The UFC makes it’s return to Toronto, Ontario, Canada as the Winter of endless UFC events rolls on. This time the UFC brings a Pay Per View offering featuring the Nogueira brothers in Main card bouts, as well as the Canadian debut of Light Heavyweight Champion Jon “Bones” Jones. A number of Canadians fill out the undercard, as well as a few bouts on the Main Card, but the gem of this fight card is definitely the main event that pits Jones defending his title against Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida. Will Bones be able to figure out the puzzling style of the Dragon? Or will Machida confuse and befuddle his way to another reign as UFC Light Heavyweight Champion?
Preliminary Card (Facebook): Welterweight Bout: Rich Attonito vs. Jake Hecht
Rich “The Raging Bull” Attonito is a 34-year-old fighter from Elizabeth, New Jersey. Attonito is best known as a former cast member from the eleventh season of The Ultimate Fighter. Before joining the cast of the show, Attonito was a Division 1 Wrestler at Hofstra University. Attonito was eliminated from the show due to illegal strikes so he was given a chance to fight at the live finale. Since his stint on the show, Attonito has dropped down a division and now competes in the ultra-stacked UFC Welterweight division. Attonito trains with the American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida and is constantly improving his overall MMA game. He has added decent grappling skills during his time with the A.T.T camp, obtaining a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as well as adding rapidly improving boxing skills to his Div. 1 Wrestling background. Attonito holds a professional MMA record of 10-4.
Jake Hecht is a 27-year-old fighter who is making his UFC debut in this fight. Hecht fought mostly in the southeastern United States before competing internationally in England and Ireland, where he is now based out of. Hecht is a former wrestler from the University of Missouri where he graduated in 2006. He is a former Middleweight who has since dropped to the Welterweight class. Hecht has shown solid grappling skills throughout his career, adding solid submissions to his wrestling base. Half of his career victories have come by way of Submission. Hecht owns a career MMA record of 10-2.
Analysis and Prediction: Attonito has shown a lot of promise since his time on The Ultimate Fighter. He is continually improving his stand up skills and with a good camp behind him like American Top Team, there is no reason to think that his continued improvement won’t continue into this bout. Hecht on the other hand has made a career of training Wrestling in Ireland and England, areas where wrestling is known to be relatively weak. Both men are former NCAA Collegiate Wrestlers, but Attonito is more polished in MMA-based wrestling. Hecht likely holds the grappling edge, but Attonito holds a distinct advantage in the stand up game. Attonito will be able to keep this fight standing with solid takedown defense and if he does I expect him to earn a late stoppage victory. Rich Attonito via TKO late in Round Two.
Preliminary Card (Facebook): Lightweight Bout: Mark Bocek vs. Nik Lentz
Mark Bocek is a Canadian fighter and is one of the most renowned grapplers to ever come from north of the US border. Bocek is now a member of the American Top Team, where he is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt under Joao Roque. Bocek is also a black belt in Kempo. Bocek is constantly improving his stand up skills, but he often finds himself on the losing end of striking battles. Bocek also has poor offensive wrestling, so he sometimes struggles to get the fight to the mat where he can exploit his grappling advantages. Despite his somewhat limited offensive skill-set, he has still fared well in his career, losing only to top contenders in the Lightweight division like Ben Henderson and Jim Miller. Bocek owns a career record of 9-4.
