Woah, this one snuck up on me! This Saturday afternoon the UFC is throwing down another Fight Night card on Fox Sports 2 (AKA Fuel TV). This card isn’t exactly setting my inner MMA fanaticism on fire, and thankfully I don’t think that is the point. This card was supposed to feature British favorite Michael Bisping in his home country, (hence the 3 PM ET start.) but he was forced off the card with a gruesome eye injury. And let’s face it, any card, no matter the quality would have a tough time following up last weekend’s stellar UFC 166 card. As usual with these Fight Night events, we have three solid fights up top and then an assortment of local talent and up and comers filling out the rest. I mean, if you don’t have a religious college football alliance or aren’t out soaking in the fall foliage, what better do you have to do than take a seat on the couch and watch some fights? On to the preview!
Main Card on FOX Sports 2 @ 3PM ET (Vegas favorite in italics)
Phil Harris v. John Lineker
This fight actually has some meaning in the flyweight division. Lineker has strung three wins together but has struggled with his weight during that time. He has uncommonly heavy hands for the division, much like UFC 166 winner John Dodson. You would think the crowd would be behind the home country boy Harris, but the Brazilian Lineker is actually named after English footballer Gary Lineker. It will be interesting to see the crowd reaction during the introductions for this one. Either way, Lineker is in a different class than Harris. Lineker by TKO.
Alessio Sakara v. Nicholas Musoke
Sakara still fights for the UFC? Could have fooled me… I won’t lie to you like I know anything about Musoke, but after a quick Googling, I found out that he lost to Conor McGregor’s BFF Cathal Pendred, for what that’s worth… Sakara has dropped three in a row and I don’t know if he really belongs in the big show anymore. My gut is telling me to take the upset with Musoke by decision, I mean look at the guy…
Norman Parke v. Jon Tuck
I’ve seen Parke fight twice and am certainly a fan. He has a calm about him that makes me think he will be a long time UFC competitor. He is somewhat methodical in his striking, but his grappling is top notch (Judo background, Drysdale trained). Tuck is a colorful character, but Parke will get the better of him for fifteen minutes. Parke by decision.
Ryan Jimmo v. Jimi Manuwa
I’m afraid that the powers that be at Zuffa have fed Jimmo to a caged animal here. Manuwa is an absolute killer. He has STUPID power in his hands and the only thing holding him back is his relatively late start in the sport. Manuwa is going to throw his brickfists at Jimmo until Roboto Jimmo is asleep on the mat. Much to the delight of the UK crowd, Manuwa by TKO.
Ross Pearson v. Melvin Guillard
Back in the days when Pearson was coming off TUF and Guillard was near the top of the Lightweight division, it would be impossible to dream up a scenario where these two would end up fighting each other in a meaningful tilt, but here we are. Each athlete is coming off an impressive TKO win and will be looking to gather further steam to propel them up the rankings. The Vegas odds are pretty close and this is basically a pick ’em bout. I really like Pearson’s crisp boxing as compared to Melvin’s wild style, and throw in the fact that Melvin has started training at his 18th different camp, I am going to have to side with Pearson by TKO.
Lyoto Machida v. Mark Munoz
Well, well, well… The Bossman’s favorite fighter is making his debut in the Middleweight division. Doesn’t a drop in weight usually the precursor to the death throws of one’s career? Who knows… Kidding aside, Lyoto looks freakin’ RIPPED at 185. Almost like he should have been fighting at this weight all along…. His opponent on Saturday will be ground and pound specialist Mark Munoz. All signs point to the fact that Munoz will have a tough time getting The Dragon to the ground where he can land his so-called “Donkey Kong” punches. At 185 Lyoto may be faster and more elusive than ever. This doesn’t bode well for the action-loving fight fan, but it does for the dawn of another possible ‘Machida Era’. The ever evasive Lyoto will be akin to a greased pig on Saturday and Munoz will struggle to take him down for entirety of the fight. Machida by decision.