UFC Fight Night Live: Shields vs Ellenberger Analysis, Insights, and Predictions
UFC Fight Night Live: Shields versus Ellenberger will be held on September 17 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Highlighting the night's event will be a welterweight matchup between the seasoned veteran and former multiple champion Jake Shields as he faces the hard-hitting up-and-coming prospect Jake Ellenberger.
It will be an evening full of young prospects as they make their mark within the sport's biggest promotion. These young practitioners will have their moment to shine on the big stage.
Please follow along as I dissect all the night's bouts and provide analysis and predictions for each matchup on the card.
Enjoy the fights.
Facebook Fight No. 1: Justin Edwards vs Jorge Lopez
Jorge Lopez delivering a solid knee strike
Beginning the action this Saturday at UFC Fight Night Live will be a welterweight matchup airing on Facebook between Justin "Fast Eddy" Edwards and Jorge "Lil Monster" Lopez.
Edwards, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt training under the tutelage of Jorge Gurgel in Cincinnati, Ohio, has a respectable 6-1 overall MMA record, 0-1 within the UFC.
With five of his six victories by submission, "Fast Eddy" will be looking to add another tapout victory to his win column against Lopez.
Lopez, 11-1 overall in mixed martial arts, with five (T)KO and six decision victories has the ability to defeat his opponents standing or battling the distance and claiming a victory through his pace and tempo inside the cage.
Neither fighter has much experience on the grandest of stages within the sport. Both will be looking to propel their fighting futures with a victory in New Orleans.
Overall, Lopez is a more well-rounded practitioner capable of finishing the fight on his feet and staying out of harm's way from a submission attempt.
"Lil Monster" will maintain a strong tempo and be able to utilize his kick-boxing prowess to earn his first victory inside the famed Octagon.
Winner: Jorge Lopez via unanimous decision victory
Facebook Fight No. 2: Mike Lullo vs Robert Peralta
Robert Peralta battling in DREAM
Competing in featherweight action will be Mike Lullo versus Robert "Problems" Peralta.
Lullo, successful in regional action throughout the Midwest, was defeated by Edson Barboza at UFC 123 in his only matchup for the organization.
A submission specialist with six tapout victories, Lullo's ability to challenge Barboza into the third round of their affair credits his talents on his feet.
Peralta, on the other hand, possesses 11 knockout victories in his total 14 wins inside the cage.
A solid wrestler and boxer, "Problems" can push the tempo with his hands and change levels and take fights to the ground.
More seasoned inside the cage when compared to Lullo, Peralta has competed for both DREAM and Strikeforce in his past.
Like Lopez in the first fight, Peralta will push the pace with his stand-up skills ultimately securing a knockout victory over the less-experienced Lullo.
Winner: Robert Peralta via Round 3 (T)KO
Facebook Fight No. 3: TJ Waldburger vs Mike Stumpf
Mike Stumpf dropping some thunderous punches
Originally scheduled to face Daniel Roberts in this welterweight contest, TJ Waldburger will now challenge the late replacement of Mike Stumpf.
Waldburger possesses a 13-6 overall MMA record with 10 victories by submission. 1-1 under the UFC banner, Waldburger was recently knocked out by Johny Hendricks in March of this year.
Stumpf, making his debut in the UFC this Saturday, is 11-2 overall with seven submission victories.
Both competitors look to finish their fights by submission. Waldburger has a propensity to be challenged on his feet and be defeated by knockout.
The stand-up skills of Stumpf may not result in a KO victory, however, his ability to keep the fight standing should award the newcomer a unanimous decision victory.
Winner: Mike Stumpf via unanimous decision victory
Facebook Fight No. 4: Clay Harvison vs Seth Baczynski
Clay Harvison looking for a victory this Saturday
The fourth welterweight bout on the preliminary card features Clay "Heavy Metal" Harvison taking on Seth "Polish Pistola" Bazynski.
The first noticeable difference between these two mixed martial artists will be the height advantage for the "Polish Pistola."
Surprisingly, however, both fighters have the same 73" reach.
Harvison is known for his kick-boxing talents. A competitor on the Ultimate Fighter reality series, "Heavy Metal" exhibited moments of solid stand-up skills, good ground game, and above average take-down defense.
Baczynski has experienced somewhat of a soap opera roller-coaster ride throughout his young MMA career.
A member of the Ultimate Fighter as well, controversy seems to follow this fighter regardless of the organization.
Provided another opportunity to compete in the world's largest mixed martial arts promotion, the "Polish Pistola" will need to establish his dominance inside the Octagon to remain employed beyond this Saturday for the UFC.
This welterweight contest will be a close battle between these two rising stars. In the end, Harvison will have the advantage on his feet and secure a victory over Bazynski.
Winner: Clay Harvison via unanimous decision victory
Facebook Fight No. 5: Ken Stone vs Donny Walker
Donny Walker landing a solid right hand
The evening's only bantamweight matchup features Ken Stone versus Donny "Eagle Eye" Walker.
