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UFC on Fox 8: Main Card Staff Predictions

James MacDonaldFeatured ColumnistJuly 26, 2013

UFC on Fox 8: Main Card Staff Predictions

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    Perhaps it’s an indication of the fans’ general indifference toward the UFC’s flyweight division, but UFC on Fox 8 has flown under the radar.

    We’re used to heavy promotion for these nationally televised cards, but Zuffa hasn’t flexed its promotional muscle on this one.

    Still, there’s plenty to look forward to on Saturday night, including Demetrious Johnson vs. John Moraga for the UFC’s 125-pound title and Jake Ellenberger vs. Rory MacDonald, which has turned into something of a grudge match.

    With such a stellar card on offer, I decided to get the boys back together for one last job (until the next card, that is). On the crew we have Scott Harris, Riley Kontek, Craig Amos, Sean Smith and yours truly, James MacDonald.

    Read on for our thoughts on Saturday night’s main card.

Liz Carmouche vs. Jessica Andrade

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    Scott Harris

    In her fight with Ronda Rousey and the various activities that surrounded it, Carmouche earned legions of fans with her affability and courage in and out of the cage. She may have her back against the wall in this one and will fight like it. The scrappy striker is more well-rounded than she sometimes gets credit for, which she showed by putting Rousey in trouble before she was finished.

    Carmouche, Unanimous Decision

     

    Riley Kontek

    Jessica Andrade is a great prospect, but she is raw in the stand-up department. Liz Carmouche almost upset Ronda Rousey in her last fight and has the wrestling to dominate opponents. She will need to avoid Andrade's trademark guillotine choke, but she will earn a stoppage.

    Carmouche, TKO, Round 3

     

    Craig Amos

    There are several reasons to pick Carmouche here: She has a striking edge, she has faced better competition and she has fought in the UFC before. But I'm going with Andrade.

    The way she plows forward to secure the clinch is reminiscent of how Ronda Rousey overcame Carmouche during their title fight, and while Andrade is not Rousey, she is persistent with her takedowns and wields a wicked guillotine choke, which I predict will end this match.

    Andrade, Submission, Round 3 

     

    Sean Smith

    At 21 years old, Andrade could be a future star in the women's bantamweight division, but she's taking a big step up in competition at UFC on Fox 8. Carmouche nearly dethroned Ronda Rousey with a neck crank in her last outing, while Andrade has been competing in smaller shows that won't have prepared her all that well for the pressure of fighting inside the Octagon.

    Carmouche will be too much, too soon for the UFC newcomer, but this could serve as a good learning experience for Andrade as she tries to build her name in the 135-pound class.

    Carmouche, TKO, Round 2

     

    James MacDonald

    It’s unfortunate that Liz Carmouche doesn’t have better submission defence, because she is one of the most skilled female fighters on the planet. Even allowing for that hole in her game, the 29-year-old should have enough in her toolkit to deal with the relative inexperience of Jessica Andrade.

    Carmouche, Unanimous Decision

     

Robbie Lawler vs. Bobby Voelker

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    Scott Harris

    I wasn't much of a Lawler believer, at least not when he was facing UFC competition. But as he showed against Josh Koscheck, a knockout is a knockout is a knockout. He'll use that great equalizer again to good effect against Bobby Voelker.

    Lawler, KO, Round 1

     

    Riley Kontek

    Props to Bobby Voelker for taking such a dangerous fight on short notice against a tough veteran. Unfortunately, generosity doesn't win you fights. Robbie Lawler has nasty power in his hands and can end things in one punch. Look for launch.

    Lawler, KO, Round 2

     

    Craig Amos

    I'm tempted to go with the upset pick here, because I think Voelker will be able to take Lawler down and control the majority of the action. The reason I'm selling out and sticking with Lawler is because he only needs seconds to end a fight, and overall, his ability and experience outweigh Voelker's stylistic advantage. 

    Lawler, KO, Round 2

     

    Sean Smith

    Coming off a loss to Patrick Cote in his UFC debut, Voelker probably could have used a fight with a low-ranked welterweight opponent. Instead, he accepted a bout with Lawler, who recently knocked out perennial contender Josh Koscheck on short notice. This has the makings of a slugfest, and Lawler does not often come out on the wrong end of those.

