Colin Fletcher vs. Mike Ricci
The main card kicks off with two young lightweights coming off losses in there last bouts. This fight could very well be a “loser leaves town bout” in which the loser gets cut by the UFC. The UFC has setup this fight so it’s the classic matchup of striker vs grappler and could very well produce fireworks.
Striking: Mike Ricci is a gifted striker with more than half of his wins coming by way of knockout. He uses his strong wrestling base to avoid takedowns and pick apart his opponent on the feet. Colin Fletcher has yet to have a knockout in his career and often uses striking only to setup his takedowns. When it comes to the striking department it is clear who has the advantage.
Advantage: Mike Ricci
Wrestling: This category is extremely tough to call. The two fighters both have good wrestling but use it for different reasons. Fletcher often looks for takedowns early and tries to work his world-class jiu-jitsu game where Ricci use it to avoid takedowns or setup his top-notch ground and pound. Whoever wins the wrestling battle could very well win this fight.
Grappling/submissions: Colin Fletcher is an absolute stud on the ground. 7 of his 8 career wins have come by submission and always depends on his jiu-jtsu to get his hand raised. Mike Ricci is no where close to the level of Fletcher when it comes to submissions and could very well be his downfall in this fight. Another clear advantage in this category.
Advantage: Colin Fletcher
Conclusion: This fight could on paper have all the ingredients to be an exciting bout that kicks off the main event. With their jobs on the line these guy will be doing everything in their power to stand in the octagon victorious. Colin Fletchers ground game will be too good in the end and it will be the reason he is still a UFC employee Saturday night.
Prediction: Colin Fletcher by darce choke 3:14 in the second round
Nick Ring vs. Chris Camozzi
This bout puts together two middle tier middleweights looking to advance up the ladder. Camozzi has put together a solid three fight-winning streak and could be looking at a high profile opponent with a win. Nick Ring has quietly put together a 3 and 1 record in the UFC and could be looking at a new contract if he comes out on top. Both fighters have momentum coming into the bout and can show viewers they are main card worthy with an impressive performance.
Striking: Nick Ring is a Muay Tai specialist and holds a black belt in his craft. Ring is known to dominate the center of the ring and pick apart his opponent with knees, punches, and will also try to land strikes in the clinch. Chris Camozzio is a gifted striker who throughout his career can hold his own with anyone on his feet. He is known for his granite chin and has never been knocked out in his career. However, Nick Ring is a much more experienced striker and will likely get the better of the exchanges on the feet.
Advantage: Nick Ring
Wrestling: Even though Nick Ring does not come from a wrestling background he has managed to secure five takedowns in his UFC career. Camozzi has struggled in his UFC career in the takedown department and currently does not have a takedown to his name. If Nick Ring starts to get beat up on his feet he will likely look for a takedown especially because Camozzi has only been able to defend 57 percent of the takedown thrown his way.
Advantage: Nick Ring
Grappling/Submissions: Chris Camozzi has had great success in his career finishing fights with submissions. Nick Ring has also shown to be well versed in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and has six submission wins to his name. Both fighters will be looking for submissions if the fight goes to the ground. However Camozzi has shown a more all around jiu-jitsu game with two submission wins off of his back.
Advantage: Chris Camozzi
Conclusion: Both fighters game plan will be to outpoint each other on their feat. It is very unlikely that a takedown will occur in this bout due to both fighters wanting to get the better of the in tight exchanges. In the end I see Nick Ring being able to successfully control the center of the Octagon and get the win.
Prediction: Nick Ring by decision (29-28,29-28, 30-27)
Jake Ellenberger vs Nate Marquardt
Jake Ellenberger vs Nate Marquardt is the first high profile fight of the night and is guaranteed to have fireworks. After a brief stint in Strikeforce, Nate Marquardt will be rejoining the UFC but this time he will have dropped to welterweight. Jake Ellenberger is an absolute stud and has moved his way into the title picture by winning 6 of his last 7 fights. This bout is not to disappoint.
Striking: Jake Ellenberger has had great success when he has chosen to stand and bang. Four of his six wins have come by knockout including a 53 second knockout of former number 1 contender Jake Shields. Nate Marquardt also posses knockout power and has 4 knockout wins in the UFC as a middleweight. However, Jake Ellenberger is too dynamic and athletic on his feet to get beat in this category.
Advantage: Jake Ellenberger
Wrestling: Ellenberger has a phenomenal wrestling background due to being a Division 2 national champ in college. He rarely has to rely on his wrestling simply because his striking is that good. Nate Marquardt has been successful in the past securing takedowns but has been shown to being susceptible to takedowns especially when he faced Chael Sonnen. Ellenberger holds a clear advantage in this category.
