Saturday, August 4, 2012

UFC on Fox 4 preview

Dana White has effectively allowed insanity to run the joint in tonight's UFC on Fox event. Both the main event and co-main event have influence on the light heavyweight title picture.

On one hand, Brandon Vera has suddenly become a viable title contender by facing off with former champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua. On the other, Lyoto Machida faces off against Ryan Bader.

Let me start with the co-main first. Machida is an incredible karate and BJJ practitioner, so he is a legitimate threat no matter where the fight is taking place. He, like Silva last month, has to face off with a man in Bader with a Division I wrestling background.

So it's a classic "dictator of location vs. man who can fight anywhere" battle. And much like Silva, I give the advantage to Machida's well-rounded abilities.

Bader's wrestling is nowhere near Sonnen's, and Sonnen couldn't stop Silva. Machida is a big threat here no matter where he is, so I'll take him here.

Machida by KO 1.

Meanwhile, Vera and Shogun each have a strong background in Muay Thai and BJJ, but Vera has a Greco-Roman wrestling background as well. That said, Shogun's grappling appears to be far more competent.

I'm not sure why either of these two is in the title picture. Shogun just lost in his last bout against Dan Henderson, and Vera just won for the first time in three fights. It really shows how much Jon Jones and Hendo are right now in terms of the title contention.

Overall, I think Vera pulls this one out by decision. What's more, I think he earns the next title shot.

Rest of the main card

Lightweights: Joe Lauzon v. Jamie Varner - After his first stint with Zuffa ended, Varner has gotten on a roll, winning three straight. Meanwhile, Lauzon just got KTFO'ed by Anthony Pettis.

I'm going with Varner's stand-up game to win this bout by KO 2.

Welterweights: Mike Swick v. DaMarques Johnson - It's a striker vs. grappler match-up here. I'll be taking Johnson's grappling, though, as his game has shown marked improvement since I first saw him in WEC.

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