There will be jumping! High-flying Featherweight up-and-comers Yair Rodriguez and Alex Caceres hit Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah, this Saturday evening (Aug. 6, 2016) in the main event of UFC Fight Night 92 on FOX Sports 1. In addition, Dennis Bermudez squares off with Rony "Jason" in the co-feature and the ever-entertaining Santiago Ponzinibbio faces Zak Cummings elsewhere on the televised main card.
The latter four "Prelims" undercard matches join the main card on FOX Sports 1 (check out the online portion right here); therefore, let’s see what’s in store:
170 lbs.: Court McGee vs. Dominique Steele
Following a nearly two-year layoff, Court McGee (17-5) returned to action with a grinding decision over The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Brazil 3" finalist Marcio "Lyoto." TUF: "Brazil" got its revenge one fight later, when McGee suffered the first knockout loss of his career at the hands of Santiago Ponzinibbio.
He has gone 3-2 overall since dropping to Welterweight.
Dominique Steele (14-7) came back from a knockout loss in his UFC debut with a dominant knockout of Dong Hyun Kim, earning a "Performance of the Night" bonus in the process. Five months later, he again lived up to his nickname in a strong-but-losing effort against Danny Roberts that earned them "Fight of the Night."
"Non-Stop Action-Packed" has knocked out four opponents and submitted another three.
Provided Ponzinibbio didn’t crack McGee’s chin for good, this has all the makings of a barnburner. This is a great fight between aggressive, well-rounded 170-pound fighters with solid cardio and a distaste for moving backward. The clinching factor may be that Steele’s chin has failed him four times to McGee’s one. It’s hard to be comfortable picking him in a fight wherein I expect constant furious exchanges. McGee’s not a big hitter, but I think he can do enough damage to just edge out a competitive decision.
Prediction: McGee via unanimous decision
265 lbs.: Viktor Pesta vs. Marcin Tybura
Though he managed to knock down his foe with a heavy knee, Viktor Pesta (10-2) ultimately fell short in his Octagon debut opposite Ruslan Magomedov. He rebounded with an upset of hyped knockout artist Konstantin Erokhin, but ran out of gas against Derrick Lewis and suffered a knockout defeat. Four of his wins have come by form of knockout.
Marcin Tybura (13-2) -- the former M-1 Heavyweight Champion -- lost some luster in a technical knockout loss to 205-pound champion Stephan Puetz. "Tybur" got back in the win column with a first-round stoppage of rising Croat Ante Delija, earning a crack at UFC in the process, but dropped a decision to Timothy Johnson in his first Octagon appearance.
Eleven of his 13 wins have come inside the distance.
There’s a good chance this one winds up being a bore, unfortunately. Both Pesta and Tybura do their best work from top position and neither is an overpowering wrestler. Still, I can’t abdicate my prediction duties for bad fights, so here’s why Tybura’s going to win.
Pesta gassed badly last time out despite spending nearly two full rounds in top position, while Tybura came on strong in the third against Johnson. In addition, Tybura has a much stronger resume than Pesta, whose best win is probably still the massive flop that was Konstantin Erokhin. Tybura wins the grappling exchanges and holds his own on the feet for a decision win.
Prediction: Tybura via unanimous decision
155 lbs.: David Teymur vs. Jason Novelli
The Muay Thai pedigree of David Teymur (4-1) carried him to the quarterfinals of TUF 22, where he lost a majority decision to teammate Marcin Wrzosek. Though he did not join his castmates at the Finale, he announced his entrance into UFC this past February with a crushing knockout of teammate Martin Svensson.
Three of his four wins have come by knockout.
Jason Novelli (11-1-1) opened his career with seven finishes in seven fights before running afoul of Ben "Phoenix Jones" Fodor, who choked out "Flipside" in the latter’s second SFL appearance. Novelli went on two win four straight before settling for a questionable draw against former UFC competitor Yosdenis Cedeno.
He stands three inches taller than Teymur at 6’0."
Novelli is a capable striker in his own right and his history of submission finishes suggest that he’ll have the edge on the mat, but I’m hesitant to pick against Teymur after how dominant he looked against Svensson. There’s a very good chance this turns into a striking battle, one where I favor Teymur’s power and experience in the art over Novelli’s length advantage.
If Novelli had shown himself more willing to take it to the ground against Cedeno -- who has consistently shown himself to have the ground game of a dying carp -- I might be willing to give him the nod. As is, he’s far too likely to give Teymur the stand up war he wants. Teymur catches him cold sometime in the second round.
Prediction: Teymur by second-round technical knockout
145 lbs.: Teruto Ishihara vs. Horacio Gutierrez
The brash Teruto Ishihara (8-2-2) battered his way to the finals of TUF: "Japan," starting strong before ultimately fading against Mizuto Hirota for a split draw. His next appearance saw him brutally knock out TUF 22 competitor Julian Erosa in the second round.
"Yashabo" has knocked out seven opponents overall.
Horacio Gutierrez (2-2) enjoyed his own successful run with two solid victories on TUF: "Latin America 2." This set up a Finale showdown with Enrique Barzola, who exploited Gutierrez’s grappling deficiencies to take a dominant decision win.
"The Punisher" stands three inches taller than Ishihara at 5’10".
This really looks like a showcase for Ishihara, who gets an opponent who’s more than willing to trade leather and who lacks the veteran savvy that Hirota used to defuse "Yashabo" as the fight progressed. The only real red flags are Ishihara’s dedication to training and the size discrepancy, as he’s bounced between Bantamweight and Featherweight, while Gutierrez has fought as high as 170 pounds.
Despite these concerns and Gutierrez’s boxing prowess, I’m leaning toward Ishihara, whose speed and power ought to drag his foe into the type of firefight he excels in. From there, it’s just a matter of time.
Prediction: Ishihara via first-round knockout
UFC Fight Night 92 looks fun and it’s free, so let’s be sure to enjoy it. See you Saturday, 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.