UFC 172

Jones vs. Teixeira: Complete Guide to Full UFC 172 Fight Card

Scott HarrisFeatured ColumnistApril 22, 2014

Jones vs. Teixeira: Complete Guide to Full UFC 172 Fight Card

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    Jon Jones
    Jon JonesAaron Sweet/Getty Images

    The City That Reads? More like The City That Bleeds.

    Perhaps you saw what was done there, as far as humor. Perhaps not. Either way, Baltimore will host the UFC for the first time Saturday when the parade comes to Charm City for UFC 172.

    Outside of perhaps UFC 171 in March, none of the other 14(!) cards thus far in 2014 have approached the stakes and stackedness of this event. You are no doubt aware that the solar system's best active fighter in Jon Jones will defende his light heavyweight strap against Brazilian bruiser Glover Teixeira. There's plenty more where that comes from, though.

    You have the resurgent Anthony Johnson and suddenly hyper-driven hypester Phil Davis battling for a spot in Jones' challenger line. You have Luke Rockhold gunning for same in the middleweight division, where he faces Tim Boetsch. And you have no less than six interesting MMA prospects making their first or second appearances inside the Octagon.

    So it's a lot of stuff. Lots on tap at UFC 172. Here now is a complete guide to the full slate, from Fight Pass to finale. Information capsules, predictions, viewing coordinates and various multimedia content elements for your pleasure are included. Let's get it on.

Chris Beal vs. Patrick Williams

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    Division: Bantamweight
    Records: Chris Beal (8-0), Patrick Williams (7-3)
    See it on: UFC Fight Pass (subscription required)

    The jury is still sequestered on Beal. Everyone understands he toughed through a broken hand during The Ultimate Fighter 18. Everyone also understands the broken hand was sort of a hindrance, given that it basically cut his offensive options in half.

    Sometimes you need more tools in your toolbox. Beal has long been considered a nice prospect because of his precision boxing game and, to a lesser extent, his compelling back story. But he doesn't have a ton of offensive or defensive options. In his final fight on the TUF 18 season, Chris Holdsworth, known as a grappler, put Beal down in the first round with a punch and then finished him off with a choke. 

    That was not what Beal was looking for. Would a healthy hand have made a pivotal difference? It's tough to say, especially against easily the season's best fighter in Holdsworth. So yeah, jury still sequestered. 

    But he should have the chops to get past Williams, who is also making his UFC debut proper and is basically a journeyman banger. The full height of Beal's ceiling is unclear, but Williams won't be the measuring stick.

    Prediction: Beal, TKO, Rd. 2

Danny Castillo vs. Charlie Brenneman

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    Danny Castillo (center)
    Danny Castillo (center)Gregory Payan

    Division: Lightweight
    Records: Danny Castillo (16-6), Charlie Brenneman (19-6)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    Hope Team Alpha Male likes crab cakes and cheap beer. Because three of its fighters are in Baltimore for this fight card.

    Castillo is the first Sacramentan to appear. Both he and Brenneman are big lightweights with wrestling bases and inconsistent track records. Both have seen better days, too. A loss might not render the loser unemployed, but then again, it might.

    Especially Brenneman, who has always struck me as a bit overrated. How much mileage can you get out of upsetting Rick Story and having a fun hairstyle? A high number, apparently.

    In January, he returned to the UFC after a 15-month absence and tapped to Beneil Dariush in the first round. Now he gets another shot—this time against Castillo, who probably has more career momentum right now. Yes, he lost to Edson Barboza, but Barboza is pretty good, and Castillo was winning before a big Barboza comeback.

    Here's guessing Castillo is able to meet Brenneman's wrestling and distinguish himself on the feet. It may not be pretty, but it should work.

    Prediction: Castillo, unanimous decision

Jessamyn Duke vs. Bethe Correia

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    Division: Women's bantamweight
    Records: Jessamyn Duke (3-0), Bethe Correia (7-0)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    People who criticize TUF for not producing the quality or quantity of talent it once did got a shiny new plank in their platform after TUF 18

    Duke is one of the few fighters who seem poised to make an exception.

    During the show, the affable Kentuckian found herself nestled rather comfortably under the wing of one Ronda Rousey, and that relationship continues today. That can't be hurtful to Duke, who was more of a muay thai fighter entering the show. If she throws some judo stuff into a ground game that doesn't go much beyond the jiu-jitsu basics, that would be good for her.

    Correia is also a muay thai fighter at heart but is not what you'd call a berserker in there. She's methodical and relies on a somewhat Liz Carmouche-like build to overpower opponents over time.

