What UFC 138 lacks in title fights, hype and superstars it more than makes up for in stellar matchups and hungry fighters making their UFC debuts. Headlining the fight are sluggers Chris Leben and Mark Munoz.
Both men have a “go for it” attitude and the power to finish.
Other pay-per-view bouts include: Brad Pickett vs. Renan Barao, Thiago Alves vs. Papy Abedi and Cyrille Diabate vs. Anthony Perosh among others.
Free on Facebook you can see bantamweights Chris Cariaso vs. Vaughn Lee, featherweights Michihiro Omigawa vs. Jason Young, heavyweights Rob Broughton vs. Phil De Fries and more.
Here are predictions for every fight.
England's own Vaughn Lee, training out of the Ultimate Fighting Centre, makes his UFC debut in the bantamweight division riding a three-fight win streak. He'll be facing Muy Thai fighter Chris Cariaso, who's gunning for his second win inside the octagon.
Vaughn Lee is a beast. Fast, strong and able to finish the fight wherever it goes. He's a well-rounded finisher who utilizes flying knees, armbars and guillotines to put his opponents away. His record suggests he prefers the ground game.
Sportsbook has Chris "Kamikaze" Cariaso as a heavy, -200 favorite heading into this matchup. Chris is a Muy Thai warrior who likes to keep things standing and pick apart his opponent on the way to decision victories; four of his last five wins have come from the judges. We last saw him drop a split decision to Michael MacDonald back at UFC 130.
I like the underdog in this fight. Look for Lee to come out hard fast and continuous against Cariaso, putting him away in the second.
Prediction: Vaughn Lee wins via TKO in Round 2
Popular TUF 13 alum Chris Cope returns to the UFC welterweight division after finding success in Strikeforce, only to find himself the underdog against British fighter Che Mills, who is making his UFC debut.
Mills is on a four-fight win streak and will have the wind in his sails with the Birmingham crowd being firmly behind him.
Mills' last four victories hold two decisions and two knockouts; Cope's, two decisions and two knockouts as well. These are two men who can go the distance and come to bang. Although Cope will try to use his hands to land the head kick that put away Ron Keslar and Armando Montoya, this thing is going the distance and the British crowd will like the judges' call.
Prediction: Che Mills via Unanimous Decision.
Brit-on-Brit violence, heavyweight style!
This may be a pretty good match. Both of these guys are well versed on the ground.
UWC champion Philip De Fries comes to the Octagon sporting an unbeaten record of seven submission wins, each fight but his last ending in the first round.
Rob Broughton, out of the famous Wolfslair Academy, has five submission victories in addition to his seven TKO wins.
De Fries, a -150 favorite, clearly wants to take this to the ground. Broughton, given his own ground skills, may not work hard enough to keep the fight standing, only to find himself outclassed when the fight hits the mat.
Prediction: De Fries wins via Rear Naked Choke in Round 2.
Michihiro Omigawa vs. Jason Young (8-4) is going to be a lesson on why featherweight fights are appointment MMA.
Omigawa is a grizzled Japanese MMA veteran (12-10-1); nevertheless, coming off of two losses, to Chad Mendez and Darren Elkins, he is likely fighting to keep his place in the UFC. Omigawa is a judo specialist, half of whose wins have come by decision, so look for some big throws or trips if he gets hold of Jason Young.
Jason Young (8-4) is a bruiser from London who has shown solid stand-up skills in recent fights. Like Omigawa, half of his wins came via decision and he holds three TKO(s). He will come to bang, but in the process of engaging, will get tied up and taken down, falling victim to Omigawa's judo.
Despite desperate attempts to put the British fighter away, Omigawa, a -300 favorite at Sportsbook, will be unable to finish Young and likely will receive the loudest boos of the night when the judges announce him the winner.
Prediction: Omigawa via Unanimous Decision.
For the same reason I'd like to see this one go to the ground, since both men have great submission games, it is just as likely to stay standing.
Justin “Fast Eddy” Edwards' (7-1), namesake, pool shark Eddie Felson in The Hustler, was known for the accuracy of his work and the speed at which he could put away his opponents. Edwards also makes quick work of his competition; six of his seven wins have come in the first round and five of those seven have come by submission.
John “The One” Maguire (16-3) makes his UFC debut riding a five-fight win streak featuring two decisions, two submissions and one doctor's stoppage, none of which ended in the first round. He'll likely aim to pull a "Minnesota Fats" and pull this fight into the late rounds by smothering Edwards and wearing him down.
Odds makers agree, Maguire will face his first night under the bright lights of the UFC in front of his hometown crowd against an opponent who shares his specialty—and all this will be too much for him.
