Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will invade Tingle Coliseum in Albuquerque, N.M, tonight (June 7, 2014) with UFC Fight Night 42, which features a Lightweight tilt between former division champion Ben Henderson against Rustam Khabilov.
Overall, this FOX Sports 1-televised card is very solid ... even in the "Prelims" portion. With a lot of solid match ups, let's take a look at some of the fighters most likely to earn performance bonuses for their efforts at this event:
Diego Sanchez and Ross Pearson: Sanchez's game is certainly not one that can challenge the top fighters in the division, but Pearson is pretty much right at his level. Sanchez claims he's resurrecting his old nickname "The Nightmare" for this fight, and fighting in his backyard, it may very well be fitting. Pearson is the kind of guy who can hold his own in a firefight, which is what fans should expect to see in the main event. Pearson will have to stuff Sanchez's takedowns to keep this a standing affair, but I think he has the ability to do so and as such, I think this will be a very exciting slugfest.
John Dodson (Fighting John Moraga): Although both of these guys are top five Flyweight contenders, Dodson is the much better fighter. Moraga is slow relative to the rest of the division, whereas Dodson is one of the quickest, most explosive fighters at 125 pounds. Dodson also boasts ridiculous power for his size, and I think he's going to turn Moraga's lights out very quickly. To add, Dodson already beat Moraga back in 2010, which should be a confidence boost for this fight.
Rafael dos Anjos (Fighting Jason High): After wins over Anthony Lapsley and James Head, High is inexplicably being thrown to the wolves here. Dos Anjos is a legit Top 5-ranked fighter, whereas High is a talented, but not quite upper level fighter. Dos Anjos definitely wants to be getting back into the win column, and I think he'll put on a very good performance against High in this fight.
Bryan Caraway (Fighting Erik Perez): I don't think there's really any reason to be high on Perez as a prospect. He really hasn't shown any terrific skills in his fights and although he is young, he hasn't beaten anybody worth anything. Caraway, however, is just the opposite, being pretty well underrated by most fight fans despite having some impressive performances in his last few bouts. Dominant wins over Johnny Bedford and Mitch Gagnon are more impressive than anything Perez has done, and I think Caraway will be the definitively better grappler. I see Caraway walloping Perez and possibly finishing him with a submission.
Lance Benoist (Fighting Bobby Voelker): Benoist's style is intriguing -- proficient in all areas, but a little too complacent at times. Voelker isn't the type of fighter who I think will smother Benoist with wrestling, and his striking is very, very stiff and robotic. Benoist is solid on the feet and I think he'll take this fight with a composed gameplan that sees Voelker whiff a lot throughout the fight. Voelker is tough, but I think he's going to get beaten up by a much slicker striker here.
Patrick Cummins (Fighting Roger Narvaez): When two can crushers collide, you've got to go with the one coming in with more wrestling experience and a better camp. Cummins was embarrassed in his last outing against Daniel Cormier, but there's plenty to build on with him ... and Narvaez is simply not very good.
Overall, this card serves up plenty of exciting fights, some of which have fighters who look set for very impressive performances. This is the type of card that is good enough to watch from beginning to end, and it's good to see that after last week's monotonous double-event day that felt all too long to watch.