My preview of UFC on Fuel TV 5, a card so good that if you don’t like it, don’t watch.
Stefan Struve vs. Stipe Miocic: Even though this is an extremely tough main event to get excited for because it’s better off as a PPV opener, I really like Struve and think he’s the best of the mid-tier heavyweights. The problem with Struve is that he has a tendency to fight stupid and if he does that against Miocic, who has good KO power, he could find himself in trouble. If Struve fights smart though, which means using his length and eventually getting the fight to the ground, he should win this fight. Miocic is relatively well-rounded and can hold his own on the feet or on the ground, but if he can’t get inside standing and is on his back on the ground, he’s pretty much screwed. Miocic might be best off shooting for a takedown, trusting his submission defense, and work ground and pound from a standing guard position since Struve is so offensive off his back and his defense really suffers. To Struve’s credit, he’s a survivor and his cardio at heavyweight is second to only Cain Velasquez. And having cardio at heavyweight is a pretty big deal considering most guys gas by the time they walk to the cage. I think we’ll see a little “classic Struve” in this fight, which means he’ll survive a rough first round before coming back strong, wearing down Miocic, and eventually submitting him.
Prediction: Struve, Submission, Round 3
Dan Hardy vs. Amir Sadollah: I want to like Hardy. He’s an energetic fighter and seems like a smart guy when he’s not consumed by his own ego. Problem is, he gets consumed by his own ego too much. He thinks he’s better than he really is and has been built up to be and just flat out says stupid things about guys that have accomplished way more than him. This is the kind of fight that gives Hardy his inflated ego. Sadollah isn’t a very good fighter. He has solid technical striking and pushes a strong pace, but he doesn’t have power and he gets hit a ton and Hardy packs a punch, especially in his left hand. Hardy is obviously weak on the ground, but Sadollah isn’t a great wrestler and in the clinch, Hardy is pretty dangerous with elbows. Hardy could probably make things easy on himself by taking down Sadollah, whose takedown defense is pretty non-existent, and ground and pound his way to victory, but because he comes to war, he’ll likely just stand and trade. Luckily for him, that won’t get him in trouble against Sadollah, as he’ll likely be able to out-strike him and probably put him away with a left followed by shots on the ground.
Prediction: Hardy, TKO, Round 1
Brad Pickett vs. Yves Jabouin: This is a nice little fight that should produce plenty of action. Pickett has very good boxing and underrated grappling while Jabouin is the better and more diverse technical striker, but really lacks in the ground department. As with any Jabouin fight, expect a ton of spinning attacks that could get him in trouble if he mistimes one and gives Pickett an easy takedown. If Pickett can get a takedown, I think Jabouin has a tough time avoiding ground and pound and maybe he gets caught in a submission while trying to scramble up. But I’m going to say that Jabouin has good enough takedown defense to stay standing. On the feet, even though Pickett does have power and good hands, I think Jabouin can break him down with kicks and body attacks. This fight should be 15-minutes of non-stop action, but in the end I’m going with Jabouin, his diverse attack, and his aggression to pick up a victory.
Prediction: Jabouin, Decision
Paul Sass vs. Matt Wiman: I can’t wait for this fight. Sass has been on a hell of a run and he’s done it all with essentially two submissions. Wiman may not have the greatest of records, but he’s a guy who comes to scrap and is a tough out for anyone. If the fight stays standing, Wiman is definitely the better striker and has solid power so it’s his fight to lose on the feet. On the ground is a different story though. Wiman is more than competent on the ground and good in scrambles, but Sass really opened my eyes when he submitted Jakob Volkmann, who is a very good defensive grappler. I’m going to assume that Wiman has trained extensively on avoiding heel hooks and triangles, but for some reason I think Sass finds a way to lock on one of those submissions in order to continue his impressive run.
Prediction: Sass, Submission, Round 1
John Hathaway vs. John Maguire: Hathaway hasn’t exactly looked like the world beater that a lot of people expected him to be after he beat Diego Sanchez, but he’s still a solid welterweight and certainly better than Maguire. Maguire has a decent submission game, but not from the bottom, where I expect him to be for the majority of this fight if it’s on the ground. On the feet, Hathaway is the better striker and shouldn’t have much trouble picking apart Maguire. If he does get in trouble, he can always shoot for the takedown, likely get it, and control his way to a decision. I’d like to see Hathaway finish this fight since he is a level above Maguire, but with the way he’s looked in his last couple of bouts, I’m going to say he’ll cruise to another decision.
Prediction: Hathway, Decision
Che Mills vs. Duane Ludwig: THE ORIGINAL KILLER IS BACK! It’s a shame that Joe Rogan isn’t calling this fight because he loves him some Ludwig and Mills. He may’ve combust every time a punch was thrown, even if it missed by a mile. I don’t think Mills is the next big thing in the welterweight division (he already lost to that guy) but I do think he’s better than Ludwig, who is far past his prime. Even if Ludwig is the better technical striker, he’s still pretty hittable and his chin is shot. Eventually Mills will get Ludwig, he’ll crumble, and Mills will live to kill again.
Prediction: Mills, TKO, Round 1