The main card, yeah? Yeah!
Ross Pearson vs. Cub Swanson
Cub has the distinction of being in interesting fights, pretty much every time he goes out there. His victories are often thrilling and memorable, and his losses are often tragic and avoidable. He’s almost Japanese in this respect.
(Before you call Gloria Allred on me, think about how certain Japanese fighters win and lose fights. Hatsu Hioki looks like he’s finally putting it all together, then goes out and fights to his detriment. Yushin Okami was turning in one of the most dominant, masterful demolitions of a good fighter this year, and then went down in a tragic, dumbfounding heap. And has anyone lost fights in a more “Oof, that’s gonna be a tough one to bounce back from” manner than Masato or Kazushi Sakuraba?)
Pearson is the opposite. He’s a technically sound boxer who wears you out in the clinch and is a dead ringer for Hugh Grant. So there we have it: technique vs. emotion. Pearson has better all-around skills, but Swanson can really dazzle you if he doesn’t get frustrated and start throwing haymakers. Both guys have really, really good head movement, so look for lots of slippin’ and rippin’. I like Pearson to win a close decision here, but this fight is a pick ‘em to me. Really looking forward to it.
Spencer Fisher vs. Sam Stout
I can’t think of a single reason for this fight to happen, other than the fact that A) they’ve split two fights and B) neither one of them currently has a cracked skull, inflamed pancreas, dismembered foot, or the crabs, as far as I know. Tons of injuries recently. This card hasn’t been plagued by them, thankfully.
So, lets see. Sam Stout and Spencer Fisher. Lots of strikes thrown. Lots of strikes landed.
Some blood. A mouse or two. Two guys who will absolutely swing for the fences with reckless abandon. Caution being thrown to the wind. Lots of excitement.
Stout’s work to the body should be the difference here, but without Coach Tompkins around to shout out those combos for him, it’s anybodies guess. Fisher is pretty darn shopworn, but he can still put on entertaining fights, especially without the threat of guys using him to wipe the floor. We’ll see none of that from Stout, who is a banger through and through. Give me Stout on points in an exciting fight, followed by both of them disappearing into the abyss.
Brian Ebersole vs. TJ Waldburger
Who would have thought that a guy who split two fights with Pete Spratt and a guy who got busted for working a fight with Shannon Ritch would be a UFC main card attraction? Not this dude.
Waldburger isn’t the greatest striker in the world, but he has a truly unique and dynamic submission game, especially for a welterweight. For those that don’t believe me, check out his last two fights. Two works of art.
I can’t shake the feeling that Waldburger has a bit of a Dustin Hazelett-ey vibe to him, though. You know what I mean? A naturally gifted, rangy submission artist that isn’t great at taking licks and eventually flames out because he can’t figure out how to stop taking them.
Brian Ebersole can definitely pound on Waldburger until he stops moving, and I think that’s what will happen here. We might see a cartwheel, we might see some taunting, and we might see some scrambles, but the end game of it all is that T.J. is going to find himself on his back taking punches and elbows. Ebersole by TKO.
Clay Guida vs. Gray Maynard
Does anyone else think it’s weird that Maynard’s camp submitted a handwritten letter to the NJSAC about Clay Guida’s hair? How on earth does Clay Guida’s hair give him an advantage? It’s matted to his face 3 minutes into the fight and must hinder his vision to the point that he starts aimlessly windmilling like he did against Ben Henderson. I suppose it would be pretty irritating to get taken down by Guida only to have his mop gettin’ all up in your grill while you’re earnestly trying to get back up, but still. I wouldn’t exactly consider it an edge.
Clay Guida has quietly evolved into a fighter that doesn’t really do much in the striking department except throw millions of feints. Watch his fight with Takanori Gomi sometime; Gomi gets tired just watching him. While this bodes well in terms of him avoiding punches and kicks, it doesn’t do much to quell the fact that it’s really, really annoying to watch. Seriously, once you get past the pre-fight “Hit me in the face!” hype routine, the overall dude persona, the hair, and the cliches (“Clay Guida’s pace is unmatchable!”), you start to realize that this is someone who has sacrificed that go-for-broke style to give himself a better chance to win. This is, of course, a great strategy for Clay, and for anyone who wants to stick around in the UFC. All I’m saying is that he’s a different fighter now than the balls-to-the-wall guy that fought Roger Huerta.
The last time we saw Gray Maynard, he was face down against the cage after a devastating series of Frank Edgar’s punches. How will he rebound from his first knockout loss? I suspect that we’ll still see that stalking, going-for-the-big-haymaker style, as well as a healthy dose of wrestling.
This is a very tough fight to call. It’s probably going to come down to wrestling, and Guida definitely has an edge in terms of overall tenacity. Once he gets ahold of you, he wont let go. However, Maynard is no easy takedown unless he’s tired, and is better at completing takedowns. I see alot of scrambles, but also alot of jockeying against the cage. At range, Maynard could land big punches if he ever figures out the right angle to cut against a guy who is going to do nothing except bounce around like he’s at a Slayer concert. Guida has the edge in cardio, but throw that out the window if he gets hurt.
I favor Maynard here, but only slightly. By split decision.
Last event: 3-5