9.14.2008

PreView's Picks and Analysis for UFC Fight Night 15

I love UFC Fight Nights. First of all, they’re free, and I never argue with that price. Second, since the fighters they showcase are generally up-and-comers or lesser known fighters simply looking for more exposure, the fights tend to be very exciting, because the guys are looking for their tickets to the big show, so they leave it all in the cage. What more could you ask for?

As I do before all UFC events, I’m posting my picks for the events, but since I have a few extra minutes this time, I decided to enlighten you all to the rationale behind my picks. Hopefully, my picks will be more accurate than my picks for UFC 88. Check after the jump for my picks and analysis.


Nate Diaz vs. Josh Neer – (Diaz) This is an interesting match-up. Diaz had notable wins over Kurt Pellegrino and Junior Assuncao and a notable loss to Hermes Franca, via submission. Neer is the much more experienced of the two and has notable wins over Din Thomas, Joe Stevenson, Melvin Guillard and Forrest Petz, with notable losses to Nick Diaz, Drew Fickett, Spencer Fisher and Josh Burkman.

Nate Diaz’s specialty is obviously submissions, but he has a solid striking game and an awkward stance that can throw many fighters off (just like his brother Nick does). Not to mention, Neer does have a loss to Nick Diaz, and since Nick and Nate train together, I’m sure the two have been constantly reviewing Nick’s fight with Neer. Neer racked up 6 wins in 7 fights outside the UFC before coming back to defeat Din Thomas at UFN 13 in April of this year. Neer’s six losses have come via 1 KO, 3 decisions and 2 decisions. Nate’s two losses have come via 1 decision and 1 submission.

Nate is riding a 4 fight win streak in the UFC, and is seen as one of the division’s up and comers. He is favored to win the fight and I think he will. I don’t see it being a quick ending as Neer can use his experience to hold off Diaz for a while, but ultimately I see Diaz taking it via submission in the second round.

Clay Guida vs. Mac Danzig – (Guida) I know this is the co-main event, but I think this should be the main event as it provides a much more interesting match-up between two of the lightweight division’s strongest fighters. Danzig is coming off 2 wins, having won the 6th season of TUF, and defeating Mark Bocek at UFC 83 (both wins by submission). However, in his last two fights before TUF, Danzig faced back-to-back losses against Clay French (split decision) and Hayato “Mach” Sakurai (via KO).

Guida is kind of an enigma. He is also 2-2 in his last 4 fights, with wins over Samy Schiavo and Marcus Aurelio and losses to Roger Huerta and Tyson Griffin. Guida is 3-3 in his UFC career, and had two decision losses in his first two fights in the organizations. Many fighters under similar circumstances would have been released to build up their records in another organization, but Guida was relentless in those two fights, and his split decision loss to Griffin was a fight many thought Guida won. Not to mention, before Guida ate a knee from Huerta that ultimately allowed Huerta to set up the rear naked choke, pretty much everyone I know had Guida ahead on their scorecards.

Guida and Danzig both have the majority of their wins by submission, and both are very tenacious fighters. However, I think Guida is much more explosive and will be able to frustrate Danzig to grind out a decision. The oddsmakers do have Guida the favorite in this one, but not by much. On the random side, Danzig is a vegan, and I think that lifestyle is ridiculous, and Guida wins the contest for beating a fighter with a name closest to his own. Guida beat Clay Guidiolla via ankle lock at Combat-Do Fighting Challenge 2 in February of 2005. However, Danzig does train out of Xtreme Couture and I’ve seen some videos of him training for this fight and he looks to be in good shape. Danzig clearly outclassed everyone on the reality show and he was even fighting a weight class above his normal one then. He is going to be a force in the UFC Lightweight division, but I don’t think he’ll be tenacious enough to take out Guida. Guida by unanimous decision. This is also my call for Fight of the Night.

Ed Herman vs. Alan Belcher - (Herman) Before a loss to Demian Maia, Herman had racked up three wins in the UFC, however that was after two losses, one to Jason MacDonald and one to Kendall Grove. Alan Belcher is also coming off a loss, to Jason Day, a UFC newcomer. Belcher has notable wins over Jorge Santiago and Kalib Starnes (before he switched to his track career). Herman has notable wins over Scott Smith, Chris Price, Dave Menne, and Glover Teixeira. Belcher is a solid fighter, and although they’re both looking to rebound from losses, I think Herman will bounce back quicker, provided he can avoid Belcher’s better striking skills. Belcher will look to get in quick and TKO Herman, at which point Herman can submit Belcher. Herman by submission, Round one.