    Lawler, TKO, Round 1

     

    James MacDonald

    I’ve never been a huge fan of Robbie Lawler, so I was shocked when he temporarily separated Josh Koscheck from his senses. Perhaps, the Pat Miletich protégé is finally fulfilling the promise everyone used to talk about all those years ago.

    A win over Bobby Voelker won’t do a great deal to boost Lawler’s standing in the welterweight division, but it gives him the opportunity to win back-to-back fights for the first time since 2007.

    Lawler, KO, Round 2

     

Rory MacDonald vs. Jake Ellenberger

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    Scott Harris

    I've been enjoying Jake Ellenberger's attempts to get under the Rorybot's exoskeleton with his Twitter jabs and what not. We'll see how unflappable MacDonald really is. Unemotional and unflappable are not the same things, you know. 

    Inside the Octagon, we all know MacDonald has the tools. But I think he's a little less invincible than people think. Ellenberger is battle tested and has the physical and strategic means to find MacDonald's chin. Sound the upset alarms.

    Ellenberger, TKO, Round 3

     

    Riley Kontek

    I like the pre-fight buildup here. Hopefully, the fight lives up to the standards. I have a hunch that the wrestling games are going to cancel each other out, turning this into the proverbial K-1 striking affair. In that case, it's power versus technique. I will go with technique here, as MacDonald continues to impress in a close fight.

    MacDonald, Unanimous Decision

     

    Craig Amos

    Few fighters burst from the gates like Ellenberger does, a trait that is attested to by his three first-round UFC knockouts. But his early explosions come at the cost of later fatigue. I predict that MacDonald will be able to weather an early storm in Round 1, take over in the second and finish the job before the last bell sounds.

    MacDonald, TKO, Round 3

     

    Sean Smith

    There may not be a title on the line, as there is in the main event, but MacDonald and Ellenberger seem to have made this co-main event the most highly anticipated bout on the UFC on Fox 8 fight card.

    MacDonald's wrestling has led him to some of his most impressive victories, but he'll have a tough time taking down a strong collegiate wrestler like Ellenberger. While MacDonald may be able to hang with Ellenberger when standing, the latter carries more power and can end this fight with a single punch.

    Ellenberger, TKO, Round 2

     

    James MacDonald

    This is the bout I am most looking forward to on the card. I always enjoy watching my namesake fight, but I am especially intrigued after following Jake Ellenberger’s outstanding Twitter trolling. That being said, the Nebraskan may have bitten off more than he can chew. MacDonald just keeps getting better and better. I fear Ellenberger may have caught the 24-year-old at the wrong time.

    MacDonald, TKO, Round 3

     

Demetrious Johnson vs. John Moraga

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    Scott Harris

    Moraga has 61 percent of his wins by finish. Not too shabby, especially in the flyweight division. He's a violent dude (in a good way) and a strong competitor. But Demetrious Johnson pries apart game plans like an evil NASCAR mechanic. The UFC's fastest man should defend his title again.

    Johnson, Unanimous Decision

     

    Riley Kontek

    This matchup is a lot closer than people are giving it credit for. I like John Moraga and think he is capable of winning this fight. However, Johnson has consistently faced higher-level opponents and has the all-around game to make this an ugly fight. Just don't expect a finish for "Mighty Mouse."

    Johnson, Unanimous Decision

     

    Craig Amos

    Moraga wasn't one of the guys whom the UFC originally based the flyweight class around, but he's forced himself into the title picture and deserves mention alongside the division's best. That said, Johnson is systematically cutting down the best of the best at 125 pounds, and I don't believe Moraga is the guy who will halt his momentum. 

    Johnson, Unanimous Decision

     

    Sean Smith

    Moraga's finishing ability is rare in the flyweight division and makes him a legitimate threat to Johnson. However, "Mighty Mouse" has taken shots from John Dodson, another heavy-hitting flyweight who also holds a win over Moraga.

    All it takes is one misstep by Johnson for Moraga to take the 125-pound crown, but the champion has never been stopped and should be able to score enough points with takedowns over five rounds to earn an edge on the scorecards.

    Johnson, Unanimous Decision

     

    James MacDonald

    Demetrious Johnson continues the trend of fighting flyweights with a killer instinct, following his recent bouts with John Dodson and Joseph Benavidez. Fortunately for the UFC’s 125-pound champ, his speed and athleticism appear to be kryptonite to these big hitters. And as good as John Moraga is, expect him to come out on the losing end of a decision on Saturday night.

    Johnson, Unanimous Decision

     

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