The UFC returns to the land of free television with two of the world’s top Flyweight fighters set to headline. The UFC returns to Southern Florida for the first time since 2007, as the UFC heads to the Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. After a tabulation error caused their first bout to end in controversy, Demetrious Johnson and Ian McCall will lock horns once again. Initially announced as a victory for Demetrious Johnson, at the post-fight press conference it was revealed that a math error was the culprit and the actual result of the bout was a Majority Draw.
Although somewhat lacking in big name talent, the card has a number of intriguing bouts. Not to mention the fact that Johnson vs. McCall has the potential to be an extremely exciting bout. The other bouts on the four fight main card on FX feature Erick Silva and Charlie Brenneman in a Welterweight tilt, Mike Pyle and Josh Neer battle in a fight between two Welterweight veterans and finally Bantamweights Eddie Wineland and Scott Jorgensen will battle in a fight featuring two former WEC stars.
Preliminary Card (Facebook): Welterweight Bout: Jake Hecht vs. Sean Pierson
Jake “The Hitman” Hecht is an American fighter from St. Louis, Missouri. Hecht is a wrestling specialist who uses takedowns and top control to smother his opponents. He is a member of the Fiore MMA Clinic in Springfield, Illinois. Hecht holds a professional record of 11-3. Sean “Pimp Daddy” Pierson is a Canadian fighter from Toronto, Ontario. A former full-time police officer, the promise of a UFC career led him to have a career change and focus on fighting full time. He is a striking based fighter, who has struggled in his last two bouts. Pierson is a member of the Grant Brothers MMA Gym in Toronto. Pierson has a career record of 11-6. Sean Pierson via TKO in Round Two
Preliminary Card (Facebook): Lightweight Bout: Bernardo Magalhaes vs. Henry Martinez
Preliminary Card (Fuel TV): Middleweight Bout: Buddy Roberts vs. Caio Magalhaes
Buddy Roberts is an American fighter from Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is a member of Greg Jackson’s MMA Camp in New Mexico. Most of his wins have come on the regional circuit, but he remains a well-rounded fighter who will likely hold the wrestling edge in this bout. Roberts has a professional fight record of 11-2. Caio “Hellboy” Magalhaes is a Brazilian fighter from Ceara, Brazil. He is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt who is a member of the Nova Uniao gym in Brazil. This will be his first bout outside of his native Brazil, as well as his octagon debut. He is an undefeated prospect with a professional record of 5-0. Buddy Roberts via Unanimous Decision
Preliminary Card (Fuel TV): Lightweight Bout: Tim Means vs. Justin Salas
Tim “The Dirty Bird” Means is an American fighter from Wilburton, Oklahoma. A member of the Fit NHB Gym in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is a former King of the Cage champion who has the majority of his wins by KO or TKO. He is a strong striker, who has shown excellent use of the Muay Thai clinch in his past fights. He holds a pro record of 17-3-1. Justin “J-Bomb” Salas is an American fighter from Green River, Wyoming. He is a member of the Grudge Training Center in Denver, Colorado. Salas is a wrestling based fighter who uses takedowns and top control to outwork his opponents. Salas has a pro record of 10-3. Tim Means via TKO in Round Three
Preliminary Card (Fuel TV): Bantamweight Bout: Dustin Pague vs. Jared Papazian
Dustin “The Disciple” Pague is a 24-year-old American fighter from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He a former Ring of Combat Bantamweight Champion, who is a member of the Tapout Ranch. He was a cast-member on the Bisping vs. Miller season of The Ultimate Fighter. He holds a professional record of 10-5. Jared “The Jackhammer” Papazian is a young fighter who is better than his somewhat lackluster record indicates. Despite his 14-7 record, with 1 No Contest he is a gritty fighter who is a dangerous opponent for most. Jared Papazian via Unanimous Decision
Preliminary Card (Fuel TV): Featherweight Bout: Leonard Garcia vs. Matt Grice
Leonard “Bad Boy” Garcia is an American fighter from Greg Jackson’s Submission Fighting Camp. Garcia is best known for his brawling, fan friendly style and his iron chin. Despite having never been knocked out in his MMA career, he has struggled in his most recent bouts, having only a record of 3-5-1 in his past nine bouts, but two of those victories came by controversial split decisions and he could easily be 1-8 in his last nine. This is likely a win-or-go home fight for Garcia, who holds a career record of 15-8-1. Matt “The Real One” Grice is a wrestling based fighter from Midwest City, Oklahoma. He trains with Titan Martial Arts in Oklahoma, where he is the main wrestling coach. Grice relies mostly on takedowns and top control to grind out victories against his opponents. He has a professional record of 14-4, with all of his losses coming inside the octagon. Leonard Garcia via Split Decision
