Well, if you weren’t excited about this fight card in the first place, you should be now. The mixed martial arts world gathered around the tube last week to watch the first welterweight title fight in more than five years to not include Georges St. Pierre (the last one being Hughes vs Penn at UFC 63). However, most left unsatisfied as some viewers claimed they didn’t get the brawl they desired, some claimed the decision was wrong and others were just desperate for the rematch to happen. After some of the most confusing reports in UFC history and then a fairly clear cut one involving marijuana, the newly crowned interim champion was left without an opponent. Seeing as it doesn’t seem that the UFC is going to wait around for St. Pierre’s knee to heal up, Condit is in need of a legitimate contender to erase the memory of a less-than-unanimous unanimous decision. While Prelim Picker is personally pulling for friend of the site, Johnny Hendricks, fresh off his devastating knock out victory over Jon Fitch, it’s hard to deny the increased relevance of this card’s main event. Although it seems to be a huge long shot for Sanchez, another dominating victory for the Juggernaut and he could be ready for revenge against the man who spoiled his UFC debut.
While we wait to see if this debate even gets started, let’s take a look at the appetizer for tonight’s main course.
Jonathan Brookins vs. Vagner Rocha
- My Pick: Jonathan Brookins
- Reasoning: Brookins trained for a little over a month thinking he would face Rani Yahya. Knowing this, we can assume he was probably doing a great deal of takedown defense (after all, have you seen Yahya’s stand-up? Me neither). That being said, I think this fight stays standing. Now, I would never make a Donald Cerrone-Jonathan Brookins comparison, but Rocha’s stand up looked pretty bad that night.
- Confidence: Fair
Buddy Roberts vs. Sean Loeffler
- My Pick: Sean Loeffler
- Reasoning: Roberts without a doubt has the advantage when it comes to camp. It’s always hard to pick against a guy who trains out of Jackson’s because they undoubtedly will have their fighter as ready as can possibly be. However, I’m still not sure how ready Roberts will be to step into the ring with a twelve-year veteran of the sport. Plus, as local fight fans know, Loeffler absolutely knows how to finish fights, 24 of 25 (3 of which made it out of the first round).
- Confidence: Great
Anton Kuivanen vs. Justin Salas
- My Pick: Justin Salas
- Reasoning: 8 career submission victories makes the Finnish fighter look good on paper. However, a lot of these victories have come against fighters with some really sub-par ground games. What’s even more impressive than the submission laced past of Kuivanen is Salas’ victory over impressive wrestler, and main eventer’s brother, Joe Ellenberger. If the smaller Ellenberger couldn’t control him, it seems like a long shot that Kuivanen could.
- Confidence: Good
Tim Means vs. Bernardo Magalhaes
- My Pick: Tim Means
- Reasoning: Magalhaes has some pretty solid ground game as well. Means, however, has very technical striking that uses his jab to keep grapplers and brawlers alike at bay. The Dirty Bird’s knees also have a way of making an appearance when jiu jitsu specialists get antsy and they are really nothing to shake your head at.
- Confidence: Good
Although the new found title implications have made the main event much more exciting, the percentage of finishes from many of these preliminary card fighters will make this portion of the night extremely exciting and satisfying. So be sure to switch on the lap top and check out the Facebook fights.