In case you’re unaware and haven’t seen the ads on Fox that show up as often as Badr Hari’s assault charges, the UFC’s ninth edition of UFC on FOX will be going down this Saturday. At its peak is a flyweight title bout as the champ Demetrious Johnson to defend it against Joseph Benavidez, a man who took Johnson to a 5-round split decision in the second half of 2012. But the main event isn’t even the fight most fans are excited for; this whole card has stacked bouts from top to bottom. Right now, let’s take a peek at the bottom portion of the card as I voice my predictions and insightful analysis.
Darren Uyenoyama vs. Alp Ozkilic
Starting off the action is actually a pretty monumental bout contrary to its star power. This cards’ opening bout will feature the very first Turkish fighter to fight in the UFC as the 8-1 Alp Ozkilic takes on the ubiquitous 3-time UFC veteran, Darren Uyenoyama. For the most part, Uyenoyama remains a fairly one-dimensional fighter; he favors the grappling game and has never really offered much to make anyone consider him as a complete well-rounded fighter. Alp on the other hand wins the majority of his fights by decision, but has possessed some solid knock out power. My analysis for this fight is as follows: if Alp can not keep Uyenoyama on the defensive, be comfortable enough to open up with shots, and also stuff takedowns, then he will allow Darren to take him down and most likely out-grapple him for a decision. Being that Alp is stepping into the bright lights of the Octagon for the first time with the pressure of his homestead on his shoulders, it’ll be a lot to ask of him especially considering he’s facing a guy who, although has a small record, has faced a lot of top-notch talent.
Darren Uyenoyama via Unanimous Decision
Sam Stout vs. Cody McKenzie
Taking place at 155lbs, we have the guillotine-specialist, Cody McKenzie, facing “Hands of Stone”, Sam Stout. These two fighters are about as opposite as you can get as one is a submission specialist who is going up against a powerful striker. Stylistically, this a “coin-flipper”; if McKenzie gets Stout to the ground, I have confidence that he’ll be able to choke him out, but if he can’t, it’ll be Stout’s hands all over Cody’s face. Usually, I would have no hesitation in picking Sam Stout against McKenzie if it wasn’t for his last loss being by way of guillotine. That doesn’t give me very much confidence at all, but I guess the smart pick here would be Sam Stout. Stout has the wrestling to stuff takedowns and possibly scramble out of bad spots, and obviously has the hands to put McKenzie away. Seeing as though McKenzie doesn’t really have many means of getting the physically stronger man to the ground, I’m picking Stout in this one to win by strikes in the first.
Sam Stout via 1st Rd TKO
Roger Bowling vs. Abel Trujillo
Ah, the rematch of what was initially a fast-paced back-and-forth bout that unfortunately resulted in a No Contest. Bowling and Trujillo clubbed eachother with vicious punches and also implied their wrestling games on eachother in what was a fairly competitive fight, however, it was Bowling that was slowly taking over the fight in the second round up until that illegal knee put him out. Trujillo is built like a brick-house, which totally explains why he begins to fade and not perform as well in the later part of the fight. While both men have lots of knockout power and like to throw caution to the wind in their exchanges, I’d expect Bowling to come with a little more technique this time around. His brawling didn’t do too well for him against the technical phenom in Anthony Njokuani; given, he doesn’t have to worry about facing a more technical fighter in this bout, but he has does have to fear getting caught. Expect some tighter defense from Bowling this time around, a little more technique on his punches, and some good takedowns to wear Trujillo down en route to a third round TKO.
