Finally after a three-week hiatus, the UFC returns to action and will be in action with loaded fight cards over the next several weeks.
It’s rather shocking that that UFC has not had a fight in a little less than a month, because MMA has hit the mainstream for both good and bad these past few weeks.
Despite the negativity and general animosity surrounding them, UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones and top contender Daniel Cormier have done all the right things in anticipation of their would be headlining title fight on September 27th at UFC 178.
Jones and Cormier made waves throughout the sports community for the brawl that took place in the lobby of the MGM Grand during their press conference for UFC 178. It was such headlining news that UFC PR Director Dave Sholler went viral on social media after he was shoved out of the way during the melee. Jones landed several punches on Cormier and it took several members of security to separate the two fighters.
Not to be out done later on Sportscenter, a microphone left “hot” right before the two fighters were planned to join ESPN caught a verbal bashing between the two light heavyweights.
Unfortunately on Thursday, Jones suffered not only a partially torn MCL, but also a turned ankle. The fight has been shifted from September 27th to January 3rd and will be the headliner for UFC 182.
Still, If this were any other sport, the actions of the two fighters could be perceived as a black eye. Not the UFC and not “Bones” Jones. The sport needs the attention. An incident (or two) like last week is only going to force more interest into this fight and push the possibility of a million dollar buy for the PPV ever more a reality.
The bad (or even worse) of this week is War Machine, a.k.a Jon Koppenhaver was apprehended after a weeklong manhunt. He allegedly nearly killed his girlfriend; no matter what the outcome, I’m happy that he’s in the custody of our government.
Now to the fights
No. 8 Ryan Bader (18-4) vs No. 10 Ovince Saint Preux (16-5)
The UFC is in Bangor, Maine for the first time and features a light heavyweight tilt between two-top ten fighters looking to continue their current winning streaks.
Bader, the former All-American wrestler and Ultimate Fighter winner, has been here before. He’s faced several former champions and seemingly has never been able to get over the hump. Losses to Lyoto Machida, Jon Jones and Tito Ortiz have derailed his momentum.
Now having one two in a row, Bader believes he’s finally righted the shit and is prepared for a Top 5 opponent next. He’s always been and outstanding wrestler that packs a nasty right hand. The issue is that he’s always settled on kickboxing his opponents and has been knocked out for trying (see his fight with Machida or Glover Teixera). This time he says that he’ll utilize his wrestling.
He’ll need to against OSP, a former Tennessee Volunteer football player that has won five fights in row, four since joining the UFC. He’s strong, long and is getting better each time we see him fight.
If Bader holds to his game plan, OSP will likely struggle grappling against the former Sun Devil.
However, I don’t think he will. I think OSP holds his ground and wins via decision.
My prediction, St. Preux via decision.
No. 12 Gray Maynard (12-4-1) vs Ross Pearson (17-7)
What a fall from grace Gray Maynard has had. Once a glimpse away from being the lightweight champion of the world, Maynard has gone 1-3-1 in his last five fights, losing the last two by brutal knockout in the first round.
Time may have finally caught up with the former Michigan State wrestler, whose wars with Frankie Edgar will be remembered as some of the best fights in UFC History. He, like Bader, is a powerful wrestler and likes to ground and pound his opponents. But will he keep the fight standing against Pearson?
The former Ultimate Fighter winner likes to stand and bang. The English lightweight will look to turn this into a dirty fight on the feet, plus he has the power to knockout Maynard.
I’m siding with Maynard here, who will fight smart, safe and win via decision.
My prediction, Maynard via decision.
No. 14 Tim Boetsch (17-7) vs Brad Tavares (12-3)
An intriguing middleweight contest is also featured on this card between Boetsch and Tavares.
“The Barbarian” Boetsch is a powerful former junior-college wrestler that also likes to grind out his opponents. Tavares is a more well rounded fighter that ran into a buzz saw in Yoel Romero his last time out, ending a five fight win streak.
My prediction, Tavares via decision.
Shawn Jordan (15-6) vs Jack May (7-1)
Finally we get to a fight that shouldn’t go to decision. Jordan is a former LSU football player that has gone to decision only three times in 21-professional fights. He’s extremely athletic and powerful, but has been proven to have a suspect chin.
May is a large heavyweight that will look to stand and trade. He also has a suspect chin.
My prediction, Jordan via KO (Rd 1)
Thiago Tavares (22-5-1) vs Robbie Peralta (18-4)
Well-rounded featherweights Tavares and Peralta start off the card and should be to the crowd’s delight. Both guys are excellent jiu-jitsu experts and can stand & trade as well. I’ll go with the more seasoned veteran here.
My prediction, Tavares via submission
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There are no games scheduled for today.