One fresh No. 1-ranked Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight contender coming right up ...
After trips to United Arab Emirates and Canada this past week, UFC is heading down to Amway Center in Orlando, Fla., this Saturday (April 19, 2014) for UFC on FOX 11. In the main event, two-time ADCC Brazilian jiu-jitsu champion Fabricio Werdum and Hawaiian knockout artist Travis Browne will each put three-fight win streaks on the line for the crack at division champion Cain Velasquez .
In addition, former women's Bantamweight title challengers Miesha Tate and Liz Carmouche will do battle, while Edson Barboza locks horns with Donald Cerrone.
We've got a grand total of nine under card "Prelims" to preview and predict this time, with three streaming on Fight Pass and the remaining six airing live on FOX Sports 1.
Let's dive right in:
185 lbs.: Caio Magalhaes vs. Luke Zachrich
Though Caio Magalhaes (7-1) fell in his Octagon debut against Buddy Roberts, he has excelled since, defeating Karlos Vemola and Nick Ring during his 2013 campaign. The Nova Uniao-trained fighter has scored four finishes in his seven wins, three by submission, and won his pro debut via Omoplata.
"Hellboy" will give up two inches of height to Luke Zachrich (13-2).
His name may not be familiar, but this is not Zachrich’s first ZUFFA experience -- he competed on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 7, losing to Dan Cramer after earning his way into the house. On the professional mixed martial arts (MMA) circuit, he has won 10 of his last 11, seven of those victories coming inside the first round.
He comes into this bout on just one week’s notice, replacing the injured Josh Samman.
I was relieved when Samman vs. Magalhaes was announced since I was pretty certain Samman would beat the bejeesus out of him, which meant I wouldn’t have to think too hard or stop drinking before writing this. Alas, fate conspires against me.
Zachrich and Magalhaes are both skilled grapplers, meaning this one probably comes down to whose takedown defense wavers first. As unscientific as it may be, I can’t come up with a better justification for one over the other than by looking at prep time: Magalhaes was preparing for a powerful wrestler for months while Zachrich had a week.
I expect Magalhaes to ride out a unanimous decision via top control; he won’t capture the crowd’s hearts, but a win’s a win.
Prediction: Magalhaes via unanimous decision
170 lbs.: Jordan Mein vs. Hernani Perpetuo
Jordan Mein (27-9) impressed mightily in his UFC debut, escaping an early armbar to become the first man to stop Dan Miller. Despite scoring a knockdown with a wicked body shot, however, he was unable to make it 2-0, falling to Matt Brown’s relentless pressure early in the second round.
His only other loss since 2010 was to Tyron Woodley and he has knocked out 15 opponents.
When TUF: "Brazil" alum Santiago Ponzinibbio was forced to withdraw in February, Nova Uniao’s Hernani Perpetuo (17-3) answered the call. He is unbeaten in his last nine fights, most recently picking up the Shooto Welterweight title with a five-round decision over Tommy Depret.
Eleven of his wins have come inside the distance, seven via strikes.
Perpetuo is a striker by trade, and that fact alone may be enough to seal his fate. Mein has some of the best hands in the division, packing power, speed and fluidity few of his compatriots can match. Based on his past fights, Hernani should be all-too-willing to engage.
Matt Brown showed that Mein can be defused through overwhelming pressure and Tyron Woodley showed that he’s vulnerable on his back. Perpetuo does not have the tools to exploit these weaknesses even if Mein has yet to fix them.
"Young Gun" takes his man out via crisp combination punching.
Prediction: Mein via second-round technical knockout
125 lbs.: Dustin Ortiz vs. Ray Borg
After stopping Jose Maria Tome in his promotional debut, Dustin Ortiz (12-3) returned to action quickly, taking on former Flyweight title challenger John Moraga just two months later. After a spirited back-and-forth affair, Moraga walked away with the split decision win, snapping Ortiz’s four-fight win streak.
He has finished nine opponents in his career.
After Alptekin Ozkilic pulled out of a fight with Ortiz in Abu Dhabi on short notice, Ray Borg (6-0) answered the call to face him a week later. Borg last competed less than two weeks ago, defeating Nick Urso under the LFC banner. Four of his wins have come by rear-naked choke.
What has two thumbs and can’t find any recent footage of Borg? This guuuuyyyyyy!
So let’s just look at the intangibles. Ortiz is more experienced, a great wrestler, and an excellent athlete overall. He’s faced much tougher competition than Borg and fights out of a better camp in Roufusport. I say he pounds out Borg late.
Prediction: Ortiz via third-round technical knockout
145 lbs.: Mirsad Bektic vs. Chas Skelly
American Top Team-trained Mirsad Bektic (7-0) -- who turned 23 just two months ago -- is regarded as arguably the top prospect in the entire sport. He has thus far dominated his opposition, stopping five via punches, and also went undefeated (4-0) as an amateur.
He will give up four inches of height to Chas Skelly (11-0).
An NAIA All-American wrestler, Skelly has struggled with injuries throughout his career, losing two years after a May 2010 submission of Daniel Pineda. Since his return in June 2012, though, he has rolled along just fine, defeating all four of his opponents.
He has fought thrice in Bellator, including his most recent bout last June.
Mirsad really is an absolute monster; he’s a physical beast with tremendous ground-and-pound and good striking to go along with it. Though Skelly has the better wrestling credentials, Bektic figures to have the strength to break even in that department. On the feet, Mirsad looks to have a sizeable advantage, bringing to bear quick combinations with big power.
Skelly, though a great prospect in his own right, just doesn’t have the skill to match Mirsad in the striking department nor the athleticism to impose his wrestling. Mirsad drops and finishes him off inside the opening frame.
Prediction: Bektic via first-round technical knockout
265 lbs.: Derrick Lewis vs. Jack May
Derrick Lewis (9-2) hit the Heavyweight scene in a big way in Aug. 2012, knocking out Jared Rosholt in a surprising upset. He has fought just once since then, knocking out Ricky Shivers late in the fourth frame.
All nine of his wins are by stoppage, eight coming via knockout.
Jack May (7-0) -- a teammate of Josh Barnett -- has been more active of late, most recently scoring a head kick knockout this past February. The win marked his sixth by knockout inside the first three minutes.
At 6’8," he will enjoy a five-inch height advantage over Lewis.
I’ve honestly struggled with this pick for longer than I probably should, given it’s the opening fight on Fight Pass. Lewis has faced the better competition and looks the more resilient of the two, while May is the superior technician on the feet and knows how to use that height to land powerful kicks on the outside and hard knees on the inside.
With heavyweights, sometimes it’s best to defer to durability.
Though May comes out of a better camp, his chin is a question mark. He suffered a technical knockout loss as an amateur and lost his K-1 kickboxing bout with Jarrell Miller by knockout. In addition, he’s only gone past the first round once, while Lewis has plenty of experience finishing guys late.
May can certainly pose a headache for much of the division. I’m simply not comfortable picking him to win such a dramatic step up in competition against a guy with Lewis’ power. I expect him to win the first round before, late in the second or early in the third, fading and eventually succumbing to Lewis’ power punching.
Prediction: Lewis via second round technical knockout
Four more UFC on FOX 11 "Prelims" fights to preview and predict tomorrow, including the return of one of the Welterweight division's nastiest strikers and a potential No. 1 title contender eliminator at Lightweight.
We'll have those for you tomorrow, Maniacs. Same time, same place.
Remember, too, that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC on FOX 11 fight card this Saturday (April 19, 2014) right here, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" at 3:30 p.m. ET, the FOX Sports 1 under card matches at 5 p.m. ET and the main card bouts at 8 p.m. ET.