A preview of this Tuesday’s UFC on Fuel TV 3 event, which features a couple of great fights but will be lucky to draw 200,000 viewers.
Chan Sung Jung vs. Dustin Poirier: This is a hell of a main event that could crown a new number one contender for the featherweight title and no one will watch it. For those of that will watch though, we’re likely in for a great fight. Poirier’s striking isn’t as good as many people think, but his ground game is top notch. His wrestling is solid and it should be good enough to put Jung on his back should he chose to do so. Jung’s grappling is underrated, even off his back. He has an active guard and if Poirier thinks he’ll just be able to takedown Jung and control him without having to do much, he’ll be sadly mistaken. Of course for Jung, he’ll likely want to keep the fight on the feet because he doesn’t have the striking advantage. While Jung isn’t the best technical striker in the world, he has a great chin, plenty of power, and an aggressive style that many fighters can’t deal with. Jung is at his best when he’s pressing forward and winging wild punches, but that aggressiveness can be used against him if Poirier decides to switch levels and get the takedown. Poirier has a strong double, especially from the clinch, so even if he doesn’t get the initial takedown, he can push Jung into the cage and get Jung down from there. This is a tough fight to call, but in the end I’m going with Poirier. I think he’ll be able to get the fight to the ground as way to combat Jung’s aggressiveness and control his way to a decision.
Predictions: Poirier, Decision
Amir Sadollah vs. Jorge Lopez: Sadollah is your typical hitchhiker fighter who will never challenge for a title but will usually deliver an exciting fight. Lopez is the perfect opponent for Sadollah, because he’s someone who will willingly stand and strike, even though Sadollah should be the better striker. Even though he’s extremely hittable, Sadollah does have very good offensive striking and mixes things up well, especially with his kicks. Lopez is an aggressive fighter and if he’s able to get to Sadollah’s chin, it’s very possible that he drops him, but overall I expect Sadollah to just pick apart Lopez en route to a convincing decision.
Prediction: Sadollah, Decision
Donald Cerrone vs. Jeremy Stephens: I’m pretty pumped for this fight. I’ve been a big fan of Cerrone for the longest time and Stephens usually delivers exciting fights. Cerrone is the more diverse striker as he’ll throw punches, kicks, knees, and elbows while Stephens mainly relies on just punches. Stephens has incredible power at 155 though and if Cerrone decides to throw his wacky knee while dropping his hands, even though he has an incredible chin, it could be good night if Stephens is able to land a big hook. Cerrone’s biggest advantage in this fight comes on the ground. His takedown offense has improved a lot over the years and his grappling is much better than Stephens’s. Cerrone likes to be exciting and make fights much more difficult than they need to be, so I won’t be shocked if he decides to stand with Stephens even if things aren’t going so well for him and that’s the only way he can lose, but once Cerrone eats a couple of shots he doesn’t like, he’ll wisely take the fight to the ground and submit Stephens.
Prediction: Cerrone, Submission, Round 2
Yves Jabouin vs. Jeff Hougland: Considering this is a Jabouin fight, you can expect a bunch of spinning strikes. Considering Hougland is his opponent, you can expect him to try and get the fight to the ground in order to avoid those spinning strikes. This fight is pretty simple: if Jabouin can keep the fight on the feet, he’ll outstrike Hougland with his aggressive and diverse striking, possibly score a TKO, but definitely win a decision. If Hougland gets the takedown, he’ll go for a ton of submissions, possibly finish one, but definitely control his way to a decision. Since I’m not sold on Jabouin’s takedown defense or grappling in general, I’ll go with Hougland’s grappling.
Prediction: Hougland, Decision
Igor Pokrajac vs. Fabio Maldonado: Both of these guys come to strike and with bad intentions. My concern with Maldonado, besides his cardio, is that he hasn’t fought in almost a year, so I expect there to be a little bit of cage rust on him. Maldonado is the better boxer, but Pokrajac is the more well-rounded striker. If Pokrajac is smart, he’ll try to get the fight to the ground and take advantage of Maldonado’s less than stellar grappling game. Even though Pokrajac could stand with with Maldonado, and possibly win, there’s no point in risking a loss in order to put on an exciting fight, especially when you’re on the brink of moving up to the next level.
Prediction: Pokrajac, Submission, Round 1
Jason MacDonald vs. Tom Lawlor: This could be the last fight in either MacDonald’s MMA career or Lawlor’s current UFC career. If Lawlor feels that he has the striking advantage, he could use his wrestling in reverse to keep the fight standing and beat up MacDonald, who gets hit a ton on the feet. However, if Lawlor is losing the striking battle, he could takedown MacDonald. The problem with that strategy is that MacDonald has a good guard and Lawlor’s submission defense isn’t the best in the world. However, even though MacDonald does have an active guard, like on the feet, he takes a beating on the ground. As much as I like MacDonald, I’m not sure his heart and head are into the sport anymore and there’s a lot of wear and tear on his body and chin. I think Lawlor finally puts on a performance that matches his walk out.
Prediction: Lawlor, TKO, Round 1