The second of the UFC’s four mediocre shows in one month takes place on Friday from the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. I hate to be negative, but with last week’s TUF 15 Finale, the two shows on FX and the very low-quality pay-per-view, it really does seem that the UFC is favoring quantity over quality this month. I hope this trend changes; it seems that with so many shows, the UFC isn’t letting their quality pay-per-view events have any time to breathe. I personally get more excited to watch an event when there’s a good amount of time between shows.
With that said, let’s break down the main card fights for this week’s event:
135 lbs: Scott Jorgensen (13-5, 2-1 UFC) vs. Eddie Wineland (18-8-1, 0-2 UFC)
The first fight features bantamweights coming off losses. Scott Jorgensen started his UFC career with a KO win over Ken Stone and a decision win over Jeff Curran, but lost his most recent fight against Renan Barao. Wineland has yet to win in the UFC, but at the same time, the UFC hasn’t done him any favors with their selection of opponents. First, Wineland lost a co-main event fight at UFC 128 by decision to Urijah Faber, and followed that with a decision loss to Joseph Benavidez.
Jorgensen is a wrestling-based fighter who typically wins by out-pointing his opponents. He doesn’t have fantastic striking, but at the same time, it’s not a liability. Usually, Jorgensen is able to land a high quantity of straight punches and leg kicks, but also eats straight punches and leg kicks from his opponent. Because neither fighter lands a lot of power strikes, Jorgensen’s fights usually don’t end in a KO one way or the other. Jorgensen is an active fighter and is often able to out-work an opponent by simply landing more strikes and mixing in a few takedowns. Jorgensen doesn’t have great submissions, but he has decent ground and pound, and rarely is in danger of being submitted himself.
His opponent, Eddie Wineland, is known as a striker, but from what I’ve seen, isn’t particularly good at it. Wineland does have good power, and has nine wins by KO/TKO, but in recent fights has struggled to put offense together. He landed 24 significant strikes against Joseph Benavidez in a fight that was standing the entire time, and landed a mere 11 significant strikes against Urijah Faber. Even against Will Campuzano, the striking was fairly even before Wineland hurt Campuzano with strikes in the second round. Wineland has good takedown defense, but when he is taken down, he doesn’t have much of a guard game.
SILVA PREDICTION: SCOTT JORGENSEN (55.67) OVER EDDIE WINELAND (38.10)
I see a lot of people picking Wineland to win, and I just don’t see it. Jorgensen is the more active fighter with both strikes and takedowns. Even if Wineland is able to stuff Jorgensen’s takedowns, recent fights have shown that Jorgensen is going to be a more active striker than Wineland is. And I think Jorgensen will be able to land a couple takedowns, after which he should be able to land some strikes on Wineland on the ground. In my opinion, Wineland’s only reliable way to win is by KO, and while that’s possible, I find it more likely that Jorgensen will win a decision in this one.
170 lbs: Josh Neer (33-10-1, 6-6 UFC) vs. Mike Pyle (22-8-1, 5-3 UFC)
The second fight on the main card features two mid-level welterweights in the UFC. Josh Neer has had a couple stints in the UFC already, and enjoyed a moderate amount of success, winning fights against Melvin Guillard, Joe Stevenson, and Mac Danzig while losing to Nick Diaz, Kurt Pellegrino, and Gleison Tibau. In his recent return to the UFC, Neer has won a decision against Keith Wisniewski and managed to choke Duane Ludwig unconscious in his last fight. His opponent, Mike Pyle, is 5-3 since joining the UFC in 2009, most recently knocking out Ricardo Funch at UFC 142, but previously losing by first-round TKO against Rory MacDonald.
Neer is a fighter who isn’t going to blow anybody away with superior technique, but is aggressive and likes to get in his opponent’s face. His striking… leaves a lot to be desired. Ludwig in particular blasted Neer with 24 significant strikes in just three minutes. Neer is good in the clinch, where he was able to bust up Wisniewski with elbows; that’s a setting that fits Neer’s style of being a bulldog. Otherwise, Neer seems to be the kind of fighter who is a jack of all trades and a master of none. He has some takedown ability, but will be taken down by a superior wrestler. He has a number of wins by submission, but has also been submitted a few times himself.
The biggest difference between Neer and Pyle is that Pyle is a lot tougher defensively. While Neer can be tagged striking and taken down without too much trouble, Pyle tends to be relatively hard to hit or take down. Pyle’s biggest strength as a fighter is his submissions; he’s shown a variety of submissions throughout his career and 16 of his 22 wins are by that method. The one thing going against Pyle here is that he’s shown a tendency to fold when things aren’t going his way. He lost by TKO very suddenly to Rory MacDonald, and was submitted by Brock Larson, a loss that’s quite puzzling in retrospect.
SILVA PREDICTION: MIKE PYLE (64.89) OVER JOSH NEER (52.07)
Because Pyle has beaten better opponents recently than Neer has, I don’t see any reason to pick against him. Neer is the kind of fighter who comes to fight and is likely to get in Pyle’s face and pressure him early. At the same time, Pyle is a veteran who is better technically in all areas. Pyle should win this fight, but the potential that Neer breaks him down and beats him by TKO or submission is there.
170 lbs: Charlie Brenneman (15-3, 4-2 UFC) vs. Erick Silva (13-2, 1-1 UFC)
This fight is a battle between a great wrestler in Charlie Brenneman and the division’s hottest prospect in Erick Silva. Brenneman enters having most recently won a very dull decision against Daniel Roberts at UFC on FX 1, while Silva most recently lost by a very controversial disqualification against Carlo Prater at UFC 142.
Since dispatching both Luis Ramos and Carlo Prater in very short order, Silva’s hype has been launched into the stratosphere. All over the place, I see people touting Silva as a future champion and I’ve even seen comparisons to Anderson Silva being made. In response, I would simply say “calm down.” To make my point, let me simply list the last six fighters Silva has competed against:
- Carlo Prater
- Luis Ramos
- Francisco Ayon
- Gil de Freitas
- Jose de Ribamar Machado Gomes
- Henrique Oliveira
No disrespect to anybody there, but it’s not like Silva has been beating a who’s who of MMA. He’s certainly a talented fighter, particularly with his striking, but 69 seconds of UFC footage against Luis Ramos and Carlo Prater should not be enough to anoint anybody as a future champion.
And when a fighter takes on Charlie Brenneman, the first, second, and third question that should be asked is: “how good is his takedown defense?” Brenneman is an excellent wrestler, a fighter who was able to out-wrestle both Rick Story and Johny Hendricks. He’s also the kind of fighter who doesn’t deviate much from his wrestling. Brenneman will occasionally be caught trying to flurry with somebody, but he almost always goes to his wrestling early and often. It’s not the most pretty fighting style, and it definitely was tiresome to watch against Daniel Roberts, but it gets Brenneman wins.
To answer the question of Silva’s takedown defense, look no further than this fight on YouTube against Gil de Freitas:
Sure, Silva shows good scrambling ability early, but he’s taken down repeatedly and, worse, shows very questionable cardio, as he appeared to gas out in the second round against de Freitas.
SILVA PREDICTION: CHARLIE BRENNEMAN (64.12) OVER ERICK SILVA (51.61)
This is a challenge fight for Erick Silva. If he can either knock Brenneman out quickly or show vastly improved takedown defense en route to a decision win, then Silva deserves to be regarded as a title contender in the welterweight division. I just find it more likely that Brenneman exposes Silva’s takedown defense, and controls him on the ground enough to win a very Charlie Brenneman kind of decision.
125 lbs: Demetrious Johnson (14-2-1, 2-1-1 UFC) vs. Ian McCall (11-2-1, 0-0-1 UFC)
The main event of UFC on FX 3 features a rematch in the semifinals of the UFC’s four-man flyweight tournament, between Demetrious Johnson and Ian McCall. The last time they fought, Johnson was initially announced as the decision winner, but the fight was actually scored a draw. There was supposed to be a framework in place for a sudden victory round, but because Johnson was incorrectly announced as the winner, this round did not happen. Here’s hoping for a proper conclusion this time around.
And I happen to see it as a razor-close fight that could go either way. For me, this fight is very simple. McCall has the advantage in wrestling. He took Johnson down four times in their meeting at UFC on FX 2, while Johnson failed to land a takedown in four attempts. In fact, Johnson has a questionable history as a wrestler. While he was able to land takedowns repeatedly against Miguel Torres and Norifumi Yamamoto, he was thoroughly out-wrestled by both Dominick Cruz and Brad Pickett. Johnson is a very good scrambler, which is good, because I see McCall getting him to the ground a few times again.
Where Johnson has the edge is in his striking. Johnson is extremely quick, and is very good at moving in to land strikes, and then moving out before his opponent can counter. McCall is faster than a lot of Johnson’s opponents have been, but Johnson was still able to land more strikes than McCall in their fight in March. As long as this fight is at standing distance, I see Johnson being able to score with his punches more than McCall on a fairly consistent basis.
SILVA PREDICTION: DEMETRIOUS JOHNSON (52.95) OVER IAN MCCALL (48.64)
SILVA slightly favors Johnson, which I think is a correct assessment. I think McCall’s success is largely dependent on how many takedowns he lands. If he only lands a couple, then Johnson is probably going to out-point him. On the other hand, if McCall is able to get Johnson down early and often, he can probably persuade the judges to side with him instead of Johnson, especially if he’s able to land strikes on the ground like he did in the third round of their fight in March. It’s a close, competitive fight, and certainly one that will be fun to watch.