Obviously, the biggest news in the MMA world recently is the giant roster cuts the brass at the UFC have made. While some are up in arms about who they cut and the reasoning, some have defended the world’s biggest MMA organization and their choices. If only to be a bit different, I would like to offer a similar money saving situation that the UFC could have used instead.
Dana White did not hide that the reason for the cuts was value. Some fighters, despite their good records, were being paid way higher than the money that they were bringing in. So, in a time where you need to make cuts, they figured they had to let people like that go. However, I have to wonder, if Joe Silva and Uncle Dana approached those like Jon Fitch (who was making a reported 66k show and 66k for a win) and asked them to take a pay cut in order to keep their job, would they have? If people like Fitch and Jacob Volkmann knew they could cut their salary down by a third, would they take it. Likely, it would free up just as much money as cutting many under performing preliminary card fighters and keep the big names on the roster. Also, I have to imagine that Fitch makes a good deal of money in endorsements. Just a thought.\
Anyways, on to the picks.
Shameless Plug: Prelim Breakout Star on mma-manifesto
Marcelo Guimaraes vs. Hyun-Gyu Lim
- My Pick: Hyun-Gyu Lim
- Reasoning: I am, admittedly, a little weary of Asian born fighters making their debut on Asian cards. This comes from the few performances that I saw at UFC 144 and at Franklin vs Le. However, Hyun-Gyu is for real. Although I’m not the biggest fan of where he keeps his hands, his stand up is very good. I’m always impressed with the way he keeps distance and picks his spots. Do not get me wrong, I am not discounting Guimaraes’ jiu jitsu abilities, but when fans see the size difference at weigh-ins, they’ll know Hyun-Gyu will keep it where he wants it.
- Confidence: Great
Alex Caceres vs. Kyung-Ho Kang
- My Pick: Alex Caceres
- Reasoning: This is not Caceres’ first long plane ride to get to a fight, having fought in China in November. In the first chance, it seemed not to matter much for Bruce LeeRoy who came out swinging and looked very solid. What impresses me most about him is the amount he improves each time out. Since moving to Bantamweight his lone loss was a split decision to Edwin Figueroa in which he gave away two points for illegal groin kicks. Kyung-Ho has an impressive record, but I have yet to show a lot in his wins, mostly due to the skill level of his opponents.
- Confidence: Good
Cristiano Marcello vs. Kazuki Tokudome
- My Pick: Cristiano Marcello
- Reasoning: Firstly, for this fight, you should read my article: Prelim Breakout Star on mma-manifesto. Secondly, know that is tough and has a jiu jitsu game that is very tight.
- Confidence: Great
Takeya Mizugaki vs. Bryan Caraway
- My Pick: Bryan Caraway
- Reasoning: Since joining WEC in 2008, Mizugaki has alternated wins and losses, going 5-5 in his last 10. While this has pretty much cemented his gatekeeper status, it’s also showed fans just how tough he is. While facing the likes of Brian Bowles, Scotty Jorgensen, and Miguel Angel Torres, he was only finished by Urijah Faber. However, a good deal of those names he lost to are fighters with better wrestling than he has. Caraway may just fit into that category as well. In addition, he is really good at keeping the fight busy after a take down and looking for submissions. Plus, I have to pick Caraway, Mizugaki won his last fight.
- Confidence: Fair
Riki Fukuda vs. Brad Tavares
- My Pick: Brad Tavares
- Reasoning: Fukuda is another one of those fighters who I’ve constantly been impressed with his size. He seems far too big for his weight class at times and uses it to bully people. However, Tavares showed really how well rounded his game was when he beat up Tom “Kong” Watson. Not only did he take down the tough Brit, but he took his back and threatened well with chokes.
- Confidence: Fair