This weekend the Ultimate Fighting Championship will touch down in Sweden for the first time and the locals couldn’t be any happier, an estimated 13,000 tickets were sold within three hours to pack the house that features their home-grown star Alexander Gustafsson receiving top billing.
UFC on Fuel TV 2: Preliminary card preview & predictions
In this piece I’ll take a look at what Facebook has to offer on the six-bout preliminary card that will begin in the early afternoon for you North American viewers out there.
Featherweight bout: Eric Wisely vs. Jason Young
To open up the nights proceedings we have two combatants faced in a do-or-die situation having never won a bout under the UFC banner and in this cut-throat, take no prisoners lifestyle of mixed martial arts the loser might fly home with a pink slip.
Eric Wisely has proven that he can put a beating on any Midwestern journeyman but has never scored a win in a major organization, with 26 professional bouts behind him his lone claim to fame is being on the wrong end of the highlight-reel calf-slicer that Charles Oliveira slapped on him at the beginning on the year.
Jason Young is a sparring partner of talented bantamweight product Brad Pickett, the British product got noticed from a highly-competitive fight with second-dan jiu-jitsu black belt Jorge Britto that became useful YouTube fodder but since joining the elite MMA organization he has failed to impress being on the wrong end of decisions to Dustin Poirier and Michihiro Omigawa.
This is a hard fight to pick with neither man showing a lot of promise in their octagon appearances, I am going to take Wisely to save his job here – The Iowa native has heavy-hands, a solid wrestling base and is a decent sized featherweight, take that and couple it with his experience fighting higher level of competition and he should leave with a decision.
Welterweight bout: Simeon Thoresen vs. Besam Yousef
We continue with a pair of 170-pound prospects looking to make a splash in their promotional debut and with a majority of both mens victories coming by submission we could be in store for a high-octane grappling match.
Simeon Thoresen comes in with a lot of supporters behind him, his trainer and mentor, former DREAM lightweight champ Joachim Hansen has proclaimed him to be a future champion and many are backing this notion – Thoresen has notched sixteen victories to date with fourteen opponents forced to submit including current UFC fighter John Maguire.
Besam Yousef was one of the talent that the UFC snatched up because of the announcement to invade Sweden but he is quite a piece of work himself, despite facing some lower-tier opposition in the Zone FC organization he has toyed with all of them, finishing all but one of his opponents.
This is an interesting fight, I feel it would be foolish to pick against Thoresen right now, he’s a high-level athlete that has adapted to all facets of the game right away and has been training in hand-to-hand combat since his teens despite his high submission ratio, I’ll take the Norweigan to spoil the coming out party of Yousef by forcing him to submit.
Lightweight bout: Reza Madadi vs. Yoislandy Izquierdo
The Swedish fighter that most expected to carry the UFC flame into Denmark’s sister country was expected to be Reza Madadi but his late signing coupled with him being 33-years-old has passed that torch onto Gustafsson.
Madadi has been wrestling since ten years-of-age but only ditched the life of a wrestling coach to turn to MMA when he was 26 but has been impressive, since losing his debut he has been victorious eleven times with a trifecta of wins over big-show veterans Junie Browning, Carlo Prater and Rich Clementi.
He has an interesting test ahead of him though in unbeaten Florida-based prospect Yoislandy Izquierdo, now that his legal dramas are behind him he is finally ready to debut – This Cuban-born power-puncher has only notched six victories to date but has been dummying the competition putting away three fighters in the opening stanza.
Madadi has to be the favorite here, he has such a strong wrestling base and I can’t see how Izquierdo can fend off that takedown for fifteen minutes, it’s tough to predict if he could submit him when he got him there because we haven’t seen the defensive skills of Izquierdo but I’ll pick Madadi to take the decision.
Middleweight bout: Francis Carmont vs. Magnus Cedenblad
Two entertaining European prospects will meet in the center of the octagon to continue the nights action in what should be a crowd-pleasing affair.
Francis Carmont at the Tristar gym alongside welterweight champ and pound-for-pound star George St-Pierre – The Paris-born combatant notched his sixth straight victory and his UFC debut last October with a one-sided decision over The Ultimate Fighter season eleven cast-member Chris Camozzi.
Cedenblad’s career got off to a rocky start losing on his first two outings but has managed to turn the ship around only falling once in his next eleven bouts – This 6-foot-3 fighter has moved over to American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, California to sharpen his tools as he enters faces the stiffest test of his career.
Cedenblad has looked impressive finishing six of his last seven opponents but none are as skilled as Carmont – The well-rounded Frenchman trains year-round with some of the best in the game and under the tutelage of Mike Winklejon his game is only going to get better, I expect this to be all one-way traffic as Carmont notches a decision victory.
Light-heavyweight bout: Cyrille Diabate vs. Tom DeBlass
Diabate seems to be on his last legs heading into this 205-pound affair, going 2-2 in his UFC run he has an interesting challenge in untested Tom DeBlass.
Diabate has more experience than most in the entire UFC with 68 professional fights between MMA and kickboxing he is a tough test for just about anyone at light-heavyweight but hasn’t notched a victory in over a year.
This 38-year-old slugger has faced some of the best in the game including Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Alexander Gustafsson and in a striking match if you make a mistake you will be looking at the lights before long.
DeBlass has learned the tricks of the trade from eleven time UFC veteran Ricardo Almeida – The New Jersey native has been training in jiu-jitsu for over a decade, winning multiple championships and having an ADCC appearance in 2009 and has been one of the few interesting parts of Jersey’s most known feeder organization Ring of Combat where he served as a two-divisional champion there.
This fight really comes down to whether or not DeBlass can get it to the floor, submission defense has always been the chink in the armor of Diabate with a majority of his setbacks coming by submission and DeBlass has an incredibly active top game so I’m going to pick him to do enough on the feet, pick his shots and get the fight to the floor where he should be able to finish.
Welterweight bout: Papy Abedi vs. James Head
The final bout to the streamed on Facebook.com will be a welterweight tilt between two combatants who were unable to get the job done in their promotional debut.
Papy Abedi has been one of the best prospects on the market for quite some time, with an impressive background in Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu he tore his competition to shreds on the regional circuit finishing all eight of his first opponents before getting his call to the UFC – The Congolonese fighter lost to former title-challenger Thiago Alves, getting submitted that was his first career setback.
James Head went from semi-known Oklahoma-based fighter to a prospect to watch with a win over recently UFC exiled fighter Gerald Harris last year before disappointing in his UFC debut being submitted by Canadian striker Nick Ring.
I am picking Abedi here to not only beat the Lovato Jui-Jitsu product but to put do it in violent fashion, he has relentless slams and vicious ground-and-pound, I will be surprised if Head makes it out of the first round.
All the action kicks off at 12:30PM PT/9:30AM ET on Facebook and check back to MMASucka.com for your live coverage of the entire twelve-fight bill.
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