The UFC returns this Saturday night on FOX after an amazingly great PPV card last week. While not as strong overall as some other cards, this free event has a very strong main card with several “young gun” fights surrounding the farewell fight for Urijah Faber in his hometown.
Faber has been a wonderful ambassador for the sport, both through his own fighting and through running Team Alpha Male, where he has found and promoted such talents as Chad Mendes, TJ Dillashaw, Joseph Benevidez, Cody Garbrandt, and Paige VanZant. It’s strange to think of the “California Kid” moving into retirement, but I am glad that he is going out on his terms, in his hometown.
And remember, the main card starts at 8pm eastern – so don’t miss out!
Paige VanZant vs. Michelle Waterson
VanZant is something of an enigma. She has wonderful physical gifts and and incredible aggression inside the cage, but her fundamentals seem to completely leave her at times. However, she is still extremely young, both in fight years and normal years, so it can be expected that she will continue to refine her game at least for the time being.
Waterson is more of a known commodity, and while she is a dangerous striker, she can be bullied in the clinch. It just so happens that clinch bullying is the name of Paige’s game. As the bigger and much stronger fighter I feel that the pick here is PVZ by third round TKO.
Sage Northcutt vs. Mickey Gall
Two rising stars meet in what should be an interesting stylistic matchup. Sage is a phenomenal striker with arguable the best athleticism in either the lightweight or welterweight divisions, while Mickey’s base is his wrestling. Sage is moving up a weight class to fight Mickey, but shouldn’t be giving up too much of a size advantage based on the fact that he was a massive lightweight to begin with.
People call Sage a green fighter, but they seem to overlook the fact that this is essentially Gall’s UFC debut. Yes he is 2-0 in the UFC, but both those fights were against other debuting fighters, and one of them was CM Punk. Sage has fought a higher level of competition so far, and while he could be in trouble if Gall is able to drag him to the ground, all rounds do start standing up. “Super” Sage by second round TKO.
Urijah Faber vs. Brad Pickett
Here we are – Faber’s last fight. He draws another veteran in Brad Pickett, who, while still dangerous, is also on the downward slope of his career. Both fighters have well-established styles, and the wrestler-boxer game of Pickett should provide Faber with straightforward path to victory as Faber is the more talented of the two in the scramble. Look for Faber to go out on top with a decision win in front of his home crowd.
Alan Jouban vs. Mike Perry
Prepare for fireworks. This matchup is INSANE. Remember DooHo Choi and Cub Swanson last weekend? Yeah, this fight could easily end up like that one, but this one is probably not going to the judges. Both fighters are incredibly violent, and incredibly active. I like Jouban here, simply based off of the fact that he is the more experienced, but it is a toss-up fight. I’m going Jouban by second round TKO.