Same age, different generations.
Thirty-six-year-old mixed martial arts (MMA) veterans Glover Teixeira and Rashad Evans collide this Saturday evening (April 16, 2016) when Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay, Fla., with its latest FOX show. Teixeira pursues his third-straight win since a two-fight skid, while injury-plagued Evans looks for his first win since 2013.
UFC on FOX 19's co-main event sees Lyoto Machida and Dan Henderson lock horns once again, which follows former main event competitor Khabib Nurmagomedov's Lightweight scrap with last-minute replacement Darrell Horcher.
Four "Prelims" undercard bouts join the main card on FOX itself after the five-fight UFC Fight Pass portion concludes online (read all about those here).
Check out what that FOX undercard broadcast has in store this weekend:
155 lbs.: Beneil Dariush vs. Michael Chiesa
A knockout loss to Ramsey Nijem two fights into Beneil Dariush's (12-1) UFC career gave way to four consecutive victories, setting up a fight with fellow fast-riser Michael Johnson. Dariush ultimately got the nod in controversial fashion, but had to pull out of a January bout with Mairbek Taisumov because of an injury.
He will give up three inches of height to the 6’1" Michael Chiesa (13-2).
In April 2015, Chiesa rebounded from a stoppage loss to Joe Lauzon with a decision over Mitch Clarke, his fifth UFC victory. Eight months later, he squared off with Jim Miller and became just the second man to submit the venerable Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt.
Nine of his 13 wins have come by submission, six of them via rear-naked choke.
While I was quite disappointed that Dariush never got to throw down with Taisumov, this is a very intriguing fight. Chiesa’s a deceptively good wrestler and has phenomenal back control, while Dariush has been improving by leaps and bounds under the tutelage of Rafael Cordeiro and the Kings MMA staff.
However, I give the edge to Dariush’s striking and takedown defense.
Chiesa remains a bit slow and awkward on the feet, posing nowhere near the threat that Johnson did. In addition, Dariush ought to have the jiu-jitsu prowess to keep Chiesa off his back until he manages to scramble up. Expect three fun, competitive rounds that see Dariush in enough exchanges and shrug off enough takedowns for the decision win.
Prediction: Dariush via unanimous decision
135 lbs.: Bethe Correia vs. Raquel Pennington
Three straight UFC victories, capped off by a knockout of Shayna Baszler, worked in tandem with persistent trash talk to put Bethe Correia (9-1) on a collision course with Ronda Rousey for the UFC women's Bantamweight title. Talk wasn’t enough, however, and Correia suffered her first-ever loss just 34 seconds into the first round.
She will give up three inches of height to the 5’7" Raquel Pennington (6-5).
A former Invicta and The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 18 competitor, Pennington has alternated wins and losses in UFC, beginning with a decision over Roxanne Modaferri on the show’s Finale. Her 2015 campaign saw her drop a decision to Holly Holm before avenging a loss to Jessica Andrade via second-round submission.
Three of her six victories are by form of choke.
Correia has massively overachieved in her UFC career; even her bread-and-butter (her boxing) lacks any real impact standout technical acumen. Pennington really should have the edge anywhere the fight goes but especially on the ground, where Correia has yet to demonstrate any real aptitude.
Pennington has the size and the grappling to make this a long night for "Pitbull," whom I do not expect to ever reach the heights she has again. "Rocky" puts together her first two-fight win streak since 2012 with a decision victory.
Prediction: Pennington via unanimous decision
170 lbs.: Court McGee vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio
Court McGee's (17-4) two-fight streak at Welterweight came to an end at the hands of Ryan LaFlare, who soundly outwrestled TUF 11 winner for a unanimous decision win in Dec. 2013. Various circumstances kept "The Crusher" out of the cage for almost exactly two years, after which he picked up a decision over Marcio Alexandre Jr.
He has submitted seven opponents and knocked out another three.
Santiago Ponzinibbio (21-3)" reached the finals of TUF: "Brazil 2" before suffering a hand injury, then went on to lose a decision to LaFlare in his promotional debut. "Gente Boa" has since gone 3-1, rebounding from his knockout loss to Lorenz Larkin with a first-round stoppage of Andreas Stahl in Dec. 2015.
He has stopped 18 professional opponents, 12 of them via knockout.
McGee is badly outgunned here -- Ponzinibbio packs some nasty power in those hands of his, has quality takedown defense and can put together some lovely combinations. Then again, this isn’t exactly unfamiliar territory for McGee, who has overwhelmed bigger hitters in the past through his furious pace.
He’s going to struggle to do the same to Ponzinibbio.
In his fight with Sean Strickland, the Argentinian showed that he can stay dangerous and do damage for all three rounds. At the same time, McGee’s style isn’t as debilitating on his opponent as it could be. I simply don’t believe "The Crusher" can slow Ponzinibbio’s assault fast enough or significantly enough to take the decision. Power punching carries the day for Argentina.
Prediction: Ponzinibbio via unanimous decision
145 lbs.: Cub Swanson vs. Hacran Dias
From 2012 to 2014, Cub Swanson (21-7) tore through the featherweight division with furious abandon, scoring four knockouts among six consecutive victories. He’s since fallen into an 0-2 slump courtesy of Frankie Edgar and Max Holloway, both of whom scored final-round submissions on the Greg Jackson-trained product.
This will be his first fight in one year ... almost to the day.
Injuries on both his and opponents’ parts slowed the UFC career of Hacran Dias (23-3-1) to a crawl following his debut victory over Iuri Alcantara, causing him to miss all of 2013. He returned to action in May 2014 with a narrow loss to Ricardo Lamas, followed by consecutive victories over Darren Elkins and Levan Makashvili.
He has stopped 12 opponents overall, nine via knockout.
This fight really boils down to whether Swanson can regain the form he had during his rampage. He’s got a considerable speed and striking edge over Dias, who poses nowhere near the threat that Edgar and Holloway do on the feet. The problem is that Swanson looked worryingly vulnerable to the takedown in those fights and offered little from his back.
This is a toss up, really. Dias is a very capable grinder whom I do not believe Swanson can dislodge should the Brazilian wind up on top. Still, it’s hard to ignore Swanson’s history of violence against less-adept strikers. I say he returns to form with a late stoppage once Dias slows.
Prediction: Swanson via third-round technical knockout
UFC on FOX 19 features a solid main event and quality match ups all the way down the card. Not bad for a free card!
See you Saturday, 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.