Even if UFC on Fox 12 only featured the "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler vs. "The Immortal" Matt Brown bout, there would be a good number of viewers tuning in on Saturday to what figures to be an action-packed clash between two elite welterweights.
This is one of those fights that jumps off the screen or page, the moment you read that it was going to take place. Because there is actually an undercard to augment the appeal of the compelling main event, UFC on Fox 12 from the SAP Center in San Jose, California could be one of the best shows of the year.
Anthony "Rumble" Johnson will face "Little Nog" Antonio Rogerio Noguiera, Dennis "The Menace" Bermudez will clash with Clay "The Carpenter" Guida and Josh "The Punk" Thomson faces Bobby "King" Green to round out an explosive main card.
The "Detroit Superstar" Daron Cruickshank vs. Jorge "Gamebred" Masvidal bout highlights a solid preliminary lineup.
Here's a breakdown of the viewing information, the entire fight card and predictions for every bout.
|UFC Fight Pass Prelims||4:15 p.m. ET|
|Steven "Super" Siler vs. Noad "Neo" Lahat||Featherweight||Lahat by submission|
|Juliana "Ju Thai" Lima vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk||Women's Flyweight||Jedrzejczyk by decision|
|Andreas "Real Steel" Stahl vs. Gilbert "Durinho" Burns||Welterweight||Burns by TKO|
|Akbarh "El Caballero" Arreola vs. Tiago Trator||Lightweight||Arreola by submission|
|Fox Prelims||6 p.m, ET|
|Mike "El Cucuy" De La Torre vs. Brian "T-City" Ortega||Featherweight||Ortega by decision|
|Hernani Perpetuo vs. Tim "The Dirty Bird" Means||Welterweight||Perpetuo by decision|
|Kyle "Kingsbu" Kingsbury vs. Patrick "Durkin" Cummins||Light Heavyweight||Cummins by TKO|
|Daron "Detroit Superstar" Cruickshank vs. Jorge "Gamebred" Masvidal||Lightweight||Masvidal by submission|
|Main Card||8 p.m. ET|
|Josh "The Punk" Thomson vs. Bobby "King" Green||Lightweight||Thomson by decision|
|Clay "The Carpenter" Guida vs. Dennis "The Menace" Bermudez||Featherweight||Bermudez by TKO|
|Anthony "Rumble" Johnson vs. "Little Nog" Antonio Rogerio Nogueira||Light Heavyweight||Johnson by TKO|
|"Ruthless" Robbie Lawler vs. "The Immortal" Matt Brown||Welterweight||Lawler by TKO|
Card per UFC.com, picks by Mazique
The Punk vs. The King
The King Must Prove He's Royalty
Despite a 22-5 record and a seven-fight win streak that dates back to his days in Strikeforce, Green is still relatively unknown. He's won all three of his fights in the UFC, and he looks to remain undefeated against Thomson on Saturday.
Because The Punk is ranked No. 3 amongst lightweights in the UFC, and their bout is on the main card of a nationally televised event, Green knows he has an opportunity to blast his way out of obscurity.
He told Thomas Gerbasi of UFC.com:
“I’d say it is my time to shine and let everybody know that I’m here. A lot of people don’t know exactly who I am, so I think this is the perfect fight for people to watch and see what I can do."
The Punk Doesn't Like Decision
Thomson hasn't been the beneficiary of close decisions in the UFC. He lost hard-fought battles with Gilbert Melendez and Benson Henderson. When Fox Sports' Damon Martin asked Thomson how he felt about his bouts going the distance, he said:
"It does make me nervous now, the judges make me nervous now."
Because of the technical abilities and defensive prowess of both fighters, we could be in for another tight decision.
Why Thomson Beats Green
The Punk's ground game will be the difference in this bout. Both of these fighters have solid all-around skills, but Thomson's activity, pursuit of the takedown and submissions on the ground will serve him well.
He'll dominate top position and earn a rare decision victory.
Rumble vs. Little Nog
Could beef within the Blackzilians camp derail what looks like a potentially successful return to the UFC for Johnson? It would be a shame if it did.
Recently, Johnson vented on social media about members of the famed camp talking behind his back. Apparently he was fed up and took to Facebook to let his frustrations be heard.
The entire since-deleted post was captured by Nate Wilcox of Bloody Elbow. Some aspects of the rant are NSFW, but here's one telling excerpt:
So funny how people in the gym wanna talk. Believe me I know who you are but I don't say anything. I'm not a Angel at all I'll admit that. Wanna talk about me and my mistakes I've made?
Say it when I'm around and that goes to trainers and clients, which I know none of you will. I know for a fact if I asked you what do you have to say to me you'd act like you didn't have anything to say. Don't think I don't know who you are cuz I Damn sure do. Heard about the talk last night and I heard who's been talking all week. Don't be fake say it when I'm around.
