by Ricardo Mendoza – MMAWeekly.com
Ryan Bader vs.
Ultimate Fighter 8 winner Ryan Bader returns for the first
time since winning the show to take on American Top Team fighter Carmelo
Marrero. Marrero will be making his UFC return following a two-year hiatus
after losing two in a row in the Octagon. This is going to be a battle of two
high level wrestlers, so expect a lot of ground fighting.
Both are wrestling-based fighters, but Bader is the better grappler
of the two and will have the edge if he chooses to take the fight to the
ground. Both are developing their striking ability, but Bader should have the
advantage here as well because he has more power in his strikes.
This is a good test for Bader to gauge where his skill level
is at this point of his career. Marrero more than likely needs a win to stay in
the UFC, as he seems to be a set-up for Bader to get a solid victory. Bader
should be able to outwork Marrero in every aspect of the fight and grind out a
Tyson Griffin vs.
Rafael dos Anjos
Xrteme Couture lightweight Tyson Griffin faces off with
Brazilian dynamo Rafael dos Anjos. Both are coming off losses and will look to
get back on the winning track. This was originally scheduled to be on the
undercard, but was promoted to the main card after an injury to Efrain Escudero
forced him out.
Griffin is the better wrestler of the two and on the feet is
the better striker, simply because of his superior boxing technique. The one
advantage that dos Anjos does have in the fight is his superior Brazilian
Jiu-Jitsu, but it will be hard to catch Griffin because of his smaller limbs.
What is certain in the fight is this will be a torrid back and forth affair
that should be in the running for fight of the night.
This is a bad style match-up for Dos Anjos because Griffin
should be able to outwork him in every area of the fight. His best chance to
win the fight will be to possibly catch Griffin on the feet with a strike or
some sort of submission on the ground, but that is unlikely to happen.
Cole Miller vs. Junie
American Top Team lightweight Cole Miller faces off with
brash Ultimate Fighter 8 participant Junie Browning. There has already been a
harsh exchange of words between the two fighters on MMAWeekly.com Radio, so
there is no love lost. One thing is certain, don’t expect the fight to go the distance.
Miller will have an immense reach advantage on the feet and
is the better ground fighter. Browning has more power in his strikes and is the
better wrestler, but is still very inexperienced compared to Miller. The key in
the fight will be which fighter can capitalize on the other’s mistake right off
Expect tons of fireworks. These two just don’t plain like
each other. Miller needs to keep his emotions in check and not get into a brawl
with Browning, as that would play into his game. He needs to stay calm and get
the fight on the ground, where he can overwhelm Browning with his jiu-jitsu.
Browning will need to turn the fight into a brawl, where he has a better chance
to catch Miller off guard.
Gleison Tibau vs.
American Top Team lightweight Gleison Tibau faces off with
Midwest fighter Jeremy Stephens in a 158-pound catchweight bout, as both
weighed in slightly over the 155-pound limit. Tibau is a late replacement for
Efrain Escudero, who pulled out due to injury. Stephens has the advantage on
the feet, but Tibau will play it smart and muscle him to the ground, where he
enjoys a huge advantage. Although he has improved his ground game, it is still
a weak point that hinders Stephens’s ability as a fighter. Stephens will need
to catch Tibau on the feet, while Tibau can lock on a submission or grind out a
Ricardo Almeida vs.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu expert Ricardo Almeida faces off with
Team Quest grappler Matt Horwich. These two were originally to meet at UFC 90,
but an injury sidelined Almeida. Neither fighter is much of a striker, so
expect the fight to be a torrid ground battle. Almeida is the better grappler
of the two, but Horwich is a tough fighter to finish and will hang in there.
Horwich’s best chance will be to catch Almeida off guard with a submission. If
not, expect Almeida to out-hustle Horwich on the ground for much of the fight.
Brock Larson vs.
After a stint in the WEC, Brock Larson returns to the UFC to
face off with newcomer Jesse Sanders. Much like Larson, Sanders is a Midwest
wrestler with experience in Extreme Challenge. Larson should be the more
polished fighter of the two on the feet and the ground with technique. Although
he has an impressive record, Sanders lacks experience on a bigger stage, which
will affect him. Larson should be able to overwhelm a nervous Sanders and make
an impressive return to the UFC.
Tim Credeur vs. Nick
Ultimate Fighter 7 participant Tim Credeur takes on East Coast
based fighter Nick Catone. This fight was added just recently, so expect both
fighters to look for a quick finish before tiring out. Credeur is the better
fighter on the ground and is improving on the feet, but Catone should have the
advantage standing because of his kickboxing experience. The key factor in the
fight will be if Credeur can stop the takedowns from the better wrestler. If Catone
can take down Credeur then he’ll win, but if Credeur can stop the takedown he
has the better shot at victory.
Jorge Rivera vs.
Longtime UFC veteran Jorge Rivera returns to the action to
face off with UFC newcomer Nissen Osterneck. Rivera has gone through some tough
times in the past months, but is finally ready to get back to action.
Osterneck is the better fighter on the ground, but Rivera has a distinct
advantage on the feet. If the fight stays on the ground then expect Osterneck
to submit Rivera, if not Rivera will finish Osterneck on the feet with strikes.
Rob Kimmons vs. Joe
Midwest submission fighter Rob Kimmons faces off with
Midwest wrestler Joe Vedepo. Both fighters are coming off losses and need a win
to stay alive in the UFC middleweight division. Kimmons is the better fighter
on the ground when it comes to submissions, while Vedepo is the better wrestler
and striker of the two fighters. Kimmons needs the fight on the ground, where
he can lock on a submission. The longer the fight stays on the feet the better
chance Vedepo will have to catch Kimmons with strikes.
Tim McKenzie vs.
In a battle of UFC newcomers, eccentric Tim McKenzie takes on
wrestling standout Aaron Simpson. Both fighters are coming from the WEC and
will look to make an immediate impact in the Octagon. McKenzie is the better
submission fighter and technical striker, but Simpson has some huge power in
his hands. McKenzie has been known to have a weak chin and that could be his
undoing because Simpson has major power and should easily be able to keep the
fight on the feet with his wrestling ability.
Steve Steinbeiss vs.
The bout between Steinbeiss and Jensen was canceled due to
Jensen’s inability to get medical clearance from the Tennessee Athletic
style='mso-bidi-font-style:normal'>(Photos by Jeff Cain – MMAWeekly.com)