Prediction: Justin Edwards via Unanimous Decision.
When an outstanding striker meets a middling grappler over whom he holds a six-inch reach advantage, you can expect one thing: first round knockout.
Southpaw French striker Cyrill "The Snake" Diabate (17-7-1) takes his 81-inch reach and kickboxing game against submission artist Anthony "The Hippo" Perosh.
Diabate has won seven of his last eight, including wins over Luiz Cane and Steve Cantwell, and is a whopping -500 favorite to win this fight.
Anthony Perosh (11-6-0) is a grappler whose only chance is to get this fight to the ground. Unfortunately, he lacks the takedowns and wrestling to get it there. The only way this fight goes to the ground is if Diabate lays down for him.
Prediction: Diabate via KO in Round 1.
Terry Etim (14-3), a British grappler from Liverpool, England, looked be on his way up in the UFC's lightweight division back in 2010; he had scored four wins in a row, including victories over the always tough Sam Stout and Jason Buchholz.
Unfortunately, after losing via armbar to Rafael dos Anjos, he was sidelined with a broken rib. Saturday night marks Etim's return to the Octagon, and the UFC has seen fit to give him an opponent that he should be able to handle.
Edward Faaloloto (5-2) is on a two-fight losing streak and is looking to pick up momentum with a big upset after TUF 12 finalist Michael Johnson TKO'd him back in June of this year. Unfortunately, there is nothing on his resume that suggests he can fend Etim off. Sportsbook has him listed as a +400 underdog with a 1,000 point spread.
Prediction: Etim via Guillotine in Round 1.
I can think of only three reasons to feed someone to Thiago Alves in his UFC debut:
- That person has upset Dana White.
- Thiago needs a fight to rebuild his confidence after an up-and-down couple of years.
- The brass at the UFC is impressed and wants to see what this fighter is made of.
Papy Abedi, like Thiago Alves, is scary. Holding an 8-0 record with five knockout victories, Abedi is a southpaw who knows how to fight like one, keeping is lead foot to the outside and working his inside leg kick. His judo black belt means he will be tough to take down.
Fortunately for the fans, fellow beast Thiago Alves (18-8) will be happy to stand and trade with him.
Thiago is a huge step up in competition for Abedi. Abedi has never even come close to fighting anyone of Thiago’s caliber. Thiago has exceptionally technical Muy Thai and looks to be the crisper striker; further, like Abedi, he is a big strong welterweight.
I fully expect fireworks, and on paper Alves looks like the easy pick; nevertheless, I’m going to buck the oddsmakers (who rightfully list Alves as the favorite to win) and say that Papy Abedi makes a very big statement in the welterweight division.
Prediction: Papy Abedi via TKO in Round 3.
The only thing longer than Renan "Barao" do Nascimento Mota Pegado’s winning streak is his surname. Excluding one no contest back in 2007, Barao is on a mind boggling 25 fight run, the majority of which came by way of submission.
If anyone can put an end to this record in the bantamweight division it is England’s own Brad “One Punch” Pickett, whose 20-5 record, including a win over Demetrius Johnson, is nothing to sneeze at. Despite his moniker, the majority of “One Punch’s” wins come via submission.
This is a very tough fight to call and may be one of the best fights of the evening. Both of these guys are looking for a title shot and only one of them is likely to get it. Both have plenty of experience and both own six knockouts.
Though it will be hard fought, this Pickett's Charge will end in victory.
Prediction: Brad Pickett via Split Decision
Chris “The Crippler” Leben and Mark “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Munoz will headline Saturday night's UFC event.
Leben, a fan favorite, has rattled off a number of impressive victories of late over solid competition. He’s gone 4-1 since 2010, his only loss coming to Brian Stann. He has knockout power in his hands; almost 55 percent of his wins have come via knockout.
He’s also demonstrated a solid ground game with five submission wins, the most recent a triangle choke victory over Yoshihiro Akiyama in July 2010.
Mark Munoz is a grade A wrestler on a three-fight win streak. His most recent loss comes at the hands of No. 3 middleweight Yushin Okami, a hard-fought split decision loss at that.
He’s got power in his hands with five knockout victories to his name, most recently flattening C.B. Dolloway this past March, and was able to shut down Demian Maia on his way to a decision victory in June.
Ultimately, I think we’ve seen the best Chris Leben we’re ever going to see, and that Munoz is only getting better.
Munoz will outwrestle Leben and Leben will not be able to submit Munoz.
Prediction: Munoz via TKO in Round 3.