The fourth and final preliminary fight on Facebook will be a bantamweight battle between former WEC bantamweight champion Brian Bowles and one-time contender Takeya Mizugaki. Mizugaki has established a reputation for putting together great fights against world-class opponents. He put up a great fight in his title match against Miguel Torres, and he put up a great fight against former WEC featherweight champion Urijah Faber.
Now he faces another former champion in Bowles, and it’s very possible that Mizugaki could put up another great fight with a lot of heart. Here’s the thing… at some point, you need to win. Sure, Mizugaki has a win against a skilled opponent in Rani Yahya, but after that, his record is remarkably thin. In fact, Mizugaki’s two other wins against opponents under Zuffa management were wins by split decision: against Jeff Curran at WEC 42, and Reuben Duran at UFC on Versus 3.
I have a question. How in the world does a split decision win against Reuben Duran qualify a fighter to be taking on one of the top contenders in the division? I understand that the bantamweight division is the most shallow in the UFC, but there is a middle ground here. There are a number of guys in the division who are quality fighters, but outside of title contention for now, who would make for a much more appropriate match. A few examples: Ivan Menjivar, Damacio Page, Eddie Wineland.
By extension, why is Bowles fighting Mizugaki after defeating Page at UFC on Versus 3? It seems to me that it’s very much a step sideways as opposed to a step forward. I personally would’ve preferred to see Bowles take on Joseph Benavidez for a potential rematch against champion Dominick Cruz (or a title fight against Urijah Faber, which only Bowles would take, as Faber and Benavidez are teammates). My guess is that, well, Mizugaki puts up great fights, and since Mizugaki’s already done that against top bantamweights in Torres and Faber, Bowles is a new top bantamweight for Mizugaki to put up a great fight but ultimately lose against.
I suppose this is where I should write the obligatory paragraph mentioning that in the sport of mixed martial arts, anything can happen, and any fighter has a chance of beating any other fighter. After all, sometimes the Orioles do beat the Yankees, sometimes the Timberwolves beat the Lakers, and sometimes the Raiders beat the Steelers. Sometimes, a fighter like Takeya Mizugaki does beat a fighter like Brian Bowles (or Charlie Brenneman beats Rick Story).
SILVA PREDICTION: BRIAN BOWLES (39.26) OVER TAKEYA MIZUGAKI (27.56)
With that obligatory paragraph out of the way, I don’t see it happening. Bowles should have an advantage in every aspect of the fight. I have no doubts that Mizugaki will put on a display of great heart and toughness, and that he’ll make the fight against Bowles very exciting. But like I said already, at some point you have to win, and history says that in fights like this, Brian Bowles wins, and Takeya Mizugaki doesn’t.