411's MMA Roundtable Preview - UFC on Fox: Lawler vs. Brown
Posted by Dan Plunkett on 07.25.2014
Robbie Lawler fights Matt Brown to determine the next 170-pound title contender in the main event of UFC on FOX 12! Plus Anthony Johnson vs. Rogerio Nogueira and more! Check out the full roundtable for all the details and join 411 for live coverage of the event Saturday night!
The next welterweight title challenger will be decided when Matt Brown and Robbie Lawler step into the cage in the main event! In the co-main event, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira returns and looks to put an end to Anthony "Rumble" Johnson's win streak. At featherweight, Clay Guida takes on Dennis Bermudez. Plus, Josh Thomson vs. Bobby Green, and more!
From MMA's 3R's, Jeffrey Harris!
He's your host for 411 MMA Fact or Fiction, Wyatt Beougher!
From Five Quick Rounds, Evan Zivin!
From 411's MMA Rankings, Jonathan Solomon!
He's got you locked in the guillotine, Robert Winfree!
Preliminary Card: First four bouts stream on UFC Fight Pass, the rest air on Fox.
Women's Strawweight Bout: Juliana Lima vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Welterweight Bout: Andreas Stahl vs. Gilbert Burns
Featherweight Bout: Steven Siler vs. Noad Lahat
Lightweight Bout: Akbarh Arreola vs. Tiago dos Santos
Featherweight Bout: Michael De La Torre vs. Brian Ortega
Welterweight Bout: Hernani Perpetuo vs. Tim Means
Light Heavyweight Bout: Kyle Kingsbury vs. Patrick Cummins
Lightweight Bout: Jorge Masvidal vs. Daron Cruickshank
THE MAIN CARD:
Lightweight Bout: Josh Thomson vs. Bobby Green
Jeffrey Harris: A good lightweight fight after Thomson vs. Michael Johnson fell apart. Green has been on a role since his UFC debut. He's put together a three-fight winning streak. He's a far cry from his "Hood Style" days in Affliction. Still, provided he's healthy, I think Thomson will be too much for Green with his wrestling and striking. I think he eventually gets this to the ground and submits Green.
Winner: Josh Thomson, Submission, Round 2
Wyatt Beougher: It's a battle of Strikeforce vets, as Green has quietly put together a seven-fight win streak over less-than-notable competition, while Thomson is 2-2 in his last four, with both losses coming in controversial split decisions to former lightweight champions. While Green is on the more impressive run and could certainly win this fight, especially if he can clinch with Thomson successfully, but I think Thomson's resume of fighting higher level competition will be enough to get him the nod here, in a close decision.
Winner: Josh Thomson, Decision
Evan Zivin: Bobby Green is getting quite the step up in competition here. He's 3-0 in the UFC but he hasn't beaten anyone who is currently in the UFC's Top 15 at lightweight. Josh Thomson is one of the best fighters at the weight class. This is his first fight since beating Ben Henderson back in January. That's right. Beat. I hate judges. This fight should be fun but Josh is gonna be all over Bobby. He may have to rename himself Bobby Black and Blue when this is all over. Yep, I'm in one of those moods right now.
Winner: Josh Thomson, Submission, Round 1
Jonathan Solomon: I'm glad Josh Thomson did not retire after the loss earlier this year to Benson Henderson, as he's been engaged in some of the best fights of this century. He's back now after his broken thumb healed and will look to avoid receiving consecutive losses for the first time in his soon-to-be 28 fight career. Bobby Green gets a hell of an opportunity here, fighting a legit top 10 lightweight for the first time in his career. "King" Green may be 7-0 since September 2011, but I do not see how he beats the former Strikeforce champion to the punch. Green will not be able to keep him on the ground, either (something Henderson failed to do, too), so look for Thomson to push the pace and pick apart Bobby Green.
Winner: Josh Thomson, Decision
Robert Winfree: The move from Michael Johnson to Bobby Green is fundamentally a lateral one, so my interest in this fight remained unchanged with the change in opponents for Josh Thomson. Bobby Green has improved a lot recently, his movement is impressive and his striking remains effective. Green's recent run of success have come against wrestlers, overlooking some of the oddities of his fight with James Krause, who's striking is limited. Josh Thomson has a wrestling background but understands movement and striking much better then Pat Healy or Jacob Volkmann. Thomson had a tough fight his last time out, a split decision loss to Benson Henderson that may or may not have featured an appearance by everyone's favorite free-range MMA chicken judge. Thomson has the tools and the experience to handle what Bobby Green will be bringing to the cage.
