Henderson vs. Khabilov: A Complete Guide to Full UFC Fight Night 42 Card

Scott Harris@ScottHarrisMMAMMA Lead WriterJune 2, 2014

Henderson vs. Khabilov: A Complete Guide to Full UFC Fight Night 42 Card

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    Benson Henderson
    Benson HendersonJeff Chiu/Associated Press

    Albuquerque, New Mexico, is suddenly a hot property. And that's because of more than just its high average daily temperatures, am I right?

    Yes, I'm very right. The setting for the cultural touchstone that was Breaking Bad also is a new mecca for combat sports. A modern-day Philly for the MMA set. That's thanks to the vaunted Greg Jackson/Mike Winkeljohn training center, home of luminaries like Jon Jones, Carlos Condit and quite a few more.

    Now the UFC is honoring this gravity shift by staging its first Albuquerque card, UFC Fight Night 42 this Saturday. In the main event, former lightweight champ Benson Henderson will try to return to the title-talk table at the expense of Rustam Khabilov, the fast-rising Dagestani who is one of several fighters representing Jackson/Winkeljohn on the slate.

    But there's intrigue all up and down the card, from Fight Pass to finale. Here's a complete guide, including information capsules, predictions and viewing coordinates for each and every contest. Let's get it on.

Patrick Cummins vs. Roger Narvaez

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    Patrick Cummins (right) lost to Daniel Cormier in his last bout.
    Patrick Cummins (right) lost to Daniel Cormier in his last bout.USA TODAY Sports

    Division: Light heavyweight
    Records: Patrick Cummins (4-1), Roger Narvaez (6-0)
    See it on: UFC Fight Pass (subscription required)

    It was hearty chuckles all around when Cummins accepted that fight with Daniel Cormier on short notice, lost his coffee bar-tending job as a result, spent all of fight week flapping his gums at Cormier, then proceeded to get himself knocked out in less than 80 seconds.

    So many chuckles resulting from that situation. But now Cummins is back and kicking off the event against Roger Narvaez, a young prospect moving over from Legacy Fighting Championship who has five of six wins by stoppage.

    Cummins, the former college wrestler, should be able to stifle Narvaez in a manner that wasn't exactly viable against Cormier, and he'll get the win that eluded him in February.

    Prediction: Cummins, unanimous decision

Jon Tuck vs. Jake Lindsey

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    Jon Tuck
    Jon TuckKin Cheung/Associated Press

    Division: Lightweight
    Records: Jon Tuck (7-1), Jake Lindsey (9-0)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    Jon Tuck made a name for himself in Asia, but he hasn't been especially inspiring thus far in his 1-1 UFC career.

    The well-rounded Guam native has another chance to make a strong impression when he faces Lindsey, a heavy-handed ex-featherweight making his Octagon debut. Lindsey seems geared for action, so here's guessing we get an entertaining kickoff to the televised portion of the card, and possibly the finish that has eluded Tuck to date.

    Prediction: Tuck, TKO, Rd. 2 

Scott Jorgensen vs. Danny Martinez

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    Scott Jorgensen
    Scott JorgensenEric Jamison/Associated Press

    Division: Flyweight
    Records: Scott Jorgensen (14-9), Danny Martinez (16-5)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    The last time Scott Jorgensen won a fight was Christmas season of 2012. That's a long time in MMA.

    So far, a drop to 125 pounds hasn't borne fruit. To an extent, Jorgensen is a victim of his own success, earning (then losing) matchups with Urijah Faber, Zach Makovsky and jiu-jitsu standout Jussier Formiga.

    Martinez is tough and trains with Dominick Cruz and others at vaunted Alliance MMA. But Jorgensen should be the bigger man and connect on either a takedown or a big right hand or two to finally get back on the good foot. 

    Prediction: Jorgensen, unanimous decision

Bobby Voelker vs. Lance Benoist

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    Bobby Voelker
    Bobby VoelkerUSA TODAY Sports

    Division: Welterweight
    Records: Bobby Voelker (24-11), Lance Benoist (6-2)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    Voelker's game, it is not subtle. He's a brawler. That's probably why he still has a job with the company despite the dreaded three straight losses currently millstoning around his neck.