Roger Bowling via 3rd Rd TKO
Bobby Green vs. Pat Healy
Out of the prelims, this bout is the one that I am most interested in seeing. Both Green and Healy are so evenly matched on paper and in their styles themselves that I’m very intrigued as to who will win. As for some analysis, the big x-factor in this bout is going to be Healy’s pressure on the feet I believe. We saw Green widen his striking arsenal a bit in his dispatching of James Krause as he landed repeated kicks to the body/groin (there was some grey area for sure), but he won’t be able to really get off with the same amount of power against Healy because of the forward movement. Healy is a non-stop freight train who pushes forward, drives for the takedown, and will receive any amount of punishment to get it. Then, once on top, he absolutely mauls you with punches and grappling transitions until the end of the fight, or the submission. The interesting part of this fight comes when Healy tries to go for that takedown; Green is a talented wrestler and grappler himself, so I guess I’m not totally confident that Healy’s takedown completion rate will be all too high for this bout. I’m expecting Healy to rely on his striking more than his takedowns, and eventually earn a razor-thin decision because of it. Green has the tighter hands, but moving backward and constantly defending takedowns will sap a lot of power from it.
Pat Healy via Split Decision
Edson Barboza vs. Danny Castillo
Receiving heavy stock courtesy of his flashy but extremely effective kicking skills, Edson Barboza has rebounded from his upset loss to Jamie Varner with 2 back-to-back wins. Now, he faces another opponent in his way of that top 10 level status where many people say he belongs. Barboza takes on the Alpha-Male darkhorse, Danny Castillo, who is also on a two-fight winning streak heading into this pivotal bout. Castillo has a fast-paced wrestling game that he uses to dominate his opponents en route to scoring decisions. Castillo’s type isn’t unpopular at all, and I’m sure Barboza has prepared to face wrestlers like Danny Castillo, but even so, his takedowns remain some of the best at 155; however, we have seen Castillo out-wrestled when he fought Jacob Volkmann and Michael Johnson. Another point to make here is that Barboza has never had troubles stuffing takedowns or getting off of his back; his athleticism and explosive power in his hips lies arguably unmatched. Expect Barboza’s heavy kicking game to give Castillo early problems, but coming from a fantastic camp like Alpha-Male has its benefits. Look for Barboza to have to change his game up and have to rely on his punches more-so than his kicks, as Castillo will be ready for them. Having the explosiveness contained to shrug off Castillo’s takedowns, it’ll be a matter of time before Barboza’s lightning fast arsenal overwhelms him in the second round.
Edson Barboza via 2nd Rd TKO
Zach Makovsky vs. Scott Jorgensen
Coming to us from the Bellator circuit is the UFC newcomer, Zach Makovsky. In his debut, he’s taking on the proven veteran, Scott Jorgensen, who is a 6-time vet inside the UFC and a countless-time vet inside the WEC. Makovsky is a very will-imposing fighter who fights the best when he is in control of the action. His takedowns appear unstoppable (against Bellator competition) and his transitions from the top are smooth and come with dangerous meaning. But being just a talented wrestler/grappler isn’t going to cut it in the big leagues. Scott Jorgensen is the more well-rounded fighter, and even the athletic standards from Bellator to the UFC are different. Expect Jorgensen to be the faster, sharper tool out there and with better boxing and quicker scrambles, he’s going to keep Makovsky out of his rhythm on his path to a decision victory.
Scott Jorgensen via Unanimous Decision
Court McGee vs. Ryan LaFlare
To top off the UFC on FOX 9 prelims is a welterweight bout that isn’t really receiving much attention. Given, Ryan LaFlare isn’t the most popular fighter out there, but those who have seen him fight, you’ll know that he possesses some great ability. To summarize LaFlare, I relate his fighting style very closely to that of Dong Hyun-Kim; using takedowns and a smothering top game that supports his grappling transitions, LaFlare has yet to meet much resistance. Court McGee on the other hand is a high-volume scrapper who also has some solid grappling skills, but it would be unwise to try and match the grappling of LaFlare. Expect McGee to come forward with his hands and kicks like he always does, trying to overwhelm his opponent and keep them out of rhythm, but I believe that forward movement will only aid LaFlare in swooping down, changing levels, and taking this fight to the mat. McGee is talented off of his back, but LaFlare is on another level when it comes to smothering, passing, peppering, and improving position on his opponent. McGee should be able to keep things competitive from the guard and on the feet, but once LaFlare gets some momentum on the ground, I’ll expect a 29-28 decision for LaFlare.
Ryan LaFlare via Unanimous Decision