Stone, a jiu-jitsu talent training with American Top Team, has secured five submission and four knockout victories in his nine total wins inside the cage.
0-2 against top-tier talent of Eddie Wineland and Scott Jorgensen, Stone will be looking for his first major victory inside the Octagon in New Orleans.
Challenging Stone, and also aspiring for a momentous victory, is the young Ohio native, Walker.
Defeated by both Cub Swanson and Jeff Curran in previous matchups, a victory over Stone for "Eagle Eye" will be a launching for the Griffin Rawl fight team prospect.
An exciting fight, this matchup can go either way. Expecting non-stop action, I believe that Walker's talents on his feet and ability to attack in the jiu-jitsu game will edge out a victory over Stone.
Winner: Donny Walker via unanimous decision
Facebook Fight No. 6: Matt Riddle vs Lance Benoist
Lance Benoist making his UFC debut this Saturday
UFC welterweight action continues with a duel between the 5-2 Matt Riddle and the highly touted newcomer making his debut in the UFC, Lance Benoist.
Riddle is somewhat of an enigma inside the Octagon. Not tremendously talented in any facet, he is exceptional at being balanced inside the cage.
With the ability to stand and strike, take the opposition to the ground and secure a submission, or weather the storm for a decision victory, Riddle is still looking to establish a dominant facet during his matchups.
Conversely, as an amateur, Benoist secured five knockout victories in six total wins. Stepping up in competition, the Missouri native has earned four submission victories in his five professional wins.
A tough matchup to predict a victor, I am going to provide the edge to Benoist because of his ability to knock out his opponent, or earn a tapout victory.
Winner: Lance Benoist via unanimous decision victory
Facebook Fight No. 7: Evan Dunham vs Shamar Bailey
Evan Dunham working for a rear-naked choke
Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Evan "3-D" Dunham steps into the Octagon in a lightweight matchup against Shamar Bailey.
Dunham, competing in the UFC since 2009, is coming off of back-to-back defeats to highly talented lightweight competitors Shawn Sherk and Melvin Guillard.
Needing to secure a victory against Bailey to remain employed by the UFC, Dunham will leave nothing to chance this Saturday in Louisiana.
Bailey, a very accomplished grappler, secured a unanimous decision victory in his first UFC matchup.
Possessing a strong wrestling pedigree, Bailey's strengths as a wrestler leave him susceptible to Dunham's strengths as a jiu-jitsu practitioner.
Expect Bailey to take Dunham to the ground and grind out a victory and look for "3-D's" multiple submission attempts while on his back.
Considering the magnitude of a loss for Dunham for his future within the UFC, "3-D" will be desperate to finish Bailey and remain employed.
Winner: Evan Dunham via Round 3 triangle choke
Facebook Fight No. 8: Cody McKenzie vs Vagner Rocha
Vagner Rocha battling Donald Cerrone
The final Facebook preliminary matchup features Cody "AK Kid" McKenzie against Vagner Rocha.
McKenzie's claim to fame inside the cage has been his propensity to gain victories via the guillotine choke.
Competing on The Ultimate Fighter reality series, McKenzie utilized that submission to secure victories in his first two fights.
12-1 overall as a professional, McKenzie was recently defeated by the veteran Yves Edwards in January after earning a guillotine choke submission win in his UFC debut back in December of 2010.
His opponent this Saturday has a black belt in BJJ and will most likely not succumb to a guillotine choke.
Rocha is ever-improving in each subsequent matchup inside the Octagon. Battling lightweight star Donald Cerrone to a unanimous decision defeat, Rocha will be eager to earn his first victory inside the Octagon in New Orleans.
Prime for an exciting lightweight matchup, this bout between McKenzie and Rocha could go either way. In the end, I believe that Rocha's overall skill-set will defeat that of McKenzie's.
The Brazilian has shown excellent striking in his past fights and Rocha has an excellent ground game to compliment his stand-up.
Eager for his first win under the UFC banner, Rocha will stay out of harm's way on the ground with the "AK Kid" and do enough to secure a victory on his feet.
Winner: Vagner Rocha via unanimous decision victory
Main Card Fight No. 1: Alan Belcher vs Jason MacDonald
Alan Belcher planting a left hook on Patrick Cote
Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images
Main card action begins with a heated matchup between two UFC veterans. Alan "The Talent" Belcher will be battling Jason "The Athlete" MacDonald in the middleweight division.
Belcher was sidelined with a freak eye injury while training in Brazil fights out of Biloxi, Mississippi but is fully recovered and ready to show off his talents in front of his home-state crowd.
16-6 overall with eight knockout victories and six submission wins, "The Talent" has defeated Patrick Cote, Ed Herman, and Denis Kang in his past.
MacDonald, also coming off of injuries that have sidelined him in 2010, is 25-14 overall with 19 submission victories.
Recently securing a triangle choke submission win of Ryan Jensen at UFC 129, "The Athlete" was dominant in his performance in April and wants to keep his momentum rolling.
