Salt Lake City: Come for the friendly folks, stay for the hellacious violence.
Up-and-coming Mexican Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight star Yair Rodriguez will headline his first card this Saturday night (Aug. 6, 2016) when he takes on perennial 145-pound contender Alex Caceres, leading a six-fight UFC Fight Night 92 FOX Sports 1-televised main card. The co-feature, meanwhile, pits The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) veterans Dennis Bermudez and Rony "Jason" against each other, while Thales Leites looks to halt his recent slide against the resurgent Chris Camozzi.
The UFC Fight Night 92 "Prelims" undercard bouts this time around are split 4:2 between FOX Sports 1 and Fight Pass. Let's check out the online line up below:
145 lbs.: Cub Swanson vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri
Following one-sided stoppage losses to Frankie Edgar and Max Holloway, the year-long hiatus for Cub Swanson (22-7) ended as he stepped into the cage against durable Nova Uniao grinder Hacran Dias. The fight saw something of a return to form for the Jackson Wink MMA Academy-trained product, who dropped Dias twice on the way to a unanimous decision win.
He has knocked out eight opponents and submitted another seven.
Solid wins over Dennis Siver and Jason Knight set up a clash between Tatsuya Kawajiri (35-9-2) and fellow wrestling powerhouse Dennis Bermudez. Kawajri struggled to bring "The Menace" to the mat and ultimately lost a decision after being sprawled-and-brawled by his younger foe.
"Crusher" has been competing in mixed martial arts (MMA) for more than 16 years.
Five years ago, when Kawajiri was first dropping to Featherweight and still had some confidence in his punching, I’d have picked him in a heartbeat. Swanson has historically struggled with powerful top games and his off-the-wall striking attack has a bad habit of leaving him open for takedowns.
Right now, though? Swanson’s got this.
Kawajiri’s biggest issue is that -- while he’s absurdly strong and has good takedown technique -- he doesn’t set up his shots well. Whether this is a product of his time fighting in a ring or simply wear-and-tear, he has issues getting in on people’s hips without a monumental struggle. Swanson’s powerful uppercuts and ability to deal damage in transition ought to be too much for the current iteration of Kawajiri. I’m rooting for "Crusher," but I think he succumbs to his foe’s power punching.
Prediction: Swanson by first-round technical knockout
265 lbs.: Justin Ledet vs. Chase Sherman
Following five stoppage wins in his first five fights, Justin Ledet (6-0) made the move to boxing, ultimately amassing a perfect (5-0) record with two knockouts. More than 3.5 years later, he returned to the cage with a first-round submission and was last seen accidentally poking Brice Ritani-Coe in the eye under the Legacy Fighting Championship banner.
He has submitted four opponents and knocked out another two.
Chase Sherman (9-1) -- a protege of Octagon veteran Alan Belcher -- took out his first five opponents before suffering a stoppage loss to current Light Heavyweight Alex Nicholson. He’s since won four straight, each of them via knockout and each in less than two minutes.
All of his wins have come by first-round knockout.
There’s no recent footage of Ledet and I wasn’t super impressed with what I saw of Sherman, leaving me in something of a pickle. Worse, both of their most recent fights ended with an early accident, Ledet’s with the aforementioned eye poke and Sherman’s with a freak leg injury to his opponent.
What little I saw of Ledet’s striking looked better than Sherman’s, as I’m not convinced the latter knows what a hook is, and the fact that Sherman’s never gone past the first round is as much a red flag as it is an accomplishment. I say Ledet handles himself on the feet before eventually submitting a fading Sherman late in the second.
Prediction: Ledet via second-round submission
Four more UFC Fight Night 92 "Prelims" matches remain to preview and predict, capped off by a fun Welterweight showdown.
Same time tomorrow, Maniacs!
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 92 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 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.