With primo champions and needle movers seemingly reserved exclusively for PPV events, the UFC on Fox cards have found a niche of their own in staging arguably the best matched and most enjoyable fights that have been designed with the fan/viewer in mind, and UFC on Fox 12 is no different.
Held at the SAP Center in San Jose, California, UFC on Fox 12 is headlined by a fight that has been looked forward to ever since it was signed, Robbie Lawler vs. Matt Brown, in a contest to determine the welterweight division’s number one contender.
The rest of the main card is as solid as it gets in this age of the UFC and more than delivers on paper.
(#1) Robbie Lawler vs. (#5) Matt Brown – 170lbs.
I might be setting unrealistic expectations ahead of this one, but if this is not a Fight of the Year contender by the time either man’s hand is raised, I will be bitterly disappointed. Both men have very little experience in taking a step back and both men carry that beautiful combination of fight-altering power and a durable chin. Lawler has been reinvented in his return to 170lbs and the UFC, winning four out of his last five fights, with the lone loss to Johny Hendricks in a battle to crown a new welterweight champ; whereas Brown is in the midst of a career renaissance, stringing together six straight wins in what is a professional best for the man who goes by the moniker ‘The Immortal’.
Matt Brown has shown time and time again that counting him out at this stage of his career is foolhardy, but in this case, I’ll run the risk of assuming the role of court jester. Brown of course has the skills and determination to extend his win streak and will likely have Lawler in a spot of trouble at some point or another in the fight, but Lawler will be able to match Brown on the feet for power, as well as having an advantage in speed, movement and wrestling. If Brown were to take this one instead, I would not exactly call it an upset, mind.
Prediction – Lawler via decision
(#5) Anthony Johnson vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira – 205lbs.
As reintroductions go, Anthony Johnson’s return to the UFC could not have gone much better. Having spent most of his initial tenure with the UFC missing weight at welterweight and middleweight, Johnson came back in to the fold as a 205lb’er and looked every inch a breakout star in dismantling Phil Davis over three rounds this past April. Nogueira, or ‘Lil Nog’ as he is more affectionately known, will just be pleased to be back in the cage I imagine, having competed just the once since 2011. Nogueira has the superior BJJ here, but that counts for little when you have the strength, power and wrestling ability of Johnson. Johnson keeps this one standing and puts his hands to work.
Prediction – Johnson via KO/TKO
(#7) Clay Guida vs. (#12) Dennis Bermudez – 145lbs.
Guida managed to get his stuttering career back on track with a dominating decision victory over Tatsuya Kawajiri earlier this April, which took Guida to 2-3 over his last five contests. In spite of his six-fight win streak, the joint longest active winning run in the featherweight division, Dennis Bermudez still manages to fly under the radar. Bermudez improves dramatically between each fight and the wrestle-boxer will carry a significant strength advantage over the energetic Guida that will see him dictate the grappling exchanges and ultimately the outcome of the bout.
Prediction – Bermudez via decision
(#3) Josh Thomson vs. (#13) Bobby Green – 155lbs.
Josh Thomson’s last fight against Benson Henderson did not go exactly as planned, with Thomson losing a disputed split decision, as well as his proposed title shot and breaking his hand in the process. Bobby Green has the opportunity of a lifetime to thrust himself in to contention and the thoughts of the casual MMA fan with a victory over Thomson here, having been a injury replacement for Thomson’s original foe, Michael Johnson. Both men possess a well-rounded game with plenty in the tank and power in their hands, but I’m going to side with Thomson on this one by virtue of being the more experienced combatant.
Prediction – Thomson via decision