Monday, September 19, 2011

UFC 135 Prelims Breakdowns/Predictions

This is going to be a big week for me. I've got tickets to UFC 135 and I'll be attending the pre-fight Q&A session (with Rashad Evans), the weigh-ins and of course, the fights. If all goes well, I'll be posting pictures and some stories from the event. But for now, I'm going to do my UFC 135 Prelims Breakdown/Predictions.

Tony Ferguson vs Aaron Riley

Tony Ferguson, the season 13 Ultimate Fighter winner will square off against the veteran Aaron Riley. This will be a battle of sluggers. Ferguson who has 7 of his 11 wins via (T)KO and Riley who hasn't submitted an opponent since 2006. As a matter of fact, Riley hasn't finished an opponent since 2006.

I think the UFC is giving  Ferguson a chance to shine. Aaron Riley is a gatekeeper at best. He's got a record of 30-12-1 and has been in the ring with a lot of bigger names in the sport. However, he's also lost to all those bigger names. The fact that he appears to have abandoned his submission game that scored him 14 wins.

If Ferguson's stand up looks a crisp as it did in June when he knocked out Ramsey Nijem in the first round to win the Ultimate Fighter. The fact that Riley is 2-2 in his last 4 fights with his 2 losses coming via TKO, leads me to think he's chin is suspect.

My prediction is Ferguson by 2nd round TKO.

Tim Boetsch vs Nick Ring

This is another battle of a gatekeeper versus a prospect. Boetsch is a decent fighter but can't seem to get over the hump and beat a legit contender. Nick Ring is undefeated at 12-0 but has yet to face a real challenge. This fight will be Ring's first step-up in competition.

Ring truly looks comfortable no matter where the fight goes. Boetsch on the other hand prefers to strike and work some ground-and-pound if he can get his opponent to the ground. The key in this fight for Boetsch is to exploit that ground-and-pound and put Ring in an uncomfortable position. For Ring, it's obviously to not end up on his back getting punched in the face.

I think if this fight stays standing, we could be in for a real slugfest. Both men possess knock out power and good striking. However, if it stays on the feet, I think Ring will pick Boetsch apart.

My prediction is Nick Ring by 1st round TKO.

Junior Assuncao vs Eddie Yagin

Assuncao is making his return to the UFC after going 1-2 in his first stint back in 2006-2007. For Yagin, this is his UFC debut. In my opinion, this is a striker vs grappler matchup.

Yagin's record doesn't really indicated that he's a striker but I believe he wants to stand and bang. My reasoning behind this, is that all of his 5 submission victories have come via guillotine choke. That indicates to me that he was stuffing a takedown, then sunk in the guillotine. I believe he'll want to stand and trade in this match up.

Assuncao wants this fight on the ground. Half of his wins are via submission. I expect Assuncao to trade briefly in an effort to set up the takedown. With Yagin's 5 guillotine victories, Assuncao won't want to leave his neck exposed in his takedown attempts.

I believe that Assuncao has fought better competition in his career. Along with Yagin making his UFC debut I believe Assuncao will emerge victorious.

My prediction is Assuncao by unanimous decesion.

Takeya Mizugaki vs Cole Escovedo

The battle of journeymen. Mizugaki and Escovedo have both fought all over the world, in tons of different promotions. Both men have fought top competition and both men have lost to those top fighters. Both men are coming into this fight off of losses. And in my opinion, both men are fighting to keep their jobs. I believe whoever losses this fight will be shown the door.

In my breakdown of this fight I have been really studying both fighters' past accomplishments. Mizugaki can't seem to finish anyone with 9 of his 14 wins coming via decision. Escovedo on the other hand has 16 finishes out of his 17 wins. Escovedo has knockout power, but appears to live on his submission game with 10 submission victories in his career. Mizugaki is durable and submission defense savvy. I expect this to be a back-and-forth battle with Escovedo wearing down Mizugaki through takedown attempts and a smothering top game.

My prediction is Escovedo via 3rd round flying triangle choke.

James Te Huna vs Richardo Romero

Yet another striker versus grappler fight. Te Huna in the last 3 years as gone 6-1 with 5 (T)KO's. Romero in the last 2 years has also gone 6-1 with 5 submission victories. 

The X factor in this fight for me is conditioning. Te Huna is coming from Australia. Long flight into the high altitude of Denver, Colorado. Romero is only coming from New Jersey. I think the elevation plus jet-lag will play a factor.

I believe that Romero will push the pace, initiating takedowns and constantly working for submissions. Te Huna will throw bombs in the 1st round before getting gassed.

My prediction is Romero via 2nd round kimura.

So that is my UFC 135 Prelims Breakdown/Predictions

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