411's MMA Roundtable Preview - UFC 172: Jones vs. Teixeira
Posted by Dan Plunkett on 04.25.2014
Jon Jones defends the light heavyweight title against Glover Teixeira in the main event of UFC 172! Plus Phil Davis faces Anthony Johnson, Luke Rockhold vs. Tim Boetsch, and more! Check out the full roundtable for all the details and join 411 for LIVE coverage of the event Saturday night!
Jon Jones defends the light heavyweight title against Glover Teixeira in the main event of UFC 172! In the co-main event, Phil Davis battles Anthony "Rumble" Johnson. At middleweight, Luke Rockhold takes on Tim Boetsch. Plus, Jim Miller fights Yancy Medeiros, Max Holloway vs. Andrei Fili, and more!
From MMA's 3R's, Jeffrey Harris!
From What's Next, Robert Practor!
From Five Quick Rounds, Evan Zivin!
From The MMA Top Ten, Alex Rella!
From the Locked in the Guillotine MMA News Report, Robert Winfree!
He's your host of 411 MMA Fact or Fiction, Wyatt Beougher!
THE PRELIMINARY CARD:
First prelim airs on UFC Fight Pass, rest on Fox Sports 1.
Bantamweight Bout: Chris Beal vs. Patrick Williams
Jeffrey Harris: Chris Beal, Decision Robert Practor: Patrick Williams, TKO, Round 2 Evan Zivin: Chris Beal, Decision Alex Rella: Beal, TKO, Round 1 Robert Winfree: Patrick Williams, Decision Wyatt Beougher: Beal, Decision The staff picks Chris Beal, 4-2.
Lightweight Bout: Danny Castillo vs. Charlie Brenneman
Jeffrey Harris: Danny Castillo, Decision Robert Practor: Danny Castillo, TKO, Round 3 Evan Zivin: Danny Castillo, TKO, Round 1 Alex Rella: Brenneman, Decision Robert Winfree: Danny Castillo, Decision Wyatt Beougher: Brenneman, Submission, Round 2 The staff picks a draw, 3-3.
Women's Bantamweight Bout: Jessamyn Duke vs. Bethe Correia
Jeffrey Harris: Bethe Correia, TKO, Round 2 Robert Practor: Bethe Correia, Decision Evan Zivin: Bethe Correia, Decision Alex Rella: Duke, Decision Robert Winfree: Jessamyn Duke, Decision Wyatt Beougher: Duke, Submission, Round 1 The staff picks a draw, 3-3.
Lightweight Bout: Takanori Gomi vs. Isaac Vallie-Flagg
Jeffrey Harris: Takanori Gomi, Decision Robert Practor: Takanori Gomi, Decision Evan Zivin: Isaac Vallie-Flagg, Decision Alex Rella: Gomi, Decision Robert Winfree: Isaac Vallie-Flagg, Decision Wyatt Beougher: Gomi, Decision The staff picks Takanori Gomi, 4-2.
Flyweight Bout: Joseph Benavidez vs. Tim Elliot
Jeffrey Harris: Joseph Benavidez, TKO, Round 2 Robert Practor: Joseph Benavidez, TKO, Round 2 Evan Zivin: Joseph Benavidez, TKO, Round 1 Alex Rella: Elliot, Decision Robert Winfree: Joseph Benavidez, TKO Round 2 Wyatt Beougher: Benavidez, Decision The staff picks Joseph Benavidez, 5-1.
THE MAIN CARD:
Featherweight Bout: Max Holloway vs. Andre Fili
Jeffrey Harris: On one hand, I can see why this was put as the opening bout on the PPV. Both these guys are exciting featherweight fighters to watch. Fili is a new potential prospect in the division. On the other hand, Benavidez/Elliott probably should've been on this card in this spot instead. Granted, I get that UFC wants to have a bigger fight as the FS1 prelims main event, but I still think Benavidez/Elliott in this spot made more sense since you are talking about guys in the top 10 of the division, or at least the top 5 for Benavidez. Holloway is a young solid performer. He is 4-3 in the UFC, but all those losses are to solid names. Holloway might've just come into the UFC a little too early. Andre Fili is a fighter from Team Alpha Male that looked impressive in his debut, besting Jeremy Larsen. Fili did come in overweight for that fight, but to his credit, he took the fight on very short notice and the UFC was understanding of his situation. I think this will be a good featherweight scrap, but Fili will be more aggressive and stop Holloway.