Analysis and Prediction: Bocek is a fantastic grappler that’s true, but the rest of his overall game is just coming together recently. Lentz is a strong wrestler who will look to control Bocek with top control and ground and pound. Lentz struggled somewhat in his last fight, before an Illegal knee called an end to that one early, but if he cannot hold down Bocek than he will struggle in this bout as well. Overall Bocek has only lost to the upper-tier fighters at Lightweight and despite his wrestling credentials, I don’t think that Lentz is there quite yet. It might not be pretty the whole way, but Bocek takes home a decision victory in front of the home crowd. Mark Bocek via Unanimous Decision
Preliminary Card (ION Television): Bantamweight Bout: Yves Jabouin vs. Walel Watson
Yves “Tiger” Jabouin is a Canadian-Haitian fighter who is a kick boxer with solid power in both his hands and his feet. Jabouin is a member of the Tristar Gym in Montreal, Quebec, Canada where he is a regular training partner of UFC Welterweight Champion GSP. He has earned 11 of his 16 career victories via some form of TKO, most of them set up while standing. He is an explosive kick boxer whose power can end the fight at any time. He has struggled against some of the upper-tier fighters in the UFC and WEC. However, he remains a serious threat when standing and can end the fight with one punch at any time. Jabouin has a career MMA record of 16-7.
Walel “The Gazelle” Watson is an American fighter from El Paso, Texas. Watson is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai fighter from the Team Hurricane Awesome Gym in San Diego California. Watson made his professional debut in Mexico and fought several of his early career fights there and in Southern California. Watson is a skilled grappler who has earned seven victories by way of Submission and is often able to overwhelm his opponents on the mat by pushing the pace and using ground and pound to cause scrambles where he can grab hold of a limb and secure a submission. In eleven career fights, Watson has never fought to a decision. He owns a professional MMA record of 9-2.
Analysis and Prediction: Jabouin is an exciting kick boxer with an aggressive streak which means that he’ll likely be employed for a long time with the UFC. Opposite him is Watson who at 5’1” is one of the taller and lankier fighters in the Bantamweight division. Both men are strong kick boxers with Jabouin having an edge in experience and aggressiveness. Watson will have the reach advantage come fight night but is more unpolished in the cage. It might be tough to deal with that massive 5’11” frame for Jabouin, but I’m sure his camp has prepared him well with a number of larger training partners to prep him for that. I’d expect he struggles a bit out of the gate while trying to establish range, but Jabouin will eventually get his timing down and begin going to work on Watson taking home a Unanimous Decision nod. Yves Jabouin via Unanimous Decision.
Preliminary Card (ION Television): Lightweight Bout: John Makdessi vs. Dennis Hallman
John “The Bull” Makdessi is a Canadian born fighter from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Makdessi is a kick boxer who also has a background in Shotokan Karate. He is a member of the Tristar Gym in Montreal, Quebec. Makdessi is a highly touted, undefeated prospect who is coming off of a Highlight reel KO in his last fight in Toronto, by way of spinning back fist. Makdessi has very heavy hands and can end the fight with a big right hand. The undefeated Canadian owns a career record of 9-0, with seven wins coming by way of KO or TKO.
Dennis “Superman” Hallman is an MMA veteran. The 36-year-old from Olympia, Washington is a fighter with a background in Catch Wrestling. Hallman is probably most notable for his two victories over UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes back when Hughes was an unstoppable force in the Welterweight division. More than likely though, you know him as the guy who wore “Tightie Whities” in his last fight and had Dana White launch a slew of homophobic gestures at him. Nonetheless, Hallman is extremely experienced and is a solid challenge for any fighter, with nearly 70 career bouts, there isn’t much that Hallman hasn’t seen. Hallman has a career record of 50-14-2 with 1 No Contest.
Analysis and Prediction: Superman vs. The Bull. The first thing one has to worry about is the cut to Lightweight for Hallman. At 36-years-old and after spending an extended time at Welterweight, one has to wonder how easy the cut will be, if there are any problems, they might show come round two on Saturday night. On the opposite side of the cage Makdessi has looked impressive in his two UFC victories, showing off flashy striking and big power. Makdessi is like a Lightweight version of Lyoto Machida quickly darting in and out of range with excellent footwork and slamming you with crisp, unorthodox combinations when in range. However, this will be the first time that Makdessi faces a strong wrestler who can plant him on the mat. His compact frame and strength have served him well, but it may not be enough against a capable wrestler like Hallman. However, Hallman has shown himself to be somewhat susceptible to big punchers and Makdessi definitely fits that bill. He may drop a round, but I’d expect Makdessi’s striking game to be too much for Hallman as he earns a decision victory. John Makdessi via Unanimous Decision.
Preliminary Card (ION Television): Middleweight Bout: Jared Hamman vs. Constantinos Philippou
Jared “The Messenger” Hamman is an American fighter from California. He is an extremely tough and durable fighter who has become known for his ability to take extreme amounts of punishment in the opening round, before storming back to beat his opponents. He is a former Light Heavyweight fighter who has found recent success at the Middleweight division. Hamman is a member of the VMAT Team, where he is trained by UFC veteran Vladimir Matyushenko. Hamman is a former NCAA Defensive End from the University of Redlands, this background has been the foundation for his MMA wrestling and takedown skills. Hamman owns a professional record of 13-3, including 10 wins by way of TKO.
Constantinos “Costa” Philippou is a Cypriot-born fighter who now fights and trains out of Long Island, New York. Philippou is a striker with strong boxing skills, and is a member of the Serra-Longo Fight Team where he trains daily with former UFC Champion Matt Serra. He prefers to stand and trade with his opponents, usually outworking his opponents on the feet on his way to decisions. He was a former cast-member of The Ultimate Fighter, but never made his way into the house, as he lost his elimination bout to Joseph Henle. Philippou has struggled against strong wrestlers and grapplers in the past as his grappling skills aren’t up to par with his strong striking skills. Philippou owns a professional record of 8-3.
Analysis and Prediction: Hamman has found new life in the UFC since his drop to 185 pounds. He is able to take a great deal of punishment, before storming back to bring the fight to his opponents. He has solid takedown defense and an offensive style that is more berserker than boxer, often throwing wild strikes instead of tight combinations, but it’s been effective thus far. Standing Philippou is the significantly better technical boxer, but he doesn’t throw hands with the power to put down the iron chin of Hamman. Hamman however is still developing as a fighter and at 6’3” is a big Middleweight fighter who will be able to strike from a range. Philippou’s tight boxing may be his savior, but with his aggressive striking style, ability to take a punch and ability to work on the ground, I think Hamman outworks him en-route to a tightly contested decision victory. Jared Hamman via Unanimous Decision
Preliminary Card (ION Television): Light Heavyweight Bout: Krysztof Soszynski vs. Igor Pokrajac
Krysztof “The Polish Experiment” Soszynski is a Polish born fighter who was raised in Canada. He now is a member of the Reign Training Center in Temecula, California. Soszynski is a well-rounded fighter who is solid at many aspects of MMA, but isn’t really great at any. He has decent boxing skills, including a solid lead jab. He also has strong grappling skills, including a nasty Kimura. He is a former disciple of Dan Henderson and has a somewhat similar plodding style to him, although he has become a better submission artist than Henderson ever has been. Soszynski is a former cast-member of The Ultimate Fighter and has fared well since losing on the show, going 6-2 in the promotion, including wins over Stephan Bonnar and Brian Stann. Soszynski’s pro MMA record is 26-11-1.
Igor “The Duke” Pokrajac is a Croatian fighter. The 32-year-old grappler is a member of the Croatian Top Team, fighting out of Zagreb, Croatia. He is a regular training partner of MMA legend Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic. With his strong backgrounds in wrestling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, he often looks to take his fights to the mat, where he usually holds an advantage over his opponents. He has been in over thirty career bouts, most of them taking place in his native Croatia. Over that time he has earned a number of stoppage victories, including 12 by TKO and 8 via Submission. However, since joining the UFC he has struggled to get the ball rolling, going 2-3 and being outworked by stronger wrestlers in two of those losses. Over his entire professional career Pokrajac has compiled a record of 23-8.
