Back in the day, the FX channel was a destination for edgy programming that only you and a handful of your friends tuned in to, to geek out over Vic Mackey’s nefarious exploits on “The Shield” or, more recently, crack up over “Archer” one-liners. But no more for that. With the UFC settling into the network after flying the SpikeTV coop, and with us getting steady doses of prelim bouts prior to pay-per-view broadcasts , everyone and their mother will be going there. *Sigh* So, since we’ll all be checking out FX before UFC 143 demands our unwavering love and attention, please allow me to preview the undercard. (Actually, I’ll be in Atlantic City, at Cage Fury Fighting Championship 13, so my UFC 143 experience is going to be via DVR the next day.)
-Dustin Poirier vs. Max Holloway – If you’ve seen “Fightville”, then you’re well-acquainted with Poirier, who is one of the most promising up-and-comers currently in the game. And if you haven’t seen Fightville, well, take my word for it, the dude can do it all, and is one of the most promising up-and-comers in the game. Opponent Holloway is making his UFC debut against Poirier after a handful of other more-experienced guys dropped out. Yeah, we’ve seen this scenario before. Holloway, who’s amassed a spotless 4-0 record fighting in Hawaii, is going to get beaten so badly, he will leak pineapple juice all over the Octagon floor.
-Alex Caceres vs. Edwin Figueroa – Since the featherweight division proved to be too hot for him, Bruce Leroy has moved down to bantamweight, and there the TUFer may have found his niche. Which is good. The kid has got personality, and apparently enough skill to beat a veteran like Cole Escovedo. That’s worth something, right? On the flipside, Figueroa battled hard against Michael McDonald in his UFC debut, then he beat on Jason Reinhardt in a total gimme-fight (“gimme” as in “gimme a break, Jason Reinhardt has never won in the UFC”). How’s this one going to go down? Although Caceres seems to have a weakness on the ground when facing higher-level grapplers, I don’t see Figueroa being that much of a threat there. If anything, Figueroa is going to try to light him up on the feet – at which point, Bruce Leroy is going to drag him to the canvas and submit him.
-Chris Cope vs. Matt Brown – This one has “standup war” written all over it, especially because both men aren’t exactly known for their ace groundfighting ability. The question, then, is who can deliver and absorb the most punishment – to which I say, “Oh my God, Matt Brown all the way.” Cope fell to Che Mills at UFC 138 in a mere forty seconds, and the TUF 13 castoff is the farthest thing from a KO artist. Brown, however, seems to flick a switch and transform into the superhero “Captain Muay Thai”. This one isn’t going to end well for Cope, who could very well be out of job when the dust settles.
-Matt Riddle vs. Henry Martinez – Originally, TUF winner Amir Sadollah was supposed to fight someone in this slot, but he got injured and was replaced by Riddle. Then Riddle’s opponent got injured and was replaced by Martinez. Therefore, technically, neither of these guys should be here. Chew on that fact while you watch Riddle, who sports some of the worst striking around to complement his wrestling, attempt to take the Greg Jackson-trained Bellator vet down in the most awkwardly-telegraphed fashion – a probably succeed in grinding out an uninspired decision.