It’s time again for another season of “The Ultimate Fighter” and with the debut of each new season always comes a quality night of fighting on cable television. UFC Fight Night 15 takes place on Wednesday night before the premiere of TUF 8 and includes some very good fights that aren’t really being talked about so we here at 5 Oz. spread the word. Let’s break ‘em down!
Josh Neer vs. Nate Diaz
Michael Huckaby: This is a strange matchup to main event with to me. I think it will be an exciting fight but I really don’t see Neer KOing Diaz and Diaz is going to have a hell of a time submitting Neer. Diaz is going to look more impressive on the ground and try more submission attempts, winning the judges’ hearts, but if Neer can in any way keep it standing he will take full advantage. Unless I’m missing some secret Diaz improvement in his striking he’s either going to take this in the third round with a quick submission or win a decision. Maybe I give Neer too much credit, as I like him very much, but say what you will he doesn’t go down easily. Winner: Diaz, decision
Adam Morgan: Neer is tough as nails and deserves all the credit that Huckaby is giving him but I think Diaz is ready for this kind of test. I bet against him in his fight against Pellegrino, a fight he was losing until the quick submission, and I won’t get caught doing the same thing again. Diaz’s reach will keep him away from Neer’s power and his ground game should be enough to overcome Neer’s strong wrestling base. Diaz via submission, round three.
Sam Caplan: I still have questions about Diaz’s all-around skills but his submissions has been all he’s needed thus far. A brown belt under Cesar Gracie, Diaz would have been promoted to black belt a while ago by most jiu-jitsu instructors. Neer is usually hit or miss and has pulled off upsets before, but I don’t see that happening this time.
Clay Guida vs. Mac Danzig
Michael Huckaby: You might be sick of my “Joe Silva Rule” but I’m applying it here. The UFC feels this is a strong test to see where Danzig is at and I don’t know if they would have made it if they didn’t think he could pull it out. Guida is always game and this should be an incredibly entertaining rollfest but I think Danzig will prove with the better striking and positioning that he deserves the decision and poor Guida becomes bridesmaid again. Winner: Danzig, decision
Adam Morgan: I think Huckaby is smart to break out the “Joe Silva Rule” here and it aplies because Guida has shown an inability to finish top level fighters. Danzig is on the cusp of breaking out in the UFC’s crowded lightweight division and I don’t think that Guida has what it takes to finish a fighter as tough as Danzig. Danzig’s standup is very good, his ground game is superb, and his wrestling base is solid. I think he’s more well-rounded than Guida and takes this fight home in the third frame. Mac Danzig via submission, round three.
Ed Herman vs. Alan Belcher
Michael Huckaby: If you ask me (and you didn’t) this is the most competitive fight on the entire card and the one I’m most looking forward to watching. Though Herman is only 3-3 in the UFC with no very significant wins, anyone that has watched him knows he’s getting progressively better each time out and he’s actually starting to look like a prospect (if you can call him that). On the other side of the cage is Alan “Skull Showman” Belcher, a man I find very entertaining but one I feel will be overpowered and outmatched on the ground against the ever improving Herman. If Belcher can keep it up and land, and I don’t think he will, he can win this fight. I think the opposite is much more likely and Herman is getting him down and beating him one way or the other. Winner: Herman, sub, Rd2
Adam Morgan: This is undoubtedly one of the most competitive fights on the card with Herman having a strong wrestling base and underrated jiu jitsu and Belcher having a very complete Muay Thai arsenal at his disposal. You’d think it would be a slugfest as both guys like to stand and trade but I believe Herman is smarter than that. Belcher will want to clinch and use his strikes from there but I think Herman should be able to take him down from the clinch and either use ground and pound or possible submissions to end the fight. Ed Herman via unanimous decision.
Houston Alexander vs. Eric Schafer
Michael Huckaby: Who could imagine they’d give Alexander, on a two fight losing streak, an opponent with a questionable chin and probably not enough game to take advantage of his weaknesses? In his home city? I’m SHOCKED. It’s almost as if this is tailor made for a fun Alexander knockout against an overpowered, yet game, opponent. Winner: Alexander, strikes, Rd1
Adam Morgan: I have to disagree with Mr. Huckaby here as Alexander is the one with the questionable chin. Schafer is so much more of a dynamic fighter than Alexander it’s not even funny. If he can get through Alexander’s initial barrage and take the fight to the ground, Alexander’s arm is going in an armbar or his neck is going into a choke. Dana White just said that Alexander needs a win to stay in the UFC even though he just signed a new contract. Houston loses his third in a row here, no doubt. Back to the XFO for him. Eric Schafer via submission, round one.
Alessio Sakara vs. Joe Vedepo
Michael Huckaby: When judging an Alessio Sakara fight I always ask myself a simple question: can his opponent box at all? If the answer is yes Sakara is going down and going down hard as one could tell with his impressive zero pro boxing wins over anyone that had ever won a fight before. On the flip side the UFC loves him because he’s an action fighter and maybe Joe Silva knows something about Vedepo I don’t that will give Sakara an easy win and a reason to keep him under contract when he clearly doesn’t deserve to be. Winner: Sakara, strikes, Rd2
Adam Morgan: Why is Sakara still in the UFC and getting fights? At this point one has to believe that he’s there to showcase new talent like Joe Vedepo. Vedepo will take this fight to the ground and end it before Sakara knows what happened. Joe Vedepo via TKO, round two.
Wilson Gouveia vs. Ryan Jensen
Michael Huckaby: Sidenote that has nothing to do with the fight: why is it every time I click a fightfinder profile and then click another one I eventually see Ryan Jensen’s name? He’s had like 15 fights and yet he’s the MMA version of 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon. Okay, now that I’ve said that I think Jensen is a really tough dude who really just hasn’t had the chance to show it yet. On the other hand he can’t hang with Gouveia either but I think he’ll put up a hell of a fight and maybe pull off a surprise. Watch out for your legs Ryan. Winner: Wilson Gouveia, decision
Adam Morgan: Ryan Jensen is aggressive and has decent striking ability but I believe he’s way in over his head here against Gouveia. Gouveia should handily defeat Jensen on the feet or on the ground. This is a cupcake fight for Gouveia’s first go-round at 185 lbs. and it should be a successful one. Wilson Gouveia via TKO, round two.
Joe Lauzon vs. Kyle Bradley
Michael Huckaby: The UFC was building up Lauzon brilliantly and I assume Florian was just a top tier test to see where he was at. If he won you had another young superstar on your hands, if he lost it was no big deal because he’s just a kid. Now we get the long road back with more experience and an easy win over Kyle Bradley. Poor Bradley caught a poor break against my boy Chris Lytle and he’s going to catch another one here on his way back to the minor leagues so the 26-year-old can get more fights in. Winner: Lauzon, sub, Rd1
Adam Morgan: If ever there was a time to use the “Joe Silva Rule,” as Huckaby says, it’s this fight. Kyle Bradley is tough as nails but Lauzon is being set up so he doesn’t lose two in a row. Lauzon is too slick on the ground and competent enough on the feet to handle Bradley.
Jason Brilz vs. Brad Morris
Michael Huckaby: Brilz is another hometown boy and I’m not even so sure you can call his record inflated with the casualties he’s gathered. On the other hand I’m not going to judge Brad Morris for getting absolutely destroyed by future UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez either. Again I’ll go with my Joe Silva logic and say he’ll matchup the hometown boy to get a win and rev the crowd up for the rest of the event. By what? No idea. Winner: Brilz, sub, Rd2
Adam Morgan: Brad Morris is dropping down from heavyweight after the clobbering her took from Cain Velasquez and I feel he’s being set up to take another fall here against Brilz. Brilz’s UFC debut will be a successful one. Jason Brilz via submission, round two.
David Andrest: I’m going to pick Brad Morris in this fight. Morris may not be a special HW but the truth of the matter is Cain Velasquez is going to make many more UFC HW’s look bad. I think this is a “Do I belong here” fight for Brilz. With the shallow end of the pool being the 206+ division, a good showing for Brilz may garner him another payday. Winner: Morris: TKO RD 2
Drew McFedries vs. Mike Massenzio
Michael Huckaby: McFedries might be turning into another Alessio Sakara when it comes to the UFC. He’ll never be a champion and he’s going to lose a few bouts but since he puts on an entertaining standup war they certainly want him around. I’m not a Mike Massenzio expert having only seen him once and I can’t imagine they’d give McFedries another fight to lose. Though as history shows just because they want someone to win doesn’t mean he will. Winner: McFedries, strikes, Rd1
Adam Morgan: McFedries is another guy who’s a middleweight gatekeeper and really only possesses a brawling style and lots of power in his hands. Massenzio is a budding East Coast prospect and is being thrown right into the frying pan in his UFC debut but it’s a test I think he’ll pass with flying colors. Mike Massenzo via TKO, round two.
David Andrest: Massenzio is another in a crop of 185’s the UFC will try to sell me as having a tremendous upside, and he just may. McFedries has proven KO power and he is a better fighter than many believe. Winner: McFedries vis KO Rd 2
Dan Miller vs. Rob Kimmons
Michael Huckaby: I really like this matchup but for all the wrong reasons when it comes to a Pain Poll. I think this fight will tell a great deal for future entries of mine for their bouts but coming into this one it’s not so easy. I like Miller and give him the edge only because I think he has a more well rounded jiu-jitsu game. I like Kimmons’ strength though so Miller better control the action if he’s not going to finish it. Winner: Miller, sub, Rd2
Adam Morgan: Dan Miller is one of the best young middelweights in the game and comes out of a great Renzo Gracie camp. His brother, Jim, is also a great young lightweight prospect and I expect Dan to make the most of his UFC debut. Kimmons poses strength problems but Miller’s jiu jitsu game should be enough to overcome that weakness. Dan Miller via submission, round one.