What a couple of days it's going to be for all fans of MMA and especially of the UFC.
With an action pact Ultimate Fight Night card airing for free on SpikeTV, and a solid card coming out of Dallas, Texas with UFC 103, it's sure to leave fight fans with a MMA hangover come work time Monday morning.
Since the announcement of the UFN main event, I have been confused. Why would Nate Diaz, the loser of 2 straight fights, taking on Melvin Guillard (who in all respects is a good, but not great fighter) trump a fight between Roger Huerta and Gray Maynard.
With Gray on his way to a title fight, and this possibly being Rogers last fight before he ventures off into the world of acting that would be an easy billing as the top fight.
For once, I think the UFC hype machine failed which doesn't happen often, if ever. Sure, Diaz and Guillard are two of the bad boys of the sport, but there's been so little hype or trash talk between the two that it's failed to get me overly excited to see it as a headliner.
With Diaz coming out weeks ago, saying that he is going to stand and trade with the Young Assassin, I really question his motive entering this fight. The last thing he wants to do here is get into a striking battle with Guillard. These guys are two talented fighters, with Nate's best chance of winning coming on the ground via submission and Guillard on the feet, throwing bombs.
Prediction: Guillard via TKO in the 2nd Round
Gray Maynard is stronger then Roger Huerta, has better wrestling, and usually stays true to his nickname as "The Bully." Though Roger weighed in and looked pretty fit on the scales, he could be in for a long night of eating punches and elbows from Gray on the top. The big test here will be if Roger has developed his takedown defense enough to stop the power wrestler Maynard from taking him down. Using his jab, and keeping Maynard at a distance is where Huerta stands his best chance at winning, but in reality, I don't give him much of one.
Prediction: Maynard via Unanimous Decision. As a side note, with a win here it will propel Maynard to top 3 or 4 in the division, if he isn't already. I see him fighting one more fight, and if he wins that, see him getting a title shot.
With the two headlining fights taken care of, there is still quite an impressive cast of characters on the UFN card with many fights that have me excited to see some young stars.
Carlos Condit. Vs. Jake Ellenberger
The former WEC champ is coming off a loss in his last fight to Martin Kampmann. Look for him to come out hungrier, and better then ever against the heavy handed Omaha native Ellenberger.
Brian Cantwell Vs. Brian Stann
One of my choices for fight of the night right here. These two explosive guys have fought before, with Stann winning via TKO in the 2nd (in the WEC). You're looking at some of the future of the UFC right here and I am very excited to see these guys go at it.
Brock Larson Vs. Mike Pierce
Larson is an animal, and it's unreal that he is on the undercard of a UFN with a 27-2 record. His only losses come to the aforementioned Brian Stann and 170lb contender Jon Fitch.
Some other things to watch for:
Sam Stout, the London Ont. native going for the kill against Phillipe Nover. Stout hasn't finished a fight inside the UFC and was possibly on his way out if it wasn't for an amazing fight at UFC 97 against Matt Wiman. He still didn't finish Wiman though, so look for him to be swinging hard early and often.
Jay Silva is a monster. After watching him weigh in and see some of his previous fights, I think that he could be a force in the UFC. I know it's very early to tell since he hasn't ever thrown a punch in the Octagon, but he's a fighter I have my eye on.
It should be a great night of free fights, and a great precursor to the UFC 103 event coming up on Saturday.