UFC 189 Co-Main Event & Undercard Preview

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Given the relentless hype for the main event, it’s been easy to forget that there is actually an undercard to UFC 189 on Saturday but that undercard would probably be amongst the best PPV cards of the year even if both Conor McGregor and Chad Mendes suddenly got injured.

The co-main event itself is a fight worthy of headlining any MMA card as Robbie Lawler (25-10, 1NC) looks to make the first defence of his UFC Welterweight title against Rory MacDonald (18-2).

Robbie Lawler’s career would make an excellent movie trilogy, all the way from the youthful prodigy through his journeyman years in the wilderness to his triumphant UFC return and title victory.

6-1 since returning to the UFC and dropping back down to Welterweight, Lawler seems to have reached a point in his career where natural talents, coaching, experience and a maturity have moulded him into a complete martial artist where his always dangerous striking is fully in accord with his grappling game, cardio and mentality.

By contrast, Rory MacDonald has seemed like the heir apparent to the welterweight throne for years. A protégé of former champion Georges St-Pierre, it seemed that MacDonald was always the new big thing at 170lbs even as losses to elite fighters Carlos Condit (losing to a late KO after dominating the fight for three rounds) and Lawler (via split decision) checked his progress towards the seemingly inevitable title shot.

Nonetheless, MacDonald rebounded from both losses by becoming a more dangerous, more complete martial artists and in the five years since first tasting defeat in that fight against Condit.

Now, one of the sports most beloved and skilled veterans faces off with one of the preeminent examples of a modern, well rounded, cerebral and above all, professional MMA fighter with the belt on the line. What more could you ask for?

Well, a promoter would ask for one of them to be a bit mouthier and turn a credible sporting contest into a bit more of a media sensation, but a certain Irishman seems to have pegged the market in that field. In any case, for true fans of mixed martial arts as a sport, this is as credible a title matchwith as compelling a sporting narrative as any you are likely to find.

The main card is filled out with a few excellent fights, all of which could be expected to headline a Fight Pass card in their own right. Firstly, a featherweight contest between two guys who are no stranger to ‘of the night’ bonuses and had been on the outer edge of title contention before some recent losses in the shape of Dennis Bermudez (14-4) and Jeremy Stephens (23-11). A win for either man really places them back in the mix.

Next we have two rising welterweight prospects who met defeat in their last bout against experienced opposition as the exciting Brandon Thatch (11-2) meets smooth Icelander, Gunnar Nelson (13-1-1) looking to recover from losses to Benson Henderson and Rick Story respectively. Both are highly regarded by UFC brass, the media and the fans so the winner here could find themselves a win or two from a title shot.

Opening the main card, Brad Pickett (24-10) returns to 135lbs following a disappointing 1-3 run at Flyweight and is rewarded with the dubious honour of facing undefeated prospect Thomas Almeida (18-0). Pickett would be the biggest scalp of Almedia’s career to date, while a win over the impressive youngster would immediately rehabilitate Pickett to his former spot in the top ten of the bantamweight rankings.

The preliminary card also has it’s share of great fights as ‘Immortal’ Matt Brown (19-13) faces the surging Tim Means (24-6-1) and with a hefty 28 knockout wins between them I don’t think anyone is expecting a dull fight…

We’ve also got former Cage Warriors champion Cathal Pendred (17-2-1) looking to impress after a lukewarm start to his UFC career when he faces the ever-game veteran John Howard (22-11) and Neil Seery (15-10)continues his UFC fairytale against Louis Smolka (8-1) knowing that a win would likely place him in title contention given the shallow waters in the flyweight division.

For once this is a card which actually seems worth staying up late for so let’s hope it lives up to the hype.

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Seven Claimants To The Crown

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There has been a lot of debate about who’s next to challenge for John Hendricks’ shiny new Welterweight title.  Let’s have a look at the options…

#1 Robbie Lawler

As one half of the most compelling title fight in some time, ‘Ruthless’ is still right in the mix for another title shot.  With a lot of folks (especially those who watched live or didn’t have the commentary turned on) scoring the fight in his favour and everyone agreeing that the it was an epic and close fight

With the lack of a clear cut number one contender and a solid story built in, a rematch would be competitively credible and do good business.

