It's going to be high-speed mixed martial arts (MMA) havoc in the "Windy City" this weekend (Sat., Jan. 26, 2013).
In a Flyweight showdown that is sure to have fight fans reaching for their omnioculars' slow-motion function, newly-crowned 125-pound division kingpin Demetrious Johnson will defend his title against John Dodson in the UFC on Fox 6 main event, which will emanate from the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.
In addition, Quinton Jackson competes for perhaps the final time in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), taking on The Pit-trained fighter Glover Teixeira in the co-main event, while Donald Cerrone and Anthony Pettis look to settle mutual grievances in an intriguing Lightweight showdown.
But, before all that, we've got seven "Prelims" under card fights to tide us over on Facebook/FX, the first three of which we breakdown below.
170 lbs.: Pascal Krauss vs. Mike Stumpf
One of the top prospects out of Europe, Pascal Krauss (10-1) has been plagued by injuries since his UFC arrival, so much so that "Panzer" debuted in 2010 and has fought just once since, losing to John Hathaway this past May. He was slated to welcome Gunnar Nelson to the UFC in September, only to suffer major damage from a knee strike in training.
The Roufusport-trained product has seven wins by tapout and two by technical knockout.
Mike Stumpf (11-3), who trains under Jeff Curran, had the unfortunate task of facing T.J. Waldburger on short notice in Sept. 2011, losing via triangle choke after a stunning submission chain from the latter. He has not competed since (a February showdown with Justin Edwards was nixed because of injury).
Stumpf, as is to be expected from someone trained by "The Big Frog," has won the majority of his fights by submission.
Krauss looked just plain bad against Hathaway, but he strikes me as simply better than Stumpf, who himself is coming off a long layoff because of injury. The latter’s record is impressive, but I seriously question his ability to put Krauss on his back or keep it standing.
The striking of "Panzer" is somewhat of a question mark, but Stumpf hasn’t shown any particular proficiency there and, thanks to Krauss’ size and wrestling, any danger in that area is mitigated by his ability to take it to the ground.
"Panzer" wins a dominant decision via top control.
Prediction: Krauss by unanimous decision
185 lbs.: Rafael Natal vs. Sean Spencer
Rafael Natal (14-4-1) looked well on his way to picking up his third consecutive UFC victory against Andrew Craig in July and probably would have gotten it if he hadn’t let his striking success go to his head. Craig’s shin upside his dome ended their bout in the second round, dropping Natal’s UFC record to 2-2-1. Incidentally, this marked the Gracie Fusion-trained fighter’s second loss by head kick in his almost eight-year career.
Originally booked to fight for the second time in Legacy Fighting Championship this upcoming April, Bellator veteran Sean Spencer (9-1) answered the call when Sweden’s Magnus Cedenblad pulled out last week. Spencer, who usually fights at welterweight, is currently on a three-fight win streak, most recently handing Evan Cutts -- who retired Reagan Penn -- his first defeat in August.
"Black Magic" stands two inches shorter than Natal.
I know size isn’t everything, as the first two rounds of Henry Martinez vs. Matt Riddle showed, but unlike Riddle, Natal actually has a functional brain instead of a deep-seated desire to be a "Rock-em, Sock-em" robot. Sure, he turned that brain off about halfway through the second round of his last fight, but that ought to have scared him straight.
Spencer is giving up size, experience and ground proficiency on short notice. Natal is going to overpower him, drag him to the mat and tap him out early.
It's as simple as that.
Prediction: Natal by first-round submission
170 lbs.: David Mitchell vs. Simeon Thoresen
In his 2010 Octagon debut, David Mitchell (11-2) and opponent T.J. Waldburger collectively set the UFC record for submission attempts in a single fight. Since then, "Daudi" has fought just once, losing badly to Paulo Thiago at UFC 134. Mitchell has twice had bouts cancelled, getting injured before a Jan. 2011 fight with Mike Swick and having a Nov. 2012 showdown with Hyun Gyu Lim scratched when the latter fell gravely ill during weight cutting.
Of Mitchell’s 11 victories, nine have come by submission, six of those in the first round.
Simeon Thoresen (17-3-1) -- protege of the great Joachim Hansen -- showcased his ability to overcome adversity in his UFC debut, coming from behind to submit Besam Yousef in the second round. Unfortunately for "The Grin," all the heart in the world can’t save you from a perfectly-placed punch, as he learned when a Seth Baczynski left hook caught him right on the button in his sophomore effort.
Thoresen, 28, has 15 submission wins to his name.
Waldburger, Thiago, Lim and now Thoresen -- somebody up there really doesn’t like Mitchell. As shaky as Thoresen's chin has looked, Mitchell doesn’t have the pop or technique to crack it, nor the wrestling to impose his will on the mat. Despite a gaudy submission record, both Waldburger and Thiago were able to beat him rather soundly from top position and I believe Thoresen has the grappling chops to do the same.
Mitchell could very well be much better than he’s shown, but he’s been out of the cage for 1.5 years and is fighting a bigger, stronger opponent. He might put Thoreson in trouble once or twice from the bottom, but expect the Norwegian to dominate wherever it goes for a clear decision win.
Prediction: Thoresen by unanimous decision
Stop by tomorrow for closer look at the four remaining "Prelims" bouts, which include a Featherweight bout with serious title implications.
See you then.
Remember, too, that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the UFC on FOX 6 main card action, which is slated to start promptly at 8 p.m. ET. Up-to-the-minute updates and fight-by-fight coverage will begin to flow earlier than that, however, around 4:30 p.m. ET with the "Prelims" bouts on Facebook and FX.