UFC on FX 2: Alves vs. Kampmann Preview – Welcome Flyweights
A preview of UFC on FX 2, which takes place on Friday night and features a very good main event and the start of the flyweight tournament.
Thiago Alves vs. Martin Kampmann: This is an overlooked fight that could end up being fireworks. Both guys are good technical strikers who have no problem standing and trading for 15 minutes. Alves has the better power but Kampmann has one of the best chins in the sport. Even though Kampmann is a well-rounded striker, he has a lot of holes defensively that Alves can take advantage of. Things will get really interesting in this fight if one fighter starts dominating the stand up and forces the other fighter to try and get the fight to the ground. I’m not sure either man has the wrestling to take their opponent down but if I have to favor one of them, I’d say that Alves is more likely to takedown Kampmann then the other way around. If Kampmann tries to takedown Alves, he runs to the risk of taking some knees in the clinch. In fact, sometimes Kampmann fights rather stupid and is too content in staying in the clinch, although a couple of knees to the body and face would probably change his tune. Because of his power and Kampmann’s lack of striking defense, I like Alves to take this fight in a competitive decision. Kampmann won’t go away easy, but Alves will be just too much for him in a 15 minute bout. I think this fight will be very entertaining though given the styles of both men.
Prediction: Alves, Decision
Joseph Benavidez vs. Yasuhiro Urushitani: I’ll admit that I know nothing about Urushitani but according to his profile, he’s the 123 lb champion in Shooto, which probably means he’s naturally 123 lbs and will be undersized against Benavidez. He’s also a decision machine. Even if things were equal size wise, Benavidez is super talented and shouldn’t have much problem with him. There’s a reason why Benavidez was a title challenger at 135 and it wasn’t because there were no other challengers. Benavidez is so good at mixing up his striking and takedowns that it throws opponents off and he’s great in the scrambles. Given that Urushitani is a striker and comes from Japan, where there’s not much emphasis on wrestling, I don’t see why Benavidez won’t just takedown Urushitani at will and use his superior wrestling to control the fight. There’s a chance he slaps on a submission, but I’ll given Urushitani the benefit of the doubt and say his defense will be up to snuff.
Prediction: Benavidez, Decision
Demetrious Johnson vs. Ian McCall: It’s pretty clear that the UFC wants to set up Benavidez vs. Johnson in the finals, but don’t sleep on McCall. Just last year he defeated Jussier da Silva, who was considered the best flyweight in the world at that time. McCall is a well-rounded fighter but he’s not great off his back, which is where he’ll probably be for most of this fight. Johnson, like Benavidez, does a great job of mixing up his strikes with his takedowns and he’s great in scrambles. Unless McCall is able to out-wrestle Johnson, which seems very unlikely considering that Dominick Cruz had a tough time out-wrestling Johnson despite being the much larger fighter. Johnson is also the better striker, which means McCall really needs to get the takedown or press Johnson against the cage and hope to control him if he wants to win this fight. Since I don’t think he’ll be able to do that, I expect Johnson to take a decision.
Prediction: Johnson, Decision
Court McGee vs. Constantinos Philippou: I like McGee but I also recognize that he’s not an elite fighter. He’s improved since his time on TUF but he gets by a lot on heart and will. Philippou isn’t a great fighter either, but he’s a strong starter, hits really hard, and doesn’t have much in the way of cardio. By contrast, McGee is a slow starter but has a great chin and great cardio. If McGee is going to win this fight, he’ll have to survive a tough first round and then turn up the pressure on Philippou, who will likely be tired after the first five minutes, in the final ten minutes. I think McGee will be able to do just that and take the decision, but a Philippou KO in the first wouldn’t be surprising.
Prediction: McGee, Decision