#2 Tyron Woodley 

Saturday’s co-main event was all but billed as a title eliminator and while ‘The Chosen One’s victory over Carlos Condit is tainted for many due to the nature of Condit’s injury, it’s worth remembering that Woodley was winning the fight and Condit was injured while defending offensive moves (a takedown followed by a low kick) so it’s not like Carlos just crumpled with Tyron unable to take credit for it.

Having Woodley as challenger would be interesting as he is one of the few at 170lbs who can come close to matching Hendrick’s wrestling ability and sheer power, which could promise a surprisingly even and hard hitting contest.

#3 Hector Lombard

While his win over Jake Shields on Saturday might have lacked sparkle and highlights, we have to remember that nobody beats Shields in impressive fashion (his KO to Jake Ellenberger being the exception, and arguably down to extenuating circumstances) and you can’t argue that Lombard has looked to be an utter beast since his drop to welterweight.

A deadly striker with an impressive grappling pedigree, there are far worse choices than Lombard, even if I think he could do with one more (preferably impressive) win to really put him over as a challenger.

#4 Rory MacDonald

For so long the heir apparent to the division, MacDonald’s loss to Robbie Lawler blunted his ambitions just as it seemed the way had cleared with his mentor, Georges St-Pierre going on hiatus.  Rehabilitated with a commanding (if not exactly fun filled) victory over Demian Maia, Rory is a clear and present threat to anyone in the division and a built-in Hendricks vs. Tristar storyline would surely help sell some pay per views.

#5 Nick Diaz

He’s on a 0-2 streak, hasn’t fought in a year and hasn’t beaten a top ten ranked welterweight in forever (no, BJ Penn and Paul Daley do not count) but Nick’s peculiar charisma remains a draw and his persistent snipes at other fighter’s style or lack of professionalism, combined with his ‘champion of the outsiders’ schtick keep him in the frame.

From a purely sports point of view, Diaz shouldn’t be any closer than a brace of wins from a title shot, but he makes tremendous if unconventional copy for the media, has a committed (as in ‘the men from asylum are here to take you home now’) fan base and does his damnedest to fight in an entertaining way (which just so happens to suit his high output, cardio machine boxing and slick jiu-jitsu.)

Nick has tremendous skills both in the cage and in promotional terms so it could happen even if he REALLY should, y’know win a few fights first…

#6 Dong Hyun Kim

Almost totally overlooked in most articles on this subject, ‘Stun Gun’ has rebounded from his losses to Carlos Condit and Demian Maia in 2011-12 with a four fight win streak and his two most recent of those coming by the kind of epic knockout that doesn’t just become a fixture on highlight reels, it makes seasoned fight fans wince and consider watching a less brutal sport like fox hunting.

Of course, Kim lacks the box office appeal and top 5 wins of the other runners here but his high level grappling and newfound knockout power are a threat to anyone and with the UFC looking to expand its Asian operations, he could be pushed forward in the mix.

#7 Georges St-Pierre

The undefeated former champion continues to haunt the division and as long as he’s fresh in the memory, never mind continuing to attend events and give interviews speaking about the UFC he’ll be one decision and a fight camp away from a rematch.  A Hendricks-GSP rematch would do huge business (but in Dallas or Montreal?) and they do say it’s hard to walk away…

If I Had The Book…

…and we were booking an immediate bout for say June or July, I’d give it to Robbie Lawler, who has earned at least one more big payday and I don’t think anyone would grumble overmuch about seeing a rematch of Saturday’s main event.

That would give the rest of the division some time to sort themselves out and one fighter to break ahead of the pack with an impressive victory.

However, Johny Hendricks has intimated he’s prefer an autumn return rather than a summer title match (fair enough giving that Lawler dished out a fair beating and he’s done 2 x 5 round matches in four months) so the rest of the division might be best served trying to find a definite no.1 contender.

With that in mind, I’d book Robbie Lawler against Nick Diaz, as there is an in built storyline (Nick handed Robbie the loss that saw him released from the UFC back in 2004), the fight would be an almost guaranteed classic and the winner would be well placed for another crack at the belt.

As for the other contenders, I’d book Woodley vs. Kim in a battle of the grapplers with knockout power, with Hector Lombard facing Rory MacDonald in the spare match.

Surely one of those bouts would produce either an epic fight or truly memorable finish and we’d have our unquestionable no.1 contender.

The Good, the Bad & The Ugly – UFC 170: Rousey vs. McMann Edition

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The Good –

The Evolution of Ronda Rousey, where once she was all about bull rushing opponents, going for an undertook, a judo toss and an arm bar, we saw a Rousey which is confident and effective in the standup game. We also saw a Ronda who rather than just using a tried & tested formula and adjusting it for opponents counters on the fly, studied an opponent’s style and formulated a strategy which might not have been expected and proved very effective.

