Somewhat overlooked between Anderson Silva getting beaten, the impending debut of UFC on FOX Sports 1 (thankfully to be regarded as a continuation of the old Fight Might series) with its ridiculously stacked card and the insane run of more established title matches coming up, this weekend’s UFC on FOX card has sneaked under the radar a little bit but it is a damn fine MMA card, despite all the other cool fights that aren’t on it.
Lets start at the top…
Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson (17-2-1) makes his second defence of his UFC Flyweight championship against John Moraga (13-1) in a bout that probably leaves casual fans asking ‘John who?’
Unfortunately, the low market value of Flyweights, even if they are insanely talented and putting on great fights means that Moraga, who rode a 5-0 streak into the UFC has both if his UFC wins on preliminary cards, likely watched by a tiny proportion of the probable audience for this network TV broadcast.
That’s unfair, but it is what it is.
Johnson of course is the fast paced wrestler/boxer who has only ever been defeated via close decision to Domincik Cruz and Brad Pickett (if you’re gonna lose to two guys at 135lbs those two would be my top choices…) who dropped to 125lbs once the division was added to the UFC and defeated Ian McCall and Joseph Benavidez to take the title, then defended against John Dodson – all these wins coming by decision.
This is where Moraga really becomes an interesting challenger as after winning back to back decisions en route to the UFC, he proceeded to finish Ulysses Gomez and Chris Cariaso via TKO and sub respectively in his first two UFC bouts.
Who the hell does that? Gets MORE dangerous when the pressure goes up?
Suddenly, the prospect if leaping from prelims to network televised main event isn’t so daunting and it’s Mighty Mouse who need be concerned.
These are 125lbers at the elite level, so it should go without saying that they are both exceptionally well rounded, incredibly fast and capable of winning via strikes or submission at any time or equally by keeping a high pace for 25 minutes and having the winner decided by the tiniest of margins via the judges.
This will be a feast for the MMA purist, and I’m putting money on @ChicanoJohn.
Our co-main event sees Welterweight contenders Rory MacDonald (14-1) and Jake Ellenberger (29-6) facing off with the potential prize of who is next to challenge for the 170lb belt on the line.
MacDonald has developed into a complete mixed martial artist with a… compelling sideline in an ice cold heel persona and a near flawless record (desperation KO at the hands of Carlos Condit being nothing to be ashamed of) combined with the ability and composure to toy with BJ Penn rather than finish him when he had the chance.
However, MacDonald has not yet faced someone who combines gritty wrestling with serious KO power (which will be crucial experience if he plans on challenging the likes of Johny Hendricks or Chris Weidman for gold in the future) in the way that Ellenberger does.
It’s a really tight matchup, with MacDonald’s only weakness revealed thus far being that he CAN be knocked out measured by Ellenberger’s tried and true history of doing just that (its not as if Nate Marquardt or Jake Shields are all that easy to KTFO).
I really doubt this could be a domination either way, likely going to the judges or being decided by one lucky/awesome strike or unfortunate mistake.
Following on from his upset KO of Josh Koscheck, Robbie Lawler (20-9-1) was set to face Siyar Bahadurzada in what promised to be a fun match, but instead faces game Strikeforce alum Bobby Voelker (24-9) in a contest that looks to be even better.
Both of these guys come to scrap and tend to walk away with a knockout victory about half the time so a tentative tactical encounter doesn’t seem to be on the cards.
Rounding off the main card, former title challenger Liz Carmouche (8-3) makes her sophomore UFC appearance against debutant Jessica Andrade (9-2) who despite being a wholly new name to most UFC fans is a real prospect, with eleven pro fights at the age of 21, including nine stoppage victories.
Carmouche is tough as nails and well rounded but has shown a susceptibility to submissions (admittedly at the hands of Ronda Rousey and Marloes Coenen so it’s not exactly an objective sample) which just so happens to be Andrade’s speciality.
The undercard is full of fun fights, but I’ll just cherry pick a few that catch my eye.
First of all, Jorge Masvidal (24-7) looks to continue his winning ways against TUF winner Michael Chiesa (9-0) in a clash of wildly differing styles and levels of experience.
Masvidal is a well travelled veteran who’s 4-2 record over the last three years is only marred by losses to Paul Daley and Gilbert Melendez. Across the cage, Chiesa is still relatively inexperienced but has been completely unfazed by the move to the big show and has continued his habit of submitting opponents who have been expected to beat him.
Masvidal SHOULD win, but I’ve got a feeling that a Chiesa sub is very possible.
The encounter between ‘Thugjitsu Master’ Yves Edwards (42-19-1, yeah that’s 62 pro fights…) and knockout hunter Daron Cruickshank (12-3) promises some fun as both guys are guaranteed excitement and always go for the finish.
Last but by no means least, WMMA pioneer and Invicta announcer Julie Kedzie (16-11) makes her Octagon debut looking to rebound from back to back losses to Miesha Tate and Alexis Davis (nothing to be ashamed of) against Germaine de Randamie (3-2) who has taken a mighty five years to amass her five pro MMA fights.
Slight difference in experience there, until you remember that De Randamie has a 37-0 kickboxing record.
This is gonna be FUN.
Or we’ll post photos of drunken carnage. That could happen.
Check http://www.ufc.com for listings in your area.
• Demetrious Johnson vs. John Moraga – for UFC flyweight title
• Jake Ellenberger vs. Rory MacDonald
• Robbie Lawler vs. Bobby Voelker
• Jessica Andrade vs. Liz Carmouche
• Michael Chiesa vs. Jorge Masvidal
• Danny Castillo vs. Tim Means
• Mac Danzig vs. Melvin Guillard
• Daron Cruickshank vs. Yves Edwards
• Ed Herman vs. Trevor Smith
• Germaine de Randamie vs. Julie Kedzie
• Aaron Riley vs. Justin Salas
John Albert vs. Yaotzin Meza