Winner: Andre Fili, TKO, Round 2
Robert Practor: Two young Featherweights that should provide a fun opening bout for the Pay-Per-View, although I still believe Benavidez-Elliot should be in this slot. I don't buy into the notion that a better, more relevant fight featuring bigger names should be relegated to the prelims because it is the "prelim headliner". Anyhoo, I think this one could go either way, but hopefully it's fun.
Winner: Andre Fili, Decision
Evan Zivin: This is opening the Payperview? And Benavidez and Gomi are on the prelims? UFC must be really high on Andre Fili or something. He's been impressive so far in his MMA career. The Team Alpha Male fighter is 13-1 and won his UFC debut in October against Jeremy Larsen. Hollway is a good second fight for him. The former youngest fighter in the UFC bounced back from losses against Dennis Bermudez and Conor McGregor to defeat Will Chope in January. This will be a close fight and will give us a better idea of how good Fili is because Holloway is no push over. I think Fili will win but he's gonna have to work for it against the scrappy Hawaiian.
Winner: Andre Fili, Decision
Alex Rella: Yes there are some better fights on the prelims, but I'm not complaining as this should make for a good fight to open up the show. I guess Andre Fili is considered to be a top prospect for some reason, but I haven't seen enough of him to pick him in this one. Maz Holloway is a pretty talented and well rounded fighter. He's only 4-3 in the UFC, but the losses were against top competition and there was a very questionable loss to Dennis Bermudez in there too. I'll pick Holloway in this one.
Winner: Holloway, Decision
Robert Winfree: You could do a lot worse for an opener than this fight. Max Holloway is a pretty talented striker, though he just snapped a two fight losing streak when he defeated Will Chope. Andre Fili had an impressive debut in the UFC when he stopped Jeremy Larsen. I'm not sure Fili is used to fighting the same level of competition that Holloway is, and if Holloway has been working to improve his game he should be able to out strike Fili and possibly put him away. If he hasn't then Fili could well be able to out grapple him and take a decision. Could go either way, but I've got a little more faith in Holloway to take this one.
Winner: Max Holloway, Decision
Wyatt Beougher: Two young guys starting the main portion of the show off, and this could very well be the Fight of the Night. While Fili has an impressive record to this point, Holloway is no slouch, and my anti-Team Alpha Male bias forces me to pick against them unless it's almost a guaranteed win (see: Benavidez, Joseph, from the prelims, or any non-title Urijah Faber fight).
Winner: Max Holloway, Decision
The staff picks a draw, 3-3.
Lightweight Bout: Jim Miller vs. Yancy Medeiros
Jeffrey Harris: Unfortunately, we aren't getting the originally scheduled fight of Jim Miller vs. Bobby Green. Regardless, I'm looking forward to this fight. Medeiros unfortunately got a big win overturned in his last fight against Yves Edwards at Fight of the Troops 3 for smoking marijuana. And while I feel bad for Medeiros and think pot should not be as heavily penalized as it is, it was his choice and mistake that got that win taken away. Either way, I'm looking forward to this fight. I don't think I've ever seen a Jim Miller fight that was bad or wasn't exciting. He's been able to rebound as of late since a disappointing loss to Nate Diaz in 2012 which dashed his title hopes. however, in between dominant wins over Joe Lauzon and Fabricio Camoes, he got finished by Pat Healy. But that loss was overtuned to a No Contest...again for marijuana, this time on Healy's part. So while this doesn't mean a whole lot in terms of the title picture, but it's a good resume builder for Miller when there are a lot of guys blowing up Dana White for title bouts. I think Medeiros is decent, but Miller will be too much for him to handle standing and on the ground. Miller will eventually use his excellent BJJ to finish Medeiros.
Winner: Jim Miller, Submission, Round 2
Robert Practor: Jim Miller may have had some trouble against Bobby Green but injury has led Medeiros into this spot, so this should be an easy night for him.
Winner: Jim Miller, Submission, Round 1
Evan Zivin: Major props to Medeiros for stepping up to fight Jim Miller on short notice. That being said, I don't think it was the best decision career-wise. Jim's about two years removed from being considered a title contender but he's still a very tough opponent. Medeiros has done all right in the UFC, defeating Yves Edwards by TKO in his last fight before the decision was overturned due to a failed drug test, but I don't know if he's ready for this big a step up in competition. I think the possibility for an upset is definitely there, especially if Jim doesn't take this fight seriously because he's no longer fighting Bobby Green, but I think Jim will be motivated and aggressive in taking Yancy down and smothering him until he finds a submission and ends the fight.
Winner: Jim Miller, Submission, Round 1
Alex Rella: Jim Miller vs Bobby Green would have made for a really intriguing and exciting fight, but injuries happen and this isn't a bad fight either. Medeiros is a solid fighter, but Miller is completely out of his league. I expect Miller to finish him off in the first or second round.
Winner: Miller, Submission, Round 1
Robert Winfree: I was really looking forward to Miller taking on "King" Bobby Green, then Green got injured and Medeiros stepped in on short notice. Jim Miller has been a top ten lightweight fighter for years, and I don't see him dropping this one unless he heard he was fighting Yancy and decided to stop training and eat cheeseburgers.
Winner: Jim Miller, Submission Round 1
Wyatt Beougher: Medeiros, like Fili in the last fight, has accumulated an impressive record against less-than-impressive competition, but in Jim Miller, he's going to be severely tested. Miller's been in the UFC for over five years now, and he's only lost to four guys, all of whom were either lightweight champions in the UFC or contended for the UFC lightweight title. Medeiros, on the other hand, has wins over a list of guys you've never heard of, an injury loss to Rustam Khabilov, and a no contest against Yves Edwards that was originally an impressive knockout win and would have stayed that way if not for a positive marijuana test. Add in the fact that Medeiros was training for Joe Ellenberger and stepped in to replace Bobby Green on a week or so notice, and you've got all the trappings of an easy win for Miller.
Winner: Jim Miller, Decision
The staff picks Jim Miller, 6-0.
Middleweight Bout: Luke Rockhold vs. Tim Boetsch
Jeffrey Harris: This is a good little middleweight match-up. Boetsch faces a tougher and bigger striker than he's usually faced at 185. Boetsch's main weapon is really his wrestling. I think Rockhold, having seen how he was able to handle Tim Kennedy, will be able to deal with that area from Boetsch. I think he eventually hits Boetsch with a good kick or shot and stops him.
Winner: Luke Rockhold, TKO, Round 2
At last check, a prominent betting site had Luke Rockhold as much as a 11-1 favorite. While I think that's a little overboard, Rockhold is on a higher level than Boetsch and shouldn't have much trouble here. The only question is how does he win. I could easily see scenarios where Rockhold gets the win by TKO, Submission, or Decision.
Winner: Luke Rockhold, Decision
Evan Zivin: This fight was originally supposed to take place in October but Luke injured his knee. Since then, Boetsch took a controversial split decision from CB Dollaway and Rockhold finished Costa Philippou with body kicks. Considering how embarrassing Tim's own fight with Costa was back at UFC 155, that could be enough to say Luke wins this fight but it makes no difference. Luke is a smart fighter and, not only will he use his size advantage to avoid damage while hurting Tim, Luke knows that, just like Mark Munoz, as long as he stays in Tim's face and pressures him on the feet and in the clinch, he'll win this fight no problem.
Winner: Luke Rockhold, TKO, Round 2
Alex Rella: This is a good fight for Luke Rockhold as I think he still has a lot of potential. Tim Boetsch looked like a title contender back in 2012, but he's gone downhill since then and I didn't even think he beat CB Dollaway in his last fight. I'm hoping Rockhold can end the fight early on and make a statement, but Boetsch is a pretty durable fighter so this one will likely go to the judges. Rockhold is well rounded and talented enough to take fights where his opponents are weakest, so I expect him to be victorious here as he continues to build himself back up.
Winner: Rockhold, Decision
Robert Winfree: Remember when we all thought Tim Boetsch might make a run towards the top of the division? Yeah, I still feel stupid about that one. Tim Boetsch is a solid grappler with some decent striking work in the clinch if he chooses to use it. Luke Rockhold is big for the division and a dynamic striker. I'm not liking the chances Boetsch has here.
Winner: Luke Rockhold, TKO Round 1
Wyatt Beougher: Boetsch started off pretty well in the middleweight division, but back-to-back losses to Costas Philippou and Mark Munoz derailed any momentum he had built up. And while Boetsch is coming into the fight off of a win over CB Dollaway, that's hardly an accurate predictor of how well he'll do against Rockhold, who's only loss in the past six years came against Vitor Belfort. In Brazil. I think you know where I'm going with this, right? Good. Anyway, Rockhold rebounded and beat Philippou, so MMAth tells me that this fight is all Rockhold. And while I'm loathe to a) agree with MMAth or b) pick against a fellow Pennsylvanian, I just think Rockhold is better than Boetsch at everything (especially cardio) and that's going to be too much for the Barbarian.
Winner: Luke Rockhold, Decision
The staff picks Luke Rockhold, 6-0.
