These are the facts: UFC on Versus is Saturday night for its sixth installment, the promotion is touching down in Washington, DC proper for the first time (that UFC Fight Night in Northern Virginia doesn’t count – it’s freakin’ Virginia, for Christ’s sake), and there’s a bantamweight title on the line. Oh yeah, and there’s zero buzz going into the event. Why is there zero buzz? Is everyone just exhausted from caring so much about UFC 135 last weekend and saving up all the leftover “care” for UFC 136 next week? Or is it that the lighter weights still aren’t compelling enough to the average fan? You know what, who cares what the reason is. Like the WEC and, sadly, Bellator’s 135-pound tournament, Dominick Cruz’s defense of the belt against Demetrious Johnson can be our – you, me and the rest of the hardcores – little secret. Because in addition to the aforementioned facts, there’s also this: the little guys are never boring. Preview time!
-Dominick Cruz vs. Demetrious Johnson – The beauty of Cruz’s unorthodox striking-heavy style is that he fights like he’s having an epileptic seizure. And it works! The last challenger, Urijah Faber, was so disoriented he didn’t know if he was supposed to crap twice or go blind, and the rest of the top dogs, like Scott Jorgensen, Joseph Benavidez and Brian Bowles, still aren’t sure what happened to them when they fought Cruz. On the other half of the equation is Johnson, a.k.a. “Mighty Mouse”, who trounced Damacio Page, “Kid” Yamamoto and Miguel Torres to earn his shot. You know, I think Johnson is as worthy a challenger as we’re going to get, but you can’t outrun the Flash in a footrace or bench press more than the Hulk, and Johnson’s got an even harder task in front of him with Cruz. This one’s going five rounds, with Cruz once against getting the nod.
-Stefan Struve vs. Pat Barry – In his last outing the eleven-foot tall Struve got plastered by Travis Browne, while Barry knocked out Cheick Kongo twice yet somehow still wound up unconscious. You think redemption is on the minds of these guys? I’d say yes, as well as thoughts of future employment options and the desire to f*** someone up – all of which means we’re most definitely seeing a heavyweight slugfest here. My crystal ball says it’s going to be Struve who’s carried out on a stretcher, but you never know. Barry might have a Kongo flashback and pass out.
-Charlie Brenneman vs. Anthony Johnson – In his last time at bat, Brenneman shocked the world by out-wrestling Rick Story and derailing the Story Train’s fast climb up the mountain. In Johnson’s last outing, he shocked no one by playing it safe against Dan Hardy, lying on top of the Brit for three rounds. You can bet Johnson is going to try his best to avoid getting taken down and beaten on. He will, however, fail. Brenneman is a better wrestler, and sports the kind of relentlessness that makes guys like Johnson wish they’d become a lawyer or doctor like their mom had wanted.
-Matt Wiman vs. Mac Danzig – Wiman looked only okay on TUF 6, but his career in the Octagon since then has seen him lose to only some of the toughest lightweights out there. Danzig, on the other hand, won TUF 6, but has looked like crap ever since. Adding another wrinkle to this match-up is that these guys fought already at UFC 115, and the referee totally flubbed a call that involved a Wiman guillotine attempt and the ref believing that Danzig was dead (or something). Anyway, rematch! You know, with Kendall Grove axed, I think Danzig will be the next TUF winner to get his walking papers – he’s that uninspiring – so yeah, Wiman by something. Maybe KO, maybe submission.