Ladies and gentlemen, returning to the UFC for the third time… Eric Schafer!
I don’t get it either. Schafer was 3-4 in his first two UFC stints combined. His wins are: Rob MacDonald, Houston Alexander, and Antonio Mendes. None of those names represent somebody who enjoyed extended success in the UFC. This time, Schafer is at middleweight, and I’m sure the UFC will sell this as a “rebirth” of some sort.
So what did Schafer accomplish since he was last released by the UFC? Well, he beat Chris Albandia… and that’s it. Albandia is currently 8-7, and beating him gave Schafer a very mediocre Victory Score of 51.07. The real reason Schafer is here the reason one would expect: he’s replacing the injured Nick Catone.
I’m just not ecstatic about Schafer’s chances in his third UFC stint. Schafer isn’t a remarkable striker – he has striking skills, but nothing that would knock anybody’s socks off – and he isn’t a remarkable wrestler either. Where Schafer is strong is the ground game, where he has submitted eight opponents, by methods such as triangle choke, arm-triangle choke, and guillotine choke. This includes first-round victories against Alexander and MacDonald.
But I’ll be honest, this one just doesn’t look good for Schafer. His opponent, Aaron Simpson, is 4-2 in the UFC, and while he lost in tough battles against Chris Leben and Mark Munoz, he’s been able to beat some very respectable opponents, like Mario Miranda and Tom Lawlor. Simpson isn’t a high-level UFC middleweight yet, but he has showcased very good wrestling, landing ten takedowns against Miranda, and using the clinch to shut down Brad Tavares in his last fight.
SILVA PREDICTION: AARON SIMPSON (28.41) OVER ERIC SCHAFER (22.97)
Sorry for the short preview, but I’ve pretty much said all I have to say about this fight. Aaron Simpson has fought a number of guys better than Schafer and beaten them consistently. Schafer has never beaten a true UFC-quality opponent, and with Simpson’s clear advantage in the takedown game, I see this being a long night for Schafer.