UFC 112 Under Card :
1.) Jon Madsen vs. Mostapha Al-Turk
2.) Paul Kelly vs. Matt Veach
3.) Brad Blackburn vs. DaMarques Johnson
4.) Rick Story vs. Nik Osipczak
5.) John Gunderson vs. Paul Taylor
6.)Phil Davis (-550) vs. Alexander Gustafsson (+375)
Previews and Predictions :
1.) Jon Madsen (4-0-0) vs. Mostapha Al-Turk (6-5-0)
Former Cage Rage Champion Mustapha Al-Turk will take on the TUF alumni Jon Madsen.
Al-Turk, who is still looking to get his first win with the UFC after having lost to Cheik Congo and Mirko Cro-Cop, will get a break in terms of competition facing the relative new comer Jon Madsen. However, that still won't spell out an easy night for the veteran as Madsen is a decorated collegiate wrestler.
Madsen has apparently beaten current UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar in high school which, if true, is like saying you got into a smoke-out with the Diaz brothers one after the other and put them both to sleep.
Al-Turk is a foreigner, but isn't foreign to facing our "colorful" American wrestlers, having upset former UFC tournament champion Mark "The Smashing Machine" Kerr in 2007. Kerr may not be the better wrestler, but that will at least give Al-Turk some insight of the game plan he is facing on the 10th against the inexperienced wrestler Madsen.
Jon Madsen is relatively new even though he competed on TUF. He is 1-0 in his UFC career, having beaten fellow TUF'er Justin Wren in the TUF Finale.
It's no surprise what Madsen is going to look to, as he is coming out of The H.I.T squad, which is run by Matt Hughes. If, and when, he does get the fight to the ground he needs to avoid the submission game of Al-Turk. Madsen will look to win this fight by way of ground-and-pound.
All in all, I don't think the advantage in wrestling will be enough for Madsen. Al- Turk was scheduled to fight Rolles Gracie but had visa issues. That makes me think he will show a large gap in technical aspects of ground game and will catch the over aggressive Madsen via kneebar in the second round.
2.) Paul Kelly (9-2-0) vs. Matt Veach (11-1-0)
Paul Kelly has had more UFC fights that Matt Veach, going ( 3-2-0 ) with wins over Paul Taylor, Troy Madaloniz, and Roli Delgado (yeah, the one with the black belt).
He started out his career at middleweight and has found his way down to lightweight, so he should be rather large coming into the bout. I wouldn't worry too much about the weight cut as this is his third bout at lightweight.
As I alluded to earlier, in his lightweight debut he beat Roli "black belt" Delgado in a unanimous decision.
Kelly is trying to rebound off his most recent loss to Dennis Silver, which he lost by a hard spinning back kick. Kelly looks to have advantages in the stand-up and jiu-jitsu.
Coming out of Matt Hughes' camp, Matt Veach has had two fights in the UFC—winning his debut against Matt Grice, then losing to current lightweight challenger Frankie Edgar. Kurt Peligirino was originally supposed to face Edgar but was injured and had to be replaced by Matt Veach.
Frankie Edgar won the fight in the second round, but Matt Veach scored many take downs in the fight against the smaller Edgar. He should look to do the same against Paul Kelly this weekend in Abu Dhabi. Matt Veach should try to avoid Kelly in the stand-up as he seem to have an advantage in wrestling and Kelly seems to in everything else.
I see Matt Veach trying to impose his will in this fight with his speed and explosive strength. I see this fight being decided by how well Paul Taylor can handle those two traits of Matt Veach. Taylor needs to be crafty when grappling and try take advantage of Veach's aggressiveness.
Taylor started his MMA career at 185 lbs., so he might be able to handle Veach's take downs and keep the fight where he wants it to go. I see Matt Veach winning this fight by dumping Kelly on his back repeatedly in way to a unanimous decision.
3.) Brad Blackburn (15-10-1-and 1NC) vs. DaMarques Johnson (9-7-0)
As another TUF alumni, DaMarques Johnson will look to go 2-1 in the UFC. Having lost his first UFC fight to James Wilks by submission, he quickly rebounded by submitting Edgar Garcia in his last fight. He will face "Bad" Brad Blackburn, an IFL and UFC veteran with hard hands.
Damarques should look to keep Blackburn away with his long reach and avoid any brawling scenario. He should also look to use his jiu-jitsu on an aggressive Blackburn.
Blackburn looks to have the upper hand in this fight, as he has faced higher level competition more regularly than the untested Johnson. Blackburn is looking to rebound off his last fight, a decision loss, to UFC TUF winner Amir Sadollah.
