UFC on Fox 12: Preliminary Card Predictions
This weekend marks the UFC's return to Fox on network TV, as UFC on Fox 12 will be live from San Jose, California. Headlined by Robbie Lawler and Matt Brown, the card boasts a deep lineup with lots of top talent.
Last week's two-event marathon was mediocre for my picks. Overall, between UFC Fight Night 45 and 46, I went 6-5, as upsets and disappointments marred my picks.
That said, here are the prelim predictions for UFC on Fox 12.
2014 Riley's Record: 100-68
Last Event: UFC Fight Night 46 (3-3)
Juliana Lima vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Kicking off the prelims on Fight Pass are the women's strawweights. Poland's Joanna Jedrzejczyk will be making her debut opposite Brazilian newcomer Juliana Lima.
Jedrzejczyk is a well-rounded fighter making the drop to 115 from 125 pounds. She is known as a really good grappler, but she showed that she has immense knockout power by putting down UFC vet Rosi Sexton with one punch in her most recent fight. She could be a very interesting contender at 115.
Lima, who couldn't participate on The Ultimate Fighter 20 due to a language barrier, is a muay thai fighter with great physical strength. She is a hulk at 115 and will be hard for any fighter to bully around.
This fight will be a very good. On the feet, it will be competitive, but if Jedrzejczyk can get Lima on the ground and use her grappling to wear her out, she can earn the win here.
Prediction: Jedrzejczyk def. Lima via decision
Andreas Stahl vs. Gilbert Burns
Moving on, we head to the welterweight division, where jiu-jitsu world champion Gilbert Burns takes a late-notice bout up a division against fellow debutant Andreas Stahl of Sweden.
Burns is a grappler, but he has really rounded off his game by learning the striking arts with the Blackzilians. Not only has he never left the first round, but he has also earned multiple knockout wins. He has become a dangerous all-around threat.
Stahl is a grinder who likes to put guys against the fence and get on top on the ground. His resume doesn't have much name recognition, but he has gone 9-0 in the European regional circuit. He will want to make this an ugly fight and avoid the ground.
Burns is likely better wherever this fight is fought. He is going to be outsized by Stahl, but he will be able to finish him before the first bell rings.
Prediction: Burns def. Stahl via submission
Steven Siler vs. Noad Lahat
In the featherweight division, Israeli-born Noad Lahat takes on TUF 14 vet Steven Siler.
Lahat came into the UFC as an undefeated fighter but was brutally knocked out in his UFC debut by Godofredo Pepey. Lahat, who trains with American Kickboxing Academy, is a jack-of-all-trades, though he is a master of none. He would be wise to put Siler on his back and make this a wrestling match.
Siler is a Pit Elevated rep who has good kickboxing and underrated submission prowess. He is 5-3 with the UFC, though he finds himself on a two-fight skid, making this a win-or-go-home situation. He has a very good guillotine choke, which Lahat will need to be aware of if he tries to grapple with Siler.
This should be an interesting one. That said, Lahat's performance against Pepey troubled me, and Siler has been very good in his UFC tenure.
Prediction: Siler def. Lahat via TKO
Akbarh Arreola vs. Tiago dos Santos
Capping things off on the Fight Pass prelims are the lightweights, as Mexican TUF 15 vet Akbarh Arreola makes his debut opposite fellow newcomer Tiago dos Santos of Brazil.
Arreola is a grappler who represents Entram Gym, the best gym south of the border. His time on TUF was short, as he was taken out in the elimination round by Myles Jury. He is a submission fighter but will have his style tested when he takes on Dos Santos.
A Team Nogueira rep, Dos Santos is also a grappler, though he can handle himself on the feet a bit as well. He has finished most of his wins, with almost equal amounts of knockouts and submissions. He is a good prospect for the 155-pound division.
Arreola is a part of the UFC's push into Mexico. However, Dos Santos is a tough first fight for him, as Dos Santos is better at what Arreola's strength is. Don't expect this to be pretty for Arreola.
Prediction: Dos Santos def. Arreola via submission
Mike De La Torre vs. Brian Ortega
Kicking things off on the Fox portion of the prelims are the featherweights, as Resurrection Fighting Alliance vet Brian Ortega will make his UFC debut against Mike De La Torre.
Ortega, the champion in RFA, is a jiu-jitsu fighter with a knack for finding the triangle choke. He is an awesome grappler, especially off his back, as he is comfortable wherever he ends up on the ground. His last two wins were his biggest, as he choked out Jordan Rinaldi and won a Fight of the Year candidate opposite Keoni Koch.
As for De La Torre, the MMA Lab rep made his debut on short notice in his latest outing, dropping a close decision to longtime UFC vet Mark Bocek. In that fight, he showed solid takedown defense and very good striking.
This fight should be very entertaining. Ortega is tough as nails and a stud on the ground, while De La Torre is an aggressive power puncher with underrated submission skills. However, Ortega will find a way to finish this bout via his signature triangle choke.
Prediction: Ortega def. De La Torre via submission
Kyle Kingsbury vs. Patrick Cummins
Next up are the light heavyweights. Cult hero Patrick Cummins will make his third UFC appearance when he takes on returning TUF 8 vet Kyle Kingsbury.
Cummins is a wrestler who has improved his striking, but he still sticks to his bread and butter on the mat. After falling in a short-notice bout to contender Daniel Cormier, Cummins came back in dominating fashion when he finished Roger Narvaez.
Kingsbury returns for the first time since September 2012, when he had his face rearranged by Jimi Manuwa. The fan favorite is on a three-fight skid, so this is a must-win situation for the former football player and stand-up fighter.
On the feet, this could be interesting. However, Cummins' wrestling will be the difference here. Cummins will ground and pound Kingsbury to his UFC exit.
Prediction: Cummins def. Kingsbury via TKO
Tim Means vs. Hernani Perpetuo
Next up, we move to the welterweight division, as Brazilian Hernani Perpetuo will make his sophomore effort with the company against Tim Means.
Perpetuo trains with Nova Uniao and is a striker who is working hard on his grappling. He earned his UFC contract with a win over Tommy Depret but fell in a close bout to Jordan Mein in his last outing.
Means is in his second stint with the company. After going 2-2 in his first stint, he went back to the regionals and beat up Pete Spratt and Artenas Young to get another shot with the company. However, on short notice, Means fell in a solid outing to Neil Magny.
This is going to be a Fight of the Night contender. Both men will stand and bang, which will have fans on their feet. When it's all said and done, Perpetuo wins on a coin toss.
Prediction: Perpetuo def. Means via decision
Jorge Masvidal vs. Daron Cruickshank
Capping off the prelims are two lightweight contenders, as Strikeforce import Jorge Masvidal will take on TUF 15 vet Daron Cruickshank.
Masvidal is a boxer who has vastly improved his takedown defense, as seen in his win over Pat Healy. He is 3-1 in the UFC, with his only loss coming to contender Rustam Khabilov. His takedown defense will be important here against a good wrestler.
Cruickshank is a wrestler with a strong striking background as well. He has been solid in the UFC. After blasting Mike Rio with a wheel-kick knockout, he downed Erik Koch with a beautiful head kick.
This is another Fight of the Night contender, as the fighters' styles will mesh well. Cruickshank's wrestling will be cancelled out by Masvidal's counterwrestling, so Masvidal will win a close striking affair.
Prediction: Masvidal def. Cruickshank via decision