Liz Carmouche vs. Jessica Andrade

Scheduled to set things off at UFC on FOX 8 in Seattle is another women’s bantamweight bout between Carmouche, who has already fought in the UFC, and Jessica Andrade who is making her UFC debut. Andrade holds a 9-2 record, and has only gone the distance one time in her career and that was to Jennifer Maia. Andrade also is very well rounded; she likes to attack the body, is very aggressive, but also really likes to go for chokes. Andrade may not have the name recognition, but she has a pretty impressive resume and is a very exciting fighter. Carmouche is going to have her hands full.

Just like Andrade, Carmouche is also very well-rounded. I think the big thing that is going to set the difference between the two is that Carmouche is a way better wrestler. I think she’s the bigger, physically stronger fighter – so when they lock up, it’ll most likely be Carmouche who controls the action. Andrade is most likely going to have to keep her distance, but that will be hard as Carmouche is also the taller, longer fighter. Ultimately, I’m going to side with Carmouche in a decision victory. I think Andrade will have her moments, and this will be a very exciting fight, but Carmouche is just too big, too strong, and too experienced against top level competition to let Andrade dictate the fight. It’ll be Carmouche’s takedowns and clinch work that will give her the edge on the scorecards.

Liz Carmouche via Unanimous Decision 

Robbie Lawler vs. Bobby Voelker 

Up next is an interesting fight in the welterweight division. Why is it interesting? Because Bobby Voelker has come in as a replacement for Siyar Bahadurzada – an opponent that would’ve made a much more exciting match-up. Now that we have Bobby Voelker, a lot of people have felt that this fight has lost its steam. However, Voelker is an exciting stand up fighter as well and seeing that he lost his debut, is stepping in on short-notice to face a top 10 opponent, and is also a banger himself, this fight could be very exciting! Right now, Robbie Lawler has a chance to break through to the top of the division. It may not be with this opponent, but after seeing what Lawler did to Josh Koscheck, it’s almost inevitable.

Lawler has always been known as a hard hitter, but he was just always getting taken down and neutralized or submitted. After seeing the performance against Koscheck, I feel that Lawler has finally started to figure out what he needs to do to ensure he can get the opportunities needed to put his hands on his opponent’s face – against Voelker, he’s going to get a lot of those. Expect Voelker to play it very safe on the feet, as he does not want to get hit by anything Lawler is throwing. Voelker showed a good takedown game in his UFC debut against Patrick Cote, so look for Voelker to find openings in takedowns. I actually think Voelker is going to have a good first couple of minutes, as he may score a takedown or two, but Cote had no problem getting off of his back against Voelker and I don’t see Lawler staying on the ground for too long either.

Eventually, Lawler is going to find his window, and he’s going to head hunt for a finish. I believe it’ll be in the second round as Voelker’s takedowns will give Lawler early problems, soon he’ll catch on, see them coming, and know what he has to do to avoid them. Second round, it’s time to terminate.

Robbie Lawler via 2nd Round TKO 

Rory MacDonald vs. Jake Ellenberger 

Set as the co-headliner to this card free on Fox is probably the fight that is getting the most hype: Rory MacDonald vs. Jake Ellenberger. Both of these guys are the crème-of-the-crop at 170lbs, and are fighting for number one contender status – whether the winner of this fight will get a title shot, I don’t know, the welterweight division is in a bit of a frenzy at the moment, but I do believe the winner here should move up to that #1 ranking, just before the champion.

Rory MacDonald has been nothing short of impressive since fighting in the UFC. Even though he was finished by strikes against Carlos Condit in his debut, he showed heart, skill, talent, and gave Condit an ass-whooping for the better part of the fight. However since then, MacDonald has been on an absolute tear. He’s crushed all the “prospects” that were supposed to give him a run for his money, and then finally took out BJ Penn in an embarrassing match up. MacDonald is a big, strong, athletic, fighter who is very well-rounded and seems to be improving be leaps-and-bounds every single time he fights. However, his opponent is an absolute killer.