Advantage: Jake Ellenberger
Grappling/Submissions: Jake Ellenberger in the past has shown the ability to force an opponent into submission and has 5 victories to his name. Nate Marquardt has a huge amount of experience when it comes to submissions and is a second-degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. With almost half of his wins by submission, it is clear that Marquardt’s best chance of winning this fight is to force Ellenberger to tap out.
Advantage: Nate Marquardt
Conclusion: To quote the great Chael Sonnen “This fight is going to be a on sided pounding and I’m swinging the hammer”. Ellenberger is too fast and too strong to lose to a man who is over the hill such as Nate Marquardt. This is going to be a brutal knockout where you hope the guy receiving the punishment does not get hurt too bad.
Prediction: Jake Ellenberger by first round knockout at 1:46
Johny Hendricks vs. Carlos Condit
Everyone watching this fight will be shocked if this fight goes to the judges’ scorecards. This bout puts together arguably the top two dynamic strikers in the welterweight division. The winner of this fight is likely to get the winner of the main event. You will defiantly not want to blink during this fight because both men are capable of finishing a fight in seconds.
Striking: Whoever wins this category will likely be victorious Saturday night. Johny Hendricks has finished two of his last 3 fights in the first minute with his brutal left hook. Carlos Condit has one of the most complete and diverse striking games in the UFC. He has been able to finish fights with punches, kicks, elbows, and knees. Due to experience and wide repertoire of strikes Condit has a slight advantage here.
Advantage: Carlos Condit
Wrestling: It is pretty clear-cut who has the advantage here. Johny Hendricks was a 4 time All-American and National Champion at Oklahoma State. Like Jake Ellenberger, his striking is so good that he rarely has to depend on his wrestling chops. Carlos Condit has been susceptible to being taken down and it showed in his title fight vs Georges St. Pierre. If Hendricks is losing the exchanges on his feet he will likely take the fight to the ground.
Advantage: Johny Hendricks
Grappling/Submissions: Carlos Condit has shown the abilty to finish fights by submission not only when he’s on top, but also on his back. His phenomenal dexterity allows him to trap opponents in his guard and look for submissions when his back is on the canvas. If Condit can get Hendricks on the ground it could be trouble for the All-American wrestler.
Advantage: Carlos Condit
Conclusion: Carlos Condit is the favorite in this fight and many people believe he will win this fight but I think Hendricks is the second best welterweight in the world. His left hand just might be the most dangerous weapon in MMA right now. At the end of the night expect Hendricks to have another highlight reel knockout.
Prediction: Johny Hendricks by first round knockout at 2:14
Georges St.Pierre vs. Nick Diaz for the Welterweight title
Many MMA fans have been salivating over this matchup for years. Nick Diaz has called out St. Pierre on numerous occasions and has finally received his wish. Due to Diaz’s disrespect St. Pierre told Dana White he wanted to put Diaz in his place as soon as possible even though he was not the number 1 contender. This fight will not disappoint and will likely be a fight of the year candidate.
Striking: George St. Pierre has proven he can out strike anyone the UFC has put in front of him. His perfectly executed jab and technically sound striking game are the main reason he feels completely comfortable striking with anyone. Nick Diaz throughout his career has been a dynamic striker and has finished numerous opponents on his feet. What’s unique about Diaz’s striking is not the power he puts behind his punches but the volume of strikes he lands in a small period of time, which breaks down his opponents. This category is a toss up.
Wrestling: Georges St. Pierre has the best wrestling MMA has ever seen. Period. He has the most takedowns in UFC history and his takedown defense statistics are just as impressive. No one that has stepped in the Octagon with St-Pierre has been able to stop his takedowns. Nick Diaz will not be looking to take this fight to the ground. He almost never looks for takedowns because he is so dependent on his striking game. St.Pierre holds a huge advantage in this category.
Advantage: St. Pierre
Grappling/Submissions: Nick Diaz has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu under the tutelage of the legend Cesar Gracie. Diaz has been known to be extremely dangerous with submissions off of his back and will likely look to secure a submission when St. Pierre takes him down. St. Pierre does possess a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu but has not submitted an opponent in over 5 years. It is extremely unlikely St. Pierre will lock in a submission especially on a grappler of Diaz’s caliber. Due to being more of a threat, Diaz holds the advantage.
Advantage: Nick Diaz
Conclusion. Georges St.Pierre is one of the top two greatest fighters that has ever stepped in the Octagon. He is head and shoulders better than any Welterweight the UFC can throw at him. Even though Diaz is a game opponent he will not put St. Pierre in any danger. Expect St. Pierre to take Diaz down at ease and cruise to a decision victory.
Prediction: Georges St. Pierre by Unanimous Decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)