As much as I would like to write previews for each fight set to take place on Wednesday, sometimes life just gets in the way. I’ve been very busy in recent days and just haven’t had the time to sit down and write about the fights.
I’ve already written detailed analysis of three fights on this card: Roger Bowling vs. Abel Trujillo, Ben Alloway vs. Zak Cummings, and James Head vs. Jason High. I’ll have a thorough breakdown of the main event between Carlos Condit and Martin Kampmann tomorrow. Here are my thoughts on the other fights:
Donald Cerrone (+2.80 FPR) vs. Rafael Dos Anjos (+3.39 FPR)
Cerrone is an aggressive fighter who lands a lot of offense but tends to get hit a lot. Dos Anjos is a much more measured fighter – he has much tougher defense but isn’t nearly as aggressive. Both fighters are skilled in all areas, but Dos Anjos has a clear advantage in takedowns. Cerrone is taken down more than twice as often as Dos Anjos is. In an otherwise very close and tough fight, that’s just enough for me to favor the Brazilian.
Pick: Rafael Dos Anjos by decision
Kelvin Gastelum (-1.92 FPR) vs. Brian Melancon (-0.67 FPR)
Gastelum’s surprising run on TUF is a testament to his mental toughness and wrestling abilities. However, his fights on TUF also showed Gastelum as a very flawed fighter. He was very sloppy on the ground and not a polished striker. Gastelum beat Uriah Hall by split decision, but Hall has been exposed as a mediocre (at best) UFC fighter. I am not prepared to jump on the Gastelum bandwagon until he develops further as a mixed martial artist.
Pick: Brian Melancon by decision
Court McGee (+4.05 FPR) vs. Robert Whittaker (+0.10 FPR)
I’m loading up on underdog picks so far, but this is the one I’m most confident about. What has Robert Whittaker shown in the UFC, other than the ability to out-strike a very poor striker in Colton Smith? Whittaker has some talent for sure, but if he decides to stand and trade with Court McGee, I don’t see him being able to keep up with McGee’s relentless pace.
Pick: Court McGee by decision
Takeya Mizugaki (-0.28 FPR) vs. Erik Perez (+0.33 FPR)
It’s tough to gauge where Erik Perez is among UFC bantamweights. So far, he’s looked phenomenal against a very low level of competition. Takeya Mizugaki is a huge step up from the likes of Bryon Bloodworth and Ken Stone. With that said it’s been a long time since Mizugaki has dominated in a fight. Perez has shown me just enough talent to think he’ll pass this test, but I’m not confident.
Pick: Erik Perez by decision
Bubba McDaniel (-2.28 FPR) vs. Brad Tavares (+0.50 FPR)
This matchmaking boggles my mind. Hasn’t Brad Tavares beaten enough fringe UFC middleweights to earn a tougher opponent? Having watched McDaniel on tape extensively… he doesn’t have close to UFC talent. His striking is very poor, his grappling is sloppy, and he can’t take punishment to the body. Tavares should get the stoppage win here.
Pick: Brad Tavares by TKO
Dylan Andrews (-1.32 FPR) vs. Papy Abedi (-2.48 FPR)
Papy Abedi has shown brief glimpses of talent in the UFC, but has more often failed to live up to the lofty expectations some had of him. This is very subjective, but there have been times where it’s looked like he has a lot of trouble dealing with the pressure of fighting tough opponents in the UFC. I’d like to think Dylan Andrews should get the win, but Andrews was also terrified of Uriah Hall on TUF. I’m not confident about this one.
Pick: Dylan Andrews by TKO
Justin Edwards (-0.71 FPR) vs. Brandon Thatch (-2.00 FPR)
In this fight, Justin Edwards will be taking on his doppelganger. They don’t look the same, but they both have a bunch of wins in under one minute. From the small amount of footage I’ve seen, Thatch definitely has some talent, especially as a striker. The betting public loves Thatch to win this fight and I certainly don’t have enough information to go against them. At the same time, I’m 0-2 picking against FPR and my gut says Edwards submits him. But what does my gut know anyway?
Pick: Brandon Thatch by TKO
Darren Elkins (+4.44 FPR) vs. Hatsu Hioki (+3.31 FPR)
Elkins has flown under the radar at 145 pounds, but FPR is screaming that he’s a force in the division, despite his quick KO loss to Chad Mendes in his last fight. For his part, Hatsu Hioki has shown that he’s very willing to out-perform his opponent from bottom position and lose a decision because of it. I have a feeling something similar will happen in this fight.
Pick: Darren Elkins by decision