Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is back on FOX Sports 1 this Sat. night (Nov. 22, 2014) with a six-fight mixed martial arts (MMA) card from inside the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.
No complaints here.
For an event that doesn't require you to shell out $60, this is a pretty solid line up. Of particular importance is the five-round headliner pitting Frankie Edgar of 155-pound fame against oft-overlooked Cub Swanson. The winner may or may not get a title shot, depending on what happens here.
Elsewhere on the card, Joseph Benavidez tries to stay alive in the 125-pound title hunt against the rough-and-tumble Dustin Ortiz, while Bobby Green looks to establish himself the uncrowned "King" of the lightweight division -- assuming he doesn't retire -- by turning away the dangerous Edson Barboza.
All that and so much more.
145 lbs.: Frankie "The Answer" Edgar (17-4-1) vs. Cub Swanson (21-5)
Nostradumbass predicts: Had this contest taken place a couple of years ago, I probably would have favored Frankie Edgar, based on his wrestling and peek-a-boo offense. But Cub Swanson is no longer the static boxer he once was, and taking him to the ground is no longer a foregone conclusion.
Edgar is still dangerous, particularly across a five-round fight. His constant movement and high volume of strikes have a tendency to woo judges, who seem to favor guys who look busy. But even dropping down to featherweight, "The Answer" is still the smaller fighter with a shorter reach.
That could be problematic against a fighter who continues to refine his striking which despite being unorthodox, is becoming more effective each time out. I also can't overlook the fact that Edgar takes an inordinate amount of damage, and is susceptible to the low kick.
Edgar is going to be a tough nut to crack and I do expect this fight to go the distance, but assuming Swanson doesn't play the knockout game and simply shoot to kill, his damage is going to outweigh Edgar's volume, and don't be surprised to see very little action on the ground.
Final prediction: Swanson def. Edgar via unanimous decision
155 lbs.: Edson Barboza (14-2) vs. "King" Bobby Green (23-5)
Nostradumbass predicts: I know Edson Barboza has just two losses in his professional career, but somehow it feels like more. After seeing him in action these last few years I've come to the conclusion that most of the fighters who get KTFO, like Terry Etim and Evan Dunham, fight his fight.
Those who don't ... don't.
Barboza has a formidable striking attack, but he's also been taken to the cards against aggressive fighters like Anthony Njokuani, Ross Pearson, and Danny Castillo. Considering the kind of run Bobby Green has been on, coupled with his experience on the big stage, I don't expect the "King" to be dethroned.
It's important to note that Barboza is not completely helpless on the ground and comes from a great camp, where he sharpens his blade under the watchful eyes of guys like Frankie Edgar and Ricardo Almeida. But once he leaves his comfort zone, he quickly unravels.
And I'm not sold on the durability of his chin.
Green is fearless and is going to present a problem wherever this fight goes. While I expect Barboza to use his stand-up arsenal to some degree of success in round one, this isn't a kickboxing match, and it's only a matter of time before Green makes this a "fight."
Once that happens, the end is surely near.
Final prediction: Green def. Barboza via technical knockout
125 lbs.: Chico "King" Camus (14-5) vs. Brad "One Punch" Pickett (24-9)
Nostradumbass predicts: I once got my ass whooped for calling someone "Chico" on line at the Orange Julius in Queens Center, so I keep looking over my shoulder whenever I mention him by name. Anyway, I know all the cool kids are picking Brad Pickett, but I'm not cool.
And I'm not picking "One Punch."
I thought he was a pretty tough out as a 135-pounder, but the cut down to flyweight has left him flat and powerless. He's also 36 years old and if the Englishman was going to do something spectacular inside the Octagon, he would have done it by now.
Not that Camus has been lighting the world on fire, but for my money, he's the fresher, hungrier combatant. He's probably not the complete fighter that Pickett is, but I think after round one it may not matter. "King" will do more in the second and third frames to walk away with the upset.
Final prediction: Camus def. Pickett via unanimous decision
265 lbs.: Alexey "The Boa Constrictor" Oliynyk (49-9-1) vs. Jared "The Big Show" Rosholt (11-1)
Nostradumbass predicts: Alexey Oliynyk -- who gives play-by-play guys like Patty Stumberg night sweats -- has won 40 professional fights by way of submission. Think about that for a second. "The Boa Constrictor" has more submissions than most UFC heavyweights have total fights.
Including his UFC debut against Anthony Hamilton.
Add that to his 10-fight winning streak and we have ourselves a very dangerous heavyweight, who is facing an opponent in Jared Rosholt who is likely to hang a few curves when he steps on the mound. He just can't help himself, as he's a decorated collegiate wrestler and that's his bread-and-butter.
And that's bad.
You can argue that most of Oliynyk's career has been spent recycling cans, but who the hell has Rosholt beaten? If we're going can-for-can, I'll take 49 crushed cans over 11. It's simple arithmetic, which is pretty much all I know, since I paid a guy $600 to take my college algebra class.
Final prediction: Oliynyk def. Rosholt via submission
125 lbs.: Joseph "Beefcake" Benavidez (20-4) vs. Dustin Ortiz (14-3)
Nostradumbass predicts: Joeseph Benavidez has four losses over the span of his eight-year career, two against Dominick Cruz and a pair at the hands of Demetrious Johnson. Two champions in two different weight classes. I don't think I would get much resistance by calling "Beefcake" -- or whatever the hell he calls himself these days -- the second best flyweight on the planet.
And for a couple of years he was the second best bantamweight, as well.
That makes it hard to build a credible case for Dustin Ortiz, a young and scrappy fighter who hasn't been finished in 17 professional fights. On the flip side, he's only got one finish himself in the last three years -- across eight fights -- and you're not going to outpoint Benavidez unless you're faster than him.
Ortiz is not.
A competitive first round would not surprise me, but once the former No. 1 contender gets his groove back, expect to see some of that "Joe Jitsu" on display. On the bright side, Ortiz has nothing to lose in this fight ... except the fight.
Final prediction: Benavidez def. Ortiz via submission
155 lbs.: Isaac Vallie-Flagg (14-5-1) vs. "Handsome" Matt Wiman (15-7)
Nostradumbass predicts: I didn't even realize Matt Wiman was still on the UFC roster until I started writing this. "Handsome" hasn't been seen in nearly two years, after a vicious technical knockout loss to TJ Grant left him dazed and confused.
This may actually turn out to be one of the better fights on the card.
Like Wiman, Isaac Vallie-Flagg gives absolutely zero fucks about defense and just fights like his job depends on it. Not coincidentally, it probably does, after dropping back-to-back fights to mid-card competitors. I would normally favor the "Handsome" one here, based on level of competition.
But that damn layoff...
Unless he secures a finish, Wiman is likely to run out of steam in the latter half of the fight, and Vallie-Flagg will steal rounds two and three with his heart and bangfest mentality. Even if he doesn't, this one is going to be fun to watch.
Final prediction: Vallie-Flagg def. Wiman via split decision
That's a wrap.
MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 57 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. ET, right on through the FOX Sports 1-televised prelims and main card, slated to begin at 8 and 10:00 p.m. ET, respectively.
For previews and predictions on the preliminary card fights click here and here. To see all the odds and betting lines for UFC Fight Night 57 click here and remember to come check us out after the show for all the latest results, recaps and coverage of "Edgar vs. Swanson."
What do you think? Now it's your turn ... let us have it in the comments section and share your thoughts and picks for tomorrow night's event.