UFC Fight Night 27: Preliminary Card Predictions
Just 11 days removed from its first show on the network (UFC Fight Night 26), the UFC will attempt to put on another captivating event on Fox Sports 1 when it hosts UFC Fight Night 27 on Wednesday, August 28.
The main card consists of six juicy matchups, including an intriguing and pivotal rematch between welterweights Carlos Condit (No. 2) and Martin Kampmann (No. 6) in the night's main event.
Not to be overshadowed by the main card, the preliminary card will also provide fans with enthralling bouts, including Hatsu Hioki-Darren Elkins and Jason High-James Head.
Here are my predictions for the six preliminary scraps on tap for UFC Fight Night 27.
Roger Bowling vs. Abel Trujillo
The first fight on the Facebook prelims will feature former Strikeforce welterweight Roger Bowling and Blackzilians product Abel Trujillo locking horns in a lightweight tilt.
After posting a 4-3 record in Strikeforce, Bowling got brutally KO'd by Anthony Njokuani in his promotional debut at UFC on Fox 7 to drop his second straight fight.
Bowling has decent wrestling chops and explosive KO power in his hands. The Ohio native will look to get on top of Trujillo and notch his eighth career KO.
Unlike Bowling, Trujillo prevailed in his promotional debut by TKO'ing four-time NCAA Division III wrestling champ Marcus LeVesseur at UFC on Fox 5.
But in his second fight with the company, Trujillo surrendered a record 21 takedowns to drop a unanimous decision to the unbeaten Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 160.
While Nurmagomedov made his skills look novice, Trujillo still fashions himself a wrestler who likes to get on top and fish for submissions and KO's.
They have similar styles and almost identical builds, but Bowling will use his grit and superior cardio to grind out a win.
Result: Bowling def. Trujillo by decision
Zak Cummings vs. Ben Alloway
In a welterweight clash on Facebook, Ben Alloway will welcome the The Ultimate Fighter Season 17 alum Zak Cummings to the Octagon in the night's second bout.
After garnering "Knockout of the Night" honors in his promotional debut, Alloway dropped a unanimous decision to Ryan LaFlare at UFC on Fuel TV 9.
With six wins coming via KO and four by submission, Alloway sports a similar skill set to that of the balanced Cummings. However, three of Alloway's four losses have come via submission, a vulnerability that Cummings, a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, could expose.
Cummings, a former JUCO wrestler who lost his first-round bout to Dylan Andrews on TUF 17, has won his last two scraps via first-round submission. With eight of his 15 victories coming by submission, expect Cummings to attempt to floor Alloway and go to work with his dangerous grappling game.
Based on his slick KO (front and punches) of Manuel Rodriguez at UFC on FX 6, Alloway has KO pop that's worth respecting.
However, Alloway has struggled against superior grapplers, and against Cummings, he'll signify the inferior ground fighter.
Result: Cummings def. Alloway via submission
James Head vs. Jason High
The first fight on Fox Sports 2 will feature former NCAA Division I wrestler Jason High locking horns with promotional vet James Head in a welterweight scrap.
Unbeaten in three Strikeforce bouts, High entered the UFC on an impressive seven-fight winning streak. The Missouri native, however, got submitted in just 1:11 in his promotional debut by Erick Silva at UFC on Fuel TV 10.
Although High possesses efficient wrestling skills and a devastating ground-and-pound repertoire, he's prone to getting KO'd and must be cognizant of Head's strengths from bell to bell.
Head got submitted by Nick Ring in his promotional debut at UFC 131 before reeling off back-to-back wins. Head bested Papy Abedi and Brian Ebersole for back-to-back wins at UFC on Fuel TV 2 and UFC 149, respectively.
While Head has the striking aptitude to hand High his third career KO loss, the Oklahoman will struggle to stop High's takedowns and ground assaults.
Result: High def. Head by decision
Darren Elkins vs. Hatsu Hioki
In a pertinent showdown in the featherweight division, Darren Elkins and Hatsu Hioki will each look to get back to their winning ways.
Former lightweight Elkins notched five straight wins after joining the 145-pound class in 2011. Title challenger Chad Mendes brought the streak to a screeching halt when he TKO'd Elkins at UFC on Fox 7.
A state champ wrestler in Indiana in high school, Elkins uses a Chael Sonnen-like approach to grind his opponents down. Elkins optimized his wrestling abilities during his recent winning streak to decision Michihiro Omigawa, Zhang Tiequan, Diego Brandao and Steven Siler in succession.
Hioki picked up decision wins in his first two bouts in the UFC before dropping consecutive controversial decisions to divisional staples Ricardo Lamas and Clay Guida in his last two outings.
A black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Hioki represents one of the division's most lethal submission artists, especially when operating off his back. Twelve of Hioki's 26 wins have come via submission, including five by triangle choke, four by armbar and another via triangle/armbar.
Elkins will likely end up in the top position on at least a few occasions in this bout, but with a desperate Hioki on the bottom, this fight could end in similar fashion to the Elkins-Charles Oliveira scrap (Oliveira won via first-round armbar).
Result: Hioki def. Elkins via submission
Justin Edwards vs. Brandon Thatch
UFC vet Justin Edwards will greet once-beaten blue-chip prospect Brandon Thatch in an interesting matchup at 170 pounds.
After dropping two of his first three UFC bouts, Edwards bounced back in his last fight and notched the most notable win of his career by submitting Josh Neer with a guillotine choke in just 45 seconds.
Edwards, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt and a cast member on The Ultimate Fighter Season 13, has secured submissions in six of his eight wins.
Thatch, conversely, has amazingly piled up eight straight first-round finishes since losing the second fight of his career in 2008. In that span, Thatch has won five bouts via KO and three by submission.
Edwards undoubtedly has the talent to stay afloat in the welterweight division for several more fights, but Thatch is just destined for greatness.
Result: Thatch def. Edwards by unanimous decision
Dylan Andrews vs. Papy Abedi
In the night's final prelim bout, hulking knockout artists Dylan Andrews and Papy Abedi will tangle in a curious welterweight tilt.
Andrews bounced back from his TKO loss to Uriah Hall in the semifinals of The Ultimate Fighter Season 17 with a swift TKO win over Jimmy Quinlan in his promotional debut at The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale.
A solid wrestler who's won 11 of his 16 bouts via KO, Andrews will attempt to hand Abedi his first career KO setback.
Abedi, a black belt in judo and a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, surprisingly dropped his first two fights in the UFC via rear-naked choke to Thiago Alves and James Head, respectively.
The African-born Abedi, who's hailed from Sweden since 1997, regained his footing in his most recent outing by nipping Besam Yousef at UFC on Fuel TV 9.
Abedi may hold a slight edge in the grappling department over Andrews, but he's surely a step behind in the striking category.
Result: Andrews def. Abedi by decision