The UFC takes their ‘Fight Night’ series to FX for the first time on Friday night and we’ve got our predictions on the big fights for you below.
Jim Miller vs. Melvin Guillard
Until late last year when both Miller and Guillard picked up unexpected losses they had been crusing towards title contention, and they’ll be hoping to get right back on track in their first bout of 2012.
I like Miller here. he’s far more well rounded than Guillard and if he gets him on the mat I don’t expect to see Guillard getting up again any time soon. Guillard’s power and speed are potent weapons, but Miller has a hell of a chin, and is extremely tenacious, so if Guillard can escape his early takedowns he won’t get discouraged and will continue to push the pace and look for ways to get him down.
Guillard’s been tapped by a series of talented grapplers in the past, and I think Miller can do so as well if he pushes for a finish, or at the very least grind him out frin tio control to a decision victory.
Jim Miller to win by submission in Rd2.
Pat Barry vs. Christian Morecraft
This heavyweight pairing have struggled to find consistent form in the UFC so this is an important fight if they want to remain a part of the division in the future.
On paper this would seem to be Morecraft’s fight. He’s got the grappling advantage, is significantly taller and heavier than his opponent, and it’s no big secret that Barry’s uncomfortable on teh ground and his submission defense is weak.
I’m not 100% sold on Morecraft’s ability to get the job done though. He’s not particularly athletic, his wrestling isn’t anything to write home about and in two of his three fights in the UFC so far he’s shown that he can be stopped on his feet. Barry has the power to do just that, and at the very least his leg kicks could keep Morecraft at bay.
So, while I don’t have huge confidence in this pick I am leaning towards Barry to sprawl and brawl his way to victory.
Pat Barry to win by TKO in Rd2.
Josh Neer vs. Duane Ludwig
Neer and Ludwig love to stand and slug it out so this should be an entertaining scrap.
Both guys are good muay thai strikers, but I’d have to give the technical edge to Ludwig who’s a former champion in that martial art and when he’s on his game has a very fluid offensive style.
Neer is an extremely gritty competitor though who’s hard to stop on the feet and has the better cardio of the two. He also has a significant advantage on the ground where his submissions could prove problematic for Ludwig who’s vulnerable in that area.
This one could be close, but I like Neer to emerge with his hand raised as long as he doesn’t get sucked into a purely striking battle and instead mixes things up on the mat too. I can see Ludwig wilting in the later rounds if put under pressure, and that’ll open submission opportunities for ‘The Dentist’.
Josh Neer to win by submission in Rd3.
Mike Easton vs. Jared Papazian
Two relative newcomers to the UFC’s bantamweight division get a chance to shine in the FX spotlight in this bout that thanks to injuries snuck it’s way onto the main card.
Easton should be comfortable wherever this fight goes, but Papazian leans heavily on his striking abilities and so will be looking to keep this fight standing at all costs.
As in a number of the other fighters on the main card I believe Papazian’s weakness to submissions could cost him here, with Easton having decent enough striking to be able to be competitive, but always having that ace up his sleeve that he can threaten Papazian’s limbs on the floor at any time.
Mike Easton to win by submission in Rd2.
Jorge Rivera vs. Eric Schafer
Kamal Shalorus vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov
Charlie Brenneman vs. Daniel Roberts
Daniel Pineda Vs Pat Schilling
Joseph Sandoval vs. Nick Denis
Fabricio Camoes vs. Tommy Hayden