UFC Fight Night 27: Condit v. Kampmann
Rejoice! I have returned from a diet destroying bender on the Outer Banks to grace you with my eloquent MMA prose once again! A big shout out to the boss for some top-notch coverage from the ground at the UFC on Fox Sports launch. If the successful launch on FS1 wasn’t enough for you, the UFC is about to embark on an unprecedented tear of holding 3 events in a span of one week. Two of these events will be of the new ‘Fight Night’ variety which are smaller cards held on Wednesday nights. The third, and the gem of the group, will be UFC 164: Henderson v. Pettis II. I will break down each of these events for you as the week moves on and give you some reasons to watch this deluge of MMA programming! On to the Fight Night 27 preview!
Prelims on Fox Sports 2 (A.K.A. Fuel TV at 6 PM) Picks in BOLD
James Head v. Jason High
Darren Elkins v. Hatsu Hioki (This is on the prelims?!?!?)
Justin Edwards v. Brandon Thatch
Papy Abedi v. Dylan Andrews
Main Card on Fox Sports 1 at 8 PM
Bubba McDaniel v. Brad Tavares
If any of you watched the latest iteration of TUF, you know that Bubba McDaniel is a certified imbecile. He is not an easily likable dude and I will be the first to say that I am openly rooting for Tavares here. Tavares has faced much tougher competition than Bubba and I expect him to take home a lopsided decision victory.
Takeya Mizugaki v. Erik Perez
It is obvious that Erik Perez is a rising star within the UFC organization. His Mexican heritage is a strong selling point for the Hispanic market that Zuffa is currently attempting to court. Mizugaki is a journeyman warrior who fought the best of the best in the lighter weight classes before it was fashionable to weigh less than 145 pounds. If you have watched any of Mizugaki’s previous tilts you know that you do not simply knock out the Japanese bantamweight. Perez is coming off two straight KO wins over less than stellar competition, and sadly for Zuffa I see that trend ending. Look for a surprise decision win for Mizugaki.
Court McGee v. Robert Whitaker
Vegas sees the TUF: Smashes winner Whitaker as the slight favorite here and I fully agree with the wise guys in desert. Whitaker did us all a favor and KO’d Colton “The Backpack” Smith back in May and certainly showed that he had staying power in the promotion. McGee, another TUF winner, has struggled to put it together in the Octagon as of late and I think Whitaker may be able to land a shot on McGee’s bearded chin and take this one by KO.
Kelvin Gastelum v. Brian Melancon
As great as Gastelum’s story is, I see his miracle run ending on Wednesday night. After upsetting odds on favorite Uriah Hall in the TUF Finale earlier this year, Gastelum’s story became widely published across the MMA blogosphere. From youngest competitor on the show to defeating one of the most feared fighters in the history of the program, its tough not to root for the young gun. My biggest detraction from Kelvin’s game is in fact that he IS young and inexperienced. Will he be able to come back from a life changing win and maintain the same momentum he gained while on the show? Who knows… but we do know that Brian Melancon has been a cog in the Zuffa machine for a while now and knows the ins and outs of the fight game. Melancon has impressive power in his mitts and I see him earning a TKO win here.
Donald Cerrone v. Rafael Dos Anjos
Now we are on to the entree portion of this tasty MMA feast. Both of these fighters are ranked in the top 10 and a win in this scrap catapults the victor into title shot relevancy. Dos Anjos has dominated fringe contenders as of late with lopsided decision wins against the likes of Mark Bocek and Evan Dunham. Cerrone is 3-1 in his last 4 fights and is looking to follow up his decision win over KJ Noons with another notch in the W column.
I have been really impressed with Dos Anjos’ overall dominance recently and believe this will be a tough one for my guy Cowboy. There is nothing more that I enjoy than watching a Cowboy Cerrone fight, but I believe Dos Anjos has the tools to neutralize Cerrone’s striking attack. If this thing ends up on the ground, as I think it will, Dos Anjos will utilize his size advantage and black belt skills to control Cerrone and eventually submit him. Did I just pick against one of my favorite fighters? I did. Dos Anjos by third round submission. Book it.
Carlos Condit v. Martin Kampmann
Quick, on three, name one fighter that you want to see Carlos Condit rematch! 1… 2… 3… Did Martin Kampmann’s name come out of your mouth? Probably not, but still this rematch from a 2009 split decision is still a scrap to get excited for. In my opinion, Condit is still the third best welterweight in the world even after two consecutive losses. He gave GSP the fight of his life and had an absolute war with Johny Hendricks that left us all wanting the brawl to last two more rounds. With all of that considered, a win against the dangerous Kampmann will vault Condit right back into title contention. Kampmann on the other hand looked to be well on his way to a title shot back in late 2012 but his train to the top was derailed by a vicious KO from the hands of none other than Bigg Rigg Hendricks.
The striking similarities between these fighters add to the intrigue of this fight. Both are coming off losses to #1 contender Johny Hendricks and their split decision in 2009 proves these two are on equal footing when they step in the cage. Condit is the 2-1 favorite in this one and I maintain that same level of confidence in him walking away with a W tomorrow night. Kampmann is a dangerous striker, but even after two losses, it is evident that Carlos Condit is constantly evolving and improving. It is never easy to call a fight between two fighters as experienced and well-trained as these guys, but I’ll go with Condit by late round TKO due to a more advanced striking attack.