A free title fight gifted to us fans from Dana White should make up for the recent firing of Stitch and the lack of stripping Jose Aldo of the title. Not only a free title fight but what should be a number one title contender fight for the Womens Bantamweight title against Rousey in Tate vs Eye. The main event though between Dillashaw and Barao should be incredible. We have all been waiting for the rematch because Barao did not look like the beast we know he is when he fought TJ last time so this should hopefully be the fight the last one should have been. Now Barao has been waiting after being injured and then Dillashaw injured twice this is finally going to happen and the anticipation has Barao very excited.
Fox Prelims (6PM/ET)
#6 Eddie Wineland (21-10-1) vs #13 Bryan Caraway (19-8): The kick off to the prelims is a fight in the bantamweight division between two ranked fighters. Both fighters could be a title contender if they can put a strong performance together and an impressive win. Eddie Wineland is 31 years of age with 32 professional fights and his veteran knowledge of MMA is displayed very well in his well-rounded game. Wineland has finished 16 of his 21 wins 12 by way of KO and the other 4 by some pretty impressive submissions. Wineland has won 3 of his last 5 one of those loses being to Barao for the title. Wineland standing up has KO power in each hand with every blow he lands and has the ability to stop Caraway instantly. He can display his great striking abilities, his good footwork, and intelligence on when to throw and his combinations are incredible making him very dangerous. Wineland on the mat is a very good wrestler and has great ground and pound to match it and could make him very dangerous to take to the mat. Now standing opposite of Wineland is Caraway who is also a veteran with incredible skills. He has incredible abilities to fight on the mat and should be where he tries to take the fight because I honestly believe he is a bit better than Wineland on the mat. Caraway is one of the best at getting transitions on the mat and moving from position to position, he can also get himself into controlling positions. The excitement factor of Caraway is without a doubt there as he has finished 18 of his 19 wins, 16 of them by submission and the other 2 are by KO. Those numbers show how absolutely dominating he has been when on the mat in his MMA career it also brings up the worries of what happens if this fight stays standing though. This fight should be exciting and go one way or the other if it stays standing the edge is Wineland’s and could end quickly if this fight goes to the mat though Caraway should have the edge and pick up a submission win. Now I have to call this fight and I am having a really hard time with it but I will go with the wrestler and the striker by taking Wineland through a first round TKO.
Kenny Robertson (15-3) vs. Ben Saunders (18-6-2): This is a pretty decent fight in the welterweight division that could keep the fans excited from the opener. Kenny Robertson is a fun fighter to watch more of late. He has finished 7 of his last 8 wins, and 13 of his 15 wins overall. Kenny is a very well-rounded fighter finishing those 13 by way of 6 submissions and 7 KO’s showing that he is dangerous anywhere. He has won 4 of his last 5 and I don’t know if I am the only person that disagrees with his last loss which was a decision I truly believe he should have won that fight too. Anyway Robertson will look to grind a win out and wear out Saunders with his good wrestling skills. Robertson is a great striking fighter but once he gets to the mat his skills at passing position and getting his submissions set up are undeniable. Though once on the mat he can use his ground and pound as well to wear out his opponent. Now opposite of him is Ben Saunders a very aggressive and effective welterweight. Saunders has great ability to avoid takedowns posting a 76% takedown defense which could give Robertson issues when trying to get the fight to where he can control it. Saunders poses an interesting matchup that I always find enjoyable when it goes to the mat, by that I mean a wrestling expert vs. a black belt in BJJ. Saunders has finished 15 of his 18 fights 10 by KO and the other 5 displayed his BJJ and mat abilities with submissions. He is actually the first fighter to knock out Marcus Davis and he also stopped TUF 2’s Kenny Stevens in three rounds. Saunders is a more dangerous fighter standing than his opponent and could quickly post a KO if Robertson isn’t careful when trading shots with this monster. I think this fight is even though because it seems where they are both weak in certain spots standing and the ground game is up in the air. I am not sure who is the odds favorite but I am going to take Saunders none-the-less with a split decision.
Jim Miller (24-6) vs. Danny Castillo (17-8): This is a pretty even matchup in the lightweight division between two wrestlers. Jim Miller is an incredible fighter who I have personally always found entertaining. He can get a submission out of nowhere and truly his cardio is awesome this guy can fight all night if he is asked to. Jim has lost his last two to two people I consider title contenders, one of them I think is truly one of the best in the world, by losing to Cerrone and Dariush. He has finished 17 of his 24 fights and done so through 14 submissions and 3 KO’s. Jim is a great wrestler but a lot of people over look his black belt in BJJ and how dangerous he truly is. Now opposite of Miller is an interesting wrestling style fighter in Danny Castillo. Castillo is coming in to this fight just like Miller losing his last 2 fights and really needs to turn it around. Castillo has finished 10 of his 17 fights 7 by way of KO and the final 3 by submission. He has the ability to finish quickly then he seems to calm down and settle in by winning 6 of those 10 in the very first round. Castillo is a good ground and pound fighter with great striking skills when on his feet exchanging with his opponents. I think Castillo is entering a dangerous fight here for him because I believe Jim is better both on his feet and on the mat. I am going to take Jim here with a second round submission by way of a rear naked choke.
#15 Gian Villante (13-5) vs. Tom Lawlor (9-5): Here is a fight in arguably the weakest division in the UFC the light heavyweight division. This fight could be a brawl or a slow paced technical battle, personally I believe it will be a brawl. Gian Villante is exciting as he possesses great KO power and the ability to explode out of nowhere. He is dangerous with each blow as he can land a quick combo stun his opponent and end the fight in a matter of seconds. He has finished 10 of his 13 fights 8 by way of KO and the other 2 by submissions. Gian is gaining more and more experience as he trains with UFC champion Chris Weidman and is starting to show improvement in his development. I am excited to see him stay standing and force Lawlor to exchange with him on their feet. In the opposite corner is a fighter with phenomenal conditioning in Lawlor. He is a good wrestler and will look to grind out Villante but remember Villante trains with a wrestler who likes to grind out his opponents and will be prepared for this. He is a bit of a finisher having finished 7 of his 9 professional wins. Those 7 are split as even as they can get with 3 wins by KO and 4 more by way of submission. Lawlor should look to get this fight to the mat where he can control Villante more because is he definitely the more skilled fighter on the ground coming into this fight and should look for his opening. This fight will either end quickly in a fury standing between two very powerful fighters on their feet or it will go to the ground and be a grinding fight with a lot of ground and pound. This fight is definitely an interesting matchup for the main event of the prelims but I think it will go one way. I think both fighters will gladly stand and exchange with each other and Villante will pick up the first round KO ending the Fox Prelims early for once.
Fox Main Card (8PM/ET)
Joe Lauzon (24-11) vs. Takanori Gomi (35-10-1): This fight to kick off the main card is in the lightweight division and has one of my favorite fighters in it with Joe Lauzon. Joe is an exciting fighter especially for a submission guy who has struggled to get a streak going and seems to lose every time he seems to just be getting the ship right. But he is coming off of a disappointing loss to a kid on the rise in Al Iaquinta by way of a second round KO. His ability to finish is absolutely unquestioned by winning 23 of his 24 by way of stoppages which is incredible. Joe has finished 17 of those 23 by submission and the final 6 being by KO, his last TKO was a doctor’s stoppage after brutalizing Michael Chlesa. Now Lauzon isn’t just a finisher he does it in exciting ways, having the most post fight bonuses in UFC history with 13 of them. I am so happy to see him fighting here and think he will give the fans the excitement that they always desire. Now standing opposite of him is Takanori Gami who is a real veteran at 36 years of age with 46 fights in MMA professionally. He just like his opponent is entering this fight is coming off of a loss, his was a KO loss to Miles Fury Jury. He has only finished 19 of his 35 wins, 13 of them by KO and the other 6 by submission. He is a proven wrestler with incredible knockout power when standing and is a force to be afraid of for Joe when standing. He might truly have the most KO power in their division and is extremely dangerous. Now I am going to highlight one big worry for Gami and that is the fact that 6 of his 10 losses come by way of submission. Now normally that would be a small level worry but he is facing the submission artist and is in a world of trouble if he didn’t work on his game. I am going to pick with just pure fact that I believe Lauzon is the better fighter and will win by way of 2nd round submission and probably take home another post fight pay day.
#7 Edson Barboza (15-3) vs. Paul “the Irish Dragon” Felder (10-0): This is great fight in the lightweight division between a top ranked fighter and an undefeated Felder. Barboza is looking to bounce back from a loss to a very skilled fighter in Michael Johnson, and become a title contender. Barboza is a finisher and normally a quick on at that as he has finished 11 of his 15 wins 10 of them by KO. His speed of finishing these fights is impressive finishing 7 of them in the very first round. Barboza is looking to keep this fight standing and will be able to do so with his 83% takedown defense and if he does stay upright he is as dangerous as they come. This kid can explode out of nowhere and end a fight in a matter of seconds to combo with his explosive nature is his aggressive nature and will be coming towards and pushing the fight down Felder’s throat. Now opposite of the beast Barboza is Paul Felder who enters this fight undefeated professionally. This is his third fight in the UFC and will by far be the toughest fight of his professional career. This guy has finished 7 of his 10 fights all of those are by way of KO. The showing of his KO display is an exciting factor due to his opponents love to look for the KO and most likely desire to stand and exchange instead of taking it to the ground. He loves to put the pressure on his opponents which is exactly what Barboza will be looking to do which means we could see these two collide fast and often. Now the fun factor to the Irish Dragon is that he is knowing for his inept ability to land kicks and get kick strong and often. This fight will be a lot of fun and could be something to make sure you do not miss. I am going to take Barboza winning this fight though in a fun fast fury which will get both fighters beat up and bloody ending in the second round by way of KO.
#2 Miesha Tate (16-5) vs. #5 Jessica Eye (11-2): This fight in the women’s bantamweight division is going to be extremely fun to watch in the co-main event. I am so excited to watch Miesha fight again and I personally believe she is the best fighter in the UFC as far as competition for Rousey goes. Miesha is a great submission fighter with amazing wrestling skills and is on a 3 fight win streak after losing to Rousey for the title. Miesha is a very well-conditioned fighter having fought 2 fights in one night 2 different times in her career which is such an incredible feat on its own. Tate has finished 9 of her 16 wins 6 by way of submission and the final 3 are by KO. She is so exciting to watch fight and always makes quite a great fight and brings a lot of attention on her own as it is. She will be looking to win this fight and then set her sights on Rousey hopefully for a third fight between the two and bring more and more excitement to this division. Now standing opposite of Tate is another top level fighter in Jessica Eye who in her last fight nearly knocked her opponent’s ear off of her head forcing a doctor’s stoppage. Jessica is a consistent fighter with phenomenal striking and the ability to stop fights standing landing some strong hands. He ground game is a bit susceptible which could be an issue against someone like Miesha. Jessica has only finished 4 of her 11 wins and three of those 4 are by way of KO the final being by way of a submission. I love this fight and think it brings a lot of excitement as the co-main and will be a good close matchup. I am going to pick the most well rounded fighter to win this thing and do it in great fashion with a second round submission for Miesha Tate.
(C) TJ Dillashaw (12-2) vs #1 Renan Barao (35-2): Finally the main event of the evening and one of the most exciting title fights we could ask for as fans. The first fight between these two was disappointing because Barao looked like he was gassed the whole fight and not ready at all for his opponent which was shocking considering Barao was entering the last one on a 22 fight win streak. Barao has finished 23 fights professionally, 8 by way of KO and the other 15 by submission. Barao is in my opinion the most dangerous fighter in the UFC as he has incredible striking and amazing ground game with some of the best BJJ skills in the UFC. Barao trains with arguably the best gym in the sport and his partners make him hard to compete with because he has such high level training partners helping him improve constantly. Bararo has only been taken down one time in his UFC career and it was in his very first fight in the UFC posting a 97% takedown defense. Barao is so much fun to watch I truly can’t wait as he goes up against Dillashaw who I believe got lucky catching Barao off of his game last time they met. Now that being said TJ is a good fighter don’t get me wrong I just truly don’t believe anyone but Demetrious Johnson is at the same level as Barao when he is on his game. Dillashaw trains with team Alpha Male and the spray on tan hug and hold mentality that they train there doesn’t seem to have worn off on him yet as he has finished 8 of his 12 fights. He has finished 3 of them by submission and the other 5 by way of KO. He has won 7 of his last 8 fights his only loss coming to Raphael Assuncao as of late. His last two fights went to the championship rounds before he landed KO’s and that shows off how good his conditioning is. Now for the most interesting part of this matchup and that is that Dillashaw has never been taken down in the UFC posting a 100% takedown defense. This fight will either be standing brawl or go to the clinch and bore all of the UFC fans everywhere but with these two fighters let’s hope they just plan on keeping this fight exciting and never letting it go to the hug and hold mentality that Alpha male trains there team in. Now for the prediction which is really tough to call honestly because both fighters when they are on are nearly perfect. I am going to take the last fight between the two as a fluke and give the edge to Barao and say he gets the title back in a 4th round submission.