Contrary to popular belief it turns out there are actually more than two match-ups scheduled to take place this weekend at UFC on FOX: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos. Sure, Cain Velasquez’s title-defense against Junior Dos Santos is the headliner and rightfully so, and there’s no question Clay Guida vs. Ben Henderson deserves attention in that it features two highly-touted lightweights arguably a win away from contending for divisional gold. However, there are eight other bouts on the card featuring real life Mixed Martial Artists, though you certainly wouldn’t know it unless you’re a dedicated fan who investigates beyond the advertising.
I’m going to look at three fights on the FOX undercard worth your while, all of which can be found on the preliminary portion of the event streaming through Facebook starting at 4:45 PM EST on Saturday. The fights may not feature household names or elite talent but all are sure to entertain even if they haven’t merited more than a passing mention from the powers that be at Zuffa.
Robert Peralta vs. Mackens Semerzier
Peralta is an up-and-coming featherweight on an eight-fight winning streak including a victory of Hiroyuki Takaya and most recently Mike Lullo a few months ago at UFN 25. If he can get by Semerzier, a hard-hitting submission machine, he’ll move up to the next tier of 145ers to see where he stands among the division’s best. Of course, doing so will be no easy feat considering the beatdown he put on Alex Caceres earlier this year, not to mention his spot as a regular at Jeff Curran’s gym training alongside some top-level guys in the same division or one extremely close to it.
Clay Harvison vs. DaMarques Johnson
Both of these guys, who fans may remember from their stints on TUF, are competing for continued employment this weekend after recent stumbles inside the Octagon. However, Johnson/Harvison embody true fighting spirit and are more likely to go all out until one falls than play it safe in hopes of clinging onto a job. If you need evidence of their love of leaving it all in the cage, look to the fact 19 of their 21 combined victories have involved some form of stoppage with almost a near-even split in each case between submissions/TKOs.
Poirier/Garza was the first fight announced for the FOX card but got bumped out of the spotlight by Henderson/Guida, a pairing possibly better off booked at UFC 138 when considering how little attention even it is getting in comparison to the headliner. Regardless, the 22-year old Poirier is the future of featherweight and could be in title-contention six months from now if he keeps performing as he has over the past year. At 11-1 his only loss came via decision in his WEC debut after taking a short notice fight against apt adversary Danny Castillo, having won three in a row since including victories over Zach Micklewright, Josh Grispi, and Jason Young. Comparably, Garza is 27 so he also has a few years to go before truly being in his prime, plus ownership of back-to-back bonus-winning performances in the Octagon including his Flying Triangle Choke of Yves Jabouin at UFC 129. It’s a solid scrap between two 145 pound studs with a high probability of finish. Truly, what’s not to like?
Even digging deeper a true MMA enthusiast can find positives in the other pairings as well. Aaron Rosa comes to punch and be punched every single time, Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto will be looking to salvage his once brilliant career, and much more. Consider UFC on FOX 1 to be a summer blockbuster a few months late. Your ass may be in the seat to watch the main feature but you’ll be damned if you aren’t there in time for the epic previews involved too.
What do you think about the subject on today’s “Opening Round”? Tell us on our Twitter account (@mmatraining)!
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC