The UFC’s fourth show on FOX takes place tomorrow night in L.A and we’ve got our fight picks for you below.
Mauricio Shogun Rua v Brandon Vera
While both men are capable of switching it up, we’re all but guaranteed to see a striking battle here.
Both men are skilled in that facet of the game with very dangerous muay thai being their stock-in-trade. I think ‘Shogun’s’ the harder hitter though, certainly with his punches and I believe with his kicks too.
He’s also mentally stronger than Vera and has the killer instinct, while ‘The Truth’ seems to lack the belief and aggression we saw early in his career. He says he’s now keen to prove the doubters wrong, but he has to back that talk with actions in the Octagon tomorrow night and I just don’t see it happening.
Hopefully Vera will hang tough and it’ll turn into a war that’s worthy of a FOX main event, but I think it’s more likely that ‘Shogun’ bosses this fight and puts Vera to the sword inside two rounds.
Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua to win by TKO in Rd2.
Lyoto Machida v Ryan Bader
You could put up a good case for this having been the main event of the evening, and it’s an interesting clash of styles.
On the feet it seems a fight tailor-made for Machida’s style. Bader hits fairly hard, but he’s relatively slow and predictable with his stand-up so Machida’s speed, elusiveness and counter-striking should give him all sorts of problems.
Therefore Bader really needs to get this fight to the floor where his size advantage will pay dividends and he can wear Machida down with ground and pound. He’ll have a hard time catching up with the Brazilian though, and Machida has underrated BJJ so he’s by no means out of the fight if he’s on his back.
Personally I think Machida will be able to keep this fight standing for the most part and will be able to pick Bader apart over three rounds, but he won’t be able to produce the spectacular finish he requires to potentially snatch the No.1 contender spot from the winner of the main event.
Lyoto Machida to win by decision.
Joe Lauzon v Jamie Varner
This should be a fun lightweight scrap, and if both fighters turn up at their best then it could be a close one too.
Lauzon’s a decent boxer and can be quite aggressive, but the power edge goes to Varner who can certainly finish fights with his fists. Varner is also very durable, but on the downside he is injury-prone, and is prone to take a lot of damage in his fights which could look bad in the judges eyes if the bout goes the distance.
While Lauzon won’t be afraid to strike with him he’s a smart fighter and will probably be looking to get the fight to the mat where he’s at his best. He’s got very good submissions and is quick to pounce on opportunities if they are presented to him.
He’ll need to get him down first though and that could be a problem as Varner is the better wrestler. However, Varner does like to mix in his takedowns so Lauzon may have opportunities to produce something from his back.
Varner’s shock win over Edson Barboza could be the boost he needs to get back to his best form, but I still remember some of the sub-par performances put in by him at that tail-end of his WEC career and have my doubts. It’s a close fight to call, but I’m going with Lauzon to come off second-best in the striking but produce a late submission.
Joe Lauzon to win by submisson in Rd3.
Mike Swick v DaMarques Johnson
It’s great to see Swick back in action after a two year layoff, and it’ll be interesting to see how he performs being thrown straight into a main card fight with Johnson.
On his day Swick was a genuine contender in the welterweight division with good striking and a decent submission game to go with it.
Johnson’s not made the same kind of impact so far, but he’s by no means a pushover and matches up to Swick with a similar skill-set, though in his case it’s his ground game that’s his best weapon.
The big question here is if Swick is 100% and how much ring rust he’ll show. I think some is inevitable, but overall I do believe Swick is the superior fighter overall, and while he’ll have to be wary of Johnson’s crafty BJJ he’s savvy enough to stay out of trouble on the ground if it goes there and make his mark on the feet to claim a decision win.
Mike Swick to win by decision.
Prelims: (Predicted winners in bold)
Cole Miller v Nam Phan
Phil Davis v Wagner Prado
Josh Grispi v Rani Yahya
Phil De Fries v Oli Thompson
Manvel Gamburyan v Michihiro Omigawa
Ulysses Gomez v John Moraga