Rousey, undefeated and quickly cleaning out her division is only getting better. Thats a bit scary.

Big performances and wins for Stephen Thompson, Rory MacDonald, Raphael Assuncao, Mike Pyle and Alexis Davis with three of that five arguably in the #1 contender slot in their division now.

Thompson vs. Pyle wouldn’t be a bad shout for a future Welterweight outing, either.

The Bad –

Demian Maia gassing in the second round against Rory MacDonald having dominated the first. With Maia reduced to increasingly desperate takedown attempts and hamfisted strikes, seemingly unable to counter MacDonald’s movement and striking this went from a compelling and competitive match to an exhibition for the Canadian.

The one-sidedness of Daniel Cormier vs. Pat Cummins was not exactly unexpected but in the end didn’t do either man or the event as a whole any favours.  It was undoubtedly better than just pulling Cormier from the card and I suppose it gave Cummins a great opportunity, but…meh.

The Ugly –

The controversy and criticism of the stoppages of Ronda Rousey’s and Mike Pyle’s fights, with Herb Dean taking flak for a late stoppage and an early stoppage.

Sure, Pyle could have been called off Waldburger a fraction of a second earlier and McMann could have been given another second to recover from Ronda’s body shot, but looking at replays, I’m inclined to think both stoppages were good.

Firstly, replays show that much of Pyle’s first blows to Waldburger were blocked or missed and once he connected with a few solidly, the match was ended. That’s good reffing.

Secondly, while the live broadcast showed a sudden stoppage that came for little reason in the headliner, it’s worth noting that Herb was actually in the line of the action (as Neil Hall recently said, an experienced referee always chooses the best angle, meaning whatever angle you’re watching the fight from is at the second from optimum at best) and other angles showed McMann getting pasted against the fence and then crumple from the knee.

Sure, it looked like she got up as soon as she hit the ground and was grabbing at Ronda’s leg, but that was after Herb has started to step in and Ronda was already turning away celebrating.

Could she have grabbed a single, survived and then anything could have happened? Yes. Is it vastly more likely that Ronda punched her in the face a half dozen times and we’d be complaining about a late stoppage? Yes.

As a fan, I could happily have seen the fight go longer – it’s always anticlimactic when a main event ends so quickly and suddenly but as a human being, I’d rather than a prone and hurt fighter didn’t take unnecessary damage and incur a significantly higher chance of concussion and future brain injury.

It seems to me that people get extra pissed when a slightly fast stoppage comes in a main event / title fight / or when it goes against who they wanted to win (I’ll maybe explore that idea another time) but fighter safety should come ahead of all such considerations.

Never mind who the UFC gave bonuses to, we think that cheques should have gone to…

Fight of the Night

Alexis Davis vs. Jessica Eye – close, entertaining and significant.

Performance of the Night

#1 – Alexis Davis – who deserved better than a split decision against Eye and really showed off her well rounded skills against a dangerous and faster opponent.

#2 – Stephen Thompson – We rate Robert Whittaker pretty highly and Thompson absolutely took him apart en route to the first round knockout win. That takes some doing.

MAIN

• Ronda Rousey def. Sara McMann via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 1:06 – to retain women’s bantamweight title
• Daniel Cormier def. Patrick Cummins via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 1:19
• Rory MacDonald def. Demian Maia via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
• Mike Pyle def. T.J. Waldburger via TKO (strikes) – Round 3, 4:03
• Stephen Thompson def. Robert Whittaker via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 3:43

PRELIMINARY
• Alexis Davis def. Jessica Eye via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
• Raphael Assuncao def. Pedro Munhoz via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
• Aljamain Sterling def. Cody Gibson via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
• Zach Makovsky def. Josh Sampo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Fight Pass
• Erik Koch def. Rafaello Oliveira via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 1:24
• Ernest Chavez def. Yosdenis Cedeno via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)

Preview – UFC 170: Rousey vs. McMann

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This card has taken a lot of flak for being ‘weak’ especially after former LHW champion Rashad Evans pulled out of his fight with Daniel Cormier, to be replaced by debutant Patrick Cummins.

If you believe that, you are mad.

MAD I SAY.

