Opening Round: Pick a Card (UFC on Fuel 1 Edition)

The UFC is a day away from holding its first live card on Fuel TV after showing a handful of prelims attached to other shows on the sports-centric network, offering up a fairly solid lineup in the process too including a main event sure to please between welterweight contenders Diego Sanchez and Jake Ellenberger.

Below you’ll find some quick picks for the evening’s earlier fights followed by a more detailed breakdown of the evening’s featured action including the headliner between Ellenberger-Sanchez as well as the heavyweight tilt between Stefan Struve and Dave Herman.

After reading my UFC on Fuel 1 predictions make sure to check back at MMATraining tomorrow starting at approximately 6:00 PM EST when preliminary results start rolling in to see if things unfolded as I’ve expected (or as you may have guessed instead depending on where your opinions differ from mine).

Bernardo Magalhaes def. Tim Means via Submission Round 2
Justin Salas def. Anton Kuivanen via Unanimous Decisions
Sean Loeffler def. Buddy Roberts via TKO Round 1
Vagner Rocha def. Jonathan Brookins via Unanimous Decision
Ivan Menjivar def. John Albert via Submission Round 3
T.J. Dillashaw def. Walel Watson via Unanimous Decision
Philip De Fries def. Stipe Miocic via Submission Round 2
Aaron Simpson def. Ronny Markes via Unanimous Decision

Stefan Struve vs. Dave Herman

This a good old fashioned showdown between two solid heavyweights who like to strike but also have the ability to grapple if necessary. “Pee Wee” Herman could go a long way based on his combination of personality/talent so a win in this fight could give him enough momentum to draw one of the division’s top adversaries in his next outing. Likewise, “The Skyscraper” is only 24 and has shown a lot of poise/potential as well.

The 6’11″ Struve is good from the outside but struggles with close-up work based on his lanky frame. Since I still don’t trust Struve’s chin, somewhat sad considering his age, I have a feeling Herman is going to close the distance and put him to sleep with a well-placed shot early on.

Winner – Dave Herman def. Stefan Struve via TKO Round 1

Jake Ellenberger vs. Diego Sanchez

One of the things I love about MMA is how unpredictable it is and Ellenberger-Sanchez is a perfect case of that. I truly believe I could flip a coin and have just as much chance of being right as even the best analyst out there. Both are extraordinarily tough, having each only lost a single time via stoppage with 58 total fights between them. Both have knockout power, durable jaws, and wrestling/submissions to boot. Both finish opponents far more often than outpointing them.

I think things will unfold as a three-round, Fight of the Night-type war with Ellenberger coming out ahead on the scorecards based on his minor size advantage and cardio. Sanchez didn’t appear to be in great shape when he last fought and has been inactive for more than nine months so I think he’ll struggle to keep his wind and Ellenberger has underrated takedowns/ground-work. Sanchez also cuts fairly easily and physical appearance plays a factor in some judges’ minds.

Winner – Jake Ellenberger def. Diego Sanchez via Split Decision

What do you think about the subject on today’s “Opening Round”? Tell us on our Twitter account (@mmatraining)!

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