September 16, 2009 will be a busy night for the Ultimate Fighting Championship, indeed. Beginning at 8 PM EST, UFC Fight Night 19: Diaz vs. Guillard kicks off the night of free fighting on SPIKE. Immediately following the main event of the evening, the highly anticipated season premiere of The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights will air.
Can Nate Diaz stop his losing streak, or will Melvin Guillard prove his decision victory over Gleison Tibau was not a fluke?
Which of the TUF 10 "rumors" involving the fate of Kimbo Slice, if any, will turn out to be true?
Just two of the many questions that will be answered (for the most part) tonight, and I can't wait. First, let's break down the main card of UFC Fight Night 19: Diaz vs. Guillard.
Nate Quarry vs. Tim Credeur
Both Quarry (11-3) and Credeur (12-2) are coming off impressive wins over Jason McDonald and Nick Catone, respectively. Both men are former contestants on the reality series The Ultimate Fighter, and both men have found success since. Quarry's only two losses in the octagon have come at the hands of then-middleweight champion Rich Franklin and rising star Demian Maia, while Credeur has won six straight, including three in the octagon.
So, which fighter has the advantage tonight? Although Credeur has greatly improved his striking since appearing on TUF 7 as a member of Team Forrest, he will still put himself in danger if he chooses to exchange with Quarry.
However, if he is able to get this fight to the ground and use his submission skills, he could actually walk away the victor tonight. Quarry's loss to Maia was via submission, and because he is a wrestler, he could get caught on a takedown attempt if he isn't careful. Of course, why on earth would he want to take this fight to the ground? Either way, I'm picking an upset here.
Credeur, round 2 via Guillotine Choke
Carlos Condit vs. Jake Ellenberger
Condit is a former WEC Welterweight champion, and Ellenberger still has a lot to prove in the UFC. In fact, tonight is Ellenberger's UFC debut, and Condit, who lost his debut via split decision to Martin Kampmann back in April, is looking to reclaim his success he had in the WEC.
This fight is actually very simple: Condit is a phenomenal striker with excellent knees, but also has great submissions (four of his five victories in the WEC were via submission). Ellenberger is a wrestler who likes to implement the ground and pound technique, but we all know these guys often get a little overanxious and find themselves tapping out before they knew what happened. Look for more of the same tonight.
Condit, round 1 via Armbar
Gray Maynard vs. Roger Huerta
Gray Maynard is currently 5-0 with 1 NC in the UFC, and has taken down the likes of Frank Edgar, Rich Clementi, and Jim Miller en route to his shot at the once great Roger Huerta. Even though he hasn't fought since last August when he lost a decision to Kenny Florian, Huerta has always been a scrapper and doesn't like to get bullied around much, which could hurt him against Maynard tonight. Plus, many wonder if this will be Huerta's last fight ever.
I used to be a big fan of Roger Huerta, but personally this fight does not excite me in the least bit. With an unmotivated Huerta going against a red-hot Maynard, I think this fight screams long, boring, decision very loudly. However, if the real Roger Huerta shows up, it could very well turn out to be fight of the night. My money says Maynard gets Huerta to the ground, keeps him there, and pounds out a unanimous decision win.
Maynard, round 3 via Unanimous Decision
Nate Diaz vs. Melvin Guillard
This will likely be the fight of the night, as these two guys have been talking back and forth for the last month or so now. With Guillard, a vicious striker with a great stand-up game, going against Diaz, a submission specialist with a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu background brings, this night just might come close to being as exciting as the TUF 10 premiere.
If this fight stays standing, Guillard has the obvious advantage. However, if it goes to the ground, Diaz can easily catch the aggressive Guillard and make him cry uncle. I don't think that will make either guy cautious, however, because both men are animals by nature. Look for these two to exchange for a while, then take it to the ground, then exchange again in the next round, where Guillard will finally get the best of Diaz.
Guillard, round 2 via TKO
As for the event that follows these fights, I'll be giving my thoughts on that during a live-blogging session at my website outcoldufc.blogspot.com. I'll also be live blogging Fight Night 19: Diaz vs. Guillard as well, so feel free to head over and post your thoughts and opinions on tonight's events.