Home > Event Preview > UFC – Fight for the Troops 2 Preview

UFC – Fight for the Troops 2 Preview

While tonight’s fights may not be the biggest of the year, this may be one of the most important UFC shows of 2011.  As I stated earlier in the week, the UFC’s second Fight for the Troops card will be raising money for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.  This show is a great opportunity for the UFC to do it’s part in supporting the servicemen and women of the United States.  More than anything, tonight is about raising money for those soldiers who have sacrificed so much for their country.

That’s not to say that there aren’t any good fights tonight.  This card might not have the names of a larger event, but there are definitely some awesome fights lined up for tonight.  One fight has title implications while most of these bouts have the opportunity to end in exciting fashion.  I’ll look at the fights on the main card and quickly go over the preliminary bouts.

The main card is on Spike tonight at 9:00 PM EST/8:00 PM CST, while four preliminary fights will be aired live on Facebook starting at 7:00 PM EST/6:00 PM CST.

Lightweight: Evan Dunham (11-1, No. 10 LW) vs. Melvin Guillard (26-8-2, 1 NC, No. 21 LW)

Evan Dunham looked pretty impressive in a September fight against Sean Sherk, which many (including myself) thought Dunham won.  Melvin Guillard won a controversial decision over Jeremy Stephens at that same UFC 119 show in September, a fight that I think Guillard lost.  Decisions are decisions and we have no choice but to accept the ruling of the judges, but I don’t think Dunham’s “loss” and Guillard’s “win” will have much influence on how I think this fight will go.

Melvin Guillard has looked more impressive in the UFC since joining Greg Jackson’s camp, scoring three straight victories in the octagon.  But Evan Dunham will be Guillard’s toughest challenge to date in the UFC.  He’s managed big wins over Tyson Griffin and Efrain Escudero and he took a former Lightweight Champion to the limit in Sherk.

I feel like Dunham has the advantage here as he should be able to control Guillard with his wrestling and jiu-jitsu.  Guillard is a tough dude with good power but has had a tendency to get submitted when controlled by a superior grappler.  This fight will be the biggest test of Guillard’s progress under Greg Jackson.  Guillard was already a strong wrestler prior to working with Jackson and Evan Dunham will be a great challenge for the “Young Assassin.”  I think Dunham will take this fight, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this was another close decision for both fighters.

Heavyweight: Matt Mitrione (3-0) vs. Tim Hague (12-4)

After being cut in 2010, Tim Hague has managed to work his way back to the UFC with dominating wins over Travis Wiuff and Zak Jensen.  Matt Mitrione, meanwhile, has picked up three straight victories in his first three UFC fights (which also happen to be his first three professional fights.)  Mitrione last defeated Joey Beltran at UFC 119 in September, taking Fight of the Night honors.  It was a pretty good fight, yes, but Mitrione and Beltran were lucky this happened at UFC 119, one of the worst shows in recent history.

Hague has a strong BJJ background and pretty good power, but he’s had trouble in the UFC.  After defeating Pat Barry in 2009, he lost three straight fights in a nine month span.  Wiuff and Jensen are good wins to get back on track, but Mitrione manages to keep picking up victories.  I wasn’t a big fan of Mitrione on the Ultimate Fighter and he didn’t seem to be making fans out of the UFC brass.  Mitrione was basically fed to Marcus Jones and Kimbo Slice as winnable fights, but Mitrione proved to be too much for both men.  A win over the solid Beltran showed us that Mitrione can be considered a legitimate heavyweight fighter in the UFC.

One thing on Mitrione’s side is the work of Duke Roufus, who has guided Anthony Pettis toward UFC stardom (and not just because of the “Showtime Kick” from the last WEC show.)  Roufus’ camp is full of solid, young fighters like Mitrione, Pettis, Pat Barry, and Alan Belcher (who has recently been derailed by serious eye problems.)  It will be interesting to see Mitrione’s progression under Roufus, given the track record he’s had with other fighters.  I feel like Mitrione has everything going for him to spoil Hague’s UFC return.  “Meathead” is very tough and should be able to withstand Hague’s offense.  Hague’s in better shape than during his previous UFC stint, but Mitrione’s been on a bit of a roll and should continue that tonight.

