It’s easy to forget that the UFC has an event on this weekend, what with all the hubbub surrounding the Jon Jones-Daniel Cormier matchup and other, more worrying going-ons in the MMA world, but they do and it’s nice to have them back after a short break. Headlining the event is a light-heavyweight clash between two of the form players in the division, as Ryan Bader takes on Ovince St. Preux, while British lightweight Ross Pearson tangles with Gray Maynard in the co-main event of the evening.
Now, on with the preview.
(#8) Ryan Bader vs. (#10) Ovince St. Preux – 205bs.
Ryan Bader has looked superb in his last two fights against Anthony Perosh and Rafael Cavalcante, dominating each man en route to one-sided decision victories, whereas St. Preux, or OSP, has looked simply violent since moving over to the UFC from Strikeforce back in 2013 in finishing Cody Donovan, Nikita Krylov and Ryan Jimmo in his last three contests.
While he is unlikely to ever challenge for the title or threaten the upper echelons of the division, Bader is perfectly comfortable in this range of fights. OSP will threaten at times with his aggressive striking and athleticism, but I can’t see him defending Bader’s takedown all night and once he is on top, Bader has show on countless occasions that he can do some serious damage when he gets to work.
Prediction – Bader via decision
(#12) Gray Maynard vs. Ross Pearson – 155lbs.
This is the third opponent Pearson has been scheduled to face, having seen fights with Bobby Green and Abel Trujillo fall through and in Maynard he should experience a stern test of his grappling abilities; that is if the Maynard of old shows up. Other than a split decision victory over Clay Guida back in June 2012, Maynard has not registered a win since 2010, losing three of his last four fights by KO. Pearson’s takedown defence has improved immeasurably of late and with Maynard more of a headhunter with a failing chin than the formidable wrestler he once was, Pearson should finish this in impressive fashion and erase the Diego Sanchez decision from his memory.
Prediction – Pearson via KO/TKO
(#14) Tim Boetsch vs. Brad Tavares – 185lbs.
Since his wins over Yushin Okami and Hector Lombard, Tim Boetsch has struggled in recent outings. With three losses in his last four to Costas Philippou, Mark Munoz and Luke Rockhold, Boetsch’s task doesn’t get any easier when he squares off against Brad Tavares. Tavares had begun to be seen as a potential contender in the middleweight ranks with five straight victories, but a decision defeat to Yoel Romero in his previous bout has pierced that balloon somewhat. Boetsch will look to press Tavares up against the cage in order to try and overpower him and get off big shots, but I think Tavares will prove far too elusive and coast to a decision victory.
Prediction – Tavares via decision
Seth Baczynski vs. Alan Jouban – 170lbs.
It feels as though Baczynski has been around the UFC a lot longer than just three or four years, depending on when you start counting, I don’t know why you would be counting, but I just did and life is funny like that some times. On the whole it’s been largely uneventful, with Baczynski failing to string together a meaningful win streak or secure a big name victory (the Matt Brown win is only now considered big as a result of revisionism), but he feeds off guys like Jouban and this will be no different.
Prediction – Baczynski via decision
Shawn Jordan vs. Jack May – 265lbs.
Back-to-back KO defeats have put paid to any notion of Jordan doing much in the heavyweight division any time soon, while May looked pretty shoddy in his UFC debut against Derrick Lewis. Very much a loser-leaves-town scenario here, but at the same time a simple equation. Jordan’s suspect chin + former kickboxer May’s power =
Prediction – May via KO/TKO
Thiago Tavares vs. Robbie Peralta – 145lbs.
Tavares will be making his featherweight debut here and while I expect Peralta to run him close, ultimately he will have the required quality to take this.
Prediction – Tavares via decision