Free fights, free fights, free fights! The UFC continues it’s 2013 roll with yet another night of free fights, this weekend it’s on major network television as the UFC presents UFC on Fox 6. After some weak ratings during 2012, Fox executives must have told the UFC to seriously step up their games for their Fox offerings in 2013, as this is the second straight UFC on Fox event to be headlined by a title fight. This weekend it’s the UFC’s smallest fighters who take center stage as the UFC Flyweight title will be on the line in the main event as Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson takes on TUF-champion John ‘The Magician’ Dodson.
[adinserter name=”366 left”]Light Heavyweight action is slotted for the co-main event as Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson is set to make what is expected to be his final octagon appearance against the man he was supposed to battle months ago in Brazil; Glover Teixeira. A fight with Fight of the Year potential is also on the card as Lightweights Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone and Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis lock horns in a grudge match with serious title implications in the 155-pound division. Opening the main card is a Featherweight bout between top-10 fighters Erik Koch and Ricardo Lamas, where an impressive showing by either fighter could earn them a shot against the winner of next weekend’s UFC 156 Featherweight title main event.
Preliminary Card (Facebook): Welterweight Bout: Simeon Thoresen vs. David Mitchell
Simeon “The Grin” Thoresen is a 28-year-old fighter from Sandejford, Norway. He is a member of Hellboy MMA training under famed Norwegian fighter Joachim “Hellboy” Hansen in Oslo, Norway. Thoresen holds a professional record of 17-3-1. David “Daudi” Mitchell is a 33-year-old fighter from Windsor, California. Fighting out of Santa Rosa, California he is a member of the Nor-Cal Fighting Alliance. Mitchell holds a career record of 11-2.
Quick Pick: Simeon Thoresen via Submission in Round Two
Preliminary Card (FX): Middleweight Bout: Rafael Natal vs. Sean Spencer
Rafael “Sapo” Natal is a 30-year-old fighter from Belo Horizonte, Brazil. A black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu he is a member of the Gracie Fusion Gym in New York City, New York. He holds a career record of 14-4-1. Sean “Black Magic” Spencer is a fighter from Bluefield, Virginia. He will be making his UFC debut and trains out of the Octagon MMA Gym in Virginia. He holds a career record of 9-1.
Quick Pick: Rafael Natal via Unanimous Decision
Preliminary Card (FX): Welterweight Bout: Mike Stumpf vs. Pascal Krauss
Pascal “Panzer” Krauss is a 25-year-old German fighter from Breisach, West Germany. Krauss now trains in the United States with the Roufusport Gym in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Krauss holds a career record of 10-1. Mike Stumpf is a 29-year-old fighter from Crystal Lake, Illinois. He is a member of the Team Curran Gym training under famed coach and fighter Jeff “Big Frog” Curran. He holds a career record of 11-3.
Quick Pick: Pascal Krauss via TKO in Round Two
Preliminary Card (FX): Heavyweight Bout: Mike Russow vs. Shawn Jordan
Mike Russow is a 36-year-old fighter from Kankakee, Illinois. A police officer in his hometown of Chicago, he is also a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler who trains with the DeatchClutch Gym in Minnesota. Russow holds a career record of 15-2-1. Shawn “The Savage” Jordan is a 28-year-old fighter from El Paso, Texas. He is a member of Greg Jackson’s Submission Fighting Camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He holds a career record of 13-4.
Quick Pick: Mike Russow via TKO in Round Two
Preliminary Card (FX): Light Heavyweight Bout: Ryan Bader vs. Vladimir Matyushenko
Ryan “Darth” Bader is a 29-year-old fighter from Reno, Nevada. He is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler who was a cast member and the eventual winner of the eighth season of The Ultimate Fighter. Bader trains with the Power MMA Team in Tempe, Arizona and holds a career record of 14-3. Vladimir “The Janitor” Matyushenko is a 42-year-old fighter from Recyca, Russia. The Belarusian now trains and resides in El Segundo, California. He holds a career record of 26-6.
Quick Pick: Ryan Bader via TKO in Round One
Preliminary Card (FX): Featherweight Bout: Clay Guida vs. Hatsu Hioki
Clay “The Carpenter” Guida is a 31-year-old fighter from Round Lake, Illinois. Guida trains with Greg Jackson’s team in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Guida will be making his Featherweight debut in this fight. He holds a professional MMA record of 29-13. Hatsu “Iron Broom” Hioki is a 29-year-old fighter from Nagoya, Japan. Hioki trains at the ALIVE Shooto Academy in Nagoya, Japan but also spends time training in Canada at the Tristar Gym. Hioki holds a career record of 26-5-2.
