There is no justice in the world. How do I know there is no justice in the world? Because lightweight dynamo Jim Miller is fighting at UFC on Versus 5 on Sunday night and it’s not for the organization’s 155-pound title. TheNew Jerseynative has not tasted defeat since his 2009 decision loss to Gray Maynard, and has since racked up more wins in the Octagon than most fighters have UFC fights. At this point, you have to wonder if a) matchmaker Joe Silva hates Jim Miller; b) Dana White hates Jim Miller; c) God hates Jim Miller; or, d) Jim Miller hates Jim Miller. Why must he keep taking on the division’s toughest – like Charles Oliveira and TUF winner Mac Danzig, and on Sunday, former WEC champ Ben Henderson – while others in the weight class have yet to establish themselves as contenders? As long as champ Frankie Edgar and eternal challenger Maynard remain in injury-induced suspended animation, potential lightweight contenders should be battling each other for the right to face Miller. But alas, the wrestler-turned-jiu-jitsu stud gets no such treatment. On the bright side, we get a pretty intriguing UFC on Versus 5 co-main event, though. Preview time!
-Dan Hardy vs. Chris Lytle – “Mind-boggling”. That’s how best to describe the decision to have welterweight Brit striker Hardy versus slugger Lytle as the event’s marquee bout. Consider this: Hardy is riding a three-fight skid, losing to Georges St. Pierre and Anthony Johnson by decision thanks to his lack of wrestling, and losing to Carlos Condit by knockout thanks to his slightly-slower punching speed. Lytle, on the other hand, is coming off a loss to Brian Ebersole in a bout where he got absolutely smashed. Should these two get top billing over the pairing of Miller and Henderson? As the wise old Will Smith once said, “Aw, hell no!” The only consolation we as fans get for this choice of main event is that the chances are good this one could be a slugfest that paints the Octagon all sorts of red and crimson, and we are witness to the kind of bloodbath that would make a vampire gag. As for a prediction, I see this one going the distance, and since both men are really good at punching faces, the decision could go either way.
-Jim Miller vs. Ben Henderson – Let’s talk grittiness. Miller is so gritty, he once spent almost an entire round with jiu-jitsu specialist Mark Bocek on his back, with Bocek’s legs figure-foured around his waist trapping one of his arms while the Canadian went for a choke. And Miller defended the choke successfully and went on to win a decision. Henderson is gritty, too – he once had an epic knockdown-drag-out war with Don Cerrone, and ruled the WEC with an iron fist (and deadly guillotine choke) until Anthony Pettis dislodged him from his throne at the promotion’s final hurrah. So where does that leave us with this UFC on Versus 5 match-up? Well, there’s a high probability that these guys are going to fight so fiercely their combined grittiness creates an impenetrable dust cloud (think: old “Tom and Jerry” cartoon) and the only gauge of the intensity of their ruckus will be the sounds of kicks, punches, chokes and grunts of pain and exertion. In short, this fight will rock. And Miller will win. Possibly by sub.
-Don Cerrone vs. Charles Oliveira – If you’re good at striking, Cerrone will pick you apart and/or tap you out, and if you’re good at grappling, Cerrone will smash you. That’s what we learned during his tenure as a top-ranked WEC lightweight, and more recently as a UFC newcomer. What we’ve learned of Brazilian rising star Oliveira involves a lot of jiu-jitsu, aggression and confidence. This is another great match-up and very similar to the aforementioned Miller/Henderson scrap, although at best Oliveira and Cerrone would be considered Miller- and Henderson Lite (i.e., same great taste, half the calories). Expect a dust cloud, and Cerrone edging out a disheartened Oliveira for the decision.
-Amir Sadollah vs. Duane Ludwig – He may have won TUF 7, but Sadollah has been struggling to get traction in the Octagon ever since. Which is a shame, because he can Muay Thai okay and grapple okay. Unfortunately, “okay” doesn’t cut it in a league that features the best in respective disciplines, so… we get to see Sadollah take on Ludwig, who at one time was the shiznit when it came to wrecking dudes on the feet, but is now a little older and less dangerous. The smart money is on Sadollah seeking his fortunes on the ground, and finding them by way of a methodical submission.