Analysis and Prediction: Pokrajac is a finisher, who has stopped twenty of his twenty three wins with either a TKO, KO or Submission. His striking, aggressiveness and power are his biggest weapons come fight night. Both of these guys like to push the pace and bring the fight to their opponents, so this will likely be an entertaining bout for as long as it lasts. Pokrajac is probably the better grappler, but Soszynski likely holds enough of a wrestling edge to avoid that area if he chooses. Standing Soszynski is likely a bit better and a bit more refined than the relentless pressure based attacks of Pokrajac. He should be able to outwork Pokrajac on the feet, before getting a late takedown and pounding away at the end of every round, eventually it will pay off as he knocks out an exhausted and overwhelmed Pokrajac on the ground in Round Three. Krysztof Soszynski via TKO in Round Three.
Main Card (Pay Per View): Featherweight Bout: Mark Hominick vs. Chan Sung Jung
Mark “The Machine” Hominick is a Canadian fighter from London, Ontario. He is making his return to the UFC almost in his own back yard and is doing it coming off the strength of an extremely impressive showing against Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo. Hominick is a Muay Thai Kick boxer who is a member of the Adrenaline Training Center, but is also a member of Team Tompkins. This will be his first bout since the death of his trainer and good friend Tompkins. Hominick is an extremely accurate striker, who is able to overwhelm his opponents with pure volume of offense as he regularly outworks and out strikes his opponents who stand and trade with him. Hominick holds a career record of 20-9.
“The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung is a young fighter from South Korea. He has a background in a number of different martial arts including Tae Kwan Do, Hapkido, Kickboxing, Sambo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Sung Jung is a member of the Korean Top Team, fighting and training out of Pohang, South Korea. He is most well known for his pair of fights against Leonard Garcia where the two men simply traded Haymakers for several rounds, earning the praise of Dana White and a lot of fans. He is a fan friendly fighter who always makes things interesting. Despite his strong grappling skills, he often prefers to stand and trade with his opponents which doesn’t always lead to the best results. Jung owns a career record of 11-3.
Analysis and Prediction: The Korean Zombie is very fun to watch and is an extremely talented grappler. If he can work the fight to the mat, he’ll have a distinct advantage over Hominick who is more of a striker than a grappler. However, the one thing going against Jung in this fight, is he’s never seen a right hand he didn’t want to take on the chin. He loves being in slugfests and if he enters one with Hominick it’s unlikely that he’ll last long. The Canadian is too quick and too accurate with his striking, if Jung doesn’t search for a takedown quickly, it’s likely that he won’t last long inside the cage against Hominick. As it is, I’ll take Hominick to earn a second round TKO. Mark Hominick via TKO in Round Two
Main Card (Pay Per View): Welterweight Bout: Claude Patrick vs. Brian Ebersole
Claude “The Prince” Patrick is a Canadian fighter from Toronto, Ontario. Patrick has a background as a Muay Thai kick boxer, but also has brown belt level skills in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Patrick is a member of the Elite Training Center in Toronto, Ontario. Patrick fought for a number of Canadian promotions, before making the jump to the UFC. Patrick has found a lot of success in the UFC with his unique style of potent striking mixed with solid Jiu Jitsu. Patrick uses his punches and kicks to set up Thai clinches and close the distance. From these clinches he can either use knees and elbow with devastating accuracy as well as change levels and work for takedowns. Patrick owns a career record of 14-1 and is currently 3-0 in the UFC.
Brian “Bad Boy” Ebersole is a 31-year-old MMA veteran from La Porte, Indiana. He has had over 60 career bouts and is best known for his iron chin, having never been knocked out yet in his career. Ebersole is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler but is an extremely well-rounded fighter as he has spent his life and career traveling the world to learn new fighting styles. The freestyle fighter is now a part of the ESS Performance Gym in Melbourne, Australia. Ebersole possesses decent striking skills, but is often outworked by more technical and more active strikers. His bread and butter is his top game where he can use his wrestling skills to control his opponents and work his ground and pound to either search for a stoppage victory or look for a submission opening. Ebersole owns a pro record of 48-14-1 and is currently riding a 9-fight winning streak.
