-fight UFC on Fox 8 main card, eight "Prelims" under card matches are teed up to whet your combat sports appetites. Yesterday, we previewed the first four bouts that comprise the initial UFC on Fox 8 Facebook/FX portion of the "Prelims" under card right here. Today, we share breakdowns of the remaining four that will air live -- and for free -- on FX before the FOX show begins at 8 p.m. ET.
Let's get cracking:
155 lbs.: Michael Chiesa vs. Jorge Masvidal
After an impressive run on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 15: "Live," Michael Chiesa (9-0) continued to surprise at the Finale, choking out the first pick of Team Urijah Faber, Al Iaquinta, in less than three minutes. Illness kept him out of the cage for the remainder of the year, after which he notched his second UFC victory at the expense of Anton Kuivanen this past February.
Two inches taller than Jorge Masvidal (24-7), Chiesa has won five straight via rear-naked choke, four inside the first round.
When Iranian-Swedish bruiser Reza Madadi ran into visa issues, "Gamebred" stepped up to the challenge, agreeing to face Chiesa on little more than two months’ notice. This announcement came less than one month after he overcame former King of the Cage champion Tim Means in his Octagon debut.
Masvidal, currently riding a two-fight win streak, has not won more than two straight bouts since 2009.
Masvidal is one of the most frustrating fighters to watch. He’s obviously very skilled, has very good power, a killer jab and more-or-less ironclad takedown defense. He has all the tools to be a championship-caliber fighter.
Save any sort of killer instinct.
Basically, Masvidal lets fights get way too close -- he has the talent to put away the likes of Justin Wilcox, but had to settle for a way-too-close split decision.
Still, what he brings into the cage is more than enough to beat Chiesa, who is gutsy and a highly-skilled grappler, but does not have the stand up chops to open up his wrestling game enough to overcome Masvidal’s takedown defense. He’ll shoot to the end, but will most likely find himself on the end of Masvidal’s long jab for 15 minutes, surviving but not mounting any real offense.
Prediction: Masvidal by unanimous decision
155 lbs.: Danny Castillo vs. Tim Means
Despite losing badly to Jacob Volkmann in 2011, Danny Castillo (15-5) accomplished what "Christmas" could not, surviving the lethal guard of Paul Sass to win a clear unanimous decision. The victory improved the World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) veteran’s UFC record to 5-2, the only other loss a comeback knockout courtesy of Michael Johnson.
"Last Call" will give up five inches of height to "The Dirty Bird."
Brutal UFC victories over Bernardo Magalhaes and Justin Salas capped off a nine-fight win streak for Tim Means (18-4-1), establishing him as one to watch at 155. Jorge Masvidal did not get the memo, however, utilizing a solid takedown attack to overcome Mean’s length and power for a decision win.
Means takes this fight on just two weeks’ notice, replacing former victim Bobby Green.
Sure, he’s coming in on short notice and just lost, but I’m still riding the Means war wagon. He’s one of very few fighters in the UFC who can actually fight as tall as he stands and has blistering power in his punches and knees. Yes, Masvidal got him on his back, but there are two factors that make me think Castillo won’t have the same success:
Castillo does not have a dangerous stand up game to complement his wrestling and is not as long as Masvidal.
That means Castillo will hang out at long distance, where Means has plenty of time to sprawl and can launch long punches with impunity. Both Salas and Magalhaes were beaten to a pulp at that range and I don’t see Castillo having much more success. Whether with his big left straight or a knee as Castillo approaches, Means ends this early and violently.
Prediction: Means by first-round technical knockout
155 lbs.: Mac Danzig vs. Melvin Guillard
With just one win over a current member of the UFC Lightweight division and just three wins in his last nine fights, Mac Danzig (21-10-1) has his back firmly planted against the wall. TUF 6 winner was last seen being outgunned by Pride FC legend Takanori Gomi, who survived a vicious-looking guillotine to take home a split decision win.
In his 32-fight career, he has only been stopped once by strikes, courtesy of Japanese superstar Hayato Sakurai.
Tenuous as Danzig’s employment is, Melvin Guillard (30-12-2) is every bit as unenviable, posting just one win in his last five outings and suffering three stoppage losses in that time. Considered title material just two years ago, Guillard almost certainly needs a victory to stay employed, especially considering that he missed weight against Donald Cerrone and is currently on probation after a 2010 assault charge.
Before his latest fall from disgrace, Guillard had won eight of nine, including four knockouts.
Guillard’s physical gifts outweigh Danzig’s by a huge margin -- he’s faster, stronger and packs numbing power in both hands.
And that is exactly the reason I really can’t figure out why he keeps losing.
Whatever "it" factor made Guillard a title contender is, as far as I can tell, gone. He is insanely inconsistent, makes constant boneheaded moves in the cage and can’t seem to stop the takedown anymore. Danzig may be a mid-level fighter, but he’s consistent and easy to pin down: solid wrestling, solid grappling, solid striking. In other words, you know what you’re getting when Danzig steps into the cage, which is a lot more than you can say for Guillard.
The best case scenario is Guillard crushes Danzig with ease. However, I highly doubt we see the best Guillard this weekend. Danzig mixes up his boxing and wrestling before taking the back and choking Guillard right out of the UFC.
Prediction: Danzig by first-round submission
155 lbs.: Yves Edwards vs. Daron Cruickshank
The Lightweight division’s elder statesman, Yves Edwards (42-19-1) has been competing since 1997, racking up more than four times the fight experience of his opponent. Lately, however, the 36-year-old has been struggling, winning just two of his last five (although those two featured knockouts of Rafaello Oliveira and Jeremy Stephens).
Edwards, originally set to face Spencer Fisher, has an impressive 33 finishes to his credit, split almost evenly between knockouts and submission.
After an uninspiring win over Chris Tickle at TUF 15 Finale, Daron Cruickshank (12-3) showcased his striking in a big way against Henry Martinez, battering the Team Jackson-trained fighter for the better part of two rounds before ending the night with a vicious head kick. For all his fancy footwork, however, he had no answer for Canadian striker John Makdessi, who ended the American veteran’s six-fight win streak via unanimous decision.
Cruickshank is eight years younger and two inches shorter than Edwards, possessing 12 years’ less fight experience.
Cruickshank is fun to watch, but the fight with Makdessi showed the difference between having a huge striking arsenal and being able to put it all together. He has got a big back of tricks, but isn’t all that adept at tying it together into a coherent (and painful) whole.
Six, seven years ago, Edwards eats him alive. It’s not 2006, though.
Edwards is dangerous everywhere the fight goes, but the difficulty he had with the relatively rudimentary striking of Isaac Vallie-Flagg bodes ill. He slowed down late, couldn’t consistently implement his grappling and just looked old on the whole.
Cruickshank’s flashy, but not elite. Sadly, it doesn’t take an elite fighter to beat Edwards anymore. Expect Cruickshank to ride his speed advantage to an entertaining striking victory while shrugging off Edwards’ takedown attempts.
Prediction: Cruickshank by unanimous decision
Free title fight and the other three main card bouts include nothing but finishers. That's nice.
See you Saturday, Maniacs.
Remember, too, that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the main card action on fight night (Sat., July 27, 2013), which is slated to air at 8 p.m. ET on FOX. The latest play-by-play fight updates of the live action will begin to flow earlier than that, however, around 3:30 p.m. ET with the "Prelims" under card bouts on Facebook and FX Channel.