UFC on Fox 9 has gone from one of the most stacked cards on free TV in UFC history, to an alright card that is dominated by Team Alpha Male fighters, as well as lower weight classes. The preliminary card has an assortment of TUF veterans, fighters on losing streaks, and young fighters looking to make an impression on the prelims. Here are my picks for the UFC on Fox 9 Preliminary bouts.
Court McGee vs. Ryan LaFlare (Welterweight)
Court McGee was expected to face winner of The Ultimate Fighter 17 Kevin Gastelum, but Gastelum was replaced by Ryan LaFlare after announcing he had been injured in training camp. What Gastelum posed as a threat to McGee is not the threat that LaFlare posses to him. McGee has solid wrestling, and can submit a lot of the mid-tier welterweights in the UFC. Gastelum would have been able to stop McGee’s take down attempts, but LaFlare will have a much tougher time stopping the TUF 11 winner.
Ryan LaFlare has a perfect MMA record, winning all nine of his professional fights in his five year career. His last two wins were in the UFC, and were lopsided unanimous decision wins over Benny Alloway and Santiago Ponzinibbio. In those two fights, LaFlare used his wrestling to take down his opponents, passing guard and raining strikes down. He out struck his opponents by landing small shots on the ground, but did not attempt to submit either of his opponents while the fight remained on the ground.
McGee will be able to stuff LaFlare’s takedowns, and has fought higher competition both inside and outside of the UFC. McGee will be able to control the stand up as well as take it to the ground if LaFlare gets his striking on early. Both of these fighters have not been able to stop their opponents in recent UFC history, and I doubt that trend will end, as McGee will control the fight where ever it goes, cruising to a unanimous decision victory.
Prediction: Court McGee vs. Ryan LaFlare (Unanimous Decision)
Danny Castillo vs. Edson Barboza (Lightweight)
Edson Barboza has become one of the more recognizable names on the UFC prelims in recent history due to his spectacular spinning wheel kick knockout of Terry Etim. When Barboza landed that knockout kick, it extended his perfect record to 10-0, and he seemed destined for the top of the lightweight division. Barboza hit a huge bump in the road when he was stopped by WEC veteran Jamie Varner, and the hype train surrounding the Brazilian prospect was slowed down to nearly a halt. Barboza got the train running again with back-to-back stoppages in 2013, the last being a leg kick clinic against Rafaello Oliveira.
Danny Castillo was in a similar position to Barboza in 2012. After his three fight winning streak inside the UFC was snapped by Michael Johnson, Castillo has looked impressive in wins against Paul Sass and Tim Means in 2013. Him and his Alpha Male teammates have an near perfect record in the octagon this year, with the only loss being a controversial split decision with Raphael Assuncao defeating Alpha Male member T.J. Dillashaw. The odds are heavily against Castillo in this fight, being held as the only major underdog on the card out of the four Alpha Male fighters.
Edson Barboza is outstanding on the feet, and the only way Castillo defeats Barboza is by out grappling the Brazilian. Even with Duane Ludwig on Castillo’s side, I still see Barboza being able to keep the fight on the feet, finishing the fight in the early rounds by knockout.
Prediction; Edson Barboza def. Danny Castillo (Round 1 Knockout)
Bobby Green vs. Pat Healy (Lightweight)
Bobby Green is riding a hot six fight win streak going into the fight against once top 10 lightweight Pat Healy. Green made the move from Strikeforce to the UFC in 2013, upsetting grappling standout Jacob Volkmann by submitting the now WSOF fighter in the third round. Green then beat James Krause last month in one of the oddest, and most controversial ways. Green hit Krause with two low kicks to the groin, and was deducted a point. Green then hit Krause with another low kick near the groin, and Krause went down, with referee John McCartney thinking the kick landed cleanly. Now Green is coming in to fight Healy just a month after that controversial win.
Pat Healy was suppose to face Jamie Varner until the injury bug hit the Fox card again. Healy rose to prominence in the UFC’s lightweight division after he beat long time top 10 lightweight Jim Miller. The fight was ruled a No Contest after Healy tested positive for marijuana, but in beating a top fighter in lightweight, Healy showed many that he was a legitimate contender. At UFC 165, Healy lost to Russian standout Khabib Nurmagomedov, as Healy was out wrestled for three rounds. Healy will be looking to get back to the win column in this fight.
Bobby Green is a great fighter on an impressive win streak. Green has never fought a fighter in the top 10 of the UFC, and Healy disposed of a top 10 fighter in Jim Miller, and has faced the likes of Josh Thomson , TJ Waldbuger, Jake Ellenberger, Carlos Condit and Dan Hardy. Pat Healy has more experience, the better overall MMA game and has the all-around MMA game to dispatch of Green early in the fight.
Prediction: Pat Healy def. Bobby Green (2nd Round Submission)
Flyweight: Scott Jorgensen def Zach Makovsky (1st TKO)
Lightweight: Sam Stout def. Cody McKenzie (2nd KO)
Lightweight: Roger Bowling def. Abel Trujilo (Unanimous Decision)
Flyweight: Darren Uyenoyama def. Alptekin Ozkilic (Unanimous Decision)
Michael Hutchinson’s Prelim Prediction Record: 2-4