Analysis and Prediction: This is an extremely close bout that go either way. Ebersole is a veteran who is having a career rejuvenation in the UFC. Ebersole holds the wrestling edge in this fight and will need to use it as much as possible, as he will likely find himself in trouble on the bottom against a fighter of Patrick’s breed. Patrick likes to use his solid striking game to set up a quick takedown so he can hunt for submissions from top position. Standing Ebersole is competent but Patrick is younger and more aggressive, so he holds the likely edge there. I think Patrick will be able to implement his game plan and out strike Ebersole on the feet before searching for a takedown that will allow him to unleash some nasty ground and pound. Ebersole isn’t getting TKO’ed though, he’s too tough, but Patrick can still take a Decision victory in this one. Claude Patrick via Unanimous Decision
Main Card (Pay Per View): Light Heavyweight Bout: Tito Ortiz vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
Tito “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy”… errr…. “The People’s Champion” Ortiz is a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. The 36-year-old Mexican-American is one of the sport’s most-polarizing figures who was instrumental in the sports early success. He is best known for his wars inside and outside the cage with fighters like Chuck Liddell and Ken Shamrock. Ortiz trains at his own gym, with the Team Punishment fight Team. Ortiz is a wrestling based fighter and is one of the first fighters to use ground and pound effectively in MMA. After struggling and looking like he was on his way out of the UFC, he found new life with a huge upset of Ryan Bader. At 36-years-old Ortiz is entering the twilight of his career and isn’t the same fighter he once was. He has struggled with neck and back injuries in the past which has caused his speed to decrease and his wrestling ability to diminish. Ortiz owns a professional record of 16-9-1.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira affectionately known as “Little Nog” or “Diet Nog” is the younger brother of UFC Heavyweight Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. The 35-year-old Brazilian like Ortiz is entering the twilight of his career. Nogueira is a stellar boxer and a black belt level practitioner of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Nogueira is a member of the Black House Fight Team where he trains with his brother, as well as Lyoto Machida and Anderson Silva. Nogueira has struggled against strong wrestlers in the past, but is still a dangerous fighter off of his back as he can often find openings against wrestlers who aren’t proactive in defending against submissions while sitting in his guard. Nogueira owns a professional record of 19-5, but is entering the bout on a two fight losing skid.
Analysis and Prediction: Nogueira has struggled in the past against strong wrestlers, dropping back to back decisions to Ryan Bader and Phil Davis. Before his KO victory over Ryan Bader many people, myself included had written off Tito Ortiz. However, I still don’t think that fight showed much other than Ortiz can still throw one hell of an overhand right. But at the end of his career after multiple neck and back injuries, Ortiz has slowed considerably and isn’t the dominant wrestler he once was at 205-Pounds. He’ll struggle to put Nogueira (who was able to fend off a number of Phil Davis’ takedowns in their bout) on his back constantly and is well-behind in the striking game against a boxer like Nogueira. Overall, I think Ortiz tries for the takedowns but will be relatively unsuccessful and will get peppered in the striking game, but he has proven very tough to finish and Nogueira isn’t a huge power puncher, so this one likely goes to a decision. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira via Unanimous Decision.
Main Card (Pay Per View): Heavyweight Bout: Frank Mir vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
Frank Mir is a former UFC Heavyweight Champion. The 32-year-old Las Vegas native has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and a black belt in Kenpo Karate. Since beginning his MMA career, Mir has also added strong striking skills and solid wrestling skills to his repertoire. Mir is a member of the Xtreme Couture Gym in Las Vegas, as well as owning his own gym, as he splits time between the two locations. He holds a number of notable victories in his career, including wins over Brock Lesnar, Mirko Cro Cop, Tim Sylvia and his opponent on Saturday night, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Mir has bulked up slightly and has improved his stand up technique to the point where he was relied more on his hands to win him contests than his black belt level grappling skills. Mir owns a professional MMA record of 15-5.
Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira is a legend in the sport of MMA. The 35-year-old Brazilian fighter was the first ever Pride Heavyweight Champion. He is known for his black belt level Brazilian Jiu Jitsu skills, as well as his ability to take extreme amounts of punishment before storming back for a comeback victory. This amount of punishment has also been a shortcoming for Nogueira recently as he has visibly slowed in the past few outings, as well as lost his legendary ability to take a beating without being put to sleep. However, in his last fight against Brendan Schaub he proved that he is still a very talented striker with enough power to stop even some of the younger, bigger Heavyweights in the UFC. Like his brother he is a member of the Black House Gym where he trains daily with the likes of Lyoto Machida and Anderson Silva. Nogueira’s professional record is 33-6-1 and reads like a veritable who’s who of MMA legends including names like Randy Couture, Fedor Emelianenko, Josh Barnett, Dan Henderson and Mirko Cro Cop.
Analysis and Prediction: These two have met once before at UFC 92, in a bout that Mir stopped Nogueira with punches for the first time in his career. Nogueira complained about a couple of injuries and ailments which took away from his performance, which brings us to this rematch. In that first fight Mir was able to out strike Nogueira, despite most fans who were hoping for a technical grappling bout, that never materialized. If Mir wants to win this fight, he’d be best served to try and repeat his performance from the first fight. Keep the fight upright and exploit his speed and power advantages against Nogueira. After a long career Big Nog cannot take the kind of punishment that he used to be able to, as was shown by Mir and also Cain Velasquez. Even in his TKO win over Brendan Schaub Nogueira was tagged several times, if he lets Mir get off on him like that, it might not be a very long night for Nogueira. Despite all that, Mir at times, fights without a strong sense of urgency, which could always leave the door open for a Hail Mary comeback from the Brazilian, but I think Mir out strikes and outworks Nogueira on his way to a Third Round TKO. Frank Mir by TKO in Round Three
Main Card (Pay Per View) Main Event: Light Heavyweight Championship Bout: Jon Jones vs. Lyoto Machida
Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida is a Japanese-Brazilian fighter. He is a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, born in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. Machida has a style that is extremely difficult to emulate as he is one of the most elusive and toughest to hit fighters in the sport. Machida has a strong background including a 3rd degree black belt in Shotokan Karate, something that is the basis for his entire fighting style. Machida is extremely difficult to fight as his style involves fading in and out of range and landing a number of quick combinations before darting away before his opponent can react. His style is based primarily on being quicker and more technically sound than his opponents. Machida is a member of one of the best camps in the world and should be in excellent shape for this fight as several of his training partners including the Nogueira brothers have bouts on the same card. Machida owns a professional record of 17-2 and is coming off the complete destruction of Randy Couture in a bout that he won with a highlight reel Scissor Kick that sent “Captain America” into retirement.
Analysis and Prediction: Both of these men are enigmas in their own rights, no one has really been able to figure either out, except for perhaps Mauricio Rua who defeated Machida in a Light Heavyweight title bout in 2010. However, Jones remains a puzzle that no one has solved as of yet, unless you count Matt Hamill getting obliterated by Illegal Elbows as a viable strategy decision. The bout will likely start slowly as Machida waits to counter, but he’ll find it hard to pop in and out of range against the extremely long limbs of Jones. As Jones begins to time Machida, it’s likely that he’ll open things up a bit more before switching levels and searching out a takedown. On the ground Machida is no slouch, but even the best grapplers have been overwhelmed by Jones’ mix of elbows, punches and overall violence. There may be a bump or two along the way, but Jones won’t be in any real danger as he works the takedown late in the second round and pounds out a stoppage victory. Jon Jones via TKO in Round Two
New Items Marked Down! Shop the UFC Sale at the UFC Store.