The UFC returns to England this Saturday, Nov. 5, with UFC 138.
Headlined by Mark Munoz vs. Chris Leben in the very first five-round non-title fight main event, UFC 138 will air in the United States for free on SPIKE TV.
This card includes many lesser known fighters, though it's hard to argue with a full day of free fights (more on that below).
All in all, UFC 138 has 10 scheduled fights:
- Chris Cariaso vs. Vaughan Lee
- Che Mills vs. Chris Cope
- Phil De Fries vs. Rob Broughton
- Michihiro Omigawa vs. Jason Young
- Justin Edwards vs. John Maguire
- Cyrille Diabate vs. Anthony Perosh
- Terry Etim vs. Edward Faaloloto
- Thiago Alves vs. Papy Abedi
- Renan Barao vs. Brad Pickett
- Mark Munoz vs. Chris Leben
The scheduling for the fight card is a bit odd. The undercard airs live on Facebook starting at 12:30 p.m. ET, while the main card will air on a tape delay at 8 p.m. ET on SPIKE TV.
Without further ado, let's get to the fights.
Chris "Kamikaze" Cariaso (11-3 MMA, 1-1 UFC) vs. Vaughan Lee (11-6-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC)
The first fight of the night pits WEC import Chris Cariaso against UFC newcomer Vaughan Lee.
Cariaso is coming into this fight off of a loss against Michael McDonald at UFC 130, and he is looking to get some momentum going after trading off wins and losses in the both the WEC and UFC.
Lee makes his UFC debut after putting together a relatively successful career in regional UK fight promotions. It's likely that he is on this card to fill a UK talent quota, so a win here is a must.
Though Cariaso is the slightly less experienced fighter, he's been cutting his teeth in bigger promotions and has proven to be hard to stop. Though I could see Lee getting off to a fast start with a supportive British crowd at his back, I think Cariaso will work his way to an eighth decision victory.
Pick: Chris Cariaso
Che "Beautiful" Mills (13-4 1NC MMA, 0-0 UFC) vs. Chris "C-Murder" Cope (5-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC)
Che Mills, former Cage Rage welterweight champion, makes his UFC debut following a successful outing at BAMMA 6. Mills has notable KO and TKO wins over Marius Zaromskis, who went on to Dream and Strikeforce after spending much of his career with Cage Rage.
Chris Cope looks to continue his UFC success after defeating Chuck O'Neil at The Ultimate Fighter Season 13 finale.
Mills is a well-rounded fighter, with six wins by KO/TKO and four wins by submission, and he is heavily favored in this matchup.
Though Cope looked good through his season of The Ultimate Fighter, Mills is the far more experienced fighter, which I expect he'll be able to rely on in this fight. I expect that he will look to out-strike Cope en route to a decision victory.
Pick: Che Mills
Phil De Fries (7-0 1 NC MMA, 0-0 UFC) vs. Rob "The Bear" Broughton (15-6-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC)
This fight is a showdown between two British big boys.
De Fries makes his UFC debut after going 7-0, with one no contest, in smaller British promotions. He is a submission specialist, with all of his wins coming by submission.
Broughton, on the other hand, is looking to get back on track after losing his second UFC bout to Travis Browne in a somewhat lackluster decision. A member of Wolfslair MMA Academy, Broughton is a former two-time Cage Rage heavyweight champion.
If Broughton can keep this fight standing, he should probably be able to win the striking match. He'll be at a great risk, however, if he ends up grappling with the undefeated submission expert in De Fries.
Broughton was unimpressive in his loss to Browne, and I like De Fries to take Broughton down and work to catch him in his signature rear-naked choke.
Pick: Phil De Fries
Michihiro Omigawa (12-10-1 MMA, 0-4 UFC) vs. Jason "Shotgun" Young (8-4 MMA, 0-1 UFC)
Michihiro Omigawa is looking to get his second stint in the UFC back on track. After dropping two straight decisions to Chad Mendes and Darren Elkins, Omigawa is in serious need of a victory.
Jason Young is trying to get his young UFC career back on track, after losing in his debut to Dustin Poirier at UFC 131. Another loss could put his contract on thin ice.
Though Omigawa hasn't had any success in the UFC, not unlike many of his Japanese contemporaries, he is still ranked a top 20 featherweight. Omigawa is a capable fighter, with quality wins over the likes of Hiroyuki Takaya, Hatsu Hioki, and Marlon Sandro.
I believe Omigawa is the all-around better fighter, even if he hasn't shown it recently, and will be able to get the better of Young in exchanges both on the feet and on the ground. I can see Young landing shots on Omigawa, but his striking defense looked poor against Poirier, and I think Omigawa will be able to damage him.
Pick: Michihiro Omigawa
Justin "Fast Eddy" Edwards (8-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) vs. John Maguire (16-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC)
Yet another British fighter makes his UFC debut against a TUF alumni.
John Maguire, a four-time UCMMA (founded by the former Cage Rage promoter) welterweight champion, will be looking to establish his name in the UFC. He is currently on a five-fight winning streak and will look to keep his hot streak alive.
Justin Edwards is looking to keep his momentum alive coming off of a victory against Jorge Lopes at UFC Fight Night: Shields vs. Ellenberger. Edwards looks to finish fights on the ground, with five of his seven victories coming by way of submission.
