By Felix Rodriguez, Staff Writer
UFC on FOX 5 is a few days away and there is only one cancelled fight to report after the UFC on FOX 5 main card analysis and fight predictions we posted on Monday. Unfortunately, TUF: Live winner, Michael Chiesa has submitted to illness before meeting Marcus LeVesseur in the night’s preliminaries. The physical and mental toll a fight camp takes on these athletes has been well documented; the bright side for Chiesa is that he isn’t bowing out due to an injury so he will be back in no time!
The UFC on FOX 5 Prelims will begin Saturday, December 8th at 4:30pm ET with one fight streaming live on Facebook and the rest of the preliminaries broadcasted by FX at 5:00pm ET; the main card will air on FOX at 8:00pm ET.
This card altogether is stacked with some very intriguing matchups throughout the smaller weight classes in the UFC. This card is looking like a must see for fans of fast-paced and action-packed fights.
Here is the preliminary card fight-by-fight analysis and predictions for who will come out on top:
UFC ON FOX 5 – FX Prelim Predictions (5PM EST)
155 lbs.: Yves Edwards vs. Jeremy Stephens
Speaking of cancelled fights… Some readers may recall that Edwards vs. Stephens was supposed to take place in October at UFC on FX 5: Browne vs. Bigfoot. Stephens was arrested shortly before the event and the fight was rescheduled for this card as a result.
Edwards vs. Stephens features two wily veterans that are well known for two things: Crowd-pleasing fights and the ability to finish opponents violently on their feet. IF the fight ends up on the ground (emphasis on IF) then Edwards’ thug-jitsu will be tested against Stephen’s strong Iowa-bred wrestling background and his own black belt in BJJ. Given that both men have a preference for stand-up this will be the least likely of scenarios so expect them to make an effort to remain on their feet. Edwards’ clinical brand of Muay Thai exploits angles and mixes up punches, elbows, knees and kicks gracefully, while Stephens uses power punching and dirty boxing to separate people from their senses. Both men should fight with a sense of urgency since each is coming off a loss and neither fighter has “company man” status. Fight fans will be treated to a rousing affair as a result.
Prediction: Stephens will spend the night trying to avoid three consecutive losses by looking for the big finish. Edwards will be too experienced and he’ll pick Stephens apart with efficient counter striking on the way to a unanimous decision victory.
135 lbs.: Raphael Assuncao vs. Mike Easton
Assuncao got off to a rocky start in the UFC after being welcomed to the octagon with a KO punch courtesy of Erik Koch. Since then the BJJ black belt has won two consecutive fights. Mike Easton has managed to start his own UFC career with three consecutive wins by combining good cardio with a frenetic fight pace. In all four of Assuncao’s losses he was either paired with a better striker who could keep the fight standing or a ground specialist who could neutralize his guard game like Jeff Curran and Urijah Faber. Easton’s key to victory would be to stick and move in order to tax Assuncao’s gas tank throughout the fight and make it harder for him to apply his submissions. Assuncao’s best chance to win would be to secure a clinch and a takedown against the fence. This would prevent the shifty Easton from scrambling back up and allow Assuncao to work for a submission before both men become slippery with sweat.
Prediction: Easton will tire Assuncao out neutralizing his ability to secure a clinch takedown or sweeps and submissions off his back in the later rounds. Assuncao won’t have an answer for Easton’s speed and Easton will split time dominating on the feet and cautiously striking from within Assuncao’s guard on his way to a unanimous decision victory.
155 lbs.: Ramsey Nijem vs. Joe Proctor
TUF alums ‘Stripper’ Ramsey Nijem and Joe Proctor will be paired against one another in a fight to climb up the lightweight division’s ladder of contention. Joe Proctor will look to represent Joe Lauzon’s Aggression crew for a second time in the UFC by winning two in a row. Proctor’s well-rounded MMA base and a blue-collar work ethic have led to success for him so far in the UFC. Nijem is a solid wrestler with very good submissions, but his striking is still a work in progress. Because Nijem is still developing his skill set, his game plan can be anticipated and exploited by more well-rounded fighters like Proctor who have a larger arsenal of weapons at their disposal.
Prediction: Nijem will have early success with taking his opponent to the ground, but Proctor will eventually get the timing of Nijem’s shots and catch him with a guillotine in the second round. Proctor by submission in round 2.
155 lbs.: Daron Cruickshank vs. Henry Martinez
Speaking of cancelled fights (again)… Cruickshank vs. Martinez was supposed to take place at UFC 151, the cancelled event that Dana White referred to as “The Card That Jon Jones Murdered.” This matchup features two prospects looking to advance at each other’s expense. Cruickshank has shown flashes of excellent striking but his ground game is still developing. Martinez is a well-rounded team Jackson-Winkeljohn product who has fought at 170lbs in the UFC before and looked good losing against Matt Riddle when he fought him out of his natural weight class on short notice.
Prediction: Martinez will be too big for Cruickshank and he won’t be able to continuously fend off takedowns for three rounds. Look for Martinez to use top control and ground and pound to grind out a unanimous decision win.
155 lbs.: Tim Means vs. Abel Trujillo
Tim Means vs. Abel Trujillo has the potential to be one of the most exciting fights of the night or a long stand up affair. At 6’2 Means knows how to use his lanky frame to his advantage inside the cage to devastating effect as Justin Salas can attest to from their previous UFC fight. Means’ opponent, Abel Trujillo, will be making his octagon debut. Before making it to the big show Trujillo amassed a 9-4-0 record with four decisions, three submissions and two TKOs.
Prediction: Expect the octagon jitters to cloud Trujillo’s judgment; the combination of nerves and Trujillo’s 5’8 frame will impede him from navigating around Means’ reach and size advantage. Means wins by unanimous decision after using his range to counterstrike his way to a unanimous decision victory
145 lbs.: Nam Phan vs. Dennis Siver
Phan vs. Siver being buried so deep in the prelims should help highlight how deep this card really is. Nam Phan has great all around skills and some of the nastiest body shots in the lighter weight classes. Dennis Siver is built like a little tank and is an excellent striker as well who has the antidote to counter Phan’s body punches. If Siver can time Phan’s lunging liver blows with his nasty set of spinning back kicks fight fans will be treated to a contender for knockout of the year. Phan is an intelligent fighter though and will look to take the fight to where Siver is weakest: the ground.
Prediction: Both men will trade in back and forth exchanges until Siver gets the better of one of these skirmishes and Phan switches to a takedown-centered game plan. Look for Siver to lose by RNC after attempting to scramble back on his feet late in the second round of the night’s only featherweight bout.
UFC ON FOX 5 – Facebook Prelim Predictions (4:30PM EST)
135 lbs. John Albert vs. Scott Jorgensen
UFC on FOX 5 will start off with Facebook’s live stream of Albert vs. Jorgensen. Fans that make it a point to catch this fight will not be disappointed. The first of two bantamweight matches on the card features the frenetic pace and imposing wrestling of Jorgensen pitted against the submission-oriented style of John Albert. The fight has added pressure for both men because each one is on a two-fight skid so the loser will likely be sent home packing. Albert’s best chance of victory would be to keep the fight standing, but even then he must be wary of Jorgensen’s hands, which have recorded two KO wins. This looks like a tough night for Albert.
Prediction: Jorgensen’s top game will be too much to overcome for Albert, who will throw caution to the wind looking for submissions off his back. Trying to avoid a pink slip will leave Albert vulnerable to Jorgensen’s powerful ground and pound and he will lose to Jorgensen by TKO in the first round.