UFC: Fight For The Troops 2 takes place tomorrow night, with the promotion aiming to put on a great night of fights for the military in attendance at Fort Hood, Texas and those watching live on Spike TV, while also looking to raise money for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.
Check out our preview and predictions for the event below.
Evan Dunham vs. Melvin Guillard
The main event of the UFC’s 2nd ‘Fight For The Troops’ event sees two lightweights in action who are both keen to place themselves firmly in the title picture in arguably the UFC’s most competitive weight class.
The heavy-handed Guillard is the more experienced of the two here, but in terms of overall skill-set Dunham appears better equipped, being particularly well versed on the mat, while also looking comfortable on the feet.
Once a reckless fighter, under the tutelage of Greg Jackson, Guillard is maturing and becoming more focused. There’s still questions over his ground game however, with seven of his eight losses coming by way of submission.
He’s actively sought to improve that aspect of his game, but against a relentless, submission hungry fighter like Dunham he’s going to be tested to the limit.
With a string of KO wins on his resume Guillard should never be ruled out, but despite a notable 3-0 record in 2010 I don’t think he’s met anyone lately that’s quite at Dunham’s level. I give Guillard the edge in striking, but Dunham is good enough in that department to hold his own while working to set-up his takedowns. From there I believe he holds a definitive advantage, and will eventually work his way to a submission, or at the very least have Guillard in survival mode for much of the fight.
Evan Dunham to win by submission in Rd2.
Matt Mitrione Vs Tim Hague
Despite being ejected from the UFC mid-way through last year, Tim Hague suddenly finds himself back in the fold against Matt Mitrione tomorrow night. Not bad turn of events for a guy who went three fights without a win in the octagon (though he does have two KO wins under his belt since then.)
By contrast Mitrione has put together a three fight winning run in the UFC since appearing on TUF 10. Impressive given that those are the only three fights on the former NFL players professional record. His skills have also developed rapidly during that time, most notably his striking which is becoming more fluid and versatile in addition to the power he already possesses, while there’s also been signs that he’s improved his ground game too.
Hague is also a big heavyweight, and he certainly packs a punch. Despite his experience advantage I don’t feel he’s any more technical standing-up than Mitrione though, and may have trouble with the 82″ reach his opponent wields. Therefore takedowns and ground and pound could be a strategy he looks to employ in an attempt to gain the upper-hand.
I like Mitrione here if he can settle into his rhythm early. I feel he’ll be harder to take to the mat and keep there than ‘The Smashing Machine’ may be anticipating, and if he can keep the fight standing I believe he’ll outstrike Hague and display better cardio which will pay dividends as the fight goes into the later rounds.
Matt Mitrione to win by decision.
Mark Hominick vs. George Roop
Two former WEC fighters clash on the main card, and Hominick will enter the Octagon knowing that a win guarantees him a shot at Jose Aldo for the featherweight title in April.
Hominick is a very slick, technical striker who throws fast combinations of kicks and punches with ease. That could cause Roop problems as though he’s much taller at 6ft 1″ the downside is that he’s more labored in his offense and overall movement. Roop is coming off a spectacular head kick KO over The Korean Zombie, but don’t be fooled, that’s far from the norm for this former TUF season 8 competitor.
On the ground both fighters are somewhat similar in that they are better offensively than defensively. Neither will be completely out of their depth if the fight does hit the mat, but ideally they’d prefer to keep it standing.
Prediction: This feels like a fight that’s been set up in Hominick’s favor. He’s on a good run of form lately and I think he’ll continue that by picking Roop apart on the feet. There’s no quit in Roop so he might make it through to the final bell, but he should be battered and bruised by then.
Mark Hominick to win by decision.
Pat Barry vs. Joey Beltran
On to another heavyweight match-up, this time between two fighters in need of a win after suffering losses in their last visits to the octagon.
Barry’s skill-set is well established – he’s a compact fighter with excellent kickboxing and can lay claim to some of the nastiest kicks in the sport. His striking technique far outweighs his grappling and submission savvy though which has been his Achilles heel thus far in his MMA career.
Beltran is more of a brawler, often substituting technique for raw power. Against some opponents it can be effective, but he may find it more difficult against the technical approach of Barry. He does however hold a distinct wrestling advantage here, and if he chooses to take the fight to the floor he’ll gain the upper-hand.
Much Depends on Beltran’s approach here. If he opts to take Barry down early in the fight then his opponent’s in for a rough night. Beltran is hard-headed and likes to throw hands though, and I won’t be surprised if he decides to try his luck and attempt to turn this into a brawl. With that in mind I expect Barry to chop away at his legs and take a lot of the spring out of his step which will in turn reduce Beltran’s chances of getting his wrestling going later in the fight, and then pile on the pressure until he gets the finish.
Pat Barry to win by TKO in Rd2
Cole Miller vs. Matt Wiman
This should be a fun way to kick off the main card with these two lightweights both capable of producing a high-tempo, exciting fight.
Miller has developed into a well rounded fighter during his time in the UFC, adding respectable striking to an already well honed submission game. He likes to come out aggressive and pushes the pace, a strategy that proves to be successful more often than not.
Like Miller, Wiman is a product of The Ultimate Fighter season 5, and has perhaps done better than anticipated in the UFC. He’s not particularly gifted in any one area, but he has solid skills which he makes the best of with an aggressive approach, bolstered by having good cardio and being hard to break down.
It should be fun to watch these two go at it and see who comes out on top. I believe Miller is the better all round fighter and as long as he mixes things up and doesn’t just attempt to trade leather with the more durable Wiman for three rounds then he can emerge with his hand raised.
Cole Miller to win by decision.
Yves Edwards vs. Cody McKenzie
Mike Guymon vs. DaMarques Johnson
Mike Brown vs. Rani Yahya
Willamy Freire vs. Waylon Lowe
Amilcar Alves vs. Charlie Brenneman
Will Campuzano vs. Chris Cariaso