UFC is back on Versus tonight and they’re bringing us a very good free TV card highlighted by an outstanding welterweight main event that is sure to be action packed. Not only that but for the first time ever, UFC IS IN 3D! Now if you fall into the 1% of people who actually own a 3D TV, savor the moment because it will likely be the closest you’ll ever get to Brittney Palmer. If you’re one of the 94% of people who just have a plain ol’ HDTV then be thankful you get to listen to the commentary of Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg. And if you’re in the 4% of people who don’t have an HDTV or a 3D TV then you probably don’t have VS. either so make sure to check out FiveOuncesofPain.com for live coverage.
Welterweight Fight: Martin Kampmann vs. Diego Sanchez
Diego Sanchez tries to make his newfound dream a reality while Martin Kampmann attempts to become Sanchez’ worst nightmare.
Kampmann put up a hell of a battle in his last fight against Jake Shields but came out on the wrong end of a split decision. Kampmann is a very good technical striker with a nice jab, decent kicks, and an excellent counter straight right. His defense is lacking a lot of times as he doesn’t move his head but he has an excellent chin so he’s able to get away with it. He’s strong in the clinch and likes to throw knees to the body and to the head if he’s able to grab the plum clinch. His takedown defense has always been his weak point but against Shields he showed much improved takedown defense. Granted Shields was able to get him down a number of times and even pass to mount but Kampmann never seemed to be in trouble on the ground against Shields. Kampmann is active off his back but not all that threatening. He’s at his most threatening on top or stuffing takedowns, when he can grab a hold of his opponents neck. He has a very strong guillotine choke and he looks for it at every opportunity. Kampmann can’t afford to get into a grappling contest with Sanchez. Against Shields, Kampmann came out on the losing end of almost every single scrambling situation and Sanchez might be the best scrambler in the division. In an interesting dynamic, Kampmann is a relatively slow starter while Sanchez can be taken out of his game if you can get to him early. Kampmann needs to keep the fight standing, counter Sanchez with the right hand, and avoid the ground. Sanchez doesn’t set up his takedown all that well so look for Kampmann to try and time Sanchez’ shots with a knee. Sanchez is extremely tough to put away so if Kampmann is going to win this fight, it’ll likely be by decision via keeping things standing and out-striking Sanchez.
In his last fight against Paulo Thiago, Sanchez seemed to rediscover his fire. He stands southpaw although he’ll often switch stances mid-fight. He’s a good striker but predictable. Everything he throws is left-right. It’s usually the left straight followed by the right jab (or the left jab followed by the right straight if he’s standing orthodox) but sometimes it’ll be a left straight-right hook to the body-left hook or left straight-right uppercut. No matter what combo he throws, it’s going to almost always follow the left-right pattern. Sanchez’ strength is his grappling and pace. He’s a good wrestler and he’s helped by his explosiveness and his relentlessness on his takedowns. On top he’s an absolute animal. He’s a very active striker on top and once he gets the mount position, he rarely relinquishes the positions and he almost always postures up and throws down rather than looking for control. Kampmann has good hips and was able to escape the mount of Shields a couple of times but if Sanchez can get on top of Kampmann then he’s in for a long night. Nobody in the welterweight division is a better scrambler than Sanchez and he might be the best in MMA although I personally give that honor to Urijah Faber. Kampmann has very good cardio but the pace that Sanchez sets is second to none. Unless he’s taken out of his game early with a big blow to the head, Sanchez only gets stronger as the fight goes on. Sanchez can’t play a striking game with Kampmann because he’ll lose that battle. He needs to use his speed, get inside, go for takedowns, and just try to wear out Kampmann with his pace. Like Sanchez, Kampmann is tough to finish but if Sanchez can turn this into a grappling contest he could win the decision.
This is a very interesting fight and one that I can’t see being boring. Kampmann and Sanchez almost always bring the fight and Kampmann can’t afford to lose two straight fights while Sanchez wants to prove that he’s back and still a threat. Whoever can implement their game plan better will end up winning and I think that person will be Sanchez. He’ll find a way to make this a fast pace fight and he’ll outwork Kampmann en route to a decision.
