The UFC’s long awaited debut on FX is set to take place Friday night, and there is an exciting card awaiting fight fans.
While the main event between Melvin Guillard and Jim Miller is stealing most of the headlines, there is an abundance of talent on the card and predicting which fight will earn fight of the night honors will be nearly impossible.
Welterweights Duane Ludwig and Josh Neer will look to continue to climb the rankings in the co-main event, and fan favorite Pat Barry is looking to keep his job against Christian Morecraft in a main card opening bout that promises fireworks.
A bantamweight bout between Mike Easton and UFC newcomer Jared Papazian rounds out what is sure to be a fun night of fights.
After suffering back to back losses in entertaining bouts against Cheick Kongo and Stefan Struve, Pat Barry is in dire need of a victory on Friday night.
The kickboxer is set to take on fellow heavyweight slugger Christian Morecraft, and much like Barry, Morecraft desperately needs a win to remain relevant in the UFC.
While some fights with loser leaves town implications end up being underwhelming as both fighters tend to play it safe, I think we’ll see quite the opposite here, as Barry and Morecraft both go all out in order to try and finish the fight.
Eventually Barry’s superior striking is going to overwhelm his opponent and he will earn a TKO victory in the second round.
Pat Barry via second-Round TKO
Mike Easton looked incredibly impressive in his UFC debut, where he stopped Byron Bloodsworth with a barrage of strikes in the second round in order to earn a TKO victory.
His opponent Jared Papazian is taking this fight on short notice, replacing Ken Stone, and he is in for a tough fight in his Octagon debut.
Papazian is coming into the fight on a three-fight win streak, and he has been incredibly active over the last two years, so cage rust won’t be a problem, but we’ve seen many fighters struggle in their promotional debuts before and I think this will be the case for Papazian.
Easton will earn a hard fought decision win in a potential fight of the night candidate.
Mike Easton via split decision
The newly crowned record holder for fastest knockout in UFC history, Duane Ludwig has some of the best striking in the lightweight division and he’ll be sure to test Josh Neer on the feet for as long as the fight remains there.
Neer has a solid grappling base, and would likely be better suited to take the fight to the mat, but we’ve seen him get sucked into striking battles before and he’s held his own.
While Neer arguably has the better resume with his wins over Melvin Guillard and Joe Stevenson, Ludwig is no stranger to high profile bouts either and as the fight progresses expect both fighters to gain confidence and the pace to pick up considerably.
Eventually I think Ludwig will find his range and avoid the ground long enough to eke out a decision win in a very close bout.
Duane Ludwig via split decision
A few months ago these two fighters were both knocking on the door of title contention, but losses to Joe Lauzon and Ben Henderson, respectively, have knocked them back a notch in the lightweight title picture.
This is a classic striker vs. grappler matchup, but both fighters have proven capable to hang around no matter where the fight goes.
Expect Miller to get the fight to the mat often, and his top control and ground and pound will give Guillard fits early on, but Melvin’s ability to get back to his feet has improved with every fight and Miller can’t hold him down forever.
Eventually Guillard will connect with one of those time bombs that he calls hands, and a few follow up punches later he’ll have given Miller the first stoppage loss of his career.
Melvin Guillard via third-round knockout