Both competitors are talented on their feet and both are equally talented off of their backs. A slight stand-up advantage goes towards Belcher, whereas a slight jiu-jitsu advantage leans towards MacDonald.
Additionally, both Belcher and MacDonald battle to their utmost capabilities inside the Octagon. "The Talent" and "The Athlete" have both been awarded four bonuses during their tenure fighting for the UFC.
Who can assert their game plan and secure a victory this Saturday? That is a tough question to provide an answer for.
In the end, this hard-fought, back-and-forth duel will be won by Alan Belcher. He has an extremely balanced skill-set and will have the support of the hometown crowd in his corner.
Claiming his third straight victory inside the Octagon, Belcher will leave New Orleans with his hand raised.
Winner: Alan Belcher via unanimous decision victory
Main Card Fight No. 2: Jonathan Brookins vs Erik Koch
Erik Koch attacking Chad Mendes
Featherweight action continues with a 145-pound matchup between Jonathan Brookins and Erik Koch.
Both Brookins and Koch will be looking to make the most of their appearance on the main card this Saturday.
A submission specialist, Brookins has amassed eight tapout victories in his overall 12-3 mixed martial arts record.
Also known for his submission skills, Koch is also a highly decorated kick-boxer training with the Roufusport team in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. That team includes Anthony Pettis and Pat Barry.
Brookins has shown an ability to stand and trade in the center of the Octagon. More comfortable on the ground, look for the former Ultimate Fighter series winner to attempt to take Koch to the mat to secure a submission victory.
Koch's strengths as a kick-boxer will serve him well against the less adept Brookins. If the Roufus disciple can keep this fight standing, he will have a measurable advantage over Brookins in the exchanges.
In the end, Koch will outwork Brookins in the stand-up and mitigate any submission attempts on the ground en route to a decision victory.
Winner: Erik Koch via unanimous decision victory
Main Card Fight No. 3: Court McGee vs Dongi Yang
Middleweight action ensues with a tremendous matchup between Court "The Crusher" McGee and South Korean striking sensation, Dongi "The Ox" Yang.
McGee, an excellent wrestler and kick-boxer, was the series 11 champion of The Ultimate Fighter defeating Kris McCray via rear-naked choke.
A balanced practitioner, "The Crusher" is capable of earning a victory through his stand-up talents or securing a submission win on the ground.
Yang, a lethal striker with nine (T)KO victories, will be looking to end McGee's night during the stand-up exchanges.
1-1 under the UFC banner, "The Ox" is well-known for his thick build, size, power, and propensity to swing wildly to finish fights with one punch.
Expecting Yang to continue with his fight strategy against McGee, "The Ox's" wild punches will leave the South Korean prone for the take-down of McGee.
Controlling Yang on the ground and looking for a submission victory will be an advantage for "The Crusher."
This middleweight matchup will be exciting. Both competitors have tremendous stand-up skills and are not afraid to trade in the center of the Octagon.
McGee's talents as a wrestler will control Yang and wear down the South Korean. In the end, fatigue may play a factor for the former heavyweight and "The Ox" will be susceptible for a submission defeat.
Winner: Court McGee via Round 3 rear-naked choke
Main Card Fight No. 4: Jake Shields vs Jake Ellenberger
Jake Ellenberger dropping heavy leather
The main event of UFC Live from New Orleans features a welterweight bout between the seasoned veteran and former champion Jake Shields and the rising prospect Jake "The Juggernaut" Ellenberger.
Shields needs no introduction to fight fans. A former EliteXC welterweight champion, Strikeforce middleweight champion, and the No. 1 contender for Georges St-Pierre's title belt in the UFC, Shields has been at the top of his game for years.
Brilliant on the ground, there is no hiding the fact that Shields will look for submission attempts repeatedly while working through transitions in the jiu-jitsu game.
Continually developing a solid stand-up striking game to compliment his world-class grappling talents, Shields is a dangerous fighter both on his feet and on the ground.
Whereas Shields has the talents to stand and trade in the Octagon, Ellenberger has the knockout power to defeat his opposition with one punch.
Securing 16 knockout victories during his career, Jake Shields will not want to test the power of Ellenberger come this Saturday.
A tremendous collegiate wrestler, Ellenberger has excellent take-down defense and can keep this fight standing.
Potentially a poor matchup for Shields, the former champion will need to take Ellenberger to the ground and expose his weaknesses within the jiu-jitsu game to secure a victory.
With only loss by submission in 30 professional fights, Ellenberger is not an easy opponent to secure a tapout victory against.
In the end, this matchup will come down to Octagon control. If Shields can take Ellenberger to the ground and control the flow of the fight, he will secure a decision victory.
Conversely, if Ellenberger can prevent the take-down attempts by Shields and keep this fight standing, he will provide Shields with his second knockout loss of his career.
Winner: Jake Ellenberger via Round 3 TKO