Light Heavyweight Bout: Phil Davis vs. Anthony Johnson
Jeffrey Harris: Anthony Johnson finally returns to the UFC, now fighting as a light heavyweight. In his previous run, he failed to make weight three times. He spent most of his career as a welterweight. When he tried to move up to 185 pounds, he was unable to make that weight. While I think Johnson is a good fighter with a lot power, I don't think he's as good of a pure athlete as Davis. Davis I think will be too much for Johnson to handle on the ground. Davis is a solid fighter with great wrestling and grappling with a good submission game. However, it still looks like he's had trouble mixing all these aspects of his game together. His striking game is also rather weak. But no one has been able to knock him out so far, and I don't think Johnson will either. Davis takes Johnson down and absolutely handles him, just like Josh Koscheck did.
Winner: Phil Davis, Decision
Robert Practor: This is an intriguing fight. If Davis wins, I see it coming from him out-wrestling Johnson throughout the fight, and that was the route I was ready to predict until just before writing this. I just have a feeling that Davis' big talking game is going to get shut down in the blink of an eye as Johnson makes a huge splash in his UFC return with a first round TKO.
Winner: Anthony Johnson, TKO, Round 1
Evan Zivin: I am excited for this fight because Rumble Johnson is back! After spending two years outside the UFC settling into his new weight class and beating overmatched competition, Rumble is ready to work his way up the rankings and make a claim for UFC gold. The first obstacle in his way is Phil Davis, who is coming off a very controversial decision win against Lyoto Machida last August. I don't think Phil won that fight but he's still a very tough opponent and he's only lost once (officially) in his MMA career. I think this may become a wrestling battle, although I'm sure Rumble is going to look to knock Phil out. I do not know if that will happen since Rumble wasn't able to knock out Andrei Arlovski in three rounds and Davis can actually take a punch. This fight comes down to who will be the aggressor and who will bully who around the cage. I definitely think Rumble can do that to Davis but I think Davis will stay elusive and pick his shots in a similar manner to the Machida fight. The rounds will be close and I expect this to be a split decision, possibly a screwy one that Rumble earns but goes the other way because it always happens like that. Judges, amirite?
Winner: Phil Davis, Decision
Alex Rella: This is the fight I'm most excited for. I want to see Phil Davis push himself into title contention and I also can't wait to see how Anthony Johnson does against an elite light heavyweight. We all know what Davis brings to the table with his wrestling and submission game. Johnson has been killing guys since he got cut by the UFC back in 2012 and while guys like Andrei Arlovski and Mike Kyle aren't trash cans, they aren't on Davis' level. It's possible Johnson knocks him out early, but Davis has a pretty good chin and I can't forget the way Josh Koscheck muscled him around with his wrestling back in 2009. Either way, I hope the winner of this one moves into title contention.
Winner: Davis, Decision
Robert Winfree: Well, the winner of this fight manages to stay relevant while the loser dips closer to gatekeeper status. Though in the case of Johnson he should be shedding the extra weight and trying his hand at middleweight. Johnson has serious power in his punches and kicks, but his cardio is on the suspect side and he's been out wrestled by guys with worse wrestling pedigrees than Davis, and a couple of them were substantially smaller than Davis as well. The only question is if Davis can get the finish, and I'm leaning towards a yes in that department.
Winner: Phil Davis, Submission Round 2
Wyatt Beougher: Remember when I was talking about Boetsch/Rockhold, and I said that I don't like to pick against fellow Pennsylvanians? That goes doubly when it comes to fellow Penn Staters. On top of that, I think Johnson's a largely-unmotivated turd who wasn't professional enough to make weight three times in his last UFC run. Granted, he's fighting at a more natural weight now, but I expect Davis to have his way with Johnson, because D1 NCAA wrestling > NJCAA wrestling. Considering 75% of Johnson's losses have come by submission, I wouldn't be surprised if "Mr. Wonderful" picks up a submission of the night bonus in this one, either.
Winner: Phil Davis, Submission, Round 3
The staff picks Phil Davis, 5-1.
UFC Light Heavyweight Championship Bout: Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira
Jeffrey Harris: To anyone that would bemoan this match-up, everyone assumed that Jones was going to run right through Alexander Gustafsson. This is an interesting match-up because Teixeira does pose a significant threat standing up to Jones if he can close the distance, get inside, and land a good shot. Jones is a dynamic and unorthodox striker. He hits amazing elbows from crazy angles. However, his boxing and punching game has always been pretty weak. He also has generally lacked pure knockout power. Where he is most dangerous is when he takes guys down and uses his lethal ground and pound. Teixeira actually has some pretty good MMA wrestling as well and he's shown to be a well-rounded athlete throughout his career and Octagon run. I think Teixeira will put up a good fight for a while and possibly even take a round. But ultimately, I think Jones will be able to work his game and pick his shots against Teixeira carefully. After that, he gets this to the ground and finishes it or wins by decision on points.