    The problem for Correia is that she's giving up seven inches to Duke. That's seven. She won't be able to overcome that, not with her limited pro experience. And especially if Duke has a new leverage tool up her sleeve.

    Prediction: Duke, submission, Rd. 1

Isaac Vallie-Flagg vs. Takanori Gomi

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    Takanori Gomi
    Takanori GomiEric Jamison

    Division: Lightweight
    Records: Takanori Gomi (34-9), Isaac Vallie-Flagg (14-4-1)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    How do you solve a problem like Gomi? If you said, "Pair him up on an undercard with Isaac Vallie-Flagg," then you are correct.

    Actually, at age 35, a loser in three of his last five and coming off a year away from competition, the hard-hitting Gomi might be better-suited to the novelty circuit. Vallie-Flagg, meanwhile, is 36 and not on any apparent fast track to anywhere. He'll probably be able to grind Gomi out, and Pride fans around the world will feel yet another twinge of sadness.

    Prediction: Vallie-Flagg, unanimous decision

Joseph Benavidez vs. Tim Elliott

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    Joseph Benavidez
    Joseph BenavidezSteve Yeater

    Division: Flyweight
    Records: Joseph Benavidez (19-4), Tim Elliott (10-4-1)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    Please allow me to join the chorus of other voices who wonder why this match is on the undercard. Look at this fight and then look at the main card. You tell me.

    I know the cable TV topper is an important slot, but it doesn't mean you put your third- or fourth-best fight there. It happened last weekend with Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Rafael dos Anjos, too. As a result, the millions of casual fans who watched the main card during Mike and Molly commercials did not know the UFC's newest lightweight contender.  

    Ah, but I prattle on. Benavidez is the bigger name here, having twice fought for the flyweight belt, though he came up short each time. His power striking and wrestling make for good close-in fighting.

    Elliott is kind of all over the place in there, always switching stances, throwing strikes from weird places and initiating frenetic ground exchanges. 

    Benavidez should be able to get inside, secure takedowns and land short stuff from the top to tenderize Elliott and take the TKO.

    Prediction: Benavidez, TKO, Rd. 2

Andre Fili vs. Max Holloway

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    Max Holloway
    Max HollowayGregory Payan

    Division: Featherweight
    Records: Andre Fili (13-1), Max Holloway (8-3)
    See it on: Pay-per-view

    This should be a fun way to kick off the main card, even if it doesn't have a ton of immediate implications for the featherweight division.

    Combined, Holloway, 22, and Fili, 23, are barely old enough for a mid-life crisis, but they plenty old enough on their own to have carved out solid pro careers. Holloway is far more seasoned in the Octagon, having competed seven times there despite his youth. His high-wire striking game always wins fans, even if it doesn't necessarily win fights.

    In his UFC debut last fall, Fili used heavy clinch knees and punches to open up and put down Jeremy Larsen for a second-round TKO.

    Both of these guys use big combinations. Holloway possibly has a quickness advantage, while Fili holds an edge in size and power (even when he makes weight, which he will presumably do this time, given a full camp). 

    Both men have great chins, too, so there could be some fantastic exchanges here. To date, Fili has shown a little more mat acumen. That plus better strength equals a controlling win for the Team Alpha Male featherweight in his second UFC bout.

    Prediction: Fili, unanimous decision

Jim Miller vs. Yancy Medeiros

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    Jim Miller
    Jim MillerDavid Becker

    Division: Lightweight
    Records: Jim Miller (23-4), Yancy Medeiros (9-1)
    See it on: Pay-per-view

    Another assignment, another squash match for Jim Miller.

    This one wasn't quite so premeditated, as Bobby Green's injury boosted Medeiros from undercard to PPV. Still, this shouldn't be a Mount Everest for Miller.

    Medeiros, who is a native Hawaiian, trains with Team Gracie but is mainly a knockout artist, and he even beat Yves Edwards that way (though a Medeiros drug test later turned it to a no-contest). The 26-year-old is still getting started but didn't face a lot of tough guys before heading to the UFC. 

    Miller is a pretty tough guy. He'll use his wrestling to keep Medeiros where he wants him, tire him out and eventually power himself into something dominant.

    Prediction: Miller, submission, Rd. 2

Tim Boetsch vs. Luke Rockhold

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    Luke Rockhold
    Luke RockholdUSA TODAY Sports

    Division: Middleweight
    Records: Luke Rockhold (11-2), Tim Boetsch (17-6)
    See it on: Pay-per-view

    Everyone is simply handing this fight to Luke Rockhold. Give it to him, they say. He's better and could be one of the company's brightest new stars. 

