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UFC Fight Night 17: Preview and Predictions

It was a very busy week with the fallout stemming from UFC 94 as well as yesterday’s news that the long-awaited acquisition of ProElite/EliteXC had been completed.

Lost in the media shuffle is tomorrow’s UFC Fight Night 17 event, which will emanate from the USF Sun Dome in Tampa, Florida while also being televised on Spike TV starting at 9 p.m. ET.

As far as “Fight Night” cards go, UFN 17 is solid with a quartet of young prospects being featured in televised matches. Viewers will be treated to fights featuring Joe Lauzon, Cain Velasquez, Anthony Johnson, and Mac Danzig.

Lauzon will be headlining the show against Jeremy Stephens, a late injury replacement for teammate Hermes Franca, who is out after tearing a ligament in his knee. Both Lauzon and Stephens are explosive and their styles should make for a very entertaining main event.

Below is a brief preview of the entire card…

Televised Main Card:

– Joe Lauzon vs. Jeremy Stephens - Stephens is a very good athlete, has solid wrestling, and has the potential to be explosive. However, Lauzon has advantages when it comes to submissions, technical striking, and tactical fighting. I consider Lauzon to be a step above Stephens at this stage of their respective careers and am picking Lauzon to win via second round submission.

Cain Velasquez vs. Denis Stojnic - A lot of people this this is a total squash in Velasquez’s favor, but Stojnic is a really good kickboxer who trains out of Golden Glory in Holland with the likes of Ernesto Hoost, Gegard Mousasi, Gilbert Yvel, and Marloes Coenen. Velasquez better not mess around here and better get the fight to the floor ASAP. I think he will fight a smart fight and take Stojnic down with ease and pound out a first round TKO.

Anthony Johnson vs. Luigi Fioravanti - Johnson is great at dishing out punishment and Fioravanti is good at taking it. I see Johnson landing a couple of highlight reel punch combinations and kicks and Fioravanti treading water until the third round when Johnson puts him away with a third round TKO.

Mac Danzig vs. Josh Neer - Neer’s recent legal troubles are well documented and I have to wonder how much of a distraction it was during his training. If all things were equal, I’d say that Neer has a chance to pull off an upset but being that they are not, I expect Danzig to win via second round TKO.

Non-Televised Preliminary Card:

Jake Rosholt vs. Dan Miller – I am a huge Rosholt fan but this is a terrible matchup for him. Rosholt’s standup technique is lacking and his submission defense is a mystery right now. We know Rosholt can hit hard and word is that his submission offense is very advanced for someone at such an early stage in their career. However, Miller is technical and slick on the ground and much more experienced on the feet. I believe we’ll see Rosholt physically dominait Miller for two and a half round before Miller pulls off a submission off his back.

Rich Clementi vs. Gleison Tibau - Tibau is bigger, stronger, and may have better pure jiu-jitsu. Hiwever, Clementi is more experienced and may have better jiu-jitsu for MMA. I see the fight going the distance and I expect Clementi to find a way to win a split decision despite not being as physically gifted as Tibau.

Kurt Pellegrino vs. Rob Emerson - Emerson has won his last two fights and is coming off an impressive first round knockout over Manny Gamburyan at UFC 87. However, I think Pellegrino’s standup is good enough to allow him to hang with Emerson long enough to get it to the ground. Once on the floor, Pellegrino will smash Emerson en route to a second round submission.

Matt Grice vs. Matt Veach - Grice is a really good wrestler but he needs to be careful because Veach is reallty dangerous with his submissions. I expect Grice to keep the fight standing and end up recording a second round TKO.

Nick Catone vs. Derek Downey - I expect Catone to rely on his solid wrestling skills to control this fight and record a second round TKO due to ground and pound.

Steve Bruno vs. Matt Riddle - Riddle has been through a lot of changes in his camp recently and remains very young and inexperienced. He’s the better athlete of the two and will have a sizable strength advantage. However, he hasn’t fought in awhile and this will be his first full cut to welterweight. I see Riddle dominating the fight but making a mistake late in the third with Bruno rallying to win by submission in the third.

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