Winner: Jon Jones, TKO, Round 4
Robert Practor: I expect a very motivated Jon Jones to show up in Baltimore (and I will be there firsthand to see the event) and make a huge statement in his first fight since his epic battle against Alexander Gustafsson in September. Jones has ridiculously taken a lot of flack for simply almost being defeated and it seems as if people just want to see him fail. He made a great point in a recent interview about how Alexander Gustafsson received so much acclaim for coming close to beating him. Gustafsson gave the fight of his life and still came up short. That was literally the only time Jon Jones has ever been tested. While Teixeira can definitely shock the world if he catches Jones, I'm going with a great performance from Jones where he quiets the critics back up and earns the finish early. As mentioned earlier, I will be live in the arena on Saturday night for UFC 172, so be sure to check the site on Wednesday for the latest edition of ‘What's Next', which will break down where the fighters on the card should be headed next plus exclusive thoughts and insight into the live and in-person UFC experience!
Winner: Jon Jones, TKO, Round 2
Evan Zivin: This is the closest we're going to get to seeing Jon Jones vs. Chuck Liddell so y'all better appreciate it. Glover, Chuck's longtime training partner, brings a very impressive resume into this title fight, riding a 20 fight win streak and 19 finishes out of 22 fights. The last time Glover lost was in 2005 against Ed Herman. Yeah that Ed Herman. Dustin James must be so proud. This will be Jones' seventh defense of his title, the last one being his Fight of the Year against Alexander Gustafsson. If Gus was able to give Jon fits the way he did, then Glover is definitely capable of winning this fight. Glover has massive power in his hands and if he can land a couple clean shots on Jones' chin, we could see a new champion crowned. I don't think that will happen. Jones hasn't shown to possess knockout power in his hands but he can definitely do damage with his punches, as well as his elbows and kicks, and Jones will use his size to stay out of Glover's range. I feel like Jones may employ a strategy similar to the one his teammate Carlos Condit used against Nick Diaz where he'll be constantly moving, landing shots and getting out of the way. It won't be a pretty fight, but Jones knows the danger Glover presents and he'll do what he needs to control the fight and ensure victory while taking minimal damage. Jones will retain but before that happens, let me be the first to say GLOVER 1,2,5!!!!!!
Winner: Jon Jones, Decision
Alex Rella: I do think Glover Teixeira has a really good chance to pull off this upset. He's not the boxer Gustafsson is, but his striking is much more explosive and powerful. Dealing with Jones' range will be difficult, but he has a chance if he can push past that and connect with a good shot. Ultimately I do think Jones' reach, striking, and wrestling will be too much for him. As always though, I'll be hoping Jon Jones loses.
Winner: Jones, Submission, Round 4
Robert Winfree: I really wish I were more excited for this fight. Maybe I'm a little jaded, but this almost feels like a placeholder fight. Jon Jones has been tested in his MMA career exactly once, and that was his last fight against Alexander Gustafsson. Glover Teixeira is a tough fighter, he's got good grappling and punching power and hasn't lost since 2005. Impressive stuff from the Brazilian, but he's fighting the best fighter in the world right now. The biggest win in Teixeira's career is against Ryan Bader while Jon Jones has been decimating the very best the division has to offer. I see this fight playing out much like Jones's fight with Rampage Jackson, he'll use his jab and kicks to control the distance, wear Teixeira down, and finish him later in the fight. Teixeira has serious power, but Jones has proven to have a worthwhile chin and isn't easy to hit. Bring on the rematch between Jones and Gustafsson.
Winner: Jon Jones, TKO Round 4
Wyatt Beougher: I'm honestly torn on this fight. The last time Jones fought somebody who I thought could offer him a challenge, I still thought he'd win pretty handily. That turned out to be the only close fight of his UFC career to date, so I'm not going to underestimate Glover Teixeira, who has proven through five UFC fights that he can win in a variety of ways. Still, though, for as good as Teixeira has been in his UFC run, he hasn't run up against anyone remotely as good as Jones, and while I won't rule out a flash knockout because of his striking ability and power (and Jones' desire to beat his opponents at their own game), I just feel like this is Jones' fight to lose. And call me crazy, but I don't seem him losing it.
Winner: Jeffrey Harris (Jon Jones), TKO, Round 4
The staff picks Jon Jones, 6-0.
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