Houston Alexander vs. Eric Schafer – (Alexander) Alexander looks to come back strong after back to back losses to Thiago Silva and James Irvin. Schafer is coming off 2 wins outside the UFC after losing 2 in the UFC. Schafer only has 1 win by TKO, so I don’t think he has the striking power to overwhelm Alexander. Alexander by TKO in the first.

Alessio Sakara vs. Joe Vedepo – (Sakara) I like Sakara, I always have, and I think he’s a fighter who has caught some bad breaks in the UFC. He’s a former boxer out of Rome Italy and currently trains with American Top Team out of Miami. This is Vedepo’s inaugural bout in the UFC, having fought mostly in smaller shows, recently winning the Midwest Cage Championship Middleweight belt with a 3rd round submission win.

This will be Sakara’s second fight at middleweight, having lost the first to Chris Leben at UFC 82 in Columbus. Look for Sakara to close the distance quickly. I don’t think Vedepo is a wimp or anything, but this is his first time in front of a big crows and Sakara needs a win. Sakara by TKO in the first.

Wilson Gouveia vs. Ryan Jensen – (Gouveia) I’m surprised the UFC brought Jensen back. He only had two fights in the UFC (both losses) and is 2-1 outside the organizations since leaving. Gouveia lost his first fight in the UFC to Keith Jardine, but then racked up 4 straight wins in the UFC before losing to Gorin Reljic at UFC 84. Jensen has never taken a fight to a decision, win or lose, but his strength lies in submissions and Gouveia has never lost by submission in his pro career. Jensen may be able to hold Gouveia off for the first round, but at the latest, I see Gouveia winning by TKO in the Second Round.

Joe Lauzon vs. Kyle Bradley – (Lauzon) First, hats off to Bradley for taking a fight with Chris Lytle at UFC 81. Bradley did lose by a devastating TKO in the first round, but he took the fight on two weeks notice, up a weight class, against a fighter with much more pro experience. At his natural weight class of 155, I think Bradley will make a better showing. Lauzon is looking to come back since losing to Florian at UFN 13 in April. Lauzon is a submissions monster, while the majority of Bradley’s wins come from TKO or KO. The oddsmakers have Lauzon as a heavy favorite, and I tend to agree. I see Lauzon winning by submission in the first.

Jason Brilz vs. Brad Morris – (Brilz) This is Brilz’s first fight in the UFC and Morris’s second (lost to Cain Velasquez via TKO). Both fighters have won the majority of their fights via submission, but Brilz has 9 wins via submission compared to Morris’s 4. Odds place Brilz as a favorite, but not by much. I don’t know much about either fight, but Brilz seems to have faced more quality opponents and has notable wins over Alex Schoenauer and Jason MacDonald. I’ll say Brilz by submission in the 1st.

Drew McFedries vs. Mike Massenzio – (Massenzio) The oddsmakers have McFedries as a heavy favorite, but I think Massenzio is going to pull off an upset. 4 of McFedries’s 7 wins come via TKO or KO, and 5 of Massenzio’s wins come via submission. McFedries is an explosive fighter and will look to overwhelm Massenzio, and keep the fight off the ground, but as Kampmann showed, McFedries can be taken down and may be weak on the ground. I think Massenzio will be able to withstand the onslaught and expose McFedries on the ground. Massenzio by submission in Round 2.

Dan Miller vs. Rob Kimmons – (Miller) The oddsmen have this fight almost even. Kimmons has more experience, with 24 professional fights (21-3). Miller, on the other hand, only has 9 pro fights (8-1). Miller is one of the UFC’s recent transplants from the now-defunct IFL, having won the IFL Middleweight championship is his second fight, beating Ryan McGivern via kneebar. The majority of both fighters’ wins come via submission; Kimmons’s 13 to Miller’s 5. I’d look for both fighters to be constantly trading off submission attempts while looking for the other to make a mistake. Miller will be looking to make an impression in his first UFC fight and Kimmons will be looking to build on his first victory in the UFC againt Rob Yundt. I think Miller will be able to grind it out. Miller by Unanimous Decision.

There are going to be some entertaining fights as well as an opportunity to check out some of the new guys. Don’t forget to watch the premiere of season 8 of TUF afterwards to watch Junie Browning do his part to put KY on the MMA map.

-PreView

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