Nobody reads these previews that I write, and I completely understand why. After all, there are a million sites and blogs that do these things in a far more professional, contrite manner than I, so why should I expect people to go out of their way to read the harebrained opinions of a gas station attendant? I’d be better off writing columns with titles like “Gay MMA Fighters: A Bukakke Of Speculation” or “An Intimate Look Back At The Exact Moment That Quinton Jackson Stopped Caring”.
These are all facts. I just have an innate love for writing event previews, especially for cards that are sure to be packed with excitement. This card definitely qualifies. Away we go.
Erik Koch vs. Ricardo Lamas
Count me among those people who are glad the proposed Aldo-Koch fight fell through multiple times. That fight reeked of desperation, and it would have been kind of a shame to watch a good prospect go in there and get beat up simply because there were no better options. Erik Koch is going to be good for a long time, so why sacrifice him so early in his UFC career? Not that he couldn’t have bounced back, but the fight just seemed like a bridge too far at that stage for Koch.
Instead, he takes on the Wildly Underrated Ricardo Lamas in the evenings first FOX offering. Lamas is a good wrestler who can choke you and box you up with increasing vigor. His weakness is that he might still be a bit skittish, as his two career losses have come by KO or TKO. However, there have been no signs of that lately, as he has dismantled three good fighters during his UFC tenure, the last two with particular ease. The way he made contender Cub Swanson writhe around on the mat like he was doing the Salmon Dance was both chilling and memorable.
This fight is almost at “pick ‘em” status for me, as Koch could wow folks with his dangerous striking and Lamas could stifle that by putting Koch against the cage and doing work from there. My gut says that Lamas will be able to squeak this one out, as Koch has had increasing trouble with guys similar to Lamas. Lamas by split decision.
Anthony Pettis vs. Donald Cerrone
Sometimes you have a strong inclination to pick one fighter over the other, and then when the fight actually happens, the action is so back and forth that you feel like an idiot and a genius at the same time.
So, that makes what I’m about to say about this matchup a bit odd, but here goes: Even though you’d be hard pressed to come up with a more even, enticing, exciting, enthralling, electrifying (I’ll stop) fight at 155 pounds, and even though I think the fight will be extremely competitive, I like Anthony Pettis big time in this one.
He’s just a different kind of striker. Nobody combines pizzazz, technique, youthful exuberance, and athleticism like Showtime does, and I’m not just saying that because of the Showtime Kick. The guy is a pleasure to watch on his feet. He’s picture perfect.
Cerrone presents some difficult variables to deal with, most notably his length, the ability to kick the legs, and overall strange-looking striking style, and this will at least keep Pettis honest. Cerrone has made enough improvements in his wrestling to put Pettis on the floor, but I don’t see that happening for any extended period. Don’t look for a finish here, but Pettis should walk away with at least 2 scorecards in his favor. Pettis by decision.
Quinton Jackson vs. Glover Teixeira
You know, if I were a betting man, I’d be taking a flyer on Quinton Jackson here. I’ve seen him as high as +235, which seems like a crazy level of underdoggery (a new word) going against a guy whose UFC tenure consists of low hanging fruit like Fabio Maldonado and Kyle Kingsbury.
All the criticisms of Jackson are warranted. The howling dynamo from the PRIDE days isn’t there anymore; long gone are the trademark slams and aggressive boxing combos. They’ve been replaced by a guy who just kind of stands around eating leg kicks and throwing his combos too late in rounds to make an impact. On top of that, his fight with Teixeira will be his 43rd professional fight. He’s the epitome of a fading star. The UFC hopes to cash in on him a few more times before he hangs them up.
And yet … as unbelievably dominant and lethal as Glover has looked in the UFC, I’m not quite ready to christen him as the next big thing at light heavyweight. He’s a huge guy, and he’s been prone to gas tank issues in the past. Keep in mind, I’m saying this about a guy who hasn’t lost a fight since 2005. Glover is a well rounded striker and grappler. There isn’t too much you can say about him other than that he hasn’t been tested yet. This is that test.
I think he aces it. Quinton is fighting for paper at this point, and I’m not sure even he would tell you differently. He’ll probably stand there and get hit with strikes en route to a late TKO or decision loss. Glover Teixeira wins this one big.
Demetrious Johnson vs. John Dodson
Flyweights are small. This statement is not groundbreaking or noteworthy, but it’s true. However, John Dodson is not only small; he is a child. He behaves and speaks like a child. Can’t you see John Dodson with his eyebrow pierced, wearing a Sevendust t-shirt, and skank dancing at some shitty local concert? I sure can.
This fact is why it’s so funny and kind of cool that John Dodson has morphed into the flyweight division’s resident finisher/badass extraordinaire. How would you like to get slept by a guy who speaks like a Glee cast member?
Violently finishing fights hasn’t always been the status quo for Dodson, who has been known to coast through rounds and be passive in the past. His UFC campaign has seen this drastically change, but the real question is, will it change for good? Dodson is a very talented striker who should always be competitive in any standing situation. He can give you many different looks; speed, movement, power, and the outlandish.
Demetrious Johnson is simply going to be tough to beat at flyweight. Judges love to score close fights in his favor, and his speed and wrestling spell doom for almost everyone else in the division.
I think Dodson will prove a worthy adversary, and I can’t think of anyone else in the division that has more of a chance to finish Johnson than Dodson (other than maybe John Lineker). However, DJ is DJ. Too many takedowns, too much movement, too much speed. There’s always a chance that Dodson could set up a killshot, but it’s far more likely that DJ gets his hand raised. DJ by decision.