The mighty hath fallen ...
With the loss of its Heavyweight headliner, Fabricio Werdum vs. Cain Velasquez, the pay-per-view (PPV) card formerly known as UFC 196 instead slinks back to FOX Sports 1 as UFC Fight Night 82. In the main event of the evening (Sat., Feb. 6, 2016), Johny Hendricks will collide with Stephen Thompson in a pivotal Welterweight showdown. Meanwhile, in the co-featured fight of the night, Light Heavyweight bruisers Ovince St.-Preux and Rafael Cavalcante will lock horns.
In addition, Flyweight scrambling specialists Joseph Benavidez and Zach Makovsky will tangle, while blue-chip prospect Misha Cirkunov will return to mixed marital arts (MMA) action.
But first, we've got a half-dozen "Prelims" undercard bouts to deal with, two of which will stream live on Fight Pass and the remaining balance on FOX Sports 1.
Let's see what's in store on the World Wide Web:
170 lbs.: Mickey Gall vs. Mike Jackson
We all know the drill at this point: Each fighter gets three sentences of introduction, showing who they are and how they got here. But, what do you want from me here? What do I fill space with when I have two inexperienced fighters with no business being in UFC?
Mickey Gall (1-0) has two amateur wins and one as a professional, while Mike Jackson (0-0) has one amateur bout and some kickboxing. In other words, there’s not terribly much out there for me to utilize in breaking down the great "C.M. Punk Sweepstakes." From what I have seen, however, Gall looks like the much better grappler and Jackson showed decent, but unspectacular, striking.
Gotta' go with the ground artist here.
Prediction: Gall via first-round submission
145 lbs.: Alex White vs. Artem Lobov
Alex White (10-2) showcased his power in his Octagon debut with an 88-second thrashing of Estevan Payan, his third consecutive first-round stoppage. Tough losses to Lucas Martins and Clay Collard followed, after which injury kept him out of action for all of 2015.
He has nine wins via stoppage, five of them submissions.
Artem Lobov (11-11-1) -- a teammate of Conor McGregor -- came up short against Mehdi Baghdad in the elimination round of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 22, only to get a second chance. He took that second chance all the way to the Finale, where he dropped a wide, dull decision to Ryan Hall.
I’ve been rather disappointed with White’s performance since the Payan blowout -- he didn’t look too bad in defeat against Martins, but struggled far more than he should have against the ever-sloppy Clay Collard. His skillset likely leaves him little choice but to slug it out with Lobov, who seems capable of both dishing out and taking greater punishment.
For all of Lobov’s defeats, he’s not been stopped since his fifth professional fight back in 2011. White’s going to have a hell of a time trying to put him away. It’s unlikely he can do so before Lobov finds his chin with something nasty.
Prediction: Lobov via second-round technical knockout
Four UFC Fight Night 82 undercard fights to preview and predict tomorrow, including solid scraps at 125- and 265-pounds.
Stop by tomorrow, Maniacs!
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 82 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, and then the remaining under card balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the FOX Sports 1 main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.