    Hard to think he'd survive another defeat. He is hard to finish in any phase, but at 35 years of living and 35 fights on this professional odometer, it's hard not to wonder about the proverbial expiration date.

    Luckily, his opponent hasn't shown much of a propensity for the stoppage anyway. Benoist, a full decade Voelker's junior, is a submissions expert but has dropped two decisions in a row. He'll try to get Voelker down, but he won't be able to do much once there. Voelker will stave off the submission attempts and land something stiff enough to force a referee's intervention. The veteran lives to fight another day.

    Prediction: Voelker, TKO, Rd. 2

Sergio Pettis vs. Yaotzin Meza

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    Sergio Pettis
    Sergio PettisUSA TODAY Sports

    Division: Bantamweight
    Records: Yaotzin Meza (20-9), Sergio Pettis (10-1)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    The first pro loss of Pettis' young career was as much a commentary on Alex Caceres as it was on Pettis. Bruce Leeroy looked better than he'd ever looked, using much-improved grappling to choke out an outsized and outgunned Pettis.

    Now Pettis is back in action, though he remains at bantamweight (he made his minor league bones as a standout at flyweight). Meza is a fine grappler himself but shouldn't have much for Pettis in the striking phase.

    Pettis is an elite prospect. It would benefit everyone involved to get the 20-year-old's swagger back. Methinks it will happen Saturday.

    Prediction: Pettis, TKO, Rd. 1

Erik Perez vs. Bryan Caraway

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    Erik Perez
    Erik PerezUSA TODAY Sports

    Division: Bantamweight
    Records: Erik Perez (14-5), Bryan Caraway (18-6)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    Despite the fact that both of these fighters are quite good, both are more famous for certain non-fighting qualities.

    Caraway is known first as the boyfriend and quasi-coach of highly popular women's bantamweight and MMA magazine pinup Miesha Tate.

    Perez is walking shorthand for the UFC's ongoing efforts to generate talent from (and, as a result, a more substantial business presence in) Mexico, and other countries for that matter. And also, the luchador wrestling mask (see photo).

    I suspect both men would like to be known more for what they actually do in the cage. That subtext actually adds a lot of interest to this fight.

    Perez is 24 and one of the fighters on the card representing Jackson/Winkeljohn. It feels like his time, here in his training backyard. He's also pretty well-rounded and should have a striking advantage. If his takedown defense and defensive grappling hold up, he should be able to earn the scoring edge.

    Prediction: Perez, unanimous decision

Yves Edwards vs. Piotr Hallmann

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    Yves Edwards
    Yves EdwardsUSA TODAY Sports

    Division: Lightweight
    Records: Yves Edwards (42-20-1), Piotr Hallmann (14-2)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    Edwards has had a long and accomplished (and a bit sad, frankly, as this article chronicles) career in mixed martial arts. He's now 37 years old, with plenty of wear and tear on the treads, and it's fair to wonder if he's nearing the end of the line.

    He suffered a crushing first-round knockout in his last fight, and only Yancy Medeiros' failed drug test kept that from being Edwards' third loss in a row and fourth in his last five.

    Now add in Hallmann, a high-octane 26-year-old from Poland who wants to return to the win column after losing his first fight in three years last October. Medeiros was also just 26 when the two fought. Edwards' previous opponent, Daron Cruickshank, had just celebrated his 28th birthday when they fought and was a popular guy from The Ultimate Fighter who was only three fights into his UFC career proper.

    It certainly would not be the first time a promotion has nourished a burgeoning career with the blood (almost literally, sometimes) of a well-known veteran. Is Edwards now being used in this capacity? Until further notice, my answer is yes.

    Prediction: Hallmann, unanimous decision

Rafael Dos Anjos vs. Jason High

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    Rafael Dos Anjos
    Rafael Dos AnjosReinhold Matay/Associated Press

    Division: Lightweight
    Records: Rafael dos Anjos (20-7), Jason High (18-4)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    A loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov does not a derailment make.

