The last time we saw Khabib Nurmagomedov (22-0) inside the octagon he was manhandling current UFC lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos. That was way back in April 2014, but it seems as though MMA fans won’t have to wait much longer for his return.

Nurmagomedov made it official on Twitter that he is signed once more to fight fellow top contender Tony Ferguson (20-3). The two men were supposed to face off this past December at the TUF 22 Finale.  Unfortunately Nurmagomedov had to pull out of that bout with yet another injury.  Ferguson of course went on to fight Edson Barboza and won by submission in the second round.

Overall Ferguson has won seven straight and has only suffered one defeat in his past fifteen fights. The only loss came at the hands of Michael Johnson in 2012.  The two were ready for a rematch later this year before Johnson became injured.  It’s probably the best scenario for Tony Ferguson, because the fight with Nurmagomedov will most certainly be a 5 round title eliminator.  The winner will face off against the winner of UFC 196’s main event between Conor McGregor and Rafael Dos Anjos.

Khabib Nurmagomedov is looking to hold on to his perfect professional MMA record and finally get the title shot that has eluded him for some time. Getting past Ferguson will be no easy task and the Russian will need to shake off the cage rust early if he wants a shot at gold.  When he is healthy he is one of the best fighters in the world, his stellar grappling makes him a tough fight for anyone at 155lbs.

Hopefully the UFC will make this official in the next few days but as long as they do this just became one of the biggest fights of 2016 so far! For continued coverage on UFC on FOX 19 and other MMA events keep checking back with Profightingfans.com

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer

On Saturday January 30th, the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey hosts UFC on FOX 18. In the main event Ryan “Darth” Bader (20-4) meets Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (20-5) in a pivotal light heavyweight bout.

It’s expected that later this year Jon Jones will return to face Daniel Cormier for the UFC light heavyweight title. The winner of the fight on Saturday night will likely be next in line for a title shot.

In this edition of The Breakdown we’ll take a closer look at Bader vs. Johnson to see who may have the upper hand going into UFC on FOX 18.

As the winner of five straight fights, light heavyweight contender Ryan Bader was due a big matchup. He was hoping for a title shot but instead he gets an equally stiff test in Anthony Johnson.

Bader has used the strongest asset in his toolbox to help him during his recent winning streak, a suffocating wrestling game. His last two victories came against two of the best wrestlers in the 205lb division, Rashad Evans and Phil Davis so Bader’s ground game is no joke.  That being said, he never really threatens with submissions, instead he keeps the pressure on with ground and pound.  He doesn’t allow for his opponents to get any space.  This will be the key for Bader if he wants to take out Anthony Johnson.

Johnson has been known to gas out under constant pressure, just watch his title fight against Daniel Cormier last May. Cormier kept his foot on the gas pedal and was able to wear out Johnson quickly and secure a submission victory in the third round.  Bader is capable of doing this too, whether it is a TKO, submission or five round decision Johnson is going to have his hands full if the fight hits the mat.

The key for Anthony Johnson is quite simple; he needs to create space early in the fight before it gets to the ground. There is no doubt that Anthony Johnson can knock guys out with the best of them it’s just a matter of setting up his power shots.

Johnson is 4-1 since returning to the UFC and 3 of those victories have come by way of TKO. Most notably Johnson destroyed Alexander Gustafsson in the first round of their UFC on FOX 14 matchup last January.  “Rumble” never allowed for his opponent to get comfortable, he just moved forward throwing his massive power shots.  Those punches landed with an immediate impact and don’t kid yourself, if he can land one of those on Bader’s chin the fight will be all but over.

It’s an interesting matchup because Bader will want to setup his striking game to open holes with his wrestling game. But, the longer he stands on the feet the more opportunities Johnson will have to finish the fight.  It’s a classic striker vs. grappler matchup, and this one will determine the next challenger for the UFC light heavyweight title.

Make sure to continue checking back with Profightingfans.com for more coverage of UFC on FOX 18. As a reminder the fights air on FOX Saturday January 30th from the Prudential Center in Newark New Jersey.

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer

 

UFC on FOX 18 is a little light on star power, but that doesn’t mean it lacks any meaningful bouts. Of course it’s speculated that the main event between Ryan Bader and Anthony Johnson will be a title eliminator.  If we look past the main and co main events we can see there a couple of very interesting fights taking place earlier in the night.

 

Sage Northcutt (7-0) vs. Bryan Barberena (10-3)

Saturday night will be all about Sage, there’s no doubt about it. At this point in his young UFC career Sage Northcutt is the main attraction no matter who stands across the cage from him.  At UFC on FOX 18 it will be Bryan Barberena, a late notice replacement for Northcutt’s original opponent Andrew Holbrook.

In his UFC debut Barberena came back from a slow start to defeat Joe Ellenberger in the 3rd round by TKO.  Things were looking up for the Minnesota native before he ran into TUF Nations winner Chad Laprise in his next fight at UFC 186 in Montreal, Quebec.

Barberena was originally scheduled to face Jonavin Webb at UFC Fight Night 82 on February 21st.  Instead he’ll step in against Northcutt.  Due to the short notice nature of the bout it will be contested at 170lbs.

Sage Northcutt tore through his first two UFC opponents, Francisco Trevino and Cody Pfister, making quick work of both men. But it’s likely that Bryan Barberena has faced the tougher competition inside the octagon and he was already training for a fight, so he shouldn’t be out of shape.

If Barberena isn’t afraid to stand in the pocket with Northcutt he could force him to engage in a brawl. If Sage can get distance though, he would be able to open up with kicks and cause all sorts of trouble for his opponent.

This fight is opening up the main card for UFC on FOX 18. It will be an interesting test for the 19 year old golden boy Sage Northcutt, so don’t miss it!

 

Jake Ellenberger (30-10) vs. Tarec Saffiedine (15-4)

Tarec Saffiedine’s UFC career could be described as inconsistent and not too many people would argue with that. Not only has he fought very few times in three years, the quality of his performances has been less than stellar.

Saffiedine has been scheduled to face Jake Ellenberger on two separate occasions but both bouts were scrapped due to injuries. Now it’s been over a year since we saw the former Strikeforce welterweight champion getting beat up by Rory MacDonald, it marked the first time in his career that he had been finished.  He has a great shot at redemption on Saturday night, but getting past Ellenberger is never an easy task especially if cage rust is a factor.

Jake Ellenberger might be fighting for his job at UFC on FOX 18 having lost 4 of his last 5 fights. All of those losses came against top notch competition like Robbie Lawler and Kelvin Gastulem, while the lone victory was a submission win over veteran Josh Koscheck.  However, when you are getting paid to fight it’s generally understood that winning has a positive effect on your employment.  Ellenberger needs to show up on Saturday night if he wants to keep getting paid by the UFC.

It would seem as though both men are healthy and this should be an entertaining matchup. It closes out the preliminary card which airs on FOX Sports 1 at 5pm ET.  For more coverage of UFC on FOX 18 keep checking back with Profightingfans.com.

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer

The UFC’s annual super bowl weekend event has undergone some massive changes in the past 48 hours. Coming into this week UFC 196 featured a heavyweight title fight between current champ Fabricio Werdum (20-5-1) and former champ Cain Velasquez (13-2). We were finally going to see whether altitude was really the difference in their first fight. Instead, the pay per view card simply fell apart.

On January 24th UFC officials announced that due to a back injury Cain Velasquez would not be able to compete at UFC 196 on February 6th. It was a crushing blow to an already thin pay per view card, but the MMA gods came to the rescue. Stipe Miocic (14-2) was going to step in to the role of challenger and get a crack at the heavyweight title held by Fabricio Werdum. It was a worthy replacement and just as intriguing as the original matchup.

As the saying goes, when it rains it pours.One day after Cain Velasquez was pulled from the UFC 196 main event, Fabricio Werdum pulled out also citing various injuries as the cause.The UFC was then left with a tough decision, find a replacement for Werdum and have him fight Miocic for an interim title, or scrap the title fight altogether and move the co main event up to main event status.They went with the second option and decided to promote Johny Hendricks (17-3) vs. Stephen Thompson (11-1) to the main event, but with a wrinkle. Instead of it being a pay per view event the card has been moved to Fox Sports 1.Despite offers to save the card from the multiple fighters including former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, UFC 196 will now come without a price tag.

With the current lineup, this is a solid fight card for Fox Sports 1. The new welterweight main event between Johny Hendricks and Stephen Thompson promises to be an interesting clash of styles. The co main event is now a heavyweight fight between Roy Nelson (20-12) and Jared Rosholt (14-2), rounding out the main card are Rafael Cavalcante (12-6-1NC) vs. Ovince St. Preux (18-7) and Joseph Benavidez (23-4) vs. Zach Makovsky (19-6). It should be an entertaining evening and for up to date coverage keep checking back with profightingfans.com.

 

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans

Editor/Staff Writer

It’s finally nice to see a contender go out and work their way back to the top for a rematch. Too many immediate rematches are given, even if a fight is one-sided or ends in a finish. For Chad Mendes, he’s hoping for a different result when he goes up against longtime champion Jose Aldo. Along with this fantastic main event, there are four other fights that bear analysis.

The first fight on the card pits Carlos Diego Ferreira against Beneil Dariush. Ferreira made his name known with a first-round submission win over Colton Smith and continued his improvement by knocking out Ramsey Nijem. Although the knockout was his first method of victory by his fists, his standup has grown and he boasts solid countering ability which I think will be the downfall of Dariush. Dariush last submitted Tony Martin with an arm-triangle choke in August and will be looking to take the fight to the ground and threaten Ferreira. Both fighters have excellent ground skills and a plethora of submission wins on their respective resumes. So of course, we’ll probably see a striking battle since neither man will get the fight to the mat. Due to that, I think Ferreira will do enough with his counters to score a decision victory.

The pick: Ferreira by split decision

Fight number two pits the grinding Darren Elkins against the streaking Lucas Martins. Elkins is coming off a loss to Jeremy Stephens where the difference in all-around skills was very apparent. While all of Elkins’ pressure and toughness can help him out of taxing situations, skills will come into play eventually. Simply put, I don’t think Elkins has the skills to deal with Martins. If Elkins cannot get this fight to the ground, there’s a good chance of his night ending early. Martins needs to keep this fight standing however he can. Elkins’ pace and cardio will be very tough to overcome, but after getting punched in the face a few times, that cardio could disappear quickly. Once again, I think counterpunching will make the difference and Martins will tag Elkins coming in and finish him.

The pick: Martins by TKO in the second round.

The third fight will most likely be a fan-friendly slobberknocker, which I can’t ever complain about. Surprisingly, Hans Stringer has more professional mixed martial arts bouts than Fabio Maldonado. Stringer boasts 30 fights while Maldonado has “only” 28. While that likely doesn’t make that much of a difference, the quality of fighters faced does play a factor. Maldonado has gone up against some strong names including Glover Teixeira and Stipe Miocic. This experience will push Maldonado ahead on my scorecard. It’s very hard for a training camp to replicate title contenders and Maldonado has firsthand experience with them. Most likely, these two will oblige each other on the feet and if this fight hits the ground, I would be surprised. If Stringer can get the fight to the ground, then he should be able to hold Maldonado down and pummel him from the top. But that’s easier said than done. The pace of Maldonado fights is like a less effective Diaz brother. All of the volume coming at Stringer is sure to cause problems with implementing his game plan. Without that game plan, this becomes Maldonado’s fight to lose.

The pick: Maldonado by unanimous decision.

This top-10 matchup is one I’ve looked forward to since it was announced. It will be the first fight for Glover Teixeira since his loss to Jon Jones, and the first for Phil Davis since his loss to Anthony Johnson. Both fighters are in a very similar spot, looking to get their names back into title contention with a big win over a heralded opponent. Glover Teixeira will need to get in close and negate the reach of Phil Davis. This plays right into the skillset of Teixeira as he loves to walk down fighters and exchange the whole way. If he can back Phil Davis into the cage and force him to fight off his back foot, then the wrestling advantage will disappear and Teixeira can look for a finish. However, if Davis controls the center of the octagon and jabs his brain out, he can control Teixeira and take him down at will. I really think the winner of this fight will be the one who can control distance and cage positioning. Without knockout power, Davis will have to work even harder to win this fight. Teixeria has shown that he hits hard in almost every fight, and I’m willing to bet that he finds the chin of Davis and walks him down. I expect a strong effort from Davis, but without proper power and technique, Texeira should beat him up on the feet and stuff his takedowns.

The pick: Teixeira by TKO in the 3rd round.

The main event is the fight I’m most excited for. Chad Mendes has earned his way back to the top of the featherweight decision and a title shot. With wins over Cody McKenzie, Yaotzin Meza, Darren Elkins, Clay Guida and Nik Lentz, Mendes has stayed busy and greatly improved his game. He now boasts a much stronger striking game compared when he first faced Aldo in early 2012. Four of those five wins were finishes, and he nearly finished Nik Lentz. Mendes has improved his angles, which bolster his accuracy greatly. He has become arguably the most well-rounded fighter in the division other than Aldo and I can’t wait for this improved version to test his limits against the champion. Jose Aldo is all about making his offensive output count. When he throws, he throws with wicked intentions and when the blow lands, it sounds like a piece of beef hitting the ground. This explosiveness is something that is impossible to mimic in the gym, even for a great organization like Mendes’ Team Alpha Male. Aldo’s combinations are always crisp and powerful. He always seems in a good position to accomplish something. Whether it’s pivoting away from a takedown or throwing a low kick, there is no wasted movement in Aldo’s game. That’s what Mendes needs to test. He needs to try and take Aldo out of his game and force him to fight in a new way. We saw Aldo on his back for a round against Mark Hominick and Aldo did not look very good. Chad Mendes has to replicate that for 25 minutes if he wants to win this fight. But pulling the trigger against a fighter who has a counter for everything and uses every part of his body is a tough assignment. Although he has greatly improved, I still don’t think Chad Mendes has enough to become the new featherweight king.

The pick: Aldo by unanimous decision.

By Andrew Jerrick

The fight that was supposed to happen between “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey and “Alpha” Cat Zingano a year and a half ago is now finally going to happen on January 3rd, 2015.

Does Zingano have what it takes to unseat Rousey as bantamweight champ? To even consider challenging a well-rounded fighter like Rousey, you have to have something more than just exceptional striking and ground work, you have to have heart. In UFC 178’s fight versus Amanda “The Lioness” Nunez, Zingano showed the world that she has the heart of a champion.

Intimidation Clothing

It was a hard-earned win for Zingano after almost three brutal rounds, and a satisfied smile from Rousey watching in the stands says she wouldn’t want it any other way. Cat Zingano left little doubt that she’s the best contender for Ronda Rousey.  Many thought the ref would call the fight in the first round when Nunez gave Zingano a beating that left the 32 year old fighter barely defending, sitting on the mat and trying to coax Nunez into a ground battle, but Zingano wouldn’t give up. “I wasn’t done” she said of the first round in the post-fight interview with Joe Rogan. To the crowd’s amazement, she came back in the second round, seemingly uninjured even after an onslaught of head shots.   As Nunez’s energy and resolve waned, Zingano’s ramped up as she went for the ground and pound. The fight was stopped seconds after blood exploded from Nunez’s face under a flurry of heavy punches and Zingano stood to raise her arms in victory with an exhausted look.

She seemed nothing but eager in the post-fight interview, however, and that night UFC president Dana White announced, to the delight of UFC fans everywhere, that Zingano would be the next to challenge Rousey for the women’s bantamweight title in January.  Zingano was supposed to coach Ultimate Fighter 18 opposite Rousey but had to bow out due to a knee injury. Although disappointing, this allowed us to bask in the guilty pleasure that is the epic rivalry between Ronda Rousey and fellow MMA fighter Meisha Tate, who filled Zingano’s spot as the other coach.

After two losses for Tate against Rousey, Sarah McMann seemed the best contender to defeat the unstoppable armbar machine. She met her doom after 16 short seconds in the ring however, as Rousey showed the world that she can do more than just armbars and throws. Since then, the name Cyborg has been on every fan’s lips as the favorite to be next in line to take a shot at Rousey, that is until Zingano’s return was announced. Will Cat Zingano be a match for the champ? If it comes down to endurance and guts, yes.

As for the Lioness, Amanda Nunez has a bright future in MMA despite her loss. She showed us pure ferocity as well as technical skill in a fight that could have easily been scored in her favor right up until the end.

 

By Julie Ruddle
ProFightingFans.com & DFN Sports Staff Writer

UFC 178 features the first fight card in some time that I have been extremely excited to witness. From the main event down to the preliminaries, there are household names, champions, rivalries and more. Even with Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier being moved down the road, this card stacks up well on paper against any other in 2014.

 

The first fight on the main card pits the returning Cat Zingano against Amanda Nunes. Zingano was last seen in April of 2013 when she finished Miesha Tate in the clinch with knees and elbows. This clinch is going to be her key to victory in this fight. If Zingano can close the distance without being hit too often, then Nunes is going to be in a load of trouble. The pace that Zingano puts on can trouble the most conditioned of women in the bantamweight division. Nunes stands her best chance early in the fight if she can catch Zingano trying to tie her up. Perhaps an uppercut or short elbow would do the trick. In her losses, Nunes has faded and allowed her opponents to storm ahead. If she falters against Zingano, then she will be punished.

The pick: Zingano by 3rd round TKO.

 

Next up is a battle of middleweight contenders. Tim Kennedy is coming off the biggest win of his career when he decisioned Michael Bisping in April. A grinding wrestler with a sneaky power and submissions, Kennedy has primarily relied on his grappling and positioning to win him fights. On the other side, Yoel Romero is a flashy striker who is on a four-fight winning streak with three finishes. In fact, all but one of Romero’s eight wins are by some type of knockout. His game is based on landing thudding strikes and using the sprawl-and-brawl technique. It’s worth noting that Romero is also an Olympic silver medalist in freestyle wrestling. However, he has yet to face an opponent of Kennedy’s caliber in the octagon. I expect both men to have their moments in this very close fight, but Kennedy’s takedowns, ground-and-pound and submission attempt will win him the fight.

The pick: Kennedy by decision, and I wouldn’t be surprised in a split.

 

The middle fight of this card has been dubbed “The people’s main event” by Ariel Helwani and I would be tempted to agree. There hasn’t been so much hype around a fighter for years and that’s just the way Conor McGregor likes it. So far he’s talked about how he’s going to win fights and then goes out and proves himself correct. That’s the kind of hyping and trash talk I can get behind. These two men have been going at each other for some time and when the bell rings I expect both of them to start exchanging. When that happens, both men have a great chance to be successful. They throw a lot of different strikes at each other and are very diverse. If the fight hits the ground, I give an advantage to Dustin Poirer. McGregor’s two losses have been by submission and we’ve seen Poirer’s excellent scrambling game before. However, the fight starts on the feet, so McGregor has a great chance to land something big and hurt “The Diamond”.

The pick: McGregor by decision in a competitive, close bout.

 

A new addition to the UFC roster is looking to make an immediate impact against a UFC veteran on the best run of his career. Even though I sound like a broken record, this fight also looks to be a beat-em-up blast. Eddie Alvarez is coming to town and he’s looking for a title shot. First, he has to find a way through the slashing tornado of limbs that is Donald Cerrone’s arms and legs. “Cowboy” has alternated submission and knockout wins in his last four fights and this bout could continue the trend if Cerrone finds a way to submit Alvarez. That’s easier said than done though. Cerrone doesn’t shoot for takedowns often, but he fights very well off his back and has some of the best finishing instincts in the sport. However, hurting Alvarez is a different story altogether. Alvarez is an ex-champion who managed to regain his belt after losing to Michael Chandler in 2011. His drive and determination are second to none along with his boxing skills. This skills are the way that Alvarez can win this fight. Combinations and footwork are more of his strengths and they will have to be top notch to deal with the output of Cerrone.

The pick: Cerrone continues his alternating finish streak with a third round submission after hurting Alvarez.

 

I don’t understand the hate for Demetrious Johnson. He goes out and dominates fighters. Johnson reminds me slightly of Georges St-Pierre with his ability to make good fighters look average. Aside from a draw with Ian McCall (which was avenged) and a little bit of trouble against John Dodson, “Mighty Mouse” has looked phenomenal at flyweight, dispatching of each challenger with little trouble. Chris Cariaso looks to change that. Although he doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses, Cariaso also doesn’t have any outstanding strengths. There is no one skill that he has to threaten Johnson. Without a go-to weapon, I think Cariaso is going to look tentative and slow while he tries to adjust to Johnson’s speed advantage. Even if he does adjust, Cariaso is probably going to be down 20-18 or 30-27 and be forced to fight for a finish. That plays right into Johnson’s hands. “Mighty Mouse” can take advantage of over-aggression and mistakes better than anybody. Although Cariason doesn’t have much to lose and boasts and solid all-around game, the champion will retain his belt with another dominant performance.

The pick: Johnson submits Cariaso in the fourth round.

Posted in UFC.

Every couple of months, a fight comes around that makes me glad that I became interested in this sport. Sometimes it’s a ground battle of superior submission artists. Sometimes it’s a five-round war between two unknown fighters that catapult their careers into the limelight. But this time it’s a clash of two men with rockets in their hands and brick-wall chins. I’ve guaranteed knockouts before and been wrong by a mile, but this fight has to end in a finish. It’s only right and fair and I would almost feel cheated if it didn’t because we all secretly want to see one of these fabled chins cracked.

Now I know that both of these fighters have been knocked out before, but the spectacle of seeing the heaviest-handed men in the largest division try and pummel each other to unconsciousness remains.

Mark Hunt’s situation is a little different than Roy Nelson’s. Hunt is coming off a fight of year contender with Antonio Silva where both men gave their best shots and took many in return. Before that, he was knocked out by a Junior Dos Santos hook kick after two rounds of bludgeoning. He’s on a decline. Hunt hasn’t had his chin tested this much during his career in such a short span of time. While Nelson has looked overmatched against Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic, his chin has held up in those contests. However, Hunt still holds an advantage over Nelson in the area where this fight is most likely to take place.

On the feet, Hunt has shown to have a much more diverse and effective striking game. He throws kicks to the legs and the head, which could surprise Nelson during the fight. Along with those are a multitude of hooks, jabs, straights and uppercuts. Hunt always looks comfortable while on his feet and if he uses this array of weapons, he can pick Nelson apart. However, he will have to watch out for the big overhand right of big country. Nelson has been knocking out contenders and pretenders with his right hand for years. and if Hunt gets lazy, Nelson will find his chin.

This brings me to my next point. Both men are extremely hittable. Junior Dos Santos can attest to that as he battered both men. In their losses, both fighters look overmatched against men who are quicker and more accurate. So if one man is able to use superior footwork and angles, I think that he would emerge victorious. Whoever moves straight back or stands flat-footed is going to get hit hard. I think that Hunt holds a slight advantage over Nelson in this department, but big county certainly has the skills to go toe to toe and win.

I’d like to mention that while there are fights between excellent stand-up fighters that become grappling battles, I don’t think this will become one. However, there is always a chance and I believe that the ground is where Roy Nelson has his best chance to win. It is often forgotten that Roy Nelson is a brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Renzo Gracie. Nelson won many fights in the early part of his career via submissions. He is surprisingly strong and can definitely take Mark Hunt down and put him in an arm-triangle choke. Hunt’s ground defense has definitely improved, but he hasn’t been forced to work and constantly defend off of his back. If Nelson looks to land ground and pound or a submission, then Mark Hunt might have a long night ahead of him.

Overall, I think that Hunt gets the job done on the feet and knocks out Nelson. Both men are pretty evenly matched on the feet but I believe the stubbornness of Nelson will prove his undoing.

The pick: Hunt by KO in the 2nd round.

 

By Andrew Jerrick
ProFightingFans & DFN Sports MMA Staff Writer

When I was first becoming interested in MMA, I saw Chris Lytle submit Matt Brown with an impressive inverted triangle/straight armbar combination. From that, I got on the Lytle bandwagon and promptly forgot about Matt Brown. That was my fault. Brown eventually worked himself out of his funk and 18 months later began his current 6 fight win streak with a TKO victory against Chris Cope. Since then, he has continued to look impressive against consistently tougher opponents. His most recent victim was Mike Pyle in August of 2013. With that victory, he called out the champion at the time, Georges St-Pierre. Although he didn’t receive that title shot, he has received yet another step up in competition with Erick Silva.