The main event between Ronda Rousey and Sara McMann sees two undefeated fighters with Olympic pedigrees facing off for a UFC championship, which is a first for the UFC (there have been gold medallist vs. gold medallist bouts in other promotions before) and it also marks the first time that Ronda Rousey comes up against someone who could well out grapple her in her MMA career.

Of course, this bout is undervalued by some because they are girls, because McMann isn’t a relentless self promoter, because wrestlers are perceived as dull and maybe we’ve OD’d on Rousey after TUF and a break of only two months since her last fight.

I think it’s a great fight and could be decided by the narrowest of margins.

The co-main event suffered a degrade when relatively unknown Pat Cummins got the call to replace the injured Rashad Evans, but between Cummins campaign to wind up Daniel Cormier and the UFC’s relentless promotion of this ‘Rocky story’ it’s become a heated and compelling encounter.

Of course, the more experienced Cormier with his Olympic calibre wrestling and heavy hands is a very strong favourite, but Cummins isn’t to be wholly discounted as he possesses quality wrestling himself and proven finishing ability (total fight time in his four pro fights is 11:11 from four first round finishes) to the point where he found it hard to find willing opponents in the minor leagues.

The rest of the main card has been almost wholly overlooked and quite unfairly in my eyes.

Rory MacDonald and Demian Maia would probably have been fighting for the vacant 170lb title bar the losses in their last fights and the styles clash between MacDonald’s wrestling and calm striking and Maia’s aggressive jiujitsu game makes for an intriguing matchup.

Mike Pyle is one of the most consistently entertaining fighters in the UFC with almost 3/4 of his bouts in the promotion producing a finish and TJ Waldburger is a much underrated talent.

Both guys are coming off damaging first round KO losses to genuine studs in Matt Brown and Adlan Amagov and will be keen to get back in the win column. Thats a recipe for a fun fight.

Rounding off the main card, we have TUF:Smashes winner Robert Whittaker looking to rebound from a split decision loss to Court McGee against striking sensation Stephen Thompson who is working to re-earn his ‘Wonderboy’ tag. Both fighters are aggressive and have a lot to prove, so this should be a good scrap.

The prelims aren’t short of action either, as Jessica Eye and Alexis Davis face off with the winner likely to be Ronda Rousey’s next opponent (especially if it’s Davis, thanks to Eye’s recent transgressions) in the headliner of the segment.

We’ve also got Bantamweight #1 contender-in-waiting Rafael Assuncao facing the reigning RFA champion Pedro Munhoz in yet another fight which is underrated due to the size of the participants and the fact that casual fans have no idea who Munhoz (and maybe even Assuncao) are. For shame, this fight will be awesome.

I’d also like to throw a shout out to Josh Sampo and Zak Makovsky as their match should be a barnstormer and could be a big step towards the winner getting a crack at the Flyweight title.

Why the hell are two guys who are ranked top five in their division and could well be the next challenger for a belt stuck fighting three bouts from the bottom of a card? Thats INSANE.

Headlining the Fight Pass portion of the card (which is surely the UFC’s version of damning via faint praise) we see Erik Koch – who a little over a year ago was no.1 contender to the Featherweight title, having been booked to face Jose Aldo a few months earlier – reduced to the bottom of the event following back to back losses, albeit to top level fighters Ricardo Lamas and Dustin Poirer.

With his star dimmed, he finds himself facing Rafaello Oliveira who boasts a 1-3 record in the UFC. This could easily be a loser-leaves-town sort of match.

So, yeah UFC 170 is totally weak and not in any way worth your money… if you’re the kind of ‘fan’ who is only interested in heavyweights, former champions, reality TV stars and all that jazz.

The rest of us are looking forward to an interesting night of competitive fights and compelling stories.

Main Card

UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship
Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Sara McMann

Daniel Cormier vs. Patrick Cummins
Rory MacDonald vs. Demian Maia
Mike Pyle vs. TJ Waldburger
Robert Whittaker vs. Stephen Thompson

Preliminary card

Alexis Davis vs. Jessica Eye
Raphael Assunção vs. Pedro Munhoz
Cody Gibson vs. Aljamain Sterling
Zach Makovsky vs. Josh Sampo

Fight Pass Fights

Rafaello Oliveira vs. Erik Koch
Ernest Chavez vs. Yosdenis Cedeno

MMA Monday Special – Mathhammer!

