UFC 168 Fight Card: Breaking Down Undercard Matchups

Jeremy Fuchs@@jaf78Correspondent IIIDecember 28, 2013

Apr 27, 2013; Newark, NJ, USA; Pat Healy (black shorts) celebrates defeating Jim Miller (not pictured) during UFC 159 at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Everybody is gearing up for the epic rematch of Chris Weidman and Anderson Silva, the main card of UFC 168, and a match that should be fantastic.

But it would be unwise to forget about some of the undercard matchups, which feature fantastic up-and-coming fighters, and should display exciting techniques and bouts. While Weidman vs. Silva is undoubtedly the main card, some of the other fights of the night could prove to be just as exciting. 

Below is a list of all the undercard matchups and below that we'll focus on a few of the best of the night. 

Jim Miller vs. Fabricio Camoes

UFC 168
MatchupDivisionTime (ET)Watch
Robbie Peralta vs. Estevan PayanFeatherweight7 p.m.Facebook and YouTube
William Macario vs. Bobby VoelkerWelterweight7 p.m.Facebook and YouTube
John Howard vs. Siyar BahadurzadaWelterweight8 p.m.Fox Sports 1
Dennis Siver vs. Manny GambruyanFeatherweight8 p.m.Fox Sports 1
Gleison Tibau vs. Michael JohnsonLightweight8 p.m.Fox Sports 1
Chris Leben vs. Uriah HallMiddleweight8 p.m.Fox Sports 1
Dustin Poirier vs. Diego BrandaoFeatherweight10 p.m.Pay-per-view
Jim Miller vs. Fabricio CamoesLightweight10 p.m.Pay-per-view
Josh Barnett vs. Travis BrowneHeavyweight10 p.m.Pay-per-view
Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha TateWomen's bantamweight10 p.m.Pay-per-view
Anderson Silva vs. Chris WeidmanMiddleweight (tor UFC middleweight title)10 p.m.Pay-per-view
Jeremy Fuchs

This should be a fine matchup of experienced lightweights. Miller, 22-4-1, is a very good defensive fighter, who, according to FightMetric, successfully defends 64 percent of strikes and defends 39 percent of potential takedowns. 

He's also a speedy fighter, landing 2.58 strikes per minute.

Apr 26, 2013; Newark, NJ, USA; Jim Miller weighs in for his lightweight bout against Pat Healy (not pictured) at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Camoes, on the other hand, is a bit more plodding, as he lands only 1.16 strikes per minute. He's not quite as good defensively, as he only defends 58 percent of all strike attempts and 25 percent of takedowns.

Camoes is at a distinct disadvantage in this matchup. For one, Miller has an excellent ground game and is a fine wrestler. Camoes is not much of a wrestler at all.

Look for Miller to try to get Camoes to the ground early. He could get a TKO by the second round. 

Dustin Poirier vs. Diego Brandao

This featherweight matchup is between two really good fighters.

But in this one, Brandao has the advantage.

The Brazilian is an incredible defensive fighter, deflecting 86 percent of potential takedowns and 63 percent of potential strikes, according to FightMetric.

He's also deadly accurate on his takedowns, with a healthy 80 percent average.

May 26, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Diego Brandao prepares to fight Darren Elkins (not pictured) during UFC 146 at the MGM Grand Garden event center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

This is a step up in competition for Brandao, as Poirier is an experienced veteran with a 14-3 record. Poirier, while good defensively, is not as good as Brandao. And worse, he is not very accurate with his takedowns, only connecting on 63 percent of his chances. 

The best way for Brandao to win this is to win it early. He does not have the best conditioning, and a savvy veteran like Poirier could easily outlast him. Brandao needs to strike early and often, getting Poirier to the mat and take him out no later than the second round.

I think Brandao has the pure talent to do that, and I like the 26-year-old to pull off the minor upset.

Josh Barnett vs. Travis Browne

This one might be a bit unfair. The overwhelming favorite is Browne, and it would be a shock if he loses.

The 6'7", 255-pounder is 15-1-1 in his career and is coming off an absolute beatdown of Alistair Overeem. He's an incredibly well-rounded fighter, with a 100 percent takedown defense rate, according to FightMetric, and an impressive 78 percent takedown average. The 31-year-old lands 2.76 strikes per minute.

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 17: Travis Browne celebrates after winning with a knockout against Alistair Overeem in their heavyweight bout at TD Garden on August 17, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Barnett is four inches shorter and five years older. He's a savvy veteran, but he's at a supreme disadvantage. He defends only 55 percent of potential takedowns and only 60 percent of potential strikes, according to FightMetric

This could be a first-round knockout for Browne. The hulking fighter is too powerful for Barnett. The only way Barnett can win is if the match goes three rounds. If that happens, then the 36-year-old could try to win it on the ground.

But I don't think it will. This one has KO written all over it. Look for Browne to win it early. 


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