UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Munoz Preliminary Card Breakdown

October 25, 2013

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UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Munoz Preliminary Card Breakdown



Alexander Lee – “UFC Fight Night: Machida v. Muñoz” airs live on Sportsnet 360 on Saturday, October 26. 

Due to the event airing from the Phones 4u Arena in Manchester, United Kingdom, preliminary coverage will begin at 12 PM (EST).  The fights will be available on the UFC’s official YouTube and Facebook pages.

In the last few years, the UFC has gone to great lengths to bolster their roster with European talents in an effort to make their excursions into the UK more appealing.  The UFC recently aired The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes, the first edition of the long running reality program to feature fighters exclusively from the UK and Australia.  Half of the British team managed to get a second look after the finale (three of the finalists and Mike Wilkinson who was scratched from this card due to an injury) and while none of them have emerged as stars yet, the experiment showed that the UFC has faith in the market.  Traditionally, the Brits have not had much of a home field advantage.  Saturday’s card features eight Englishman (and one Englishwoman) defending their home turf from outsiders.

*****

Laid back and unassuming, Brad Scott (0-1 UFC, 8-2) is an unlikely choice to kick off a fight card.  Scott was the welterweight runner-up of TUF: The Smashes and he’s making a move back up to the middleweight division.  At 170, he seemed to lack explosiveness.  It should be interesting to see whether he continues the gritty, grinding style he displayed on the show or if he will be able to open up the playbook now that he no longer has to deal with an uncomfortable weight cut.  Prior to TUF, all 8 of Scott’s wins were by KO or submission.

Scott’s opponent, Michael Kuiper (1-2 UFC, 12-2), needs a win to stay alive in the UFC.  He was one of Europe’s most intriguing prospects, but he has faltered against company veterans like Rafael Natal and Tom Lawlor.  His superior grappling might not be enough to overcome the roar of a crowd that will be fully behind Scott.

*****

Andy Ogle (1-1 UFC, 9-2) spent his time in the TUF 15 house winning over viewers everywhere with his enthusiasm and his heartbreak over not getting a spot at the finale due to concussion-like symptoms (stupid live format!).  When he did get a chance to compete, he suffered a tough decision loss to Akira Corassani only to bounce back with a win over Josh Grispi in London, England.  His opponent, Cole Miller (8-6 UFC, 19-8), is both bigger and more experienced than Ogle.  Don’t expect Ogle to be intimidated.

*****

Hailing from the land of kilts, bagpipes and haggis, we have Robert Whiteford (0-0 UFC, 10-1), the first Scotsman to fight in the UFC.  It will be some time before he can appreciate the milestone as he’s spent every waking moment in preparation for a fight he took on just over a week’s notice.

His opponent, Jimy Hettes (2-1 UFC, 10-1), knows all about making the most of an opportunity.  It’s been almost two years since Hettes put his name on the map with a one-sided beatdown of the well respected Nam Phan.  On that night, he looked unstoppable, tossing Phan around and pouncing on him like a starving lion.  He took the decision with scores of 30-25, 30-25 and 30-26.  An injury has kept him sidelined since last year and a win over Whiteford could be what he needs to restock that bandwagon.

*****

If Al Iaquinta (1-1 UFC, 6-2-1) and Piotr Hallmann (1-0 UFC, 14-1) look familiar it’s because they’re both making quick turnarounds after fighting in late August and early September respectively.

Iaquinta did Dana White’s dirty work, defeating Ryan Couture and sending The Natural’s son packing from the UFC.  Or maybe he was just trying to win a fight.  The Serra-Longo product fell just short of capturing the TUF 15 crown, though the talent he’s shown in his short career has kept a healthy buzz going.

Standing across from Iaquinta will be Hallmann, who is eager to build on the momentum of a shocking submission of skilled Brazilian jiu-jitsu artist Francisco Trinaldo. While Europe might not house the best competition in the world, Hallmann has a bevy of experienced opponents on his resume.  The combined record of his last 4 pre-UFC opponents (at the time they fought Hallmann): 69-31-1.

 

Two to watch:

 

Women’s Bantamweight Bout: Rosi Sexton (0-1 UFC, 13-3) v. Jéssica Andrade (0-1 UFC, 9-3)

Sexton and Andrade both got tough draws in their UFC debuts; Sexton, a natural flyweight, should have been applauded simply for making it to a decision against a big wrestler like Alexis Davis.  Andrade was finished by Liz Carmouche, one of the most famous female fighters in the world following her failed title shot against Ronda Rousey.

The current Ronda Rousey/Miesha Tate coached season of The Ultimate Fighter has featured several pioneers of women’s MMA.  Had Sexton not already been signed this year, she would have been a lock to join her fellow veterans.  She is an ambassador for the sport, as successful in athletic competition as she is in academia (Sexton has a First Class Mathematics degree from Cambridge, a PhD in Theoretical Computer Science and she is a qualified osteopath).  Since 2002, she’s fought anywhere from 125 pounds to 145.

Andrade is getting into the habit of making history.  In July, she and Carmouche became the first homosexual athletes to compete against each other in the UFC.  On Saturday, it will be the first time the UFC hosts a female fight in Europe.  Andrade is a fierce kickboxer who will have to be patient to avoid getting tripped up by the well travelled Sexton.  Her 100% finishing rate will be put to the test as well as Sexton has only lost by knockout twice in her career and has never been submitted.  As usual, the female fighters are a safe bet to be in the running for a Fight of the Night award.

 

Middleweight Bout: Luke Barnatt (1-0 UFC, 6-0) v. Andrew Craig (3-1 UFC, 9-1)

Amidst all the buzz of the middleweight main event, two undercard fighters could play a major role in the future of the division.

Barnatt was the number one pick of Chael Sonnen on TUF 17.  After seeing the massive 6’6” Englishman in action, you can see why.  Only 25 years old, Barnatt is not unlike fellow middleweight giant Kendall Grove.  He likes to stand and snipe, but he also has an extremely active guard and long limbs that were made for triangle chokes.

Craig will be legitimate step up from the competition Barnatt has faced thus far.  The Texan is one of the middleweight division’s best kept secrets.  He dropped a decision against Ronny Markes (who is undefeated in the UFC), while coming out on top against tough competition like Kyle Noke, Rafael Natal, and Chris Leben.  Whether this fight stays on the feet or on the ground, don’t expect either man to shy away from taking a risk to finish the fight.  One mistake will lead to sudden and decisive finish.

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