Preliminary Card (Fuel TV): Welterweight Bout: Seth Baczynski vs. Lance Benoist
Seth “The Polish Pistola” Baczynski is an American fighter from Honolulu, Hawaii. He is a former cast-member of The Ultimate Fighter but struggled at the show’s Middleweight weight class. He is a member of the Power MMA team where he trains regularly with Ryan Bader, CB Dollaway and Aaron Simpson. Baczynski holds a professional record of 15-6. Lance Benoist is a young up-and-coming fighter from St. Louis, Missouri. Benoist made a serious statement in his Octagon debut by out-grappling and out-striking Matt Riddle for two rounds, before surviving a late surge and hanging on for the victory. Benoist is undefeated as a professional with a record of 6-0. Seth Baczynski via Submission in Round Two
Preliminary Card (Fuel TV): Welterweight Bout: Mike Pierce vs. Carlos Eduardo Rocha
Mike Pierce is an American fighter from Portland, Oregon. Pierce is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Portland State University. He is a member of the Sports Lab Fight Team in Portland. Pierce is the epitome of a grinder inside the octagon. Despite being 1-2 in his last three bouts, the two losses were to top contenders Josh Koscheck and Johnny Hendricks, both by split decision in bouts that could have gone his way. Pierce has a professional record of 13-5. Carlos “Ta Danado” Eduardo Rocha is a Brazilian fighter. Rocha is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt and a judo black belt with a strong ground game. Rocha has a professional record of 9-1, with all of his wins coming by way of stoppage. Mike Pierce via TKO in Round Three
Main Card (FX): Bantamweight Bout: Eddie Wineland vs. Scott Jorgensen
Eddie Wineland is an American fighter from Houston, Texas. Wineland is a former WEC Bantamweight Champion who is currently ranked in the top ten in most major MMA sites Bantamweight rankings. Wineland is a member of the New Breed MMA Academy in Chicago. He is one of the tallest and strongest fighters in the Bantamweight division. Wineland is a strong striker who uses his range well and has some serious power in his hands, he will surely be looking to keep this bout standing for as long as possible. Wineland has a professional record of 18-8-1.
Scott “Young Guns” Jorgensen is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler from Boise State University. In college he was a 3-time Pac-10 Champion Wrestler in his weight class and he has transitioned that wrestling base to his fight game very well. He is a member of the Twisted Genetiks Fight Team based out of Boise, Idaho. He is a top five Bantamweight fighter whose only losses have come against the elite fighters of the division. Jorgensen uses top control and ground and pound to control his opponents and outwork them on the mat. Jorgensen has a professional record of 13-5.
Analysis and Prediction: Wineland is a dangerous striker who packs massive power in his hands, in fact he almost scored an upset over Joseph Benavidez by rocking him with a big punch. Jorgensen however will surely look to take the fight to the mat early and often. Wineland’s takedown defense will be the key to his bout, if he is able to sprawl and brawl effectively he has the chance to steal this bout. If Jorgensen is able to take the fight, it’s unlikely that Wineland has the bottom game to score a submission against the dangerous top control of Jorgensen. Wineland is an extremely tough fighter, so I don’t think Jorgensen can finish him, but he should be able to control all three rounds on the mat. Scott Jorgensen via Unanimous Decision
Main Card (FX): Welterweight Bout: Mike Pyle vs. Josh Neer
Mike “Quicksand” Pyle is a 36-year-old fighter from Desden, Tennessee. Pyle is a member of the Xtreme Couture Gym in Las Vegas, Nevada. Pyle is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and is a very competent grappler. His striking skills are fairly basic, but he can definitely use them to get the job done. The job in this particular bout is likely going to be to try and plant Neer on the mat early and often and use his Jiu Jitsu skills to control the pace of the bout and search for submissions. Pyle holds a career record of 22-8-1.
Josh “The Dentist” Neer is an American fighter from Des Moines, Iowa. Despite not yet being 30 years old he already has over 40 career bouts. Neer is a member of the Miletich Fighting System training under famed coach and former fighter Pat Miletich. Neer is on a bit of a career resurgence as he is currently riding a six-fight winning streak. Neer is an extremely aggressive striker with an iron chin and loves going for broke early and often. Neer will likely be looking to bully his way to the inside so he can punish Pyle in the clinch. Neer has a career record of 33-10-1.
