by Ricardo Mendoza – MMAWeekly.com
JOSH KOSCHECK VS. ANTHONY JOHNSON
Ultimate Fighter 1 participant Josh Koscheck faces off with welterweight knockout artist Anthony Johnson. Both fighters took the fight on about three weeks notice after the original main event fell apart because of medical reasons. Whoever comes out the victor will put himself into title contention as the welterweight division thins out contenders.
This is one of the more evenly matched fights on the cards as both fighters have a legitimate chance of winning. Johnson is one of the more feared strikers in the welterweight division and it was only a matter of time before he would get matched up with one of the better welterweights.
The game plan is simple, avoid getting taken down at all costs and try to land that power shot to end the fight. Koscheck isn’t a slouch on the feet, but it would be smarter for him to use his wrestling and control the fight with ground and pound. It’s a tough fight to pick, but look for Koscheck to stick to his bread and butter en route to a decision victory.
ANTONIO ROGERIO NOGUEIRA VS. LUIZ CANE
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter Antonio Rogerio Nogueira faces off with Brazilian striker Luiz Cane. This could end up being one of the better fights on the card as both fighters like to come forward and press the action. Whoever comes out on top will no doubt be in the upper echelon of the light heavyweight division.
Nogueria will look to find success by taking Cane down and working his grappling. Cane needs to keep the fight on the feet and constantly put pressure on Nogueira, who doesn’t handle someone pressing him all that well.
Cane is on the verge of breaking out and this could be his coming out party as he faces a legit Top 10 fighter. Nogueira’s best chance will be getting the fight on the ground, but that will be a task in itself as Cane has shown good takedown defense.
Look for this to be an exciting back and forth fight with Cane pulling out a decision.
AMIR SADOLLAH VS. PHIL BARONI
Ultimate Fighter 6 winner Amir Sadollah faces off with eccentric welterweight slugger Phil Baroni. This is a make or break fight as Sadollah needs a win and this could be Baroni’s last chance to shine in the spotlight. This fight has finish written all over it as these two will look to end the fight early.
Sadollah crumpled once he got hit with a solid shot against Johny Hendricks and Baroni has awesome power in his hands, which could once again end Sadollah’s night. The game plan is simple for Sadollah, take the fight to ground and wear out Baroni to the point that he can break him. Baroni on the other hand needs to keep the fight on the feet and look to knock Sadollah’s head into the first row.
Sadollah will be able to avoid Baroni’s big shots and wear him out en route to a late submission victory.
PAULO THIAGO VS. JACOB VOLKMANN
Brazilian welterweight Paulo Thiago faces off with NCAA wrestling standout Jacob Volkmann. This is an interesting clash of styles with one being a submission expert and the other being a decorated wrestler. Expect these two to fight an entertaining ground battle that should quench ground aficionados’ thirst for technique.
Thiago was baptized by fire in his first two fights in the UFC by being put against two top five welterweights and now he gets a more favorable fight against the newcomer. He has shown that he has great technique on the feet, but his bread and butter is on the ground with submissions and positioning. Volkman has a lot of hype behind him, but he may be in over his head against the more seasoned veteran.
Look for Volkmann to take the fight to the ground, only to be reversed by Thiago who will lock on a submission.