Jake Ellenberger, a hometown hero for me, has been nothing short of explosive. He has his fair share of losses, including one to Carlos Condit in his debut (ironically enough, Ellenberger won the better part of that fight before fading in the third and dropping a close split decision that is still argued today as being wrong). Ellenberger has some of the largest amounts of punching power in the welterweight division, but it’s not just his power that has gotten him to where he is; it’s his speed and explosion. Ellenberger really reminds me of a 170lb, American Vitor Belfort when he explodes on his opponents. He waits for the right time, then charges in with a blazing fury of fists that each have the capacity to knock you unconscious. It’s very hard to escape Ellenberger conscious when you stand with him, so MacDonald better be insanely cautious.

Probably the most argued aspect about this fight is, “who has the better wrestling?” Honestly, I think it’s about dead even. MacDonald and Ellenberger are both very talented wrestlers, but I believe they have a bit different grappling style. MacDonald is a guy who is very creative with his takedowns; he mixes them up, and blends his submissions and ground and pound very well. When it comes to Ellenberger, he’s a little more one-dimensional; he goes for doubles, singles, and “drag-downs” that require lots of strength. Also, Ellenberger isn’t really a guy we’ve seen go for submissions as he usually just likes to batter his opponent with ground and pound until they fall asleep.

Physique is another thing that I think will play as a huge factor in this fight. MacDonald in my eyes is in a way fighting-shape than Ellenberger. While Jake is built like a brick-house, MacDonald is a bit leaner and has way more cardio. We’ve seen Ellenberger fade in the latter rounds, so if MacDonald is going to have a huge advantage it’s going to be in that second and third rounds. MacDonald is also the taller of the two, and does have the reach advantage in this fight, but what is interesting is that Ellenberger is the biggest and one of the longest fighters that MacDonald has faced. Up to this point, MacDonald has never faced someone as strong as Ellenberger, so that could be a big shock to Rory’s system when he ties up against someone he thinks he’ll be able to move easily, and can’t. Ellenberger knows what he’s doing in the clinch and in grappling scenarios, so I don’t think MacDonald will have much success unless he can grind Ellenberger down.

Ultimately, I see the fight going down like this: MacDonald will try to pot-shot for the first few moments of the fight. Ellenberger will push the action and try to corner MacDonald so he explode with a flurry of punches, however Rory will keep him busy with takedown attempts and lock-ups. These tie-ups are going to be key for MacDonald as they’ll tire Ellenberger’s arms out which will make less-dangerous on the feet. Unfortunately, I don’t see MacDonald having much success with these at all as Ellenberger will be strong enough to shove MacDonald away and get back to striking. Eventually, Ellenberger to going to find his mark with something, drop Rory, and finish him with ground and pound early in the second round. MacDonald’s stand up isn’t anywhere close to being as dangerous as Ellenberger’s, and his Ali-shuffle won’t save him.

Ellenberger via 2nd Round TKO 

Demetrious Johnson vs. John Moraga 

For the flyweight championship, Mighty Mouse vs. John Moraga. Yes, Moraga doesn’t really have much name value as he has only fought twice in the UFC, but I assure you that he’s a very valid opponent and very dangerous. Unfortunately, this doesn’t look very well for the flyweight division as a whole when you have a guy score two victories and get a title shot, but hopefully that will change as the division gains popularity.

In this fight, there’s no denying that Moraga’s only advantage is in his power. Johnson is the faster, more technical, more athletic, and more creative fighter – but Moraga still can knock his block off. This fight is going to come down to Johnson’s striking defense, and how often he wants to take the fight to the ground. I do not believe Moraga will be able to stuff Johnson’s takedowns, and Johnson will be the one dictating where the fight goes. However, every fight starts on the feet and if Moraga can keep his distance to avoid the takedowns, then he has a very solid chance in this fight.

Even though Moraga will be the taller fighter, he won’t have much of a reach advantage which makes me believe even more than Johnson’s takedowns will be the story of this fight. I do expect Moraga to land some solid punches on Johnson, just like John Dodson did, but he won’t be able to follow up with anything as the double leg will be waiting for him where he spends the majority of the fight on his back. It’ll be a dominate victory for Johnson as he defends his title for the second time.

Demetrious Johnson via Unanimous Decision