Perhaps Johnson and the secretly indicted members of the Blackzilians have squashed their beef. Johnson posted this image that seemed to imply he was at peace with the brand. Stay tuned.
Answering Cardio Questions
Aside from potential issues in his camp, one of Johnson's few worries in the sport has been his conditioning. He's failed to make weight in previous fights and gassed out in others.
If this post is any indication, he seems intent upon having the stamina to scrap with the legendary Little Nog.
Time to kill it with this cardio— Anthony Johnson (@Anthony_Rumble) July 19, 2014
Why Rumble Beats Little Nog
Earlier in Johnson's career, he was susceptible to submissions and a low gas tank. Has he completely conquered those shortcomings? Probably not, but in shutting down the wrestling overtures of a world-class grappler like Phil Davis in his last bout, Johnson proved he had come a long way.
Matched against an old and less-dangerous Nogueira, Johnson will avoid takedowns and do damage in the stand-up game.
Rumble will win by first-round TKO.
The Menace vs. The Carpenter
Is the Carpenter Passed His Prime?
Bermudez certainly thinks so. In an oddly worded statement about his opponent, Bermudez told Shaun Al-Shatti of MMA Fighting:
"We were shooting for someone a little more, I don't know, someone more in their prime, if you will. I think Clay Guida's best days (are behind him). I think Clay Guida in his prime, which I think already passed, would beat Clay Guida now, if that makes sense."
Umm, I think I get what that means. Basically, Guida isn't as good as he used to be, says Bermudez. Somehow, that probably shouldn't have been so difficult to convey.
Guida isn't one for trash talk. He just goes all-out in the Octagon whenever he has the opportunity. The UFC tweeted this poignant quote from Guida heading into Saturday's card.
Why Bermudez Beats Guida
Though Bermudez's claim didn't come off all that eloquent, his assessment was still correct. Guida is a 32-year-old with 45 professional fights on his treads. He's lost three of his last five fights, and he simply doesn't have the explosion necessary to get it done against top-notch fighters.
Heart is important, but it's not enough to make up for eroding skills.
The Ruthless vs. The Immortal
The Hype is Real
The excitement expressed in the introduction seems to be the consensus thought about Saturday's main event.
Bleacher Report's Hunter Homistek simply says:
"There will be violence. There will be blood."
It might be the easiest job in mixed martial arts, right up there with being the bodyguard for Cain Velasquez or barber for Dana White.
Imagine being one of the three judges for Saturday’s UFC main event.
Just sit back and crack open a cold one, put your feet up, and doodle spirals on the scorecard. No one’s going to care what you’ve scribbled next to the names of Robbie Lawler and Matt Brown. When Bruce Buffer stands at the center of the octagon at the end of the night and bellows out a winner, he isn’t going to mention any scores. These rock ’em, sock ’em welterweights are not going the distance. Someone’s going to be discombobulated.
It's almost impossible for this one not to deliver. Rarely has there been a matchup with two styles, personalities and current professional situations aligned so perfectly to produce a classic.
Prepare for what might be the Fight of the Year.
Brown Plays His Role to the Tee
Is Brown some sort of pseudo tough guy? If so, he has the entire world fooled. The man is as rugged as they come. Following him on Twitter is like tuning into a combination of Ultimate Warrior and Tony Robbins' quotes.
Here's an example:
"Sometimes you have to go too far, to see how far you can go....."— Matt Brown (@IamTheImmortal) July 20, 2014
If you like MMA, it's hard not to get amped from listening to and watching Brown in action.
The Cyber Prediction
Lawler-Brown feels like it should take place on a video game. In the video above, the slugfest was simulated on EA Sports UFC. Brown isn't in the game as of yet, although he could be added in a future roster update. TJ Dillashaw, Takeya Mizugaki and Tyron Woodley were added earlier in the week.
Brown was given a jiu-jitsu based because of his background in the discipline. However, his defense against chokes and submissions were kept modestly because of his five-career losses via tap out.
Brown's legendary chin was represented with a high rating in that category. Overall, Brown was rated an 85.
If you didn't want to watch the video, but are curious to find out who won, the outcome might be surprising. Brown finished Lawler via ground and pound in the first round.
Why Lawler Beats Brown
When it comes to toughness, this matchup is a stalemate. Both men have proven they have legendary beards. Brown has never been stopped with strikes and Lawler was stopped just once and that happened 10 years ago against Nick Diaz.
In a bout where both men are going to land their share of shots, Lawler has the edge because he's more athletic and he possesses a more versatile set of striking maneuvers.
He also appears to be the harder puncher, while Brown needs to do his damage with cumulative strikes. Watch out for a leg kick or liver shot from Lawler in this one. Brown was hurt badly to the body against Erick Silva in his last fight.
Lawler may attack the midsection to finish what Silva could not. In any case, Lawler is the pick to win by third-round TKO.
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