Here are the previews for the other three preliminary fights, all of which are scheduled to be broadcast on Fuel TV on Saturday:
145 lbs: George Roop vs. Cub Swanson
George Roop is a fighter I’ve had a lot of difficulty evaluating since I started writing about MMA. For a while, I looked at Roop’s poor record and lack of success against tough opponents and continually have been picking against him. That worked pretty well when Mark Hominick knocked him out, but not nearly as well when Roop went to split decision against Hatsu Hioki, and was a total disaster when Roop pummeled Josh Grispi. I’m sorry, but it’s really hard for me to get enthusiastic about a fighter who is a career 5-8-1 against experienced opponents (experienced meaning at least five fights).
His opponent, Cub Swanson, has enjoyed a better record than that, but doesn’t exactly have a record that will blow you away either. In his recent career, Swanson has fallen into a pattern of beating somebody like Mackens Semerzier, and following that by losing to Chad Mendes. Either Swanson beats a lower-level opponent, or he loses to an elite opponent. One thing Swanson has going for him is that, according to Fight Metric, he’s out-struck all of his opponents not named Jose Aldo.
SILVA PREDICTION: CUB SWANSON (46.90) OVER GEORGE ROOP (25.28)
I favor Swanson to win here, but given Roop’s last couple fights, I don’t expect him to be an easy opponent for Swanson in the least. If anything, I expect a back and forth battle that may well go to split decision, unless Swanson is able to take Roop down consistently, but even then, Roop is hard to stifle on the ground. The only safe thing I can say is that this is a closer fight than SILVA suggests.
265 lbs: John Olav Einemo vs. Mike Russow
I think the UFC put this fight together for the sole purpose of laughing at SILVA scores. SILVA likes Mike Russow a lot, giving him a SILVA score of 72.96 on the strength of a 10-fight winning streak. However, on the surface, it’s really, really hard to think that Mike Russow is better than fighters like Fedor Emelianenko or Shane Carwin. It just doesn’t feel right. Maybe that’s because Russow didn’t look all that great in beating Jon Madsen, and looked awful before scoring a sudden KO of Todd Duffee. SILVA is not the end-all or be-all of anything, and Russow’s underlying performances seem to contradict SILVA’s enthusiasm.
Then there’s John Olav Einemo, who is a perfect example of the kind of fighter SILVA was never designed to measure. When Einemo took on Dave Herman at UFC 131, it was his first professional MMA fight in five years. I’ve processed Einemo’s SILVA score anyway, but it’s hard to put a whole lot of faith in it. While Einemo has no success against UFC-level opposition in his career, he does bring world-class grappling credentials to the table, and he did have some success striking against Herman in his last fight.
SILVA PREDICTION: MIKE RUSSOW (72.96) OVER JOHN OLAV EINEMO (33.17)
I almost didn’t want to even share the SILVA scores of these two fighters. Just ignore the SILVA scores completely, and brace for what figures to be a very, very sloppy fight.
155 lbs: Evan Dunham vs. Nik Lentz
This one makes me kind of sad, because it was originally supposed to be Paul Sass taking on Evan Dunham, and those who have read my blog regularly know all about how much I’ve been promoting Sass as a fighter to watch out for. Still, Nik Lentz is not a bad replacement at all. While Lentz isn’t always the most exciting fighter to watch, he does have a 5-1-1 UFC record, which means he should provide a very respectable challenge to Dunham.
Of course, for Lentz, success often stems from a fighting style widely derided as boring, as he often will press his opponent against the fence and work for takedowns. Dunham would be well advised to therefore try to maintain striking distance with Lentz, and make it a kickboxing match as much as possible, because Dunham is just plain better at that.
SILVA PREDICTION: EVAN DUNHAM (69.55) OVER NIK LENTZ (64.22)
I’m seeing Dunham listed as a 7-2 favorite, and I think that’s going overboard a bit. I think Dunham is the better fighter overall, but if Lentz can suck Dunham into his game of clinching, dirty boxing, and ground work, Lentz could very well pull off the upset. I’m still going to take Dunham to win, because not only do I consider Dunham a better striker than Lentz, I think Dunham can more than hold his own on the ground as well. Just watch out for that clinch.