Attention, Hollywood: This is how you make a sequel!
After a brilliant back-and-forth battle the first time around, Carlos Condit and Martin Kampmann have been chosen to helm the second-ever Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) show on FOX Sports 1, settling the score this Wednesday (Aug. 28, 2013) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana.
In addition, Donald Cerrone will take on Raphael dos Anjos in a clash of elite Lightweights in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 27, while The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 17 winner Kelvin Gastelum faces powerful Strikeforce veteran Brian Melancon.
Of the six "Prelims" bouts set to open the show, three were examined yesterday right here, including the two under card mixed martial arts (MMA) matches scheduled to stream online via the promotion's Facebook page and the opener on FOX Sports 2.
The top three UFC Fight Night 27 "Prelims" are broken down below:
185 lbs.: Dylan Andrews vs. Papy Abedi
Joining fellow power-punching kiwis James Te Huna and Mark Hunt in the UFC, Dylan Andrews (16-4) defeated Zak Cummings and English giant Luke Barnatt in The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 17 house, but ultimately fell to Uriah Hall in the semifinals. Undaunted, he shut down Jimmy Quinlan’s wrestling at TUF 17 Finale, brutalizing the Team Chael Sonnen competitor en route to a first-round stoppage.
Fourteen of Andrews’ 16 wins have come inside the distance, eleven by form of knockout.
A Judo expert with a series of brutal finishes to his name, hopes were high when Papy Abedi (9-2) signed with the UFC and dropped to what seemed to be his proper weightclass. Unimpressed, Thiago Alves and James Head proceeded to batter and submit Abedi in his first two Octagon appearances. After barely edging countryman Besam Yousef this past April, Abedi will be returning to middleweight against Andrews.
While not underperforming to the extent of, say, Marcelo Guimaraes, it’s hard to see Abedi as anything but a disappointment. Neither the Judo prowess nor punching power he had demonstrated on the regional circuit have shown themselves in the UFC, and while there is no shame in losing to the likes of Thiago Alves, scraping past Besam Yousef is cause for concern.
Even blaming his questionable cardio on the weight cut, Andrews seems a bad matchup for Abedi, a competent wrestler with some solid pop in his hands. Unless Papy is totally reinvigorated by those extra fifteen pounds, the primary question on my mind is whether or not the Swede can take Dylan fifteen.
I’m thinking no.
Prediction: Andrews by first-round technical knockout
170 lbs.: Justin Edwards vs. Brandon Thatch
Justin Edwards (8-2), a competitor on TUF 13, bounced back from a questionable loss in his Octagon debut to defeat Wanderlei Silva protege Jorge Lopez. Though he could not handle the grappling prowess of England’s John Maguire, Edwards scored his first UFC finish in impressive fashion soon after, submitting Josh Neer for his fourth career guillotine finish in less than two minutes.
Edwards will give up four inches of height to "Rukus."
With nine first-round finishes on his resume, six inside a minute, Brandon Thatch (9-1) has become one of the biggest prospects in MMA, even being brought in by Georges St. Pierre to prepare for his bouts with Carlos Condit and Nick Diaz. The Grudge-trained product has not lost since his second bout, accruing five knockouts and three submissions in that span.
He owns a knockout win over touted striker Chidi Njokuani, brother of UFC veteran Anthony.
The problem I had trying to research this fight is that Thatch has been wiping people out too quickly to get a good bead on him. From what I can gather, Brandon has some major power in his hands, an extremely varied arsenal, and decent wrestling.
This fight boils down to that latter quality.
Justin is a very solid grappler, nowhere near the Gunnar Nelson tier but still dangerous. He has not demonstrated the standup to handle what Brandon can dish out, however, and if he can’t at least throw Brandon off his game with takedown attempts, it will be an extremely short night.
I absolutely despise trying to pick fights where everything boils down to takedown offense vs. takedown defense. In this case, despite my limited information, I’m leaning towards the latter. Don’t blink.
Prediction: Thatch by first-round technical knockout
145 lbs.: Darren Elkins vs. Hatsu Hioki
After starting his UFC career even (1-1) at Lightweight, Darren Elkins (16-3) decision to drop 10 pounds proved wise as he rattled off five straight wins, culminating in a stoppage win over Japanese MMA veteran Antonio Carvalho. A decision to face Chad Mendes on late notice did not go quite as well, a vicious cross counter and follow-up shots ending Elkins’ streak in just 68 seconds.
The final Sengoku Featherweight champion, Hatsu Hioki has had somewhat of a rough go in the UFC, dropping two close decisions after defeating George Roop and Bart Palaszewski inhis first efforts. Prior to those defeats, Hioki had gone 14-1-1 in his previous sixteen, the lone loss a highly controversial one against Michihiro Omigawa.
In almost 16 years of MMA, Hioki has never been stopped, submitting 12 foes of his own.
Hioki is one of the most frustrating fighters to root for; he’s an absolute monster on the mat and can tear through a black belt’s guard with incredible ease, but he’s way too happy to stand and trade. He’s long and has some decent kicks, but his trips and top game are stellar.
And just a bit too much for Elkins, methinks.
Hioki doesn’t have the sort of instakill guard that Shinya Aoki does, but it’s still a dangerous one, making Elkins’ takedown-heavy game a risky proposition. The Carvalho "knockout" notwithstanding, Elkins’ striking is relatively weak, a step below Hioki’s.
And if Hioki wants the trip, he’s getting it.
As long as Hioki has his head on straight and goes hard for the takedown, I can definitely see him getting a dominating win. Though his inconsistency is a major red flag, I feel he is sufficiently talented to warrant a nod in his favor -- mounted triangle FTW!
Prediction: Hioki by second round submission
What better way to celebrate hump day than a bunch of sweaty dudes manhandling each other? I can't think of one.
See you then, Maniacs.
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.