Analysis and Prediction: This is a tale of two fighters with two different game plans. Pyle does his best work on the mat controlling the tempo of the fight. Neer is slightly weak on the ground and has been controlled by strong wrestlers in the past. If Neer’s sprawl is up to snuff he can try to punish Pyle when he gets too close. The problem is that Neer has been controlled on the mat before. Though he hates being laid and prayed as he says it, it’s up to him to do something about it. I’m not sure he’s up to the challenge. He might make it exciting along the way, but Neer won’t have an answer for Pyle’s ground game. Mike Pyle via Unanimous Decision
Main Card (FX): Welterweight Bout: Erick Silva vs. Charlie Brenneman
Erick “Indio” Silva is a Brazilian fighter from Vila Velha, Brazil. Silva is a former Jungle Fight Welterweight Champion and is a member of the X-Gym and Team Nogeuira. Silva has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as well as in Judo. Silva is one of the top prospects, who has spent an impressive 69 seconds in the octagon over two pro fights. Silva is an extremely aggressive striker who has gone immediately after both of his opponents inside the octagon, crumpling both in less than a minute. Silva is also a very competent grappler, as one would expect from someone training under Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Silva owns a professional record of 13-2 with 1 No Contest.
Charlie “The Spaniard” Brenneman is an American fighter from the AMA Fight Club in Pennsylvania. Despite an impressive career in MMA, Brenneman is probably best known as the winner of Spike TV’s Reality TV show Pros vs. Joes. Brenneman is a wrestler who excels at making his opponents fight at his pace. Despite lacking in power or a quality submission game, Brenneman makes up for it simply by outworking his opponents on the mat. Despite solid mat skills, Brenneman’s striking is fairly rudimentary and that may be a serious liability in this fight. He holds a career record of 15-3.
Analysis and Prediction: This one will come down to whether or not Brenneman can rinse and repeat takedowns and top control for three full rounds without getting his head knocked off by the Brazilian in the process. The problem for Brenneman will be that Silva knows exactly what he’s going to try and do and should be able to stop if from happening. Brenneman can’t strike with Silva so he’s going to try and shoot from the outside, without setting up the shot he’s setting himself up to be knocked out. Eventually Silva gets his hands on Brenneman and that should be all she wrote. I think it goes down in the first. Erick Silva via KO in Round One
Main Card (FX): Flyweight Tournament Semi-Final Bout: Demetrious Johnson vs. Ian McCall
Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson is an American fighter from Madisonville, Kentucky. Johnson is a member of the AMC Pankration Gym in Seattle, Washington training under Matt Hume. Johnson is an extremely quick and accurate striker who constantly beat McCall to the punch in their first fight. Although somewhat lacking in power, Johnson throws tight, crisp boxing combinations. Johnson is a strong wrestler, although in his last two bouts against both Dominick Cruz and the first bout with McCall he struggled at getting takedowns and instead looked to strike. Johnson owns a professional record of 14-2-1, with the 1 coming in his last bout against McCall and the 2 losses coming against Dominick Cruz and Brad Pickett.
Ian “Uncle Creepy” McCall is a 27-year-old fighter from Dana Point, California. McCall is a former Tachi Palace Fights Flyweight Champion. McCall is an extremely well rounded and versatile fighter. In the first bout against Johnson he struggled in the early stand up exchanges but came alive in the final round, completely dominating and battering Johnson in the third. McCall was beaten to the punch constantly at a distance, but in close McCall was able to capitalize and batter Johnson. McCall is also the more powerful puncher, if he’s able to get his hands on Johnson in the clinch once again he might be able to hurt him with some dirty boxing in tight. McCall is a member of the Team Oyama in California who has a professional record of 11-2-1.
Analysis and Prediction: It will be interesting to see what adjustments both fighters have made after the first bout. Johnson has blamed his third round on a lack of carbs and has promised that an improved diet will avoid any of the same problems. What this will come down to is who will have made the more significant improvements in their game plans.
McCall needs to understand that he can’t win a kickboxing match against Johnson. While McCall has stellar footwork himself, he was simply a step behind every time and was constantly beaten to the punch in their first bout. If he tries to strike with Mighty Mouse, Johnson will surely be happy to dodge in and out and outpoint him for three rounds. The thing to remember is also that McCall is an entertainer and would rather go out on his sword than fight in a boring fight.
However, he does have significant keys to victory. In the first bout he was significantly stronger at the weight class and was able to control Johnson every time he got his hands on him. His takedowns looked good and his ability to control Johnson was very impressive. McCall’s guard passing ability and ground and pound is second to none as he’s able to constantly rain down blows while not allowing his opponents any opportunities to scramble away.
I think for me this fight is a near pick ‘em. The betting line has McCall as a slight underdog, and I think there’s value in wagering on McCall. McCall is an intelligent fighter who studies a lot of tape. He had a lot of areas of success in the last bout and I think he will definitely learn from those areas of success and figure out new ways to exploit Johnson. I also think McCall has more tools to win the fight, while it’s unlikely that Johnson can submit or knock McCall out, it’s entirely possible that McCall can do either to him. Expect a close and exciting high-octane bout, but one that McCall eventually squeaks out. Ian McCall via Unanimous Decision