While Silva is not on a winning streak like Brown, he is certainly Brown’s toughest opponent so far. Rebounding from an awkward knockout loss to Dong-Hyun Kim, Silva pounded out Takenori Sato in less than a minute. Since entering the UFC, Silva has been up and down. He has the skillset to blow by lower competition, but has struggled when his opponents sneak into the top 15 range. That isn’t to say that Silva couldn’t have won those fights. He nearly finished Jon Fitch and was winning the Kim fight until a spinning elbow and follow up punches ended his night.

When this fight was made, the bonus for “Fight of the Night” was virtually guaranteed. Both of these men go 100 percent in the octagon at all times. They’re not afraid to brawl or engage in a more technical battle on the feet. One of the main factors that will determine the winner is whoever sets the pace. From what we’ve seen, Brown enjoys stalking his opponents, constantly applying pressure and looking to make the fight dirty. This is going to be a problem for Silva who usually relies on short explosive bursts of offense that are easier to pull off when given some room to move. If Silva doesn’t improve his movement and gets stuck on the cage, he will most likely lose this fight. Brown’s clinch game is excellent. His elbows are lethal and a great tool that could make Silva’s night a short one.

However, if the fight goes to the ground, then the story is much different. Matt Brown has been submitted nine times in his career. Coincidentally, Silva has nine wins by submission in his career. His last one was against Jason High and was an inverted triangle armbar. Hmm, pretty similar to how Brown lost to Lytle. But, I’m not saying we’re going to see another crazy submission like that. Although the edge on the ground goes to Erick Silva, I think this fight will most likely be contested on the feet.

In all, this fight is going to be a fun one wherever it goes. There will be two guys who bring the action every second that they’re in the octagon. I think this is pretty much a dead even fight and if you’re a betting man, there might be money to put on Matt Brown, who is coming in as an underdog.

The pick: Brown by 3rd round TKO

 

By Andrew Jerrick
ProFightingFans.com & DFN Sports Staff Writer

The rise of Jon Jones has been of Cinderella quality. Starting by learning techniques from online videos to training with Greg Jackson at Jackson’s MMA, Jones has had a Hollywood career. The scariest part is that he still has room to grow. He’s 26 years old and already has made a case for best light-heavyweight in mma history and on his way to becoming one of the best fighters of all time. But the road doesn’t get any easier. Standing in his way is Glover Teixeira.

A man who has a record of 22-2 and a perfect 5-0 mark in the UFC, Teixeira is coming off of a knockout win against Ryan Bader back in September. In that fight, Teixeira was rocked and nearly finished by Bader before brutally ending his night early with a TKO victory. He probably won’t have those opportunities against Jones who is going to hold a substantial reach advantage. Teixeira’s best bet is to get inside and try and rough Jones up and hopefully catch him with an uppercut or one of those nasty hooks he landed against Bader or Fabio Maldonado. However, that plays into another strength of Jones: his clinch game.

We all remember the sight of Jones choking Lyoto Machida unconscious. Although a standing guillotine choke might not be the result of this fight, Jones will be able to control Teixeira in the clinch and can use his size and length to dictate where the fight goes. If he wants to utilize a sweep or throw, then he will. If he wants to land elbows or push away to put distance between them, he will.

Similar to all his other fights, Jones holds an advantage in virtually all important categories. However, coming off a tough decision win against Alexander Gustafsson in which he was finally threatened, Jones’ will and heart are going to be questioned. However, I think that these questions were answered in round four of that fight as he hurt Gustafsson with a spinning elbow and proceeded to win the final two rounds and the fight.

Jones will be the large favorite in this fight and with good reason. He’s good enough on the feet to keep Teixeira at bay. Jones’ leg kicks and teeps will annoy Teixeira and cause him to spend a large amount of energy throwing heavy punches and trying to close the distance. When he finally does get close enough, I think Jones will either circle out, or duck under and try for a takedown and work for a submission.

The only time Jones has been threatened on the ground was against Vitor Belfort when he was nearly armbarred from guard. But, he powered through and eventually submitted “The Phenom” with an americana. Even though Teixeira is a 2nd degree black belt, I don’t think he’s going to give Jones any problems with submissions or sweeps. When Jones has time to work, he produces results and he’s going to get another win under his belt on Saturday.

The pick: Jones by 3rd round submission

 

By Andy Jerrick
ProFightingFans.com Staff Writer