Sometimes, there's nothing better than revisiting the mixed martial arts (MMA) classics.
After tough losses to Johny Hendricks in their last fights, Welterweight contenders Carlos Condit and Martin Kampmann -- who once battled to a razor-close split decision -- will look to commence their climbs back to the Welterweight top at one another's expense, duking it out in the main event of the UFC Fight Night 27, which takes place this Wednesday night (Aug. 28, 2013) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana.
In addition, the FOX Sports 1 fight card will get to see a clash of two of the best at 155 pounds when Donald Cerrone attempts to rebound from his devastating knockout loss to Anthony Pettis against the surging Raphael dos Anjos.
There will be six "Prelims" bouts leading up to UFC Fight Night 27's main card, two on Facebook and four on FOX Sports 2, the station formerly known as FUEL TV.
Let's take a look at the first three "Prelims" matches below:
170 lbs.: James Head vs. Jason High
Two straight victories at 170 pounds had James Head (9-3) on the verge of contendership, but an overzealous attack on Mike Pyle lead to him eating a crushing knee to the dome for his first career knockout loss. Head was originally set to face Nick Catone for a shot at redemption at UFC 159, only for dehydration to force "The Jersey Devil" to withdraw at the last minute.
He stands five inches taller than his opponent.
Jason High (16-4) may have been on the wrong end of one of the smoothest head kick knockouts ever courtesy of Marius Zaromskis, but a seven-fight win streak, including three in Strikeforce, paved the way for his return to Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Replacing John Hathaway against Erick Silva may not have been the best course of action, however, as he was submitted in just over a minute by the Brazilian phenom.
This is one of those obnoxious fights where everything is decided by one man’s takedowns versus another man’s takedown defense. Head is not a threat from the bottom, while High is sorely out of his league in the standup. Barring some bizarre strategic mishaps, the question of this fight is whether High can consistently take Head down.
I’m thinking no.
Yes, Head’s UFC debut was an absolute shellacking at the hands of Nick Ring where he displayed the defensive grappling of a goldfish, but that was at 185 and on short notice; at welterweight, Head is the bigger man by far and very dangerous in the standup.
High getting a takedown or two early on wouldn’t surprise me; what would is if he manages to keep Head down. More likely, Head scrambles to his feet, hurts Jason on the inside, and pounces on him for his fifth TKO win.
Prediction: Head by first-round technical knockout
170 lbs.: Zak Cummings vs. Benny Alloway
An impressive knockout of Bellator veteran Nik Fekete earned Zak Cummings (15-3) a spot in The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 17 house, but was unable to capitalize, falling to eventual semifinalist Dylan Andrews by decision his first time out. He has not competed since, his last official fight coming in May of 2012.
His kick to Manuel Rodriguez’s junk nearly caused an end to the fight because of referee confusion, but the subsequent kick from Benny Alloway (12-4) to the face more than made up for it, earning him "Knockout of the Night" honors. He was somewhat less successful against undefeated Ryan LaFlare, who exploited Benny’s questionable takedown defense to win a dominant decision.
Ten of Alloway’s wins have come inside the distance, including six by knockout, and he has finished four of his last six opponents.
While I’m sure this is more culturally-insulting than I want it to be, Alloway has a serious case of British Wrestling; he’s a decent striker, okay on the ground, and hapless at taking the fight where he wants it. Cummings, while he’s come up short every time he’s taken a step up, is a competent grappler, making him automatically a bad matchup for Alloway.
Frankly, unless Alloway can pull something ridiculous out of his hat again, I just don’t see this going well for him. He does not have the talent to impose his game on Cummings; any trouble Zak runs into on the feet can be nullified with a takedown and his bottom game is not up to snuff. Expect a repeat of the LaFlare fight, with Cummings grinding his man out with relative ease.
Prediction: Cummings by unanimous decision
155 lbs.: Roger Bowling vs. Abel Trujillo
After a rough end to his Strikeforce career, Roger Bowling (11-4) elected to drop to Lightweight, squaring off against the vicious striking of Anthony Njokuani in his Octagon (and 155-pound) debut. Unable to overcome the length and technique advantage, Bowling ate a massive left hook coming in in the second round, suffering his third career knockout loss.
Seven of his 11 wins are by knockout, with one by submission to punches.
The "Killa" Abel Trujillo (10-5) looked every bit as devastating as his moniker would suggest in his Octagon debut, pulverizing wrestling standout Marcus LeVesseur and completely shutting down his takedown game en route to a second-round stoppage win. Khabib Nurmagomedov proved a tougher nut to crack, however, tossing Trujillo all about the Octagon and setting the UFC record for takedowns in a single fight in the process.
The loss snapped a five-fight win streak for Trujillo, which also included a win over James Edson Berto, brother of boxer Andre Berto.
Bowling’s recent streak isn’t too hot, but his losses are understandable -- Njokuani is arguably the division’s best striker, Tarec Saffiedine is a Top 10-ranked Welterweight, and Bowling kicked the snot out of Bobby Voelker before succumbing to improbable comebacks. He’s still a solid wrestler with excellent punching power. He’s not a world-beater, but he’s a good, mid-range fighter.
Trujillo, not so much.
As savage as his performance against LeVesseur was, keep in mind that Marcus had also dived headlong into a McKenzietine and barely scraped past Carlo Prater in his previous fights. Trujillo is incredibly tough and strong, but slower than Bowling and less crisp with his striking.
This one has slobberknocker potential. The question is whether it has time to fulfill that potential before Bowling gets a good shot in.
Prediction: Bowling by first-round technical knockout
We'll have the other three fights, including a clash between Top 10-ranked Featherweight fighters and the debut of one of the hottest prospects in MMA, tomorrow evening.
Remember that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 27 card this Wednesday night (Aug. 28, 2013), starting with the Facebook "Prelims" at 5 p.m. ET, right on through the FOX Sports 2-televised under card bouts at 6 p.m. ET and then main card action on FOX Sports 1, which is slated to begin at 8 p.m. ET.
See you then, Maniacs.