I think Blackburn will try to end the fight quickly by throwing flurries often. He might look to use his strength advantage to get take downs and secure ground positions.
**Both these fighters have faced a common opponent, one-time WEC fighter Edgar Garcia. Both fighters were able to defeat him, but it was Johnson who was the one to stop him, submitting him by triangle choke.
I think this fight will be over quick. Blackburn's strength, experience, and explosiveness will help in stopping Johnson decisively. I see Brad Blackburn being able to win this fight by using his heavy hands and hurting Johnson early. I see Johnson struggling with Blackburn fight game plan and getting KO'd in the first round.
4.) Rick Story (9-3-0) vs. Nick Osipczak (5-0-0)
UFC TUF 3 Nick "Slick" Osipczak is putting his undefeated streak on the line against Rick "Horror" Story. By my judging, I have Osipczak losing the nickname game by a unanimous decision, It's not enough to rhyme anymore, you have to combine, and "Horror" Story does the best with what his given.
Anyhow, Osipczak is off to a good start in his UFC career having defeated TUF fan favorite Frank "The Tank" Lester, unquestionably MMA's best shadow-boxer ever, and then scoring a TKO victory over Matt Riddle at UFC 105.
Nick will look to use his stand-up advantage by use of his longer reach. He should negate the wrestling of Story and use his jiu-jitsu gain positions on the ground if it goes there.
Rick "Horror" Story is ( 2-1-0) in the UFC with wins over Brian Foster and Jesse Lennox, though he lost his UFC debut to John Hathaway (12-0-0) back in UFC 99.
The best aspect of his game seems to be his wrestling ability and using his strength to neutralize submission attempts and strikes from the bottom, which Osipczak has shown the ability to do.
I think he should avoid standing with the Brit, as Story doesn't have the ability to stand with him.
The name game win won't enough for Story. I have Osipcak keeping his unbeaten record and winning a unanimous decision. He will win the fight by using his superior stand-up, utilizing his jab, and negating the wrestling of Story with his jiu-jitsu.
You will have to watch how Osipczak deals with Story being a southpaw. Most times it won't matter, but sometimes a guy just can't get used to dealing with a southpaw unless he trained extensively. Given my prediction, I don't think it will be a problem. This fight will end with Osipczak winning a unanimous decision.
5.) John Grunderson (22-7-0) vs. Paul Taylor (10-5-1-and 1NC)
Paul Taylor is in his eighth UFC fight, going 3-4-0 in his first seven UFC fights. He has won fight of the night bonuses three times, though he didn't win any of those fights. To his credit, he has fought tough competition in those fights, taking on UFC vets Marcus Davis, Paul Kelly, and after-fight awards hawk Chris Lytle.
Paul Taylor needs to use his striking to keep Grunderson from taking this fight to the ground, as Grunderson has fifteen wins by submission.
Even though John Grunderson has had close to thirty fights, he has only one UFC fight to his credit, a loss to Rafaello Oliveira at UFC 108. Grunderson's best shot in this fight is to get Taylor to the ground and use his grappling advantage.
His one notable fight was against Wagnney Fabiano, who has fought in various organizations including the IFL and WEC. Fabiano won that fight by guillotine choke.
I have Paul Taylor using his octagon experience and using effective striking to avoid Grunderson and the ground. I see the fight ending in the third round by KO.
6.)Phil Davis (5-0-0) vs. Alexander Gustafsson.(9-0-0)
Though both of these men are undefeated in their MMA careers, and both are coming in off their first UFC wins, Phil Davis is unquestionably the favorite. Phil Davis is a very decorated wrestler, winning a NCAA title in 2008 at 197 lbs.
It's almost without notice what Davis plans to do in this fight as he looks to have a clear wrestling advantage on Gustafsson.
Coming in as an 4:1 underdog, you would think that Alexander Gustafsson has no chance of winning. Don't count out this 6'5", 205 pounder yet, as he seems to have some good power in his hands—winning most of his fights by TKO or KO.
Gustafsson seems to have a wrestling base, but I doubt he is as good as Davis. Gustafsson should look to use his size advantage in the stand-up and hope to capitalize on the inexperience in the stand-up of Davis.
Most likely this fight is going to end with Davis grounding away at the Swede, but at the current odds, I might think of putting a little on Gustafsson with Phil Davis not being as tested as he should be at those odds.
So, even though I am picking Davis to win the fight, I wouldn't bet on him to win, as Alexander Gustafsson has a puncher's chance, and Davis is relatively inexperienced and over-rated in terms of the betting line.
Phil Davis by way of TKO in the second round is my prediction.
And that is the end of my first of two Preview and Predictions. Next I will be previewing the main card at UFC 112.