For the second time in just over a year, the UFC returns to Australia for UFC on FX 2: “Alves vs. Kampmann” – which is crazy, because I haven’t even sought out Australia on the map that many times, so for Zuffa to fly the whole traveling circus to that distant locale is like quite the endeavor times ten. Anyway, as the name implies, the four-bout main card is airing live on the FX channel. Meanwhile, the prelims are airing on Fuel TV – which I still don’t get – but according to my channel guide, they’re airing concurrently on FOX Deportes – which I do get. As such, I will cut out the preamble and get right to the preview, because, you know, that’s a lot of fights to write about.
-Thiago Alves vs. Martin Kampmann – When last we saw Alves, the Brazilian striker and former welterweight top contender was smoking a hopelessly outgunned Papy Abedi at UFC 138, with Abedi playing the welcomed role of softball in a game Alves has been steadily losing since Georges St. Pierre and Jon Fitch hugged the fighting spirit right out of him. But lo! Dangerous Dane Kampmann is no hugger! He’s a pleasingly well-rounded fellow more than willing to slug it out when he should be grappling, and grapple when he should be slugging it out. Therefore, what we’re likely to get in this marquee matchup is fun – fun of the striking variety, fun of the impending TKO variety, fun of the “non-hugging” variety. As for who will emerge victorious, that depends on if Alves is in shape and able to make weight. If all is good on the scale for him, he has the firepower to put Kampmann away; if the 170-pound weight limit is nothing more than a bad joke for the Brazilian, well, the battle has already been lost in his own mind before the fighters have even entered the cage.
-Joseph Benavidez vs. Yasuhiro Urushitani – The flyweights are upon us! Hide your women! UFC on FX 2 will see the opening bracket of the UFC’s four-man 125-pound tournament, which will theoretically crown a champ, make some stars, and give the general public an inkling of what’s in store now that the littlest fighters can step to the plate. First up: top bantamweight contender and Team Alpha Male micro-wrestler Benavidez against Shooto champ Urushitani. Urushitani has been in the fire for about eleven years and has proven to be a man of decent striking ability and strong endurance, but he’s got a tall order before him in Benavidez, who lost a split decision to UFC bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz back in 2010 yet is otherwise a takedown- and transition-dynamo. I see the American grounding out the decision, despite Benavidez really being unable to hurt Urushitani in all three rounds.
-Ian McCall vs. Demetrious Johnson – We all saw Johnson try and fail against bantamweight king Cruz. What might be forgotten, however, is the fact that Johnson was – and still is – a kind of human whirlwind who can mix dangerous subs with dangerous strikes in very fluid fashion. Too bad his move down to the flyweight division means he has to face McCall, who, thanks to Tachi Palace Fights’ love for the 125-pounders, has established himself as the best at that weight. Which isn’t to say Johnson can’t win. He can. It’s just that when it comes to one fighter wearing the other one down and capitalizing, it’s likely going to be “Uncle Creepy” who finishes “Mighty Mouse” when the battle rages into later rounds.
-Court McGee vs. Costa Philippou – Since winning TUF 11, McGee has been fed some easy fights against guys that play right into his ever-improving standup game. Philippou will mark the first time that McGee faces someone in the Octagon who can actually punch his head off. And yeah, that’s pretty much what will happen. You see, Philippou has got some of the most dangerous hands in the middleweight division – dangerous both in terms of power and accuracy – and McGee’s usual modus operandi of eating a few punches before ratcheting up the heat is only going to serve to get him killed. This one is ending abruptly, via TKO, and Philippou is getting his hand raised at the end.
Fuel TV/FOX Deportes card:
-James Te Huna vs. Aaron Rosa – As hard-hitting New Zealanders go, Te Huna is probably one of the best. I know, I know, that’s not saying much given New Zealand’s contributions to the MMA world. But when it comes to taking on the slimmed-down Rosa, that’s enough to ensure that the local-ish guy is getting the knockout over the American.
-Anthony Perosh vs. Nick Penner – Being a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is no guarantee you’re going to look good in the cage. Take, for instance, Aussie Perosh, who may have submitted Cyrille Diabate at UFC 138, but didn’t win over many hearts and minds in the process. With promotional newcomer Penner, Perosh gets a second shot at making a strong first impression. Why? Because the Canadian Penner’s biggest win to date was a sub against Butterbean, and that was back in 2007. Perosh is having “a stellar performance” practically handed to him. Dude better make the most of it.
-Cole Miller vs. Steven Siler – To get onto the last season of TUF, Siler defeated an ill Micah Miller. Uh oh, here comes Micah’s brother Cole, who’s got more than enough jiu-jitsu to tie Siler in a knot and leave him requiring a chiropractor right there on the Octagon floor. Watch for Miller to avenge his brother via sub. Hard.
-Andrew Craig vs. Kyle Noke – Noke is an ex-TUFer, a salty veteran, and one of Australia’s better fighters. Craig seems pretty game, and won a regional belt courtesy of the Legacy Fighting Championship (that’s in Texas for all you “big-picture only” types), but the dude is being fed to Noke to make sure that Team Aussie gets at least one win for the night. Seriously, Noke’s just got too much experience and ability in all areas. Craig is going down.
-TJ Waldburger vs. Jake Hecht – Waldburger is a brown belt in jiu-jitsu. That’s all you need to know about him. In his promotional debut, Hecht sprawled against the cage when Rich Attonito tried to take him down, and then he elbowed Attonito senseless. Bottom line: if Waldburger finds himself under Hecht, it’s getting ugly. Hecht via TKO.
-Mackens Semerzier vs. Daniel Pineda – Despite possessing one of the best first names ever, Semerzier has some serious peaks and valleys on his record. He shocked the world by submitting Wagnney Fabiano in the WEC, lost his next three in the promotion, went on to tap out Alex Caceres when the WEC became the UFC, and needed an inadvertent headbutt to outlast Robbie Peralta when the two had a striking battle. Therefore, Pineda, an experienced regional fighter out of Texas, should be a good gauge as to where Semerzier belongs. If he loses to the kickboxer/submission fighter hybrid, Semerzier needs to be given the boot; if he wins, he should stay. My gut tells me Semerzier can pull it off, but who knows.