The UFC returns to Fox on Saturday night, this time bringing four fights to mainstream TV, headlined by Nate Diaz vs Jim Miller, Diaz having the opportunity to earn a title shot with a win. Before those four fights get underway, six prelims will be aired on Fuel TV and before those, two fights will go out on Facebook.
Tony Ferguson vs Micheal Johnson
Since winning the Ultimate Fighter 13 in June last year, Ferguson has gone on to win two more UFC bouts, including a notable win over gnarled veteran Yves Edwards. That puts Ferguson on a six fight win streak. Johnson lost his own TUF finale a year earlier and since then has gone 2-1 in the UFC, most recently winning a decision over Shane Roller.
Head to Head
During his run on The Ultimate Fighter, Tony Ferguson has proved to be a well rounded and versatile fighter. He has great boxing while posing a legitimate take down threat. More crucially, Ferguson is good at making the most of the combination of these skills. On the feet, he uses great movement and makes use of his reach to keep the fight at a distance he is comfortable with, landing heavy shots when he needs to. He uses level changes in his striking and mixes in take downs and fakes to keep his opponent guessing.
Johnson is another fighter with decent wrestling and striking. His first round starching of Eddie Faaloloto proved he has the power in his hands to do damage. He is strong and athletic, without being spectacular. With five of his six losses coming by submission, there is an obvious gap there, but Ferguson is unlikely to tap him out. If Johnson can find the same holes in Ferguson’s striking defense that Yves Edwards did in his last fight, he has a chance of doing some damage. That being said, I expect Johnson to leave plenty of gaps of his own.
Tony Ferguson by TKO in round 2.
John Dodson vs Tim Elliot
In his last outing John Dodson won The Ultimate Fighter season 14, knocking out T.J. Dillashaw. That was at bantamweight, but with flyweights now being welcomed to the UFC, he has moved down to his preferred weight class. His opponent, Tim Elliot, has won eight fights in a row including a knockout win over Jens Pulver and replaces Dodson’s original opponent Darren Uyenoyama at short notice.
Head to Head
John Dodson showed he was a strong, powerful bantamweight while on TUF and at flyweight we can expect him to look even stronger. He is super fast and can push a good pace. His wrestling attack is smothering and persistent. His head movement is good enough that he can stay in the pocket and land solid straight punches, something he has often had to do given his short 66 inch reach.
Never having fought at the highest flyweight level in Tachi Palace Fights or Japan, this fight is likely to be Tim Elliot’s biggest career test. His win over Jens Pulver and decent flyweight Josh Rave show that he is certainly worth giving a chance in the UFC’s newest division but it is difficult to predict how he will react to this step up.
Elliot has decent all round skills, is an accomplished wrestler with plenty of submission and knock out finishes on his resume but looked rather sluggish in his fight with Pulver. John Dodson seems to have the advantage in speed, strength and skills in this one.
John Dodson by TKO in round 2.
Pascal Krauss vs John Hathaway
Pascal Krauss has won all ten of his professional fights, seven of those wins coming by submission. He won his UFC debut nearly eighteen months ago with a fight of the night decision victory over Mark Scanlon. John Hathaway rebounded from his first career loss to Mike Pyle by beating Kris McCrae in a split decision in March last year.
Head to Head
Pascal Krauss is technically skilled in every area of a fight. He has crisp boxing, good footwork and slick submission skills. He has great defensive wrestling and decent take downs, rare for a European. Mixing all this together, he has been able to keep opponents wherever he needs to to get the job done, the mark of a really good fighter.
John Hathaway is a successful UFC welterweight who has won five out of his six fights with the promotion through grinding out decisions. A lanky welterweight with a background in rugby, John Hathaway has a basic striking and take down game, but it is effective. His biggest asset has been having what it takes to win tough matches, like his gruelling battle with Diego Sanchez.
Pascal Krauss by unanimous decision.
Other Prelim Predictions:
Danny Castillo vs John Cholish: Danny Castillo by decision.
Pablo Garza vs Dennis Bermudez: Pablo Garza by decision.
Louis Gaudinot vs John Lineker: Lineker by TKO in round 3.
Roland Delorme vs Nick Dennis: Dennis by TKO in round 1.
Mike Massenzio vs Karl Vermola: Vermola by decision.