    That's where Dos Anjos finds himself after dropping a decision in his last fight to probably the hottest up-and-comer in the entire UFC. If you're Dos Anjos, you tip your cap, glean what you can from the tape and move on to the next one.

    The next one in this case is High, a standout wrestler and all-around likable individual looking to win his third straight. But Dos Anjos has the elite jiu-jitsu chops to stay a step ahead of High on the mat.

    Prediction: Dos Anjos, unanimous decision

John Dodson vs. John Moraga

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    John Dodson
    John DodsonNam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Division: Flyweight
    Records: John Dodson (15-6), John Moraga (14-2)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    Dodson is a heavy favorite in this contest, and it's pretty easy to see why.

    The best flyweight in the Jackson-Winkeljohn stable moves like lightning and has a rumble of thunder in his gloves. Moraga is a solid wrestler with legitimate knockout power. I imagine he will want to tie Dodson up in the clinch or on the mat and neutralize that speed and open-space dynamism. Good luck with that. Dodson will get his big combos going, sprawl out of takedown shots and show once again that he's probably the second-best flyweight in the world.

    Prediction: Dodson, TKO, Rd. 2

Diego Sanchez vs. Ross Pearson

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    Diego Sanchez
    Diego SanchezEric Jamison/Associated Press

    Division: Lightweight
    Records: Diego Sanchez (24-7), Ross Pearson (15-6)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    One reason and one reason only why these guys get co-main event positioning over higher-ranked, more highly regarded fighters. Because they're going to have a bloody war.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the canvas ultimately resembled the floor of a sorority house after a Franzia party, assuming Franzia parties actually occur, which I sincerely hope that they do. Both these men are stand-up bangers. Sanchez has a wrestling edge, but I would be flabbergasted if he actually used it.

    Part of me wants to give the edge to Sanchez. But the UFC's craziest fighter is almost too crazy for his own good these days. He swings too hard and too wildly. He seems more intent on preserving his rep than winning a fight.

    Expect this one to fully live up to expectations. Expect each man to donate a pint or two. Expect Sanchez to stay well away from the steak tartare and raw quail eggs this time. Expect Sancheza disprover of the "Jackson-Winkeljohn fighters are boring" theory if there ever was oneto forsake defense and grappling in the name of adrenaline. Expect the chins to hold up. Expect a lot of vigorous nodding and "let's get that bonus" high-fiving. And expect Ross Pearson to take advantage of Sanchez's single-mindedness with crisp footwork and better striking precision.

    Prediction: Pearson, unanimous decision

Benson Henderson vs. Rustam Khabilov

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    Rustam Khabilov
    Rustam KhabilovGregory Payan/Associated Press

    Division: Lightweight
    Records: Benson Henderson (20-3), Rustam Khabilov (17-1)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    By my count, there are four Jackson-Winkeljohn fighters on the UFC Fight Night 42 card: Dodson, Sanchez, Perez and Khabilov. When it's all said and done, Khabilov could be the most accomplished of the bunch.

    You may remember Khabilov from all those times he dominated his opponents with the suplexing and slamming and so on. Calling the 27-year-old Dagestani a powerful grappler is like calling Nick Diaz noncommittal. By which I mean, it's a really accurate way to describe him.

    On the other side, everyone understands the Bendo game. His huge frame and top-notch athleticism require no translation. The former champ likes to fire leg kicks from distance and get clinch work done along the fence. He has good takedown defense and will exchange a little bit on the feet. The rounds will be close.

    The X-factor may be whether Henderson can stuff Khabilov's takedowns, and when ground or clinch situations do happen, who can wrest control from the other. And you know what? I think Henderson might be just a little too polished. Khabilov will be comfortable in the deep waters, but just a little more often than not, it'll be Bendo calling the tune. It's a slow tune. A dirge, even. But you know what? That thing moves units.

    Prediction: Henderson, split decision

    Scott Harris writes about MMA and other things for Bleacher Report and other places. Baseless speculation is the base of his game. If that is just the most irresistible-sounding thing you've heard all day, follow Scott on Twitter.