Prepare for more violence.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is off to Cincinnati, Ohio, this weekend (Sat., May 10, 2014) for UFC Fight Night 40, which will take place inside U.S. Bank Arena. In the main event, two of the Welterweight division's most ferocious finishers will do battle as Matt Brown attempts to extend his win streak to seven at the expense of Brazilian phenom Erick Silva.
In addition, former Strikeforce standout Lorenz Larkin will face Costas Philippou in a match up of aggressive middleweight strikers in the co-featured fight of the night.
The main card is set for Fox Sports 1, with three Prelim bouts on Fight Pass and four more on Fox Sports 2. Let's see what's in store.
145 lbs.: Manny Gamburyan vs. Nik Lentz
After starting his UFC career winless (0-2), Manny Gamburyan (13-7) managed to right the ship with consecutive wins over Michihiro Omigawa and Cole Miller. Dennis Siver halted his momentum with a decision win at UFC 168, but the bout was subsequently overturned after the German contender failed a drug test.
"The Anvil" is three inches shorter than Lentz.
An 0-2 (1 NC) stretch prompted American Top Team (ATT)-trained Nik Lentz (24-6-2) to try his hand at 145 pounds, where he immediately made an impression by winning three straight. While he lost to Chad Mendes in Dec. 2013, he showcased his durability by being the first man in five fights to take Mendes the distance.
"The Carney" has stopped sixteen opponents.
I’m not inordinately fond of Gamburyan; however, I honestly don’t see how he wins this. Lentz’s chin is too tough for Gamburyan’s haymakers to crack and I don’t imagine his Judo having much success against Lentz’s wrestling. I’m also not convinced he can handle Lentz’s ridiculous pace.
Gamburyan’s entertaining when he’s unable to hold his man down and Lentz is generally fun to watch, so this should be a solid scrap. Entertaining does not mean competitive, though, and Lentz should walk away with a wide decision.
Prediction: Lentz via unanimous decision
155 lbs.: Justin Salas vs. Ben Wall
Justin Salas (11-5) earned UFC’s attention with a five-round decision win over Joe Ellenberger in Oct. 2011, having also beaten Octagon veteran Rob Emerson beforehand. He has since gone even (2-2) in the world’s largest fight promotion, defeating Anton Kuivanen and Aaron Riley, while losing to Tim Means and Thiago Tavares.
He gives up two inches of height to Ben Wall (7-1-1).
One can’t fault Wall’s bravery in going up in weight to face Alex Garcia, just his wisdom for doing so. "Manimal" suffered a knockout loss in his UFC debut, eating a massive uppercut and falling just 43 seconds in. He owns a win over current ONE FC standout Rob Lisita.
I’m trying to think of some way to make this prediction sound smart besides "both of them like to wrestle and one of them is better at it," but I’m drawing a blank. Salas figures to be the superior wrestler and has developed a serviceable striking game to go along with it, giving him the advantage in both major areas.
It’s very possible that my perception of Wall has been unfairly dimmed by his thrashing at the hands of Garcia. Still, a mediocre as Salas is, he seems the superior overall fighter. The American wins on volume punching and takedowns.
Prediction: Salas via unanimous decision
170 lbs.: Anthony Lapsley vs. Albert Tumenov (12-2)
Anthony Lapsley (23-6) made his UFC debut in Nov. 2013 on the heels of a five-fight win streak, four of which came inside the first round. Though he ultimately fell to Jason High, he nonetheless took a round from the veteran and showcased solid grappling.
Sixteen of his wins have come by submission.
Albert Tumenov (12-2) looked like a monster in his UFC debut, dropping and brutalizing Ildemar Alcantara in the first round of their fight. Unfortunately, his gas tank failed to hold up, causing him to lose a split decision.
The last five wins for "Einstein" have come by first-round knockout and he is 12 years younger than Lapsley.
I still believe in Tumenov. And as long as his cardio holds up, there aren’t many members of the division capable of handling him on the feet. His takedown defense also seems to hold up well so long as the tank’s not empty.
Though I may be unreasonably high on this kid, I’m willing to blame his struggles against Alcantara on it being his UFC debut. Lapsley will have no such luxury; in fact, unless he can score a takedown early, Tumenov’s going to take his head off with a left hook in short order.
The K-Dojo prodigy picks up his first UFC win in brutal fashion.
Prediction: Tumenov via first-round technical knockout
Four more UFC Fight Night 40 "Prelims" fights to preview and predict tomorrow, including one of the world's top bantamweights and an entertaining flyweight showdown.
See you there!
Remember: MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 40 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, right on through the FOX Sports 2 under card action at 8 p.m. ET and the the FOX Sports 1 main card at 10 p.m. ET.