Quick Pick: Clay Guida via Unanimous Decision
Preliminary Card (FX): Lightweight Bout: T.J. Grant vs. Matt Wiman
T.J. Grant is a 28-year-old Canadian fighter from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. With a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu who trains at the Fit Plus Gym in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. He holds a career record of 19-5. “Handsome” Matt Wiman is a 29-year-old fighter from Denver, Colorado. Wiman trains with the Kline Brothers at Easton BJJ Gym in Arvada, Colorado. Wiman holds a career record of 15-6.
Quick Pick: T.J. Grant via Split Decision
Main Card (Fox): Featherweight Bout: Erik Koch vs. Ricardo Lamas
Erik “New Breed” Koch is a 24-year-old fighter from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Koch has been training in Tae Kwan Do since the age of four. Koch is a member of the Roufusport Gym training out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Koch joined the WEC in 2009 and has compiled a record of 5-1 inside the UFC and WEC, combined with 2 Knockout of the Night performances. He is a talented striker, but is competing for the first time in over a year after a major knee injury. He holds a career record of 13-1.
Ricardo “The Bully” Lamas is a 30-year-old fighter from Chicago, Illinois. He trains at the MMA Masters Gym in Miami, Florida. Lamas is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu who is also a former NCAA Wrestler from Elmhurst College. Lamas is a talented grappler with a smothering top control game, nasty ground and pound and excellent submissions from the top. Lamas is currently 3-0 inside the UFC’s Featherweight division and is ranked in the top 5 in the weight class according to most publications, a strong showing here could catapult him to contender status. He holds a professional fighting record of 12-2.
Analysis and Prediction: Erik Koch was most recently scheduled to challenge Jose Aldo for the Featherweight title, but injuries have kept him out of action for over 16 months, that kind of ring rust will always have an effect on your performance. Koch is an aggressive and dynamic striker, while Lamas usually prefers a more ground-based approach, so it’ll certainly be an interesting contrast in game plans. Lamas is a former NCAA Wrestler and Koch has been controlled by a strong wrestler in Chad Mendes in the past. However, he has stuffed almost every other Featherweights takedowns in the UFC and has proven very tough to control. Koch will probably start slow, but he’s young and he can overcome the potential ring rust. After a shaky opening round he rallies back to win via TKO late in the fight. Erik Koch via TKO in Round Three
Main Card (Fox): Lightweight Bout: Anthony Pettis vs. Donald Cerrone
Anthony “Showtime” Pettis is a 25-year-old fighter from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was the final WEC Lightweight Champion, who holds a career victory over current UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson. Despite being passed over a number of times for promised title shots, he remains at the top of his division and could earn a title shot with an impressive victory. Pettis is a talented and innovative striker who is best known for his famous ‘Showtime Kick’ in the WEC. Pettis owns a black belt in Tae Kwan Do and a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Pettis is a member of the Roufusport Gym in Milwaukee, where he trains under famed Muay Thai kick boxer and MMA trainer Duke Roufus. He holds a professional MMA record of 15-2.
Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone is a 29-year-old fighter from Colorado Springs, Colorado. Cerrone is a tough and well-rounded fighter but does his best work in the striking department. Cerrone is a former professional Muay Thai kick boxer and often relies on those skills as the basis of his overall MMA game. Cerrone is a member of Greg Jackson’s camp in New Mexico where he trains daily with some of the best fighters in the sport. Cerrone is an aggressive and highly entertaining fighter with excellent cardio who constantly puts the pressure on his opponents. Despite his excellent striker he is also a capable grappler with strong submissions from top control. Cerrone holds a professional record of 19-4 with 1 No Contest.
Analysis and Prediction: This one has Fight of the Night written all over it, in fact Dana has probably already prepared the bonus checks for these two. They’ve engaged in a war of words for well over a year now and will finally get the chance to settle their differences in the cage. Pettis is a talented and innovative striker, who is also competent on the ground. Cerrone is also a capable striker who has been much more active since Pettis has been off for injury. If Pettis can shake off the ring rust early and get into a rhythm he has all the skills to knock Cerrone off of his game. However, Cerrone is a dangerous fighter with big power and excellent kickboxing who throws with bad intentions all the time and has the cardio to do it for three full rounds. The only person with a ton of success against Cerrone was the volume-boxing style of Nate Diaz. That’s not Pettis’ bread and butter, but if he’s smart he’s watched that fight over and over and incorporated some of that volume striking into his game, the key for him will be to keep Cerrone on his toes and on the defensive, not allowing him to get comfortable for any extended periods of time. If he does that he takes what will surely be a close and entertaining decision victory. Anthony Pettis via Unanimous Decision
Main Card (Fox): Light Heavyweight Bout: Quinton Jackson vs. Glover Teixeira
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is a 34-year-old fighter from Memphis, Tennessee. Despite being only 34-years-old he has been fighting professionally since 1999, getting his start in King of the Cage, but becoming widely known for his time spent in PRIDE Fighting Championships in Japan. Jackson is highly entertaining both inside the cage and outside of it, but he has struggled in some of his more recent bouts. Many have credited his decision to begin acting on a part time basis as the reasons for his struggles. Despite those struggles, he remains a dangerous match up for almost any fighter as he has decent takedowns and knockout power in both of his hands combined with strong counter punching skills. He is a member of the Wolfslair MMA Academy in the UK, but also trains at his own gym in Irvine, California. Rampage holds a professional MMA record of 32-10.
