Tonight is UFC Fight Night 15 live from Omaha, Nebraska. For those of you who aren’t really familiar with MMA or have been interested, tonight would be a GREAT night to give it a shot. The show comes on tonight at 8 p.m. Eastern, and will be followed directly by The Ultimate Fighter: Team Nogueira vs. Team Mir. Now I know some of you have a disdain for reality tv as much as I do, but this is not the Real World or the Hills. If you want to learn about some of the newest up-and-comer’s in the UFC, this is the best place.

There are a ton of fights on tonight’s card, but I’m going to weigh-in on just the main card and one fight off the pre-lim. Here is tonight’s final card.

Josh Neer 155 VS Nate Diaz 155
Clay Guida 155 VS Mac Danzig 155
Alan Belcher 185 VS Ed Herman 185
Eric Schafer 205 VS Houston Alexander 205

Joe Vedepo 185 VS Alessio Sakara 185
Wilson Gouveia 185 VS Ryan Jensen 185
Kyle Bradley 155 VS Joe Lauzon 155
Jason Brilz 205 VS Brad Morris 205
Mike Massenzio 185 VS Drew McFedries 185
Dan Miller 185 VS Rob Kimmons 185

Let’s start with Kyle Bradley v. Joe Lauzon at lightweight:

This fight doesn’t make much sense for Lauzon, especially since he’s not even fighting on the televised part of the card. His only loss thus far in the UFC is to Kenny Florian, the man many, including myself, believe to be the #1 contender at lightweight. Lauzon also holds a victory over former lightweight champion Jens Pulver back in 2006.

As far as Kyle Bradley goes, all I really know is that he is fighting out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana (homer!) and is getting a 2nd shot in the UFC. In his debut at UFC:81, Bradley was viciously knocked out 0:33 seconds into the 1st round by Chris Lytle. Now there’s no reason to be ashamed of being knocked out by Lytle, whose nickname is “Lights Out” and is a UFC veteran. Also, I believe the fight was fought at Lytle’s weightclass of 170 rather than Bradley’s natural 155.

Outcome: Lauzon via submission in round 1. Lauzon’s skill level certainly exceeds Bradley’s, he’s fought tougher competition, and I don’t think I need to stress how much he’s likely improved now that he’s training full-time with B.J. Penn. Bradley’s only hope is to catch Lauzon early with some quick combo’s or it may be over not long after it started.

Now… on to the main card.

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Alan Belcher 185 VS Ed Herman 185

Another fight where I am really only familiar with one of the fighters. Belcher’s record since entering the UFC is 50/50 with 3 wins and 3 losses. Now normally I would not evaluate a fighter by his record because I think that’s a pretty inconsistent way of doing things, but considering I haven’t seen him fight more than once, I’ll make an exception.

The problem with Belcher’s .500 record is the way he’s fared against his competition. The 3 better fighters he’s faced, he lost, with his wins coming against the 3 less-talented guys. In Ed Herman, he’s facing a guy who would be in the caliber of the 3 guys he’s lost to. Herman, who also boasts a 3-3 record in the UFC, has been somewhat of a let-down in the UFC as many thought he’d have a little more success.

This is a must-win for both fighters, as the UFC doesn’t just keep everybody around these days, and it’s almost a toss-up because when job security and livelihood comes into the picture, talent and experience goes out the window and is replaced with heart and a well-executed gameplan.

Outcome: Herman via unanimous decision

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Eric Schafer 205 VS Houston Alexander 205

If the previous fight is a must win, then this fight is a must survive for Houston Alexander. Alexander exploded onto the UFC scene with back to back 1st round TKO’s over Alessio Sakara and Keith Jardine before suffering back to back 1st round TKO losses. It would appear that Alexander is either going to knock you out or get knocked out in the process. His chin has now come into question as being suspect, and that’s not going to help his duke it out style.

Eric Schafer made an outstanding debut at UFC:62 submitting Rob MacDonald in the 1st round. However, just like Alexander, he lost his last two fights in the UFC via TKO. The difference between Alexander and Schafer. Since his losses, Alexander has been dormant, training and preparing for what is the most important fight in his career to date. Schafer has been fighting in smaller organizations and has racked up back to back wins.

Outcome: Alexander via 1st round TKO. I’m gonna go with Alexander on this one. Don’t know why, but I have a feeling he isn’t the 1-hit wonder some think he is. Expect fireworks in the 1st round.

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Clay Guida 155 VS Mac Danzig 155

This is gonna be a barnburner…tonight’s co-main event.

If you’ve been reading my weekly posts, you’ll remember a few weeks back when I mentioned both of these guys in regards to where they sit in the UFC lightweight division right now.

Guida, with a track record checkered with both wins and losses, is the gatekeeper to the Top 10 in the lightweight division. He’s fought some of the toughest guys at 155, and his wrestling is only exceeded by his never ending stamina, which was ever present in his last minute loss to Roger Huerta. Guida would overwhelm most fighters. However, Mac Danzig isn’t most fighters.

Danzig, winner of TUF 6, was the most dominant fighter on that season’s cast, and is also a former King of the Cage lightweight champion. From watching Danzig fight and train, if there’s anything noticed about him is that he’s like a machine. His training almost cost him a fight on TUF as he overtrains at times, but it pays off in the end. He’s very proficient in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and he’s a very impressive boxer. He’s also very meticulous during fights and doesn’t make many careless mistakes. It also doesn’t help Guida’s case that Danzig now trains at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas. Couture’s fighters are infamous for their perfect gameplans such as Forrest Griffin’s in his victory over Quinton Jackson. Do not expect Guida to overwhelm Danzig.

Outcome: Danzig via 2nd round submission

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Josh Neer 155 VS Nate Diaz 155

The other half of tonight’s main event, another highly anticipated lightweight match-up.

What we have here is a fight between a seasoned UFC vet and another impressive young former TUF champion.

Neer fights out of the Militech Camp, where they’re still consistently producing good fighters. He’s a Muay Thai/Wrestling specialist, so expect him to be prepared for a fight on his feet or the ground. He’s fought in damn near every organization out there, and with a record of 21-6, he’s got more impressive victories over talented fighters than damaging losses.

Not much can be said about Nate Diaz other than you either love him or you hate him. Like his brother Nick, a former UFC fighter, is known for being very brash, while still being a very talented fighter.

Diaz is extremely well-versed in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, being trained under the legendary Cesar Gracie. Diaz is an average striker with some boxing training,  but he’ll definitely want to keep this fight on the ground. Despite being generally aggravating individuals, the one thing the Diaz bros. have going for them is that they are very talented MMA fighters, especially when it comes to fighting on the ground.

I’d say the stand-up for both fighters is probably equal, with Diaz holding a slight advantage on the ground.

Outcome: Diaz via 2nd round submission

Well that’s all for today! Tomorrow I’ll come through with the results and we’ll see how my predictions went.

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