My preview of UFC on FX 5, which is a solid card despite one undeserving main card fight.
Travis Browne vs. Antonio Silva: This is a weird one because Browne has looked pretty impressive against average competition while Silva has gotten destroyed against two of the best heavyweights in the world. Lets not forget though that Silva has fought a lot of top heavyweights and even holds a stoppage victory over Fedor. Browne’s wins look nice, but he also went to a draw against Cheick Kongo, who is probably the toughest guy he’s ever faced. I don’t think Browne is bad, but it’s tough to judge any of these mediocre heavyweights because they’re all just so….mediocre. To Browne’s credit, he is light on his feet, moves around well, and is a pretty diverse striker. Silva on the other hand is a plodding heavyweight who doesn’t hit as hard as you’d expect him to. Where Silva shines though is in the clinch and on the ground, which is where Browne isn’t very good. Silva does a good job using his size to his advantage, clinching up, and getting takedowns. Even though he doesn’t more particularly well on the ground, he’s a pain to shake off if you don’t know what you’re doing because of his size. I think that’s how this fight plays out, and it could get real ugly if this thing goes past two rounds. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I feel that this fight is going to cause Dana White lose his mind and possibly have Mark Radulich finally turning on the heavyweight division. I think Silva does a lot of clinching, lands some takedowns, and does minimal damage on the ground. This will continue for 25-minutes and it’ll turn extremely sloppy after the 10-minute mark as both guys will be dead tired.
Prediction: Silva, Decision
Jake Ellenberger vs. Jay Hieron: This is a great fight, although obviously not great enough to headline a PPV. Ellenberger was on a roll before losing to Kampmann, but I still think he’s one of the top welterweights in the division, while Hieron fought in every organization in the world before trolling his way back to the UFC. Hieron is a well-rounded fighter but this is a tough match-up for him. Ellenberger hits extremely hard and is actually an underrated boxer, as people only think he has power, but he’s also a great counter striker. Hieron has good technical boxing, but doesn’t have 1/4th the power of Ellenberger. Wrestling-wise, Hieron isn’t bad but Ellenberger is stronger and does great work in the clinch. Ellenberger’s biggest strength is that he’s an extremely fast starter. Unfortunately, his biggest strength translates into his biggest weakest, which is that his cardio is lacking. Hieron always comes in great shape and the longer the fight goes, the more it favors him. I see this playing out a lot like most Ellenberger fights play out. Ellenberger has a great first round where he nearly finishes things but can’t quite but a very durable Hieron away. He slows down in the second round but does enough in the clinch, gets a takedown or two, and lands enough clean strikes to take the round. And then offers very little in the third round as Hieron avoids the takedowns and lands some clean strikes. In the end, Ellenberger wins the decision and Hieron looks shocked.
Prediction: Ellenberger, Decision
Josh Neer vs. Justin Edwards: I don’t know why this fight is on the main card over any of the more relevant lighter weight fights on the preliminary card. Neer’s chin may have crumbled against Mike Pyle, but Edwards has never shown power, so unless Neer’s chin is now butter, he should be fine on the feet. That means Edwards has get the fight to the ground, and while Neer’s takedown defense isn’t great, he’s more than competent on the ground and certainly better than Edwards. Neer obviously isn’t a top welterweight, but he’s still better than Edwards in all aspects of the sport. This fight makes no sense and it’s a shame that it’s on the main card over better fighters and better match-ups.
Prediction: Neer, TKO, Round 1
John Dodson vs. Jussier Da Silva: This fight will likely determine the first challenger for the UFC flyweight title. Da Silva was ruling the flyweight division before flyweights were cool while Dodson didn’t impress in his UFC flyweight debut, but has the kind of creativeness and explosiveness to win a fight at any time. Like most flyweight bouts, this should be a high-paced affair that could go all over the place. Da Silva is a good striker and more technical, but lacks the power of Dodson and the speed as well. Dodson has a clear edge in the wrestling game and is good enough on the ground and in the scrambles to avoid the submission skills of Da Silva. Due to his wrestling, I slightly favor Dodson. I think he’ll do well enough on the feet, but if Da Silva starts getting the better of things, Dodson can always ice rounds with takedowns or clinch work. I expect this to be a very competitive fight, but in the end, I think Dodson will do enough to take the decision.
Prediction: Dodson, Decision