This should be an interesting matchup, as both fighters tend towards submissions. If Edwards is able to wrestle against Maguire more successfully than in his previous two fights, he may be able to control Maguire from top position, but I can see him being susceptible to scrambles.
The longer this fight goes, the more I'll favor Maguire. I think Maguire will be able to use his experience and will keep his winning ways alive.
Pick: John Maguire
Cyrille "The Snake" Diabate (18-7-3 MMA, 2-1 UFC) vs. Anthony "The Hippo" Perosh (11-6 MMA, 1-3 UFC)
The first fight on the main card is a good ol' striker versus grappler match up.
Diabate was a successful kickboxer and has been able to carry his striking prowess over into MMA. He is 7-1 since 2007, with his last loss coming to fast-rising light heavyweight prospect Alexander Gustafsson.
Anthony Perosh, a two-time BJJ Mundials bronze medalist and five-time ADCC qualifier, is now in his second stint in the UFC. He is coming off of a win over Thomas Blackledge at UFC 127.
Diabate should be able to totally dictate this fight. He is by far the superior striker, and he has pretty decent takedown defense as well. As long as he can keep "The Hippo" from getting on top of him, he should be able to easily earn a win here.
I'm looking for a knockout here.
Pick: Cyrille Diabate
Terry Etim (14-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC) vs. Edward "Falo" Faaloloto (5-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC)
Edward Faaloloto may very well be fighting for his career following his losses to Anthony Njokuani at WEC 52 and to Michael Johnson at UFC Live 4. Both of his two losses have been by knockout.
Terry Etim, on the other hand, has been largely successful in the UFC, but is aiming to bounce back from a disappointing loss to Rafael dos Anjos, who he nearly defeated in the first round.
Etim is a skilled kickboxer with strong jiu-jitsu that he puts to use against opponents who look to put him on the ground. Despite his considerable striking skills, he has earned 11 of his 14 wins by submission.
A matchup with Etim spells trouble for Faaloloto, who has gotten hit with great frequency in his last two fights. I expect Etim to pick Faaloloto apart on the feet and eventually sink in a submission should Faaloloto seek asylum on the ground.
Pick: Terry Etim
Thiago "Pitbull" Alves (23-7 MMA, 10-5 UFC) vs. Papy "Makambo" Abedi (8-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC)
Thiago Alves will be looking to get back to his old ways against UFC newcomer Papy Abedi in the feature fight of the night.
After winning seven straight fights to earn a title shot against Georges St-Pierre, Alves has been a dismal 1-3, most recently getting upset by Rick Story. Though he probably isn't quite on the cutting block—after all, two of his recent losses are to GSP and Jon Fitch—Alves needs to have a strong showing here.
Abedi is currently undefeated as a middleweight, having fought in various promotions through Europe. He has finished all but one of his fights, with five knockouts and two submissions. He is now dropping down to welterweight to face Alves.
Alves will be looking to keep the fight at a distance so he can work his kicks and superior striking. Abedi is a Judo black belt and will most likely be trying to close the distance, slam Alves to the ground and ground-and-pound his way to victory.
I think the simultaneous jump in competition and cut in weight will ultimately prove too difficult right now for Abedi, and I like Alves to regain his form in this fight.
Pick: Thiago Alves
Renan Barao (28-1 1 NC MMA, 1-0 UFC) vs. Brad "One Punch" Pickett (21-4 MMA, 0-0 UFC)
Renan Barao is currently riding one of the longest winning streaks in all of MMA: 26 victories spanning back to 2005. Barao tore up the Brazilian MMA scene until he was brought into the WEC in 2010 and eventually folded into the UFC.
Pickett has had a solid streak of his own, going on a nine-fight streak before losing to Scott Jorgensen at WEC 50. Pickett now makes his UFC debut after being pulled from a planned fight with Miguel Torres due to an injury.
Pickett is very well-rounded as a fighter, but Barao has proven himself to be superior in all aspects of the game. He doesn't land strikes quite as often as Pickett, but he also gets hit less, and he showed solid takedown defense in the WEC.
I expect Barao to eventually take this fight to the ground and work to submit Pickett. Though Pickett can certainly challenge him, especially with the friendly crowd supporting him, I think we'll see Barao's skills shine through.
Pick: Renan Barao
Mark "The Filipino Wrecking Machine" Munoz (11-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) vs. Chris "The Crippler" Leben (22-7 MMA, 12-6 UFC)
The main event pits two of the best middleweights in the world in what should be a thrilling fight.
Mark Munoz is currently on a three-fight winning streak, and with a win over Leben, he could be on his way to making his case for a title shot. Munoz is known for his wrestling and brutal ground-and-pound, though his striking has been improved recently.
Chris Leben is coming off of his lighting fast KO victory over Wanderlei Silva. Leben will likely continue to play the role of exciting card-filler, no matter the outcome here, but he comes into every fight looking to knock someone out.
I think that these two are pretty evenly matched on the feet, though it's never a good idea to get into a slug fest with Leben. He has an incredible ability to take punishment and keep coming forward. In a recent training video blog, he explained that he plans on taking two shots in order to give one, since he knows he can take the punishment and has heavy hands.
I rest my case.
Munoz will likely try to get Leben on the ground, which is no easy task, but once there, I think he is the stronger wrestler and should be able to do enough damage to take a hard-fought decision. It's impossible to ever count Leben out of a fight, but Munoz is more athletic, more dynamic and, I think, slightly more talented overall.
Pick: Mark Munoz
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