Winner: Josh Thomson, Decision
The staff picks Josh Thomson, 5-0.
Featherweight Bout: Clay Guida vs. Dennis Bermudez
Jeffrey Harris: A good featherweight contest with potential. For Bermudez, this is his chance to break into the top 10 because Guida is undeservedly ranked No. 7 in the division. Guida can have a Fight of the Year performance, but that's usually when he's getting beat up. Bermudez has quietly put together a six-fight winning streak. However, many of those fights were by decision, so he hasn't gotten a lot of attention. Both guys are strong wrestlers, but I don't think Bermudez will be the type of fighter Guida will dominate or confuse with his spastic movement. I'm picking Bermudez to beat Guida.
Winner: Dennis Bermudez, Decision
Wyatt Beougher: Bermudez is a dangerous fighter and he might actually be right in implying that Guida's time has passed, but if he's not careful, Guida could still "outwork" him by bouncing around the cage and never really landing anything and get a decision win that draws cries of protests from anyone with a set of functioning eyes and an understanding of how fights are supposed to be scored. If Guida tries to grind Bermudez down, though, "the Menace" is going to make him pay. It also wouldn't surprise me if Bermudez is able to figure out Guida's timing if he decides to bounce in and out and catches him on the chin on the way in. Since that's the less boring outcome, that's what I'll predict...unless Winfree is covering this card, in which case, it'll be the most boring fight of the year.
Winner: Bermudez, TKO, Round 2
Evan Zivin: Ooh, this is a good match-up. Bermudez is a really tough fighter who has silently been cutting through the unranked featherweights, amassing a 6 fight win streak. Clay has traded wins and losses over the last few years but his losses have usually been against top ranked fighters, like Henderson and Chad Mendes. Both men are durable and both men set a high pace for activity in their fights. The question here is where is Clay at in his career and if the younger Bermudez is good enough to be able to take him out, keeping in mind he is still untested against higher ranked opposition. The cool kids seem to be picking Bermudez so I'll go with Clay. He's beaten better competition in the past and he's a handful for anybody to deal with. I'm still cool, though. I swear.
Winner: Clay Guida, Decision
Jonathan Solomon: The old against the new is spotlighted here with Clay Guida (31-14, next month will be his eighth year in the UFC) taking on Dennis Bermudez (13-3, working on his third year in the octagon). Guida is only 32 but he has remained relevant thanks to a drop down to featherweight. 2-1 at 145-pounds, he beat Tatsuya Kawajiri in April. Bermudez is known for being an action fighter that nobody will ever confuse with Guida (who has a penchant for grinding out wins with takedowns and top control). The Long Island native is 6-0 in his last six fights, each of those wins against unranked featherweight competition. The only way Guida wins is if Bermudez's takedown defense is subpar, which I do not suspect it will be. The 27-year-old fighter is former Division-I All-American wrestler with an aggressive striking style. This should be Bermudez's biggest win to date and serves to launch him into the group of top contenders of the division.
Winner: Dennis Bermudez, TKO, Round 3
Robert Winfree: My usual caveat about Guida still applies, if he can't take you down he can't win. So the question is can Dennis Bermudez circle off of the cage, avoid takedowns, and land punches to Guida. I think he has the ability to do so, Bermudez has a good background in wrestling but his habit of getting into brawls leaves him vulnerable to a guy who will sucker you into committing to punches and then shoot a double leg. Bermudez had the requisite skills, but I'm not sure he's going to be able to put them to use effectively, look for Guida to grind out another decision.
Winner: Clay Guida, Decision
The staff picks Dennis Bermudez, 3-2.
Light Heavyweight Bout: Anthony Johnson vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
Jeffrey Harris: It is almost hard for me to believe Antonio Rogerio Nogueira is fighting again and will actually make it to this fight without pulling out. Nogueira has decent boxing, but Anthony Johnson has also showed major improvement with his standing now that he is fighting at his natural weight class instead of cutting fifty pounds to make weight. I am going with Johnson here based off his strong performance against Phil Davis.
Winner: Anthony Johnson, TKO, Round 2
Wyatt Beougher: These guys are very similar in size and reach, but Johnson is eight years younger and is also riding a seven-fight win streak, with his most recent win coming against the last guy to beat Rogerio. Of course, Nogueira is coming off of a win against a fighter who also beat that same fighter, so, as usual, MMAth is no good in this situation. Instead, I'll say that while three of Johnson's four losses have come by submission and Rogerio is every bit as adept at the submission game as his twin brother, this, to me, looks like a walk in the park for Johnson after how easily he dