Still alive at 205.
This Saturday evening (April 16, 2016), UFC hits FOX once again, taking over Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla., with a Light Heavyweight scrap at the helm. Said scrap pits Rashad Evans -- now more than a decade into his career with the promotion -- against Glover Teixeira, who last seen blowing out Patrick Cummins in Nov. 2015.
In UFC on FOX 19's co-main event, Lyoto Machida squares off with Dan Henderson for the second time, while Khabib Nurmagomedov makes his long-awaited return against Bellator veteran -- and last-minute replacement -- Darrell Horcher.
The nine "Prelims" undercard matches are split between FOX and Fight Pass. Check out what the Internet holds for the early afternoon:
135 lbs.: John Dodson vs. Manny Gamburyan
Following his close loss to Demetrius Johnson, John Dodson (17-7) battled his way back into title contention with three straight victories, setting up a rematch with "Mighty Mouse" in Sept. 2015. "The Magician" wound up struggling mightily with his ever-adaptive opponent and ultimately lost by a much wider margin than before.
He returns to Bantamweight for the first time since his 2011 knockout of T.J. Dillashaw.
The final challenger to Jose Aldo’s crown in World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC), Manny Gamburyan (15-8) has gone 4-1 (1 NC) since a winless (0-2) start to his UFC career. "The Anvil" dropped to Bantamweight two Septembers ago, where he’s beaten Cody Gibson and Scott Jorgensen.
He stands two inches taller than Dodson at 5’5."
Dodson's biggest problem is that he relies too heavily on his speed to close the distance. He doesn’t have any real set ups for his power shots, instead just rushing in and, at times, getting countered in the process. This is nowhere near as big an issue for him at 135 pounds, were you can count the number of fighters capable of keeping up with him on one hand.
Gamburyan is not among them.
The judoka is strong and hits damn hard, but the massive speed difference is just too much for him to overcome. Combine that with Dodson’s ridiculous takedown defense and things lok grim for "The Anvil." Dodson sparks him out sometime in the first round.
Prediction: Dodson via first-round technical knockout
170 lbs.: Randy Brown vs. Mike Graves
Randy Brown (7-0) entered UFC as a product of Dana White’s "Looking for a Fight" series and drew tough-as-nails Canadian Matt Dwyer for his January debut. Solid striking and fancy throws carried Brown to victory, although he had to see the judges for the first time to do so.
His six stoppage wins include four submissions.
Mike Graves (5-0) stepped up to the plate for the very first bout on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 21, losing a majority decision to top prospect Kamaru Usman over two rounds. He righted the ship with a clutch comeback victory over Jason Jackson in the later rounds, then took a decision over Vicente Luque on the Finale.
He was originally set to face Danny Roberts in Dec. 2015 before pulling out because of injury.
Brown did better than I expected against Matt Dwyer, I’ll admit. I still think he’s too raw to go far in the Welterweight division, a fact I expect Graves to clearly demonstrate. While Dwyer was just an okay striker, the American Top Team (ATT)-trained product is extremely durable and a very solid grappler
Despite the improvements he showed against Dwyer, I highly doubt Brown’s ground game has evolved sufficiently to win this. Graves ground him early and either taps him or puts him out with punches.
Prediction: Graves via first-round submission
155 lbs.: Drew Dober vs. Islam Makhachev
Drew Dober's (16-7) bogus submission loss to Leandro Silva may have been overturned, but the guillotine Efrain Escudero put him in afterward was all too real, causing the first true submission loss of Dober’s career. He managed to re-enter the win column in January with an upset decision over Scott Holtzman at UFC 195.
At 5’8", he is two inches shorter than Islam Makhachev (12-1).
Makhachev, a training partner of Khabib Nurmagomedov, showed off the terrific grappling that made him a blue-chip prospect in his debut win over Leo Kuntz. Unfortunately for him, his aggressive style came back to bit him against Adriano Martins, who timed him coming in with a brutal check hook knockout in Oct. 2015.
He has submitted six of his 13 opponents.
Makhachev is still an elite prospect in my book, while Martins is an absolute monster and one of the more underrated fighters in the division. Sure, the Dagestani grappler has some holes in his striking defense, but his Sambo stylings seem well-suited to taking out the light-punching Dober.
Dober’s a good, well-rounded fighter. He just doesn’t have the takedown defense to stay on his feet against Makhachev, nor the power to spark him out on the counter. Makhachev rides to victory on a steady diet of takedowns.
Prediction: Makhachev via unanimous decision
185 lbs.: Cezar Ferreira vs. Oluwale Bamgbose
Cezar Ferreira (8-5) built on his TUF: "Brazil" win to start his UFC career with three straight wins, including a decision over castmate Daniel Sarafian in 2013. He’s just 1-3 since, all three losses coming via brutal first-round knockout.
He returns to Middleweight after a one-fight stint at 170 pounds.
Oluwale Bamgbose (6-0) entered UFC on the heels of five straight first-round knockouts, only to bite off more than he could chew in his short-notice debut against Uriah Hall. He returned to his winning ways two months ago with a brutal head kick knockout of Daniel Sarafian just 60 seconds into the fight.
He replaces the injured Caio Magalhaes on one week’s notice.
The single greatest piece of MMA media ever created is and always will be Seanbaby’s history of Kazuyuki Fujita’s ever-abused skull. In it, he discussed a notion that’s stuck with me: The idea that a result can be so blindingly obvious that you actually don’t expect it to happen. This is how I feel here.
On one side, you have Ferreira, a glass-chinned fighter with porous defense. On the other, you have the gigaton punches of Bamgbose. Things point to a brutal Bamgbose knockout victory so clearly that all I can do is wait for the other shoe to drop.
I don’t think there is one. Bamgbose smash.
Prediction: Bamgbose via first-round knockout
170 lbs.: Omari Akhmedov vs. Elizeu Zaleski
Omari Akhmedov (15-3) entered his Dec. 2015 bout with Sergio Moraes on a two-fight winning streak and looked on track to make it three against the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ace. Partway through the third round, however, Akhmedov fell victim to a comeback knockout loss that dropped his UFC record to 3-2.
He has just one decision among his last 11 victories.
Elizeu Zaleski (14-5) joined UFC with the Jungle Fight welterweight title and one successful defense under his belt. In his debut against Danish prospect Nicolas Dalby, "Capoeira" put forth a tremendous effort, but ultimately lost the split decision.
He has knocked out 11 opponents and submitted another two.
Akhmedov has some serious power and solid wrestling. That said, he also has a tendency to fade late and managed to get knocked out by Sergio Moraes of all people. Zaleski has some fast and powerful striking in his own right and, unlike Akhmedov, can maintain his offense for all three rounds.
Akhmedov should find success in the early going, but the fight will favor Zaleski more and more as it progresses. "Capoeira" lands something brutal late in the second or partway through the third.
Prediction: Zaleski via second-round technical knockout
Four more UFC on FOX 19 "Prelims" undercard bouts to preview and predict tomorrow, including the return of Cub Swanson and a pivotal Lightweight showdown in the headlining slot.
See you there, Maniacs!
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC on FOX 19 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. ET, and then the remaining under card balance on FOX at 6 p.m. ET, before the FOX main card start time at 8 p.m. ET.