by Ricardo Mendoza – MMAWeekly.com
UFC Welterweight Championship Bout: Georges St-Pierre vs. Jon Fitch
UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre defends his title against American Kickboxing Academy fighter Jon Fitch. St-Pierre is coming off an easy domination of Matt Serra at UFC 83 to regain his title, while Fitch won a decision over the highly touted Chris Wilson at UFC 82.
This is going to be the most competitive title fight in recent history between the two best fighters in welterweight division. We’re going to see a high paced fairly even bout throughout its duration with both fighters having their moments.
An advantage that St-Pierre has had over his past opponents is his explosiveness and athleticism, but against Fitch he is going to face someone who could match him in those areas. Both fighters have shown that they are more then competent at striking. The two fighters are well versed in submissions and wrestling and have shown that they can hang with the best on the ground.
Basically, the fight will come down to who can initiate first and control the pace of the fight in his favor while keeping their opponent on the defensive for the entire fight. One factor that could play into this match will be which fighter is mentally stronger to get out or survive a bad position during the fight.
This will be one of the most even and competitive title fights in history and whoever wins the fight will be the champion for a fairly long time as they are head and shoulders above the other contenders in the division at the moment. Expect this fight to be fought all over the place and have some exciting moments, possibly even turning out to be the fight of the year.
Lightweight Bout: Kenny Florian vs. Roger Huerta
Former UFC lightweight title challenger Kenny Florian faces off with UFC lightweight superstar Roger Huerta in what is essentially a number one contenders match. Florian comes off a stoppage victory over fellow northeastern lightweight Joe Lauzon at UFC Fight Night 13, while Huerta hasn’t seen action since last year when he submitted Clay Guida at the Ultimate Fighter 6 Finale.
Once again this should be another competitive fight between two very exciting lightweights. Whoever comes out the winner will more then likely be the next challenger for the UFC lightweight title sometime later this year.
Florian, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, is the better submission fighter of the two, while Huerta is the better wrestler. On their feet, Florian is the better technical striker but Huerta has the edge in power. Huerta’s ability to scramble out of bad positions may give him an advantage over Florian.
Huerta has tons of heart and tenacity, making him dangerous throughout an entire fight as he proved against Guida. These two are going to war for three rounds and don’t be surprised if they steal the show from the very enticing title fight later in the evening.
Heavyweight Bout: Brock Lesnar vs. Heath Herring
Former NCCA wrestling champion Brock Lesnar takes on former Pride superstar Heath Herring in an intriguing heavyweight scrap. Lesnar comes off a submission loss to former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir in his UFC debut at UFC 81, while Herring won a decision over Cheick Kongo at UFC 82.
This is a really dangerous fight for Lesnar because Herring is no pushover and could very well win this fight with ease. Lesnar could be one of the UFC’s biggest draws in history. The organization may find it hard to match him up because they want him to win and fight legit opponents at the same time.
Lesnar has the obvious edge when it comes to wrestling but the key will be whether or not he can use it effectively given how green he still is in other aspects of his game. Herring will have the advantage standing and on the ground when it comes to submissions.
Another factor in this fight will be whether or not Lesnar can constantly keep Herring grounded on his back. If he can then he will likely win the fight. However, if Lesnar can’t keep him down then it won’t be too long before Herring takes advantage of the less experienced Lesnar.
It’s a risky move for the UFC to match-up Lesnar with someone of the caliber of Herring but it’s a necessary move in order to legitimize of what could be their next big superstar.
Middleweight Bout: Demian Maia vs. Jason MacDonald
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion Demian Maia faces off with Canadian ground fighter Jason Macdonald. Maia is coming off a submission victory over Ed Herman at UFC 83, while MacDonald stopped Joe Doerksen with strikes at the same show.
Maia could be one of the better fighters in the middleweight division and the UFC seems to recognize that as they are building him up slowly. MacDonald is trying to work his way back up the ladder in the division. Expect a fairly ground based match between these two fighters as that’s what they enjoy doing.
Maia is easily the better ground fighter when it comes to submissions and wrestling. The one area of concern for Maia will his striking, an area that MacDonald needs to expose and take advantage of.
If the fight goes to the ground then Maia will no doubt submit MacDonald but if stays on their feet, MacDonald could very well finish Maia with strikes. This is one of the more intriguing fights on the card and it should no doubt have a definitive finish.
Lightweight Bout: Manny Gamburyan vs. Rob Emerson
Ultimate Fighter 5 runner-up Manny Gamburyan faces off with fellow Ultimate Fighter 5 participant Rob Emerson. Gamburyan submitted Jeff Cox at UFC Fight Night 13, while Emerson won a decision over Shooto veteran Keita Nakamura at UFC 81.
This should be an interesting fight between two housemates with the winner continuing on in the UFC lightweight division. Gamburyan will want take this fight to the ground where he will have a distinct advantage over Emerson, who does his best work on his feet. Emerson is going to want to use his reach advantage and keep Manny on the outside in order to prevent the takedown attempts. Gamburyan will either look to finish the fight with a submission or work over Emerson with ground and pound.
Gamburyan is slowly moving up the lightweight division and a win over Emerson would possibly get him another shot against Nate Diaz, who he lost to at the Ultimate Fighter 5 Finale due to an injury. A world of opportunities should open up for Emerson if he is able to get past Gamburyan.
Heavyweight Bout: Cheick Kongo vs. Dan Evensen
French kick boxer Cheick Kongo will look to get back on a winning track as he takes on wrestler Dan Evensen. Kongo needs to keep the fight standing and use his kickboxing technique to finish the fight early or he might have a long night ahead of him. Evensen is making his UFC debut and win over Kongo would gain him instant creditability. All he has to do is take the fight to the ground, and keep it there to come out victorious.
Light Heavyweight Bout: Andre Gusmao vs. Jon Jones
IFL veteran Andre Gusmao makes his long awaited UFC debut against late replacement Jon Jones. Gusmao was suppose to make his UFC debut earlier this year but a contract stipulation prevented him from doing so. He will either look to take the fight to the ground and work some strikes or use his aggression on the feet. Jones has nothing to lose, so expect him to mix things up standing.
Welterweight Bout: Chris Wilson vs. Steve Bruno
Team Quest fighter Chris Wilson gets a second crack in the UFC against newcomer Steve Bruno. Wilson looked good in his debut but came up just short against title challenger Jon Fitch. He’ll look to work his magic on his feet and put together a combination to put Bruno out. Bruno will look to take it to the ground and use a submission to end the fight, getting a win in his UFC debut.
Welterweight Bout: Tamdan McCrory vs. Luke Cummo
Young northeastern fighter Tamdan McCrory takes on Matt Serra trained Luke Cummo. McCrory will look to use his reach advantage right off the bat and tag Cummo with combinations, not letting him get on the inside to do any damage. Cummo should take the fight to the ground if he wants to win because if he stays on the feet too long then he might get put to sleep and potentially out of the UFC with a loss.
Welterweight Bout: Ben Saunders vs. Ryan Thomas
American Top Team fighter Ben Saunders faces off with late replacement Ryan Thomas. Saunders looked good in his UFC debut and will look to build off his success with another win. Look for him to take the fight to the ground and work over Thomas with some ground and pound. Thomas will look to do the same but the fight will comedown to which fighter is able to get the first takedown and control the tempo of the fight.