Featherweight: Mark Hominick (19-8, No. 9 FEW) vs. George Roop (11-6-1, No. 22 FEW)

Both of these former WEC featherweights will be making their UFC debuts at this event.  Mark Hominick has won six of his last seven fights, the sole loss against former number one contender Josh Grispi in 2008.  Hominick has most recently taken a split decision over Leonard Garcia, which is a very challenging thing to do given Garcia’s track record with dubious decision wins.  Roop is undefeated under the Zuffa umbrella as a featherweight going 2-0-1 in three fights.  Roop lost a single bantamweight bout to Eddie Wineland and went 1-2 in the UFC as a lightweight.  He’s coming off a spectacular head kick knock out of “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung.

Roop is a very, very tall featherweight at 6’1″, which is a distinct advantage over the 5’8″ Hominick.  Roop seems to have been much more comfortable fighting at featherweight, but Hominick is probably Roop’s toughest challenge at 145 lbs.  With a win here, it seems that Hominick would be next in line against Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo, so Roop has that going for him.  But given the success of number one contenders lately, nothing is guaranteed for Mark Hominick.

That said, I still think “The Machine” will be victorious over George Roop.  Hominick had a great 2010, winning all three of his fights under the WEC banner.  He’s proven to be a very versatile fighter, winning these three fights by submission, TKO, and decision.  Roop’s length could be troublesome for the Canadian, but Hominick’s proven to be tough to beat.  Perhaps staying at Featherweight is what Roop needs to be successful, but I don’t think his success will continue tonight.  Hominick will likely do just enough to win a hard-earned decision.

Heavyweight: Pat Barry (5-2) vs. Joey Beltran (12-4)

Pat “HD” Barry makes his return to the octagon after breaking a hand and a foot in a tough loss to Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic at UFC 115 in June.  Joey Beltran’s aforementioned loss to Matt Mitrione garnered Fight of the Night honors, despite the unanimous decision against the “Mexicutioner.”  Beltran had won three straight going into the fight at UFC 119.

Beltran and Barry are both smaller heavyweights at 6’1″ and 5’11”, respectively.  Barry is a very thick guy with huge legs that can dish out serious damage.  Barry is as good a kickboxer as there is in the UFC, which was seen in victories over Antoni Hardonk and Dan Evensen.  Barry was on pace to beat the once dangerous “Cro Cop” before early injuries derailed that fight.  Beltran is unlikely to put his BJJ blue belt to work, as he’s more inclined to look for a big knockout victory.

This match will more than likely come down to striking, and barring injury, Pat Barry has proven to be a world class striker.  Working with a kickboxing great like Ernesto Hoost and the innovative Duke Roufus will do nothing but enhance Barry’s already sharp striking.  Beltran is going to be a hard guy to knock out, as seen in his fight with Mitrione, but I feel that another decision loss is in the works for Beltran.  Barry should neutralize Beltran’s striking with dangerous leg kicks and get the win tonight.

Lightweight: Cole Miller (17-4) vs. Matt Wiman (12-5)

Both Miller and Wiman are on two-fight win streaks.  Miller has submitted Ross Pearson and Dan Lauzon, while Wiman has submitted Mac Danzig and taken a decision over Shane Nelson.  This stands to be an extremely exciting fight, as Wiman is a three time Fight of the Night winner, while Miller’s taken Submission of the Night thrice and Knockout of the Night once.

Wiman normally likes to control fights with takedowns, though he’s shown some serious power on occasion.  Miller’s brown belt in BJJ is a serious advantage and might make Wiman think twice about taking down a dangerous submission artist.  Miller’s height and reach will also keep Wiman on his toes, though his primary weapon will definitely be his jiu-jitsu.

Coming off two consecutive Submission of the Night awards, Cole Miller seems to be the favorite here.  Matt Wiman is a good fighter, but he’s just a bit outmatched by the American Top Team product.  Wiman’s already had problems with BJJ practitioners, losing to black belt Jim Miller at the last Fight for the Troops card.  I’d be surprised if Cole Miller didn’t take a submission victory tonight.

Lightweight: Cody McKenzie (12-0) vs. Yves Edwards (39-16-1)

Will the undefeated McKenzie beat the more experienced Edwards with his patented guillotine choke?  Or…will something else happen?  It seems like guillotine or bust for McKenzie – lucky for McKenzie his guillotine is the best in the business.

Yves Edwards hasn’t been submitted in 15 fights and I don’t see an experienced fighter like Yves getting caught.  Look for a decision victory from the “Thugjitsu Master.”

Welterweight: DaMarques Johnson (11-8) vs. Mike Guymon (12-4-1)

Both fighters are coming off losses and look to get back on track.  Guymon has had a tough time since joining the UFC, going 1-2 with his sole victory over Yoshiyuki Yoshida.  Johnson has impressive wins over Brad Blackburn and Edgar Garcia, winning Knockout of the Night and Submission of the Night awards.

I believe this is the last fight in Guymon’s contract with the UFC, so a convincing win is likely needed to keep his spot.  Johnson has proven to be a dangerous fighter who uses his blue belt in BJJ to his advantage.  Hopefully Johnson is a bit more focused since missing weight against Matt Riddle in August.

I’m picking DaMarques Johnson by submission.  Guymon has had a recent proclivity for getting caught in submissions, so this likely isn’t a great match-up for him.

Featherweight: Mike Brown (24-7, No. 12 FEW) vs. Rani Yahya (15-6, No. 13 BW)

This should be a great fight between two black belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  Yahya has most recently been fighting at Bantamweight, losing to top contenders Joseph Benavidez and Takeya Mizugaki.   Mike Brown has lost two of three, defeating Cole Province while taking losses from Diego Nunes and Manny Gamburyan.

Of Brown’s last three losses, two have been to BJJ practitioners (Nunes and Jose Aldo.)  Yahya, meanwhile, has had difficulties with strong strikers.  Brown definitely has shown flashes of power, but he appears to have lost a step in recent fights.  Yahya is a dynamic submission artist and Brown himself is no slouch when it comes to submissions.

I see this fight going the distance, but have a hard time picking a winner.  I have to pick Mike Brown to get the win.  Yahya is moving up to fight at a heavier weight class and I think that will be the difference.  Brown is experienced at this weight and will use this opportunity to get back into the win column after the tough loss to Diego Nunes.

Lightweight: Waylon Lowe (9-3) vs. Willamy Friere (17-3)

Waylon Lowe is coming off a decision win over Steve Lopez at UFC 119.  Willamy Freire, meanwhile, is making his UFC debut.  He’s spent the better part of the last three years fighting for Shooto.  Friere is coming off a knee injury that derailed an August 2010 fight with Thiago Tavares.

Freire is a highly touted prospect but has never faced competition like Lowe.  Freire is a bit of an unknown to most having never fought before in the United States.  He’s enjoyed great success submitting opponents and has only won a single fight via knockout.  Lowe is a strong wrestler out of American Top Team who has previously shown knockout power outside of the UFC.

I’m anxious to see what Friere can do in this fight.  He left Shooto as its 154 lbs. champion and has a strong background in Muay Thai.  I’ll give Friere the win by submission.  If he’s as dangerous with submissions as his record shows, then Lowe might be in trouble if he tries to take this fight to the ground.

Welterweight: Charlie Brenneman (11-2) vs. Amilcar Alves (11-2)

Amilcar Alves will be looking for his first UFC win after being submitted by Mike Pierce at UFC 118.  Brenneman holds a victory over Jason High, though he most recently lost to Johny Hendricks at UFC 117.

Alves is an accomplished BJJ and judo practitioner, while Brenneman is a strong wrestler.  Both men still have a lot to prove in the UFC and I’ll give the decision win to Alves.

Bantamweight: Will Campuzano (8-3) vs. Chris Cariaso (10-2)

Campuzano, a BJJ blue belt, lost his first UFC fight this past December to Nick Pace.  Campuzano had a wild 2010, fighting a combined four times for the WEC, King of Kombat, and UFC.

Cariaso spent time in the WEC and will be making his UFC debut at this event.  Cariaso’s Muay Thai background has led him to a 4-1 record in his last five fights, though his last bout against Renan Barao at WEC 53 resulted in a submission loss.

Both men are coming off very recent losses and are looking for a quick turnaround.  This fight could really go either way, but I look for Campuzano to use a six inch height advantage over Cariaso and score a TKO victory.

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