Glover Teixeira is a 33-year-old fighter from Minas Gerais, Brazil. Despite his Brazilian heritage he now lives and trains in the United States with John Hackleman at The Pit in San Luis Obispo, California. Teixeira is an extremely talented grappler with excellent takedowns, a strong submission game from top control and nasty ground and pound. Teixeira is a former member of the Brazilian National Wrestling Team and combined with his black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has one of the best ground games in the Light Heavyweight division. Teixeira holds a professional MMA record of 19-2 and hasn’t lost since March of 2005.
Analysis and Prediction: Rampage has been exposed on the ground before, most recently by wrestling standout Ryan Bader. While Teixeira may not be as an accomplished amateur wrestler as Bader, he is still a talented and capable grappler with strong takedowns who is sure to use a similar game plan. Rampage has two big weapons, his fists and that’s about it, otherwise he’s fairly one-dimensional. He has trouble adapting a new game plan mid-fight, he rarely checks leg kicks allowing his lead leg to get battered in the process and his defensive grappling from his back is almost non-existent. I hate to bash Rampage like this, but he’s not the feared Light Heavyweight that he once was and to be honest, the UFC probably won’t miss him when he’s gone. Teixeira is too smart to fight into Rampage strengths, so expect a steady stream of thudding leg kicks followed up by takedowns before the Brazilian eventually grabs hold of a submission in the second. Glover Teixeira via Submission in Round Two
Main Card (Fox): Flyweight Championship Bout: Demetrious Johnson vs. John Dodson
Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson is a 26-year-old fighter from Madisonville, Kentucky. Johnson is the UFC’s first ever Flyweight Champion and will be defending his title in this bout. A former Bantamweight title challenger, he made the cut down to 125-pounds when the UFC announced the 4-man mini tournament for the title last year. Johnson is a member of the AMC Pankration Gym, training in Kirkland, Washington under the tutelage of world-class coach Matt “The Wizard” Hume. Johnson is a fast, accurate and technically sound striker who uses great movement, speed and footwork to compliment his boxing. Johnson is also a capable wrestler with strong takedowns and an excellent top control game. Johnson holds a career record of 16-2-1.
John “The Magician” Dodson is a 28-year-old fighter from Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is best known to fans as a cast member and the eventual winner of The Ultimate Fighter: Mayhem vs. Bisping season. Dodson is an accurate boxer who throws with a lot of power for a Flyweight. He is a member of Greg Jackson’s camp in New Mexico and holds a black belt in GaidoJutsu under coach Jackson. One of Dodson’s biggest assets is his physical strength and athleticism, as these traits make him incredibly difficult to take down and control. In fact on the show he claimed to have never been taken down in a fight. Dodson holds a career record of 14-5.
Analysis and Prediction: Dodson is a physically strong and athletic fighter who has speed and big power for the Flyweight division. He often foregoes tight, crisp boxing for wild haymakers that pack more power, but often leaves him exposed to counter-strikes. Sounds a lot like describing Joseph Benavidez there. If you remember correctly, Johnson just defeated Benavidez by using an approach custom tailored to avoid the big power shots of Benavidez and used excellent footwork to outland him. Given the similarities in opponents, I would expect a somewhat similar approach from Johnson this time around.
[adinserter name=”366 right”]The key for Johnson against Benavidez was constantly circling away from the power punches of Benavidez and mixing his kicks and punches well to keep him off balance. Dodson is probably a better technical striker than Benavidez, but he often foregoes that technical approach in a more balls-to-the-wall striking style. The problem for Johnson will be that Dodson is probably the most athletically gifted and speediest fighter that he has come up against. Benavidez and Ian McCall are tough fighters who are quick on the feet and have good hand speed, but Dodson is certainly a slight step above them on the speed ladder.
In the end we know that Johnson has the gas tank to go for five solid rounds and while Dodson probably does too, I’ve seen it from Johnson. He keeps up an aggressive but not overly reckless style over five rounds. Ducking in and out and using leg kicks aggressively to keep the New Mexico native off balance and on the defensive. In the end, Johnson takes a close Decision victory. Demetrious Johnson via Unanimous Decision