UFC on Fox 5: B/R MMA Preliminary Card Staff Predictions
The fifth installment of UFC on Fox takes place at the KeyArena in Seattle, Washington, Saturday night.
While the event has a number of exciting bouts on the main card, the preliminary card features some intriguing fights as well.
Some of the preliminary action includes Dennis Siver vs. Nam Phan in a featherweight scrap, Raphael Assuncao taking on Mike Easton at 135 pounds and the long-awaited bout between Yves Edwards and Jeremy Stephens.
Bleacher Report MMA Featured Columnists Matt Juul, Dwight Wakabayashi and myself, John Heinis, will predict the action this time around. Take a look inside for predictions on all seven of the preliminary fights.
Scott Jorgensen vs. John Albert
John Heinis: This is likely a loser leaves town bout, as John Albert has lost in three of his past four trips to the cage, while former WEC bantamweight title contender Scott Jorgensen has lost three of his past five fights.
Albert has shown spotty submission defense recently, with all of his losses coming via submission. Jorgensen probably doesn't have the jiu-jitsu know how to pout Albert away, but his relentless takedowns and top control should be enough to earn a convincing decision.
Scott Jorgensen via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)
Matt Juul: Divisional relevancy and maintaining a spot on the UFC roster will be on the line in the night's first bout between Scott Jorgensen and John Albert.
Once one of the top bantamweights in the world, Jorgensen has hit a bit of a snag in recent months, losing back-to-back bouts to Eddie Wineland and current interim champ Renan Barao. Albert also finds himself in a similar precarious position, having lost two straight fights via submission.
Jorgensen has the edge in both wrestling and submission skills and should be able to dominate Albert on the ground.
Scott Jorgensen via Round 2 submission
Dwight Wakabayashi: Both men coming off two losses and desperate, but Jorgensen has faced tougher guys.
Scott Jorgensen via unanimous decision
Dennis Siver vs. Nam Phan
John Heinis: Dennis Siver was a dark horse contender at lightweight after rattling off four wins in a row between June 2010 and July 2011, but that came to a screeching halt when he was submitted by Donald Cerrone at UFC 137 in Oct. 2011.
This prompted a drop to featherweight, successfully winning his debut at 145-pounds by beating an always game Diego Nunes.
With Eddie Yagin out with a brain injury, Nam Phan was happy to fill in. Phan is a very precise boxer with legitimate submission skills, but he's going to have a good time hanging with Siver's power and takedown defense.
I'm going to go out on a limb and say Siver scores a highlight-reel worthy knockout.
Dennis Siver via Round 3 knockout
Matt Juul: This is a very interesting featherweight bout that will play an integral role for both fighters as they try to stake a claim in the division.
Both men are solid UFC vets and are pretty much evenly matched up. Siver has better kickboxing skills, highlighted by his signature spinning back kick, while Phan has more of a traditional boxing style that is interestingly complimented by his traditional martial arts background.
On the ground, Phan has a distinct edge due to his black belt BJJ skills and solid wrestling base.
This fight will pretty much be determined by who can impose their will more.
Siver will likely look to keep things standing while Phan will look to mix things up a bit. In the end, however, I think "the Menace" will prove to be too much for the Vietnamese-American MMA vet.
Dennis Siver via unanimous decision
Dwight Wakabayashi: Siver is a bit quicker and I think he will get off first and take the fight to the late replacement Phan.
Dennis Siver via unanimous decision
Tim Means vs. Abel Trujillo
John Heinis: Abel Trujillo makes his UFC debut after rattling off four consecutive wins on the regional circuit. He has his work cut out for him in the form of Tim Means though.
Means may be the best kept secret in the lightweight division, boasting a record of 18-3-1 with 13 knockouts. "The Dirty Bird" is also 10-0-1 in his past 11 fights.
Trujillo may have a long, successful MMA career ahead of him, but Mean is just going to be too much for him here.
Tim Means via Round 3 TKO
Matt Juul: While I haven't particularly followed either fighter that closely, from what I've been able to gather, this fight has all the makings of a great preliminary card battle.
Means, who's amassed an 11-fight undefeated streak over the past three years, owns an impressive 13 victories via KO with his most recent finish coming in the first round over Justin Salas back in June. A former King of the Cage champion, expect Means to bring it on Saturday night.
Trujilo, who will be making his UFC debut, is a solid member of the Blackzillian squad and is riding a four-fight win streak of his own coming into this bout.
While I expect him to put up a fight, I believe Means will eventually finish Trujilo and earn himself a shot at the next level of lightweight competition.
Tim Means via Round 3 TKO (Round 3)
Dwight Wakabayashi: Means is a tough rising star who is undefeated in two fights in the UFC and Trujillo is making his debut. Means wins a war.
Tim Means via split decision
Daron Cruickshank vs. Henry Martinez
John Heinis: The Ultimate Fighter alumnus Daron Cruickshank takes on a live dog in the form of Henry Martinez Saturday night.
Martinez has a slick submission game and a pretty solid chin, while "The Detroit Superstar" has a diverse striking game with decent takedown defense.
Two of the UFC's lesser known 155-pounders are probably going to put on a show for the fans in a bout that can really go either way. I think Martinez does just enough to get his hand raised.
Henry Martinez via split decision
Matt Juul: Originally slated for the infamously canceled UFC 151, this lightweight scrap will finally come to fruition Saturday night.
TUF alumnus Daron Cruickshank earned a hard fought unanimous decision victory in his UFC debut back in June, using his solid wrestling skills to defeat Chris Tickle. Martinez also earned himself his first Octagon victory back in June, taking a split decision over Bernardo Magalahes in his second career UFC bout.
Martinez has solid takedown defense and should be able to stuff Cruickshank's attempts to take the fight to the ground. However, "the Detroit Superstar" does possess some solid striking skills and may be able to out-point Martinez standing up.
Daron Cruickshank via split decision
Dwight Wakabayashi: Cruickshank is a beast at 155 and packs power in his hands. His size will be too much for Martinez.
Daron Cruickshank via Round 2 TKO
Ramsey Nijem vs. Joe Proctor
John Heinis: Two alumni of The Ultimate Fighter go toe-to-toe here, hoping to get some recognition in the UFC's very deep lightweight division.
Ramsey Nijem is a solid wrestler with good ground and pound, as well as a pretty good mastery of the basic chokes like the rear naked and the guillotine.
The same can be said of his opponent Joe Proctor, though his wrestling chops aren't as great while his jiu-jitsu skills are a little more developed.
Proctor may land some solid strikes from his feet, but he won't be able to deal with "Stripper Ramsey's" relentless pressure when he gets on top.
Ramsey Nijem via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)
Matt Juul: In a battle of TUF alums, former finalist Ramsey Nijem will take on Joe Proctor in another lightweight battle.
Proctor is a solid competitor hailing from Lauzon MMA and comes into this bout riding a four-fight win streak. In his last outing, Proctor impressively stopped Jeremy Larsen via strikes in the first round at The Ultimate Fighter 15 Finale.
Nijem has also put together a solid streak, winning back-to-back bouts since returning to the lightweight division with his most recent victory coming via first round TKO over C.J. Keith back in June.
This fight is pretty evenly matched up, although Nijem may have a slight edge in the wrestling department.
Ramsey Nijem via unanimous decision
Dwight Wakabayashi: Nijem has two wins in a row and a decent all around game, but Proctor is no slouch on the ground.
Joe Proctor via unanimous decision
Raphael Assuncao vs. Mike Easton
John Heinis: Raphael Assuncao is an impressive 17-4 in his professional MMA career, though he has struggled against the cream of the crop including Jeff Curran, Urijah Faber, Diego Nunes and Erik Koch.
Many fans would agree that Mike Easton belongs in the cream of the bantamweight crop.
"The Hulk" is sniffing at a title shot after winning eight in a row, especially after his most recent victory over Ivan Menjivar at UFC 148 in July.
Easton is well-rounded, having serious skills in the wrestling, jiu-jitsu and striking departments, while Assuncao is more of a submission specialist.
It's hard to imagine Assuncao will have much to offer off his back or score a flash KO and that's really the only way I can see him winning here.
Mike Easton via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)
Matt Juul: Assuncao has been in the fight game for a long time and has faced everyone from Joe Lauzon to Urijah Faber. A slick jiu-jitsu specialist, Assuncao has an underrated striking game that he will look to employ against "the Hulk".
Easton has been on a fantastic run since 2008, currently riding an eight-fight win streak that includes victories over John Dodson and Ivan Menjivar. The surging 135er has heavy hands and great wrestling skills that will definitely make the difference in this bout.
While this fight will definitely be entertaining, I think Easton will make a statement in this bout as he looks to climb the bantamweight ladder.
Mike Easton via round 1 TKO
Dwight Wakabayashi: Easton is a rising phenom with explosive power and Assunciao has come up short in big fights before.
Mike Easton via round 1 KO
Yves Edwards vs. Jeremy Stephens
John Heinis: Yves Edwards and Jeremy Stephens were supposed to face off at UFC on FX 5 in October, but with "Lil' Heathens" infamous arrest the day of the event led to the bout being scrapped.
Edwards is a 60-fight veteran to the sport, but it has been ages since he's beaten anyone relevant. Stephens has lost two in a row to perennial contenders Anthony Pettis and Donald Cerrone, but he has routinely given the division's best all they can handle.
Stephens aggressive style and Edwards' fading chin basically sums up how this fight will go.
Jeremy Stephens via round 2 KO
Matt Juul: Two of the sport's most experienced lightweight competitors, both Edwards and Stephens will be looking to reverse their fortunes on Saturday night.
Stephens has dropped two straight bouts, but to his credit, he has been facing some top level competition with those loses coming to top 155-pounders Donald Cerrone and Anthony Pettis.
Edwards, on the other hand, has been slowly recovering from an injury and hasn't fought since his 2011 loss to Tony Ferguson.
Barring any legal troubles- and I'm talking to you Stephens-this bout should finally happen on Saturday night and may be a contender for Fight of the Night. With both men possessing solid striking skills, expect a stand-up battle with Stephen's power eventually making the difference.
Jeremy Stephens via round 3 KO
Dwight Wakabayashi: Edwards is one of my favorites but his best days are in the past and if he brawls against Stephens it could be lights out for him. It will be exciting though.
Jeremy Stephens via round 2 KO