    There's some danger to that. It's like hiring a head coach because he has whiter teeth and looks better holding a clipboard. You can't just predict a guy will be successful because you like the cut of his jib.

    That said, I think Rockhold is going to be successful Saturday night. I really like the cut of his jib.

    The one main difference between them is kickboxing. Rockhold has a lot of stuff when it comes to that. As he showed with that masterful body-kick knockout of Costas Philippou, he can throw pretty much anything with power and accuracy. That plus his good movement keeps opponents on their heels.

    As for Boetsch, I suppose I like him more than most. He's a gargantuan middleweight who clinches up opponents and pounds them with uppercuts. But he's not quite the lumbering oaf he might appear to be. He trains under MMA sage Matt Hume and alongside flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson at AMC Pankration. He knows how to use his great size and power when he goes for a takedown or judo throw, and he knows how to control opponents on the ground.

    The rub, though, is the ground grappling. Rockhold is a jiu-jitsu black belt and world champion. And he trains at American Kickboxing Academy, which is probably MMA's premier camp for wrestling. 

    So he'll probably have an advantage everywhere but in the clinch. So forget what I said before. Just hand the next title shot to Rockhold.

    Prediction: Rockhold, unanimous decision

Phil Davis vs. Anthony Johnson

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    Phil Davis
    Phil DavisUSA TODAY Sports

    Division: Light heavyweight
    Records: Phil Davis (12-1), Anthony Johnson (16-4)
    See it on: Pay-per-view

    You could almost hear Anthony Johnson smiling.

    As Phil Davis' verbal spat with Jon Jones took over Monday's UFC 172 media conference call, Johnson sat quietly by. As Davis waxed on about his light heavyweight title shot and how he would crumble Jones like a cookie, Johnson uttered nary a peep of protest.

    Johnson would appear to enjoy flying under the radar. It's safer there. Davis is most decidedly not under the radar. While this is not the world's most technical breakdown, I think it means something.

    I think it means Davis is about to fall.

    And what better man to do the chopping than "Rumble" Johnson? He is ravenous for respect after weight-cutting issues and a loss to Vitor Belfort pushed him out of the UFC. Fighting mainly at light heavyweight since then, Johnson is 6-0, with wins over Andrei Arlovski and Mike Kyle under the World Series of Fighting banner. He hasn't lost any of his devastating power, even if he's now plying it on bigger guys.

    Simply put, he  can knock out an oak tree. He can do it with his fists or his feet. And he's eager to do it again in the UFC. Call it what you will, but Davis is overlooking him, and everyone can see that, including Johnson, if his comments to Mike Chiappetta of Fox Sports are any indication:

    I don't think Phil's dumb, I think he's just preparing himself for what could come up next," Johnson said in the report. "That's not a bad thing. I don't think he's overlooking me, but at same time I think he doesn't take me too seriously. I think he doubts me just a smidge and that's all I need.

    Agreed. Davis is a pure stud, and his wrestling is second to none. But the hungrier Johnson has a huge edge on the feet—more like a full-blown phase advantage than a mere puncher's chance. He also has enough sprawling skill and pure bulk that getting him horizontal might not be automatic, even for someone as great at that as Davis.

    Either way, once you're on your back and looking up at the lights, wrestling doesn't matter much.

    Prediction: Johnson, TKO, Rd. 1

Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira

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    Jon Jones
    Jon JonesUSA TODAY Sports

    Division: Light heavyweight
    Records: Jon Jones (19-1), Glover Teixeira (22-2)
    See it on: Pay-per-view

    I've been drinking the Glover Kool-Aid for years now. It's great with fluffer nutters.

    There was a mystique around the Brazilian ground-and-pound monster, the win streak that crossed presidential administrations, the umpteen stoppages and bludgeoning knockout power.

    But today, I come before you with a heavy heart. Because the party's over. I'm putting the Kool-Aid down.

    Even I, looking through these artificially colored lenses of mine, can see that Teixeira is too slow, one-dimensional and uncreative to handle Jones' combat prodigy.

    Teixeira often looks weary even before the opening horn, and his inevitable plod forward followed by that well-traveled overhand right and clinch along the fence for body shots doesn't do much to dispel the notion. 

    Jones will move in a higher gear, and he will (as always) be better than last time. You can't say either of those things about Teixeira. There you go.

    Prediction: Jones, TKO, Rd. 2

     

    Scott Harris writes about MMA and other things for Bleacher Report and other places. For more wild speculation and MMA riffage, follow Scott on Twitter.

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