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Instead of my usual pithy roundup, I want to cover something that has been brought into focus by this weekend’s UFC on FOX card, specifically Rory MacDonald’s clinical, yet dull and passionless victory over Jake Ellenberger.

As I covered last week in the article comparing a safety first approach to an ‘all guns blazing’ approach, I can’t really criticise fighters – particularly champions, for adopting a less exciting but more controllable style of fighting.

In many senses, from a pure sporting context of ‘the win is what matters’ to a clam and disciplined martial arts view of ‘win in a fashion which least exposes yourself to risk’ it’s a laudable approach and a testament to the fighter’s technical ability and mental discipline.

However, it doesn’t win you many friends or fans and is in an aesthetic, philosophical and commercial sense, quite a bad idea.

It reminds me of a wargaming trait (yes, I’m a massive geek, you hadn’t noticed?) called Mathhammer where some players spend a great deal of time and effort working out which is the most effective army via the exact application of the rules and base their strategy on the same principle.

It’s undoubtedly effective, but it takes a lot of the fun, the spirit, the NARRATIVE out of the game.

Of course, MMA is a world away from tabletop wargames featuring models an inch high and players rolling dice to determine the fate of battles in a fictionalised vision of the far future* (in which it is both grim, dark and mostly war) but it also shares the fact that the appeal of the sport/hobby/game/scene is based largely on the idea of an unfolding story, a personal connection with the participants and a real emotional investment from fans/players in the fates of their characters.

Gamers who utilise Mathhammer tend to find themselves banned from groups where people play for fun and similarly casual MMA fans will not find themselves all that attached to someone who does just enough or seems detached from the experience.

If the fighter doesn’t give a shit, why should I?

It’s also worth thinking that if you adopt a ‘safety first’ approach and then DON’T WIN for whatever reason – say Jake had managed to clip Rory when he slipped – you’re not likely to be offered a great match next time out. However if you at least try to entail and go for a finish, you will probably be rewarded with a relatively attractive bout next time.

See how the likes of Carlos Condit remain main event competitors after back to back losses… it pays to be adventurous, exciting, a bit brave.

As I said the other week, I don’t mind champions doing this, because as they are kings if the maintain its up to the other guy to push them off – you don’t see military commanders surrendering high ground in order to make a fight more fun for the media.

However, when you’re jostling for position, especially in a division as stacked as the UFC’s welterweight division, a stack of victories achieved via decision, in matches that will likely be fast forwarded when watched on TiVo simply aren’t worth as much as wins achieved by fucking-hell-let’s-rewind-and-watch-that-again sort of moves.

See how Lyoto Machida got his title shot off the back of his stunning KO of Thiago Silva, Carlos Condit was inserted into the title picture with his highlight reel KOs of Dan Hardy and Dong Hyun Kim, Jon Jones brutalised an assortment of fighters to skip to the head of the queue.

See why Chang Sung Jung is fighting Jose Aldo next week, rather than Ricardo Lamas.

Sure, it’s impressive to fight at such a level of control that you neutralise your opponent, win rounds and don’t risk damage, or even a serious sweat rash but it’s not that compelling…

Rory has adopted the nickname ‘Ares’ which could arguably be seen as an attempt to show off his intelligence and knowledge of classical literature, but lets remember, Ares was the Greek God of War (contrary to popular belief, it’s not Kratos…) and not the Greek God of Being Really Effective In The Safest Way Possible.

It’s just not as interesting, it doesn’t make a good story and a good story is what makes a career, sells pay per views, wins title shots and makes you a legend, as opposed to someone who’s just dead good at sports.

Tomorrow, I’ll deal with Jake Ellenberger’s uncharacteristically tame performance…

UFC on FOX – Johnson vs. Moraga Preview

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Sat, 27 Jul 2013
Seattle, Washington
KeyArena

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.

So, check it out. Our live tweeting may be delayed on account of Ross Kumite’s birthday celebrations but we’ll do our best to make the @TeamKumite feed as up to date and informative as possible.

Or we’ll post photos of drunken carnage. That could happen.

Check http://www.ufc.com for listings in your area.

MAIN
• Demetrious Johnson vs. John Moraga – for UFC flyweight title
• Jake Ellenberger vs. Rory MacDonald
• Robbie Lawler vs. Bobby Voelker
• Jessica Andrade vs. Liz Carmouche

PRELIMINARY
• 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

PRELIMINARY
• Aaron Riley vs. Justin Salas
John Albert vs. Yaotzin Meza