Prediction: Diego Sanchez to defeat Martin Kampmann by Decision
Middleweight Fight: Mark Munoz vs. CB Dollaway
CB Dollaway looks to extract some revenge for his teammate, Aaron Simpson, as he battles top wrestler Mark Munoz.
Munoz seems to be on the cusp of greatness and while Dollaway might not be a signature win for him, it would be a nice feather in his cap. He’s an improving striker who has been working at Team Blackhouse for a while now so one would expect his striking to keep improving. He loads up on his right hand, he sets up his leg kicks with feints, and he doesn’t set up his body or head kicks at all. Against Simpson he was very willing to stay in the pocket and just exchange blows, which he usually got the better of. He’s got a solid chin and he hits hard. Munoz’ strength is his wrestling. He doesn’t really set up his shot though but he’s so quick and strong that he’s usually able to get away with it. He also has quick hips and he’s good in the scrambles. On top Munoz’ ground and pound is second to none. He hits like a truck and he’s relentless with his punching. He mainly likes to stand on his feet and wing his right hand down, so it can be easy to avoid if you’re quick enough but if it hands, it’s going to stun you and more will be coming. I suspect that Munoz will fight Dollaway a lot like he did against Simpson. He’ll want to keep it standing for the most part, especially if he’s winning, and go for takedowns when he feels that it’s necessary. If Munoz can get Dollaway on his back then he could finish him with strikes or he could win a decision by winning the striking contest and getting timely takedowns.
Dollaway was one of the stars of The Ultimate Fighter 7 but since then he’s struggled to find real consistency. He is on a three fight win streak through and coming off a big submission victory over Joe Doerksen. Dollaway is a very basic striker. He has a pawing jab, a decent counter right hand, and throws a lot of body kicks. Like Munoz, Dollaway is a very good wrestler although he constantly makes the mistake of leaving his neck exposed. If he can avoid the guillotine and get the takedown, he has a solid top game but he’s not as powerful as Munoz on top. Dollaway’s top game is all about control, the half guard, and elbows. He likes to move to half guard, get his opponents to turn into him, and then look for a guillotine choke or he’ll try to sprawl out and take the back. He has very quick hips and that helps him in the scrambles. Dollaway needs to get this fight to the ground. He’s not as polished on his feet as Munoz and he doesn’t have one punch power either. Munoz is a great wrestler but given the amount of kicks he throws, there will be plenty of opportunities for Dollaway to put him on his back. It’s also possible that Munoz tries a takedown when Dollaway throws a kick, which could allow Dollaway to lock on the guillotine choke. If Dollaway is going to win, it will likely be by decision as Munoz is very tough.
A lot of times when you pair up two high level wrestlers, things turn into a low level striking contest. If that’s the case in this fight, I’d give the edge to Munoz. I think he’ll be able to land the cleaner punches, fend off the takedowns of Dollaway, and possibly get a few takedowns of his own if Dollaway throws some lazy body kicks. Dollaway is tough to finish, unless it’s by submission early in the fight, but if Munoz can get on top then I think he can pound out Dollaway and force a ref stoppage late.
Prediction: Mark Munoz to defeat CB Dollaway by TKO in Round Two
Middleweight Fight: Chris Weidman vs. Alessio Sakara
Fully recovered from his health issues and finally settled on an opponent, Alessio Sakara welcomes Chris Weidman to the octagon.
Weidman is a highly touted prospect, a two-time division 1 All-American wrestler, and a top jiu-jitsu student under Matt Serra. He’s not known for his striking but he’s a pretty good striker given is lack of experience. He likes to lead with his right hand and follow with a left hook and he uses a jab-leg kick combo. He also has a head kick in his arsenal but it’s very sloppy and can be seen from a mile away. What helps him in the striking department is his power as he has one punch power in his hands. He’s obviously an outstanding wrestler but like a lot of top college wrestlers who are just starting in MMA, he doesn’t set up his takedowns very well and relies purely on his strength and technical prowess. Against lower-level wrestlers it’s easy to get away with this as a failed takedowns usually means the perfect opportunity to clinch. Weidman is vey strong in the clinch and that’s how he gets the majority of his takedowns. On top he has very good posture and likes to rough up his opponents with his right hand. He likes to use the kimura on top and also go for the guillotine in scrambles. One thing I like about his game is that he transitions very well from submission to submission so if he doesn’t finish with his first choice, you can bet that he’s going to be immediately looking for another one. Weidman only has four professional fights under his belt and is already making his UFC debut on the main card against a UFC veteran so one would expect nerves to come into play. No matter how many fights they’ve had or what stage they’ve been on, fighters always seem overwhelmed by the moment in their UFC debut. Expect Weidman to try and start fast because between the first and second round it’s very possible that he’ll suffer an adrenaline dump. Even though Weidman is a competent striker, he needs to get this fight to the ground because Sakara is an accomplished boxer with KO power but his ground game is lacking. Weidman could win this fight by TKO stoppage, submission from the top, or a decision if he can get Sakara down but can’t finish him.
Sakara is on a three fight win streak but this will only be his third fight in three years so, like his win-loss record, Sakara hasn’t been consistent. He’s a very good striker with a pro boxing background. He has quick hands, throws a crisp one-two combo, has a sneaky left hook, and likes to jab to the body. He also has kicks in his repertoire but doesn’t throw them very often, unless it’s to the head. Sakara struggles on the feet when his opponent presses him. He doesn’t react well to pressure and to make matters worse, he doesn’t have a great chin. When things are going slow and it’s a technical fight, Sakara is very dangerous. When he’s pressed and things turn into a brawl, he’s still dangerous because of his power, but he wilts. As for his ground game, well, it’s not very good. His takedown defense isn’t terrible although against a great wrestler like Weidman he’ll likely struggle to keep things off the ground. On his back he immediately tries to get up as he’s no real submission threat off his back. Sakara needs to look for the uppercut in this fight. Given that Weidman is going to shoot and probably shoot early, Sakara needs to great him with an uppercut. Even if it misses, at least it’ll give Weidman something to think about. On top of that, if he’s able to block the takedown and is just pressed against the cage, he needs to batter Weidman with punches, elbows, and knees. Obviously Sakara needs to keep this fight standing but if he can’t he needs to constantly be trying to punish to Weidman and hope that Weidman’s cardio doesn’t hold up. Sakara needs to remember the Chad Griggs vs. Bobby Lashley fight where Griggs was dominated wrestling and on the ground but punished Lashley enough to where Lashley couldn’t continue. If Sakara is content with just giving up takedowns and lying on his back, he’s going to lose. Sakara could KO Weidman or possibly win a decision if he’s able to keep the fight standing the majority of the 15 minutes.
If Weidman is as good as he’s hyped to be, he should be Sakara. No knock on Sakara, who is very dangerous on the feet, but he’s never been considered a top level fighter, he’s never done well under pressure, and he’s not getting consistent cage time. Plus stylistically this fight favors Weidman given his wrestling background and jiu-jitsu game against Sakara’s lack of MMA grappling. I think Weidman makes an impressive debut and lives up to the hype by taking out Sakara quickly.
Prediction: Chris Weidman to defeat Alessio Sakara by Submission in Round One
Batamweight Fight: Damacio Page vs. Brian Bowles
After almost a year on the sidelines, Brian Bowles is back in action against the always dangerous Damacio Page in a rematch of their WEC 35 contest.
No matter your opinion of Page, you can’t deny that his nickname, “The Angel of Death” is one of the best in MMA. He’s coming off a disappointing performance against Demetrious Johnson but in fairness to him, he was coming off a Mir Layoff and shouldn’t have been expected to fight to his full potential. He’s a relatively well-rounded fighter. On the feet he has a tendency to load up on his right hand and he sets it up with a double jab. On sloppy thing he does is that he overextends himself when throwing a left hook, which not only leaves him open for counters but also causes him to lose his footing. He’s a good wrestler with his biggest strength being in the clinch. He has some very good head-arm throws although Bowles has a solid base and is also strong in the clinch so I don’t know if he’ll be able to toss him around. On top Page his quick hips so he passes to better positions very well and likes to throw elbows. Off his back, he continue to throw elbows, but he’s no real submission threat. The weakest part of Page’s game is his submission defense. All except for one of his career losses have come via submission, including a 2008 submission loss to Bowles. He leaves his neck exposed, not only when going for takedowns, but also when he scrambles up. Page is known for his quick starts and I think that will be key in this fight. Bowles is coming off an injury filled layoff so I would expect him to have some cage rust early. Page needs to get on Bowles early because the more comfortable Bowles gets, the tougher he’ll be to finish. Page will look to use his speed in this fight, keep Bowles off balance with quick strikes, and possibly look for timely takedowns. Bowles is tough to finish so if Page is going to win this fight it will likely be by out-working Bowles en route to a decision.
Coming off the first loss of his career, Bowles is back in action and looking to get back to the top. On his feet, he’s a good boxer although he’s really fallen in love with his right hand, possibly a little too much. While it is his best punch, it’s his best punch when he uses it to counter. When he uses it as an offensive punch, he usually misses with it because he swings wildly and doesn’t set it up very well. He does have a very stiff jab and when he’s using a straight right and now a winging right, he’s very effective. Bowles is a very strong wrestler and an underrated grappler. He’s strong in the clinch and if he wanted to, he could probably grind guys out along the cage but that’s not his style. Instead he likes to put guys on their back, rough them up with punches, and look for submissions. He has very good chokes and he’s constantly looking for them in grappling situations. The one thing that worries me about Bowles is the layoff. He hasn’t fought in almost a year and it was a year filled with injuries to his hand and foot. He’ll likely struggle early, trying to get back into rhythm, but as the fight goes on he should get stronger unless his cardio isn’t up to snuff, then we could see him struggle for the entire 15 minutes. Above all else, Bowles is a finisher. He’s never been to a decision and he’s a guy where if he has his opponent in trouble, he’s going to move in for the kill. I think Bowles will try to keep things standing early and he’ll no doubt be looking for his right hand but he can’t rely purely on that punch because Page should be quicker than him. Bowles might fight a little more cautious because of the layoff and the fact that he’s coming off the first loss of his career. Page has never been KO’d but if anyone has the power to do it, it would be Bowles. Of course Bowles could also submit Page, again, or he could win a decision if he decides to just grind him out and play it safe.
Bowles’ layoff concerns me but I think this a good style fight for him. He’s a heavy puncher, a better wrestler, and a better grappler. Unless Page can get on Bowles quick or use his speed for the entire 15 minutes, Bowles should be able to win this fight. I think Bowles catches Page with his right hand as Page comes in wildly, drops him, and finishes him with punches.
Prediction: Brian Bowles to defeat Damacio Page by TKO in Round One
Preliminary Fight Predictions
*Joe Steven to defeat Danny Castillo by Submission in Round Two
*Cyrille Diabte to defeat Steve Cantwell by Decision
*Shane Roller to defeat Thiago Tavares by Decision
*Takeya Mizugaki to defeat Reuben Duran by TKO in Round One
*Rousimar Palhares to defeat Dave Branch by Submission in Round One
*Dong Yi Yang to defeat Rob Kimmons by TKO in Round Two
*Igor Pokrajac to defeat Todd Brown by Submission in Round Three
This is a huge MMA weekend. Not only are we getting UFC on Versus but there’s also the season debut of Bellator and a major Strikeforce event. Best of all, all three events are free as long as you’re paying for the premium packages that includes Versus, MTV2, and Showtime. This is a strong UFC TV card and hopefully the main event doesn’t end a draw. Make sure to stay tuned for The After Party.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC