by Ricardo Mendoza – MMAWeekly.com
NATE DIAZ VS. MELVIN GUILLARD
Ultimate Fighter 5 winner Nate Diaz faces off with the always eccentric lightweight Melvin Guillard. Diaz is coming off two losses and needs a win to stay alive in the UFC. Guillard comes off a generous decision victory over Gleison Tibau and wants to prove that win wasn’t a fluke.
Diaz has the obvious advantage on the ground and will need to get the fight there in order to get the job done as quickly as possible. Guillard is extremely athletic and has some good striking ability, but has often choked in big fights.
Diaz won’t be fooling around in this fight, he’ll need to be serious and end the fight at the first opportunity. Look for Guillard to keep the fight on the feet, but he’ll eventually get a little too over anxious and get caught in a submission once the fight gets to the ground.
GRAY MAYNARD VS. ROGER HUERTA
Xtreme Couture lightweight Gray Maynard faces off with the always exciting Roger Huerta. Maynard has been on a tear in the UFC and looks to continue that against Huerta, who will be fighting for the last time in the UFC for the foreseeable future. These two like to push the pace, so don’t be surprised if this turns out to be the fight of the night.
Maynard has been manhandling all of his opponents. He has done it with improved striking to go along with his wrestling ability. Huerta is a scrappy striker and that has got him through the majority of his UFC career, but that came to an end when he faced talented grappler Kenny Florian. Huerta hasn’t been in the Octagon for over a year and doesn’t seem to be too interested in pursuing a UFC career at the moment.
Maynard should just out muscle Huerta, wrestle him down and maul him with vicious ground and pound en route to a lopsided decision victory.
CARLOS CONDIT VS. JAKE ELLENBERGER
Former WEC welterweight champion Carlos Condit faces off with Midwest wrestler Jake Ellenberger. Both fighters will be looking for their first UFC win as Condit lost in his debut, while Ellenberger makes his UFC debut as a late replacement for an injured Chris Lytle. Look for both fighters to try and make a statement to impress the UFC brass.
Condit is considered to be one of the best strikers in the welterweight division for good reason; he has some of the best knees in the welterweight division. One aspect of Condit that is underrated is his submission ability, which he displayed successfully many times in the WEC.
Ellenberger will be looking to take the fight down and maul Condit from the top with ground and pound. Expect Ellenberger to take the fight to the ground and get a little over aggressive, enabling Condit to catch him in a submission.
NATE QUARRY VS. TIM CREDEUR
Original Ultimate Fighter participant Nate Quarry faces off with Ultimate Fighter 7 participant Tim Credeur. Both fighters looked impressive in their last bouts and are eyeing a move up the middleweight ladder. One thing they have in common is a willingness to trade shots on the feet.
Quarry’s best strength has always been his boxing ability and it won’t be any different in this fight. Credeur has had success on the feet in the UFC and has improved his striking immensely, but trading with Quarry would put him at a disadvantage. He will need to get the fight on the ground and use his submission ability, which is one of Quarry’s weak points.
The difference in the fight will be Quarry’s wrestling ability, which will help him keep the fight on the feet and give him the edge he needs to win.
STEVE CANTWELL VS. BRIAN STANN
Former WEC light heavyweight champion Steve Cantwell takes on US Marine and also former WEC champ Brian Stann. This is the third time that these two fighters have met with each owning a stoppage victory over the other. Both are coming off losses and need a win to stay alive in the UFC.
Don’t expect too much to change from their last meeting, which was dominated by Cantwell. Look for him use angles and mix in kicks to keep Stann off balance. Stann will need to get on the inside if he is to be successful, but Cantwell will be able to avoid that and take another stoppage victory in the rubber match.
CHRIS WILSON VS. MIKE PYLE
Brazilian trained welterweight Chris Wilson takes on Xtreme Couture fighter Mike Pyle. Both are coming off losses and need to impress to remain in the UFC.
Pyle is quite a strong submission fighter and will look to get the fight to the ground, where he can work his technique. Wilson will need to use his wrestling ability to keep the fight on the feet, where he has a clear advantage over Pyle. The deciding factor in the fight will be whether or not the fight stays on the feet or the ground. If it’s on the feet then Wilson wins, but on the ground, Pyle wins.
C.B. DOLLAWAY VS. JAY SILVA
Ultimate Fighter 7 runner-up C.B. Dollaway takes on UFC newcomer Jay Silva. Silva is late replacement for Dan Miller, who had to pull out of the fight due to an injury. Dollaway is coming off a surprising loss and will look to get some momentum going with a win.
Silva’s strength is on the ground, but he has shown that he is capable of getting the job done on the feet. Look for Dollaway to use his wrestling ability to overwhelm the newcomer with strikes early in the fight.
SAM STOUT VS. PHILLIPE NOVER
Shawn Tompkins trained lightweight Sam Stout takes on the Ultimate Fighter 8 runner-up Phillipe Nover. Stout comes off a hard earned win over Matt Wiman, while Nover was stopped by Kyle Bradley.
Stout’s obvious strength is his kickboxing ability, but he has worked on improving his takedown defense so he can fully utilize his striking ability. Nover will need to get the fight to the ground and use his ground advantage, but Stout should be able to keep the fight on the feet and tag Nover all night long with strikes.
JEREMY STEPHENS VS. JUSTIN BUCHHOLZ
Midwest brawler Jeremy Stephens takes on Alaskan lightweight import Justin Buchholz. Both are coming off losses, so expect them to go all out for the win.
Stephens has shown a penchant for brawling and landing a big shot when needed. Buchholz has shown that he is a well rounded fighter, being more than capable on the feet or the ground. These two will trade shots to start the bout, but as the fight wears on, Buchholz’s ground advantage will play a factor later in the fight, ending it with a submission.
BROCK LARSON VS. MIKE PIERCE
Midwest welterweight Brock Larson takes on former Sportfight welterweight champion Mike Pierce. Larson made an impressive return to the UFC by easily submitting late replacement Mike Pyle, while Pierce makes his UFC debut.
Pierce’s strength is his wrestling, but the problem is that Larson is a bigger and stronger wrestler than Pierce. He’ll need to catch Larson on the feet. If not, expect Larson to have his way with Pierce on the ground, finishing the fight with either strikes or a submission.
RYAN JENSEN VS. STEVE STEINBEISS
Arizona Combat Sports fighter Steve Steinbeiss makes his UFC debut against Midwest wrestling product Ryan Jensen. These two were originally scheduled to meet at UFC Fight Night 18, but Jensen had an issue with his medicals and the fight was pulled at the last minute.
Steinbeiss is a skilled kickboxer and will have the advantage on the feet, while Jensen will look to take the fight to the ground. Jensen’s best chance will be to grind out a decision on the mat, while Steinbeiss looks to finish the fight with strikes.