UFC 167 “St-Pierre vs. Hendricks” Preliminary Card Breakdown

November 14, 2013

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UFC 167 “St-Pierre vs. Hendricks” Preliminary Card Breakdown



“UFC 167” airs live on PPV at 10:00 PM (EST) on Saturday, November 16.  Preliminary action begins at 6:30 PM (EST) on the UFC’s official YouTube and Facebook pages and continues on Sportsnet 360 at 8:00 PM (EST).

Strange as it sounds, Saturday marks the UFC’s first trip back to Las Vegas since July (UFC 162: Silva v. Weidman).  The company is doing wonders expanding their global profile, but no place can match the big fight atmosphere of Sin City (apologies to Montréal, Rio de Janeiro and, someday, New York).  The UFC 167 preliminary card features a mixture of young talents establishing their reputations and hardened veterans that can still impress the assorted hustlers, hucksters and harlots of the strip.

*****

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry, something Erik Perez (3-1 UFC, 13-5) found out the hard way when he dropped a split decision to Takeya Mizugaki.  Perez was hailed as a contender at 135 and he certainly played the part ending his first three UFC fights inside of a round.  Mizugaki was supposed to be the veteran name that would put him over the top and lead to a top ranked opponent.  After three hard fought rounds, it was Mizugaki who had the edge on the scorecards.  While Perez didn’t embarrass himself by any means, the result could only be viewed as a setback to a fighter the UFC is counting on to be a future headliner as they work their way into Mexico.

He’s getting right back to work against the scrappy Edwin Figueroa (2-3 UFC, 9-3), one of only two fighters to have gone the distance with the destructive Michael McDonald.  Figueroa fears nothing.  He’s had entertaining affairs on the feet (a split decision win over Alex Caceres) and on the ground (a unanimous decision loss to Roland Delorme).  This is exactly the sort of obstacle that could derail the Perez hype train.

*****

Flashback to July of 2012: Brian Ebersole (4-1 UFC, 50-15-1 [1 NC]) is on an 11 fight winning streak.  The last 4 wins came in the UFC, marked by several well known names including Chris Lytle, Dennis Hallman and Claude Patrick.  The streak is snapped by James Head.  It is a sluggish performance, likely compounded by the fact that is his second fight in less than 30 days.  He doesn’t fight again for almost 16 months.

Do you remember that 11 fight winning streak now?

Rick Story (8-5 UFC, 15-7) knows all about missed opportunities and reversals of fortune.  Two years ago, he was scheduled to be in the main event of a free card against Nate Marquardt, with the winner putting themselves in position for a shot at the welterweight title.  Marquardt tested positive for elevated testosterone and his replacement, Charlie Brenneman, pulled off the upset.  Were it not for that setback, Story might have been headlining against Georges St-Pierre in his next fight.

This should be a fun contrast of styles.  Story’s plan is no secret.  He’s going to pressure you and break you down until there’s nothing left.  On the flipside, Ebersole is wildly unpredictable.  The very first thing he did in the UFC was throw a cartwheel kick.  While it didn’t connect, it set the tone for his surprising domination of Lytle.  Ebersole has been in almost 70 career fights and he’ll do anything to win.

*****

At first glance, Ed Herman (8-5 UFC [1 NC], 21-9 [1 NC]) and Thales Leites (6-3 UFC, 21-4) make for an odd pairing.  Neither is known for their aesthetically pleasing style (though Herman has picked up a couple of “Fight of the Night” awards, including one against Trevor Smith in his last outing) and they’re perhaps best used as a challenge for up-and-coming fighters at this point in their careers.  Still, this should make for an interesting ground clash.  Both men can boast black belts in BJJ, though as Herman learned in his last fight against Ronaldo Souza, there are different degrees of that achievement.  Leites is unlikely to hurt Herman standing as Jacaré did, but if it goes to the ground as many of Herman’s fights do then all bets are off.

 

*****

 

Two to watch:

On YouTube/Facebook:

 

Bantamweight Bout: Will Campuzano (0-2 UFC, 13-4, W5) v. Sergio Pettis (0-0 UFC, 9-0, W9)

Seeing the name Pettis on the online preliminary card just seems wrong, doesn’t it?

For those who don’t know, Sergio is indeed the younger brother of UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis and all accounts say that he is as exciting a prospect as his brother once was.  We’ve seen how well Anthony’s career has gone.  Sergio has some sizeable footprints to follow.

Pettis is a natural flyweight, though he has collected regional titles at both 125 and 135.  He is expected to mature into the bantamweight class.  As you’d expect from a Roufusport product, Pettis is a feared striker who can already claim two head kick knockouts in his budding career.  Though not as adept as his brother, he has good submission skills and at 20 years old he has plenty of room to grow.  If you’re Demetrious Johnson, your reign could be in serious trouble soon.

Campuzano is the ideal opponent for Pettis’s first UFC fight.  He is a veteran of the UFC and WEC, with a slew of top ranked opponents (including Eddie Wineland) on his resume.  Pettis will have to be truly special to show Campuzano a tactic or technique he hasn’t seen before.  Then again, these Pettis boys have made a habit out of shocking the world.

On Sportsnet 360:

 

Lightweight Bout: Donald Cerrone (7-3 UFC, 20-6 [1 NC]) v. Evan Dunham (7-4 UFC, 14-4)

Let’s get the perfunctory statement out of the way.  This is a front runner for Fight of the Night and the perfect lead-in to one of the year’s biggest PPVs.

Between the two of them, Cerrone and Dunham have a combined 6 Fight of the Night awards, with an additional 5 courtesy of Ceronne’s WEC days.  They’ve also both had the misfortune of losing key fights to opponents that would go on to earn title shots (Cerrone to Anthony Pettis and Dunham to TJ Grant).  They’re both coming off of losses to Rafael dos Anjos, which bodes well for the Brazilian’s contendership status.

As is becoming the norm with preliminary headliners, it’s best to ignore silly things like rankings and even who the winner might be.  This slot should be filled by fighters who will whet the appetites of potential buyers.  If Cerrone and Dunham bring it like they usually do, it could convince a lot of fans who are on the fence to spend their hard earned dollars on the PPV.

Cerrone has announced that he will be dropping to featherweight after this match regardless of the outcome.  You know he’s going to leave the division with a bang.

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