UFC on Fox 8 Preliminary Breakdown for “Johnson vs. Moraga”

July 24, 2013

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UFC on Fox 8 Preliminary Breakdown for “Johnson vs. Moraga”



UFC on Fox 8 takes place this Saturday, July 28 from the Key Arena in Seattle and will broadcast on Sportsnet 360, with preliminaries beginning at 5 PM (EST) and the main card airing at 8 PM (EST).

Kicking off the preliminaries are two fighters who might want to consider filing a grievance with their employer: Yaotzin Meza (0-1 UFC, 19-8) and John Albert (1-3 UFC, 7-4).  Both have been dealt such unfavourable match-ups that you have to think one of them took a key to Dana White’s car while the other poured sugar in the gas tank.

 

Meza is a Ben Henderson training partner who was brought in on short notice to be demolished by fight Chad Mendes.  Henderson had lobbied for the UFC to bring Meza in, though I don’t think he intended to throw his buddy into the octagon equivalent of oncoming traffic.  A minute and fifty-five seconds into the fight, Meza was knocked out proving that you don’t get points just for showing up.  Meza is dropping down to bantamweight, a class that might allow him to put his fierce grappling to better use.

 

After winning in his debut, Albert was booked against Ivan Menjivar (top 10 bantamweight), Erik Perez (currently 3-0 in the UFC) and Scott Jorgensen (top 10 bantamweight).  No surprise, he lost all of those fights.  He’s stuck around due to his controversial loss to Perez (a phantom submission) and a one-round thriller against Jorgensen.  Bad things happen to good fighters sometimes.  Albert is getting one last chance to prove himself.

 

*****

 

Making his return to action after a two year hiatus is veteran Aaron Riley (3-5 UFC, 30-13-1) who has had three separate contracts with the UFC, dating all the way back to 2002.  You have to think that Riley will be happy if he can avoid a serious injury here, having lost fights by doctor stoppage (due to a cut) and twice having his jaw broken.  His opponent, Justin Salas (1-1 UFC, 10-4), utilizes a wrestling based attack that will hopefully be kinder to Riley’s face.

 

*****

 

Newcomer Trevor Smith (0-0 UFC, 10-3) is out to make a name for himself against the always game Ed Herman (7-5 UFC [1 NC]).  Smith once jokingly suggested that judges should be replaced by an American Idol-like voting system.  Scoring shouldn’t be an issue with Herman, who has only gone to a decision once in his last 6 fights.

 

*****

 

When it comes to Mac Danzig (5-6 UFC, 21-10-1) and Melvin Guillard (11-8 UFC, 30-12-2 [1 NC]), mileage may vary.  A lot of this match’s appeal depends on how you feel about competitive fights that will have no title implications or any discernible impact on the standings.  Ignore them if you will, but I think this is a treat for the preliminary audience.  Danzig and Guillard have seen it all.  Danzig was a TUF champion and he can claim an appearance in PRIDE, a feat that gives him cred to this day.  Guillard has flirted with the top 10, main eventing several TV cards along the way.  It’s no secret that neither man will have much job security with a loss.  Expect them to go out with guns blazing.

 

*****

 

Jumping in on short notice to face Danny Castillo (5-2 UFC, 5-3 WEC, 15-5) is “The Dirty Bird” Tim Means (2-1 UFC, 18-4-1).  Before coming to the UFC, Means had won multiple titles for the “King of the Cage” promotion.  He recently had an 11 fight unbeaten streak snapped by Jorge Masvidal.

 

Castillo is one of the hardest working men at 155, having notched 15 combined WEC/UFC appearances under the Zuffa banner.  This is a dangerous fight for the Alpha Male product who has little to gain from defeating Means; a sad consequence of losing an opponent to injury.

 

Three To Watch:

 

On FX:

 

Women’s Bantamweight Bout: Julie Kedzie (0-0 UFC, 16-11) v. Germaine de Randamie (0-0 UFC, 3-2)

 

It’s become almost cliché at this point to say that the women fighters are prime candidates to put on a Fight of the Night performance but…Kedzie and de Randamie are prime candidates to put on a Fight of the Night performance.

 

Kedzie is a pioneer of women’s MMA and it’s only right that she finally get to show off what she can do on the biggest stage.  She is probably best known for coming thiiiiiis close to beating Miesha Tate last August.

 

On the other side of the cage stands de Randamie, also known as “The Iron Lady”.  Prior to her MMA career, de Randamie was hailed as a phenomenal kickboxer.  She put those skills to good use against former dominatrix Hiroko Yamanaka.  Her sharp striking was on full display as she expertly picked apart Yamanaka over three rounds.

 

Standing 5’11” tall, de Randamie will have a significant height advantage over Kedzie and you can expect those long legs to be a nightmare.  Kedzie is no slouch in the stand-up game, but her smartest route to victory will be to ground the big Dutchwoman.  De Randamie will be making the cut back down to 135, so controlling the pace will be important for her if she plans to hold off the scrappy Kedzie.  This is matchup presents a fun clash of styles that should whet the appetites of the Seattle crowd.

 

Lightweight Bout: Yves Edwards (10-7 UFC, 42-19-1) v. Daron Cruickshank (2-1 UFC, 12-3)

 

I was looking forward to Edwards matching up with Spencer Fisher (Fisher was forced to bow out due to an injury), but Cruickshank is a more than suitable replacement.  It seems like just yesterday that Edwards was the young dynamic fighter battling to make a name for himself.  Cruickshank is part of the new generation following in his footsteps.

 

In three UFC appearances, Cruickshank has shown a diverse offensive attack, including a memorable had kick KO of Henry Martinez.  “The Detroit Superstar” is incredibly fun to watch and if he is looking to showcase his abilities, he’ll have a more than willing opponent in Edwards.

 

Edwards, the renowned “Thugjitsu Master”, is a living legend.  His first recorded contest was a win over Todd Justice in 1997.

 

Cruickshank was 12 years old.

 

Even at this stage in his career, Edwards is much more than a resume builder.  Every young lightweight who steps into the cage with him should do so knowing that he had a hand in creating the career opportunities they’re currently enjoying.  Cruickshank will have to overcome any fanboy impulses if he wants to come out on top here.

 

Lightweight Bout: Michael Chiesa (2-0 UFC, 9-0, W9) v. Jorge Masvidal (1-0 UFC, 24-7)

 

Completing a trio of fights matching opponents with disparate records, we have “Gamebred” Masvidal taking on TUF 15 champ and sentimental favourite, Michael Chiesa.  This is a huge test for Chiesa, who has shown great promise in his short career thus far.

 

In a sport of tough guys, Masvidal is particularly respected for his street fighting origins.  If you want something more substantial, he has gone 10 straight fights without being finished (his last stoppage loss was the now immortal inverted triangle choke courtesy of Toby Imada).  He is a skilled muay Thai and boxing practitioner who is not afraid to stand in the pocket in search of his own big shots.

 

The opponent upgrade is due to Chiesa’s original opponent (Reza Madadi) being pulled due to visa (and now legal) issues.  Both in terms of record and style, Masvidal presents a completely different set of problems for Chiesa.  The level of striking that Masvidal brings to this encounter will be unlike anything Chiesa has faced before.  Chiesa has used his extraordinary resilience to impose his will on his opponents, something that will be incredibly difficult to do against a fighter with Masvidal’s experience.  Masvidal is only two fights removed from going the distance with Gilbert Melendez.  The UFC matchmakers must know something we don’t, because on paper this is a mismatch.  Then again, Chiesa’s run on TUF was defined by beating the odds.

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