UFC on Fox 19: Predictions + Preview

This Sunday, UFC on Fox 19 is taking place in front of a hungry Tampa crowd. And I'll tell you what. I am done getting excited about fights up until I see both warriors inside the octagon. Literally, the "biggest" fights on the card have been modified or scrapped because of injuries and failed drug tests. Just a couple of days ago, Lyoto Machida was removed from the card due to a banned substance. From what I've heard, Machida included said substance in his declared list of supplements, not realizing it was banned. Even if it sounds like he's innocent, I'm considerably disappointed. How are fighters still getting popped like this? It takes 10 seconds to obtain the list of banned substances. Do your homework! Anyways, I still have relatively high hopes for this fight card, as I believe a lot of talent will be squaring off. Here are my thoughts and predictions for the three fights that really have my attention.

John Dodson vs. Manny Gamburyan

Before we even discuss the fight itself, the UFC should be praised for putting this match as a Fight Pass exclusive. I could easily see this one taking place on a PPV, but they've decided to put it here, and I respect the hell out of them for it, Decisions like this one attract new consumers, and increase the number of Fight Pass subscribers. Now, they just have to improve the interface and search engine, while reducing the constant buffering (also, bring the app to the PS4).

Back to the Dodson vs. Gamburyan, I think we're going to witness fireworks inside the cage. Let's start with Gamburyan. This man is a remarkably versatile competitor. He's competed in 3 different divisions, has some pretty solid standup alongside some amazing Judo (he's one of Ronda Rousey's main coaches). After two decent victories over Cody Gibson and Scott Jorgensen, he's starting to generate momentum. Defeating John Dodson would most likely get him a shot against a top 15 guy.

I'm a big fan of John, The Magician, Dodson. Seriously, I think he's one of the ten best fighters under 135 lbs. His boxing is extremely clean, and he packs a punch. He truly could have dominated the UFC Flyweight division. The problem? Demetrious Johnson. In many ways, John Dodson is the Daniel Cormier of the Flyweight division. A great fighter who simply was overshadow by a legend in his prime. After failing to defeat DJ in two occasions, he has returned to weight in which he won The Ultimate Fighter 14, back in 2011.

In a lot of ways, The Magician has a lane paved out for him. If he was to beat Manny, he would most likely get a crack at T.J. Dillashaw. He's the guy Dodson TKO'd to become TUF winner, so a rematch would make a ton of sense. And if he gets the better of Dillashaw again, he's getting the next title shot. Period. That's the type of motivation that takes you to the next level. This Saturday, Gamburyan will probably attempt to grind it out: clinches, getting him on the cage, suffocating him on the ground. However, I think Dodson's power and cardio will triumph, giving him the victory.

Prediction: John Dodson

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Darrell Horcher

This contest is the definition of a tune up fight. UFC should do these more often, specially when a top talent has been out for a long time.

Indeed, Khabib Nurmagomedov last fight was in 2014, when he smoked current UFC lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos. Back then, our doubts around him getting the title weren't based on the word "if". It was all about "when". This man is the real deal. Heavy hands, exceptional grappling and incredible wrestling. Sadly, a number of knee injuries kept him on the sidelines for two years. He's finally ready to make his comeback, and MMA fans can't wait. In front of him, we'll see a young gentleman making his UFC debut, Darrell Horcher.

Darrell Horcher is a man with a solid pair on him. Taking a fight against Nurmagomedov on two weeks notice is borderline crazy. Will it pan out? We'll find out tomorrow. Horcher was on his way to the UFC with or without this bout. He's only 28, with a good record (13-1) and a fair number of finishes, all by KO or TKO. From the couple of videos I was able to see, I can tell you that he's technical, but not afraid to go to war. He's always pushing forward, and he has a vicious left hand.

Darrell might be the underdog, but he has something on his side: expectations. Not many people are expecting him to win. If he loses, he'll get another shot or two in order to prove himself to the UFC audience. On the other side, all eyes are on Khabib. After his long break, people are expecting him to ice this kid. If he ended up losing, it would be pretty brutal. Especially when you're a fight or two away from a title shot. Having said that, I have my money on Khabib. He must be dying to get step into the octagon, and I think he will be too much for Horcher to chew.

Prediction: Khabib Nurmagomedov

Glover Teixeira vs. Rashad Evans

Finally, let's talk about the main event. Originally, Rashad, Suga, Evans was supposed to face Shogun Rua, but Shogun pulled out. Luckily, Brazilian Glover Teixeira has taken the challenge.

Glover Teixeira the complete package. Easy as that. His boxing is surprisingly accurate, and equally powerful. He has KO victories over guys like Ryan Bader and Patrick Cummins. However, he can also finish you on the ground. A second degree BJJ black belt, he has multiple submission victories, the most recent one against Ovince Saint-Preux at UFC Fight Night 73. He's always pressuring his opponents, landing as many bombs as possible.

Rashad Evans is a strong, quick boxer, with unbelievable wrestling credentials. Over his last couple of fights, he hasn't looked like the Rashad fans love to see, and he's looking to prove that he can still be a top contender.

How do I see the fight playing out? Teixeira will be pressuring, trying to land combinations and put Suga away. On the other hand, Rashad will have to use his footwork, avoiding Teixeira's hands, throwing a couple of punches, and quickly moving away. Eventually, the key is for him to get the takedown, and control him on top to obtain the finish. I'm going with Teixeira. I just believe he's at a good place, with the right mentality and set of skills.

Prediction: Glover Teixiera

No comments:

Post a Comment