UFC Fight Night 92 is an interesting fight card.
Primarily because it divides the mixed martial arts (MMA) community into two sides. The first side complains that tomorrow night's (Sat., Aug. 6, 2016) FOX Sports 1 card from inside Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah, is littered with nobodies.
The other side applauds UFC for giving the next generation a platform to shine. After all, there was a time when even Conor McGregor was a "nobody" trying to make his mark in the featherweight division.
That's the same weight class where Yair Rodriguez and Alex Caceres will look to make a name for themselves in the five-round main event, shortly after Dennis Bermudez and Rony Jason collide in an attempt to cement themselves among the 145-pound elite.
To get up to speed on what's happening on the UFC Fight Night 92 "Prelims" -- which air on the UFC Fight Pass digital network as well as FOX Sports 1 -- see what our beloved Patty Stumberg had to say about them here and here. For all the UFC Fight Night 92 odds and latest wagering lines see what the sports betting sites have to say here.
Now then, let's take a closer look at the six-fight main card.
145 lbs.: Yair "Pantera" Rodriguez (8-1) vs. Alex "Bruce Leeroy" Caceres (12-8, 1 NC)
Watching Alex Caceres dismantle Cole Miller on short notice should give you an idea of what kind of fighter "Bruce Leeroy" can be when he enters a fight with nothing to lose. His strengths are the same as they've always been, attacking with unorthodox strikes and unpredictable movement, and pulling out submissions when opponents disrespect his ground game.
Not surprisingly, his weaknesses are also the same as they've always been.
It's hard to overlook a fighter with eight losses in just 21 fights, and the fact that five of them have come by way of submission is quite telling. I expect this fight to play out mostly on the feet, but Yair Rodriguez is a talented wrestler who can end the fight on the ground if necessary.
It's easy to be seduced by "Pantera's" destruction of fellow up-and-comer Andre Fili, but we should also remember it was his only finish inside the Octagon. Rodriguez throws kicks like few others and changes levels better than he has any right to at age 23, but I think Caceres will be able to stay loose enough to avoid the knockout.
That means sooner or later Rodriguez is going to revert to his wrestling, where "Bruce Leeroy" will eventually lose his position -- and the fight.
Final result: Rodriguez def. Caceres by submission
145 lbs.: Dennis "The Menace" Bermudez (15-5) vs. Rony Mariano "Jason" Bezerra (14-5, 1 NC)
What started as a very promising career for Rony Mariano Bezerra, kicked off by a sensational run on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Brazil," took a sudden and violent nosedive in recent times, to the tune of just one victory over the past three years.
And let's not forget his year-long suspension.
His obvious strength is submissions but he's also powerful enough to end the fight with his hands. But I'm not sure he's going to be able to survive the ferocity of Dennis Bermudez, who fights like someone stole his lunch money, kicked his dog, and keyed his car.
There is a reason they call him "The Menace."
His stand up is good, but not great, and he's a formidable wrestler with underrated submissions. What Bermudez lacks in defense he makes up for with pure aggression, leading to wins over fellow maniacs Clay Guida and Tatsuya Kawajiri, among others.
That's why he wins this fight.
Bezerra hasn't seen action since May 2015 and it's not like he's facing a patient counterstriker. Bermudez is a tornado and will be pouring it on from bell-to-bell. That means whatever cardio "Jason" has coming into this fight will be spent trying to avoid suffocation, leading to a rout on the judges' scorecards.
Final result: Bermudez def. Bezerra by unanimous decision
185 lbs.: Chris Camozzi (24-10) vs. Thales Leites (25-6)
I was a bit surprised to see Chris Camozzi as the underdog heading into this fight. He's one of the hardest middleweights to take down, which should make him immune to his opponent's submission game. Let's face it, Thales Leites is not a wrestling phenom.
He does, however, pack one helluva punch.
But Camozzi has never been knocked out in 34 professional fights, so I can't imagine that streak being snapped against an inferior striker. The Brazilian might not be in danger of the one-hitter quitter, but he's definitely at a disadavatge from a technical striking standpoint.
I do not have high hopes for this fight.
After consecutive losses to Michael Bisping and Gegard Mousasi, I would expect Leites to be in a big hurry to secure the win. When he doesn't land the knockout blow, he'll try to get the takedown and fail there, too, as Camozzi -- winner of three straight -- dances and punches his way to the win column.
Final prediction: Camozzi def. Leites via unanimous decision
170 lbs.: Zak Cummings (19-4) vs. Santiago "Gente Boa" Ponzinibbio (22-3)
Zak Cummings is a powerful wrestler with heavy hands but to his credit, does more than just dump and hump, which is why the former TUF 17 hopeful was able to rack up 14 finishes in 19 wins and currently holds a 4-1 record under the UFC banner.
My issue here is that his first big test -- a 2014 showdown against Gunnar Nelson -- ended in a submission loss, and beating up the shallow end of the welterweight pool doesn't tell us much about where Cummings stands in the division pecking order.
On paper Santiago Ponzinibbio -- the bane of play-by-play writers around the globe -- looks to be the future of the welterweight division, scoring 19 finishes in 22 wins and capturing back-to-back knockout wins over Andreas Stahl and Court McGee.
But he was also stopped by Lorenz Larkin and outpointed by Ryan LaFlare.
The latter is particularly troubling when you consider LaFlare -- a talented wrestler -- scored five takedowns in that fight with seven passes and two reverses. There is no reason Cummings, barring a flash knockout, won't be able to replicate that performance.
Final prediction: Cummings def. Ponzinibbio by unanimous decision
185 lbs.: Joseph "Capo" Gigliotti (7-0) vs. Trevor "Hot Sauce" Smith (13-6)
The hype train has been speeding right along for Joseph Gigliotti after he laid waste to the regional circuit. But he draws a pretty stiff test in Trevor Smith. First and foremost let's recognize that "Capo" is a bulky, muscular welterweight who is fighting at middleweight to avoid a miserable cut.
The cost? He gives up four inches in height and five inches in reach.
Smith is no world beater but he's older and more experienced. While Gigliotti has been fighting the local talent, "Hot Sauce" has been mixing it up with some of the best in the world. Some of those fights resulted in tough losses, but he's also battle tested.
And able to last all three rounds.
I'm expecting Gigliotti -- unlikely to be immune to Octagon jitters -- to go for the takedown and try to muscle his way to a first-round stoppage. Smith is a good enough wrestler to keep him at bay and is likely to wear him out, assuming he can survive the initial onslaught. From there he can do whatever he pleases.
Final prediction: Smith def. Gigliotti by submission
115 lbs.: Maryna "Iron Woman" Moroz (7-1) vs. Danielle "Dynamite" Taylor (7-1)
Danielle Taylor is a potent striker with power, but she's also better served at atomweight. At just five feet tall, "Dynamite" gives up seven inches in height, as well as seven inches in reach. She can make up for that with ferocious phone booth fighting and reactive takedowns.
But Maryna Moroz is several levels above the regional gals (just ask Joanne Calderwood).
"Iron Woman" is the more technical striker and has a marked advantage on the ground. I just find it hard to believe that anything outside of a flash knockout puts the Ukrainian in any sort of danger. In order for Taylor to pull that off, she has to get close enough -- often enough -- to land the kill shot.
Final result: Moroz def. Taylor via unanimous decision
There you have it.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 92 fight card on fight night (click here), starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, and then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the main card start time at 10 p.m. ET, also on FOX Sports 1.
For much more on tomorrow night's UFC Fight Night 92 event click here.