If you’re looking for star power this Friday’s UFC debut on the FX network might not be your cup of tea but if you’re into exciting fights you’ve come to the right place – It all goes down from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.
Sitting atop the bill is an exciting lightweight clash between two men whose roads to championship gold have taken a slight detour, Melvin Guillard and Jim Miller, along with Duane Ludwig and Josh Neer looking to throw their fists of fury until someone goes to sleep.
The staff here at MMASucka.com have given our insights into how we see these clashes going down as the battle for imaginary internet street cred rages on.
Melvin Guillard vs. Jim Miller:
JP Lasaleta: Melvin is in a tough place for this fight. He’s training with a new team and new coaches. He’s coming off a devastating loss. On top of all that, he’s fighting against a guy who has a strong grasp of his kryptonite, the submission game. I see Jim Miller taking Guillard to the ground and taking home a trophy (maybe an arm or a foot) in the first round.
Carlin Bardsley: Guillard’s got something to prove here. The latest man to ditch Jackson’s MMA has been just short of the top echelon of the lightweight division for a while now. Miller’s strengths match up well with Guillard’s weaknesses, but I trust that Van Arsdale would have been working with Melvin enough on his defensive wrestling to keep the fight standing. From there it’s just a matter of time until he lands.
Jeremy Brand: I thought Melvin was the next big thing in the lightweight division and then bam he was stopped by Joe Lauzon. I think that Jim Miller is going to do the same and stop Guillard. He will take him down early and stop him on the ground. Jim Miller by 2nd Round TKO
Trevor Dueck: I think people are underestimating Guillard’s hand speed and how he pushes the pace. If you are going to get Guillard to the ground you’re going to have to catch him first. Miller has been known for getting sucked into a stand up war before. Not taking anything away from Jim Miller he can handle himself standing up too. However, he needs to be careful not to waste too much of the gas tank in trying to find a way to take Guillard down. That is where Miller needs to take the fight. Guillard is too dynamic and too fast on the feet for Miller to risk getting caught in a stand up war. Look for Guillard to be extremely motivated after being derailed in his last fight by Joe Lauzon. Both guys want back on the 155lbs title road, but if Guillard can be his dynamic self and not be his own worst enemy I see him winning but not sure how, but I’ll take a guess and say third round TKO.
Justin Faux: I really enjoy this fight, puts the winner clearly back on track being a fight or two away from title contention now that there isn’t a giant logjam at the top – The facts are that styles make fights and on paper this looks like this is Millers fight to lose if he isn’t smart but I think he has all the right tools to put Guillard away.
I would expect Miller to be looking to take this to the floor immediately, although he’s an accomplished striker and probably brings a higher level of technique to the table Miller brings game changing power that will put him away if he make a mistake, I expect a second round submission for Miller.
Sucka’s taking Miller: 3
Sucka’s taking Guillard: 2
Duane Ludwig vs. Josh Neer:
JP Lasaleta: I love this fight. Both guys like to stand up and take care of business. I see Bang just a little bit faster, and technical for the more aggressive josh Neer. Bang by KO round 2
Carlin Bardsley: Neer’s a gamer but Ludwig’s striking is crisper and quicker. Neer will keep hanging in there but just barely as Ludwig picks him apart. Fight of the Night contender here.
Jeremy Brand: Josh Neer is a trusted veteran in the game, but Duane Ludwig will have this fight wrapped up in the bag. His intensity and kick boxing experience will propel in this match. Duane Ludwig by 3rd Round TKO
Trevor Dueck: This is a fight for the fans. Two tough dudes who like to throw down. Something tells me though that it may end up being a lot more technical then that. Although Ludwig has a great kickboxing background, his wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu has improved. Something tells me that Ludwig entertains the idea of a stand up war but uses that to try and take Neer down. It will be interesting to see if the kitchen gets too hot on the feet who will be the first guy to go for the takedown. My money is on “Bang.” Ludwig wins by decision.
Justin Faux: On paper this has all the right components to gives us a fight of the night performance against these two tough, durable veterans. I have been really impressed with Ludwig since he made the move up to welterweight he’s shown improvement and I expect him to take this home, I would expect them to have a technical back and forth kickboxing match with favors ‘Bang’ but both are well versed on the mat too but I’ll pick Ludwig to take a decision.
Sucka’s taking Ludwig: 5
Sucka’s taking Neer: 0
Mike Easton vs. Jared Papazian
JP Lasaleta: Mike Easton is on a 6 fight winning streak, defeating big names like Chase Beebe, and John Dodson. It’s a huge step up in competition for Papazian. Mike Easton will finish this fight in the first round, most likely by KO
Carlin Bardsley: Papazian’s taking this one on short notice, which will hurt him the longer the fight goes. Easton will likely work his jits and keep Papazian on his back until he gives up an arm or a leg.
Jeremy Brand: I have a tough time picking any of Lloyd Irvin’s fighters (ala Brandon Vera), but this one is tough to pick against. Mike Easton who is undefeated in 6 fights will go on to his 7th against Papazian. Mike Easton by 1st Round KO.
Trevor Dueck: I want to take the upset here and go with Papazian but I’m going to stay put on the favorite in this fight. I like Mike Easton a lot and I don’t see this going to a decision. Easton via KO in any round.
Justin Faux: This fight interests me, I know everyone is expecting Easton to blow the doors off Papazian in jaw-dropping fashion but I don’t see it happening so easy. I know he took this fight on short notice but for the past two months he’s been training for a UFC debut before he even got the call so I don’t expect that to play a factor.
This kid is young, well rounded and a serious prospect to watch but I do think Easton is too much, too soon. I see Easton being able to frustrate the newcomer with his reach edge before hurting him later in the fight and if he drops him he is really quick to join his fallen opponent on the mat and look for a submission so I’ll take Easton by a third frame submission.
Sucka’s taking Easton: 5
Sucka’s taking Papazian: 0
Pat Barry vs. Christian Morecraft
JP Lasaleta: Morecraft is a certified giant, but his last 2 losses proved that he is susceptible to strong strikers. Barry is probably the best striker that Morecraft has ever faced, and Barry is accustomed to fighting giants at his home gym like Brock Lesnar and Cole Konrad. Barry will win by KO in the first round to bring his UFC record back to an even .500.
Carlin Bardsley: Morecraft has the clear size and reach advantage, as well as an advantage if this fight hits the ground. But Barry isn’t afraid to take the fight to a bigger man, as we’ve seen in his bouts against Kongo and Struve. Barry may have Morecraft well scouted, given that Morecraft’s last two fights have come against friends of Pat’s. I like David to slay Goliath here.
Jeremy Brand: Pat Barry will get back in the win column after this fight. Morecraft is a massive, massive man, but who isn’t compared to Barry. The two goofed around at the open workouts on Wednesday, but come fight day this will be nothing but goofing around. Pat Barry by UD.
Trevor Dueck: Like Melvin Guillard, Pat Barry is his own worst enemy. He has some of the fiercest stand up in the division but seems to care more about throwing caution to the wind and entertaining the fans than actually putting together a solid technical fight. The last thing Barry wants to do is find himself on the ground with the big beast Morecraft on top. Look for Pat Barry to chop Morecraft down with vicious leg kicks. If Barry can keep the fight standing and not get caught up in the clinch game and not get worn down, I see Barry winning via decision.
Justin Faux: Interesting match-up between these two, realistically it looks like a fight for Pat Barry to throw his heavy hands, get in close and drop the giant to thrill the audience and catch a few eyeballs of people flipping channels but I wouldn’t be surprised if Morecraft took a slow, plodding decision once he takes top control but if he keeps his head screwed on I’ll take Barry to return to the winners circle with a first round TKO.
Sucka’s taking Barry: 5
Sucka’s taking Morecraft: 0
Jorge Rivera vs. Eric Schafer
JP Lasaleta: Rivera by second round TKO
Carlin Bardsley: Rivera by second round TKO
Jeremy Brand: Schafer by decision
Trevor Dueck: Jorge Rivera
Justin Faux: Rivera by decision
Sucka’s taking Rivera: 4
Sucka’s taking Schafer: 1
Kamal Shalorus vs. Khabib Nurmagonedov
JP Lasaleta: Shalorus by second round TKO
Carlin Bardsley: Shalorus by decision
Jeremy Brand: Shalorus by first round TKO
Trevor Dueck: Shalorus
Justin Faux: Shalorus by second round TKO
Sucka’s taking Shalorus: 5
Sucka’s taking Nurmagonedov: 0
Charlie Brenneman vs. Daniel Roberts
JP Lasaleta: Brenneman by decision
Carlin Bardsley: Brenneman by decision
Jeremy Brand: Roberts by first round submission
Trevor Dueck: Brenneman
Justin Faux: Brenneman by decision
Sucka’s taking Brenneman: 4
Sucka’s taking Roberts: 1
Daniel Pineda vs. Pat Schilling
JP Lasaleta: Schilling by first round submission
Carlin Bardsley: Pineda by first round submission
Jeremy Brand: Pineda by decision
Trevor Dueck: Schilling
Justin Faux: Schilling by first round submission
Sucka’s taking Schilling: 3
Sucka’s taking Pineda: 2
Joseph Sandoval vs. Nick Denis
JP Lasaleta: Denis by first round TKO
Carlin Bardsley: Denis by decision
Jeremy Brand: Denis by decision
Trevor Dueck: Denis
Justin Faux: Denis by second round TKO
Sucka’s taking Denis: 5
Sucka’s taking Sandoval: 0
Fabricio Camoes vs. Tommy Hayden
JP Lasaleta: Camoes by first round submission
Carlin Bardsley: Camoes by third round submission
Jeremy Brand: Camoes by first round submission
Trevor Dueck: Camoes
Justin Faux: Camoes by first round submission
Sucka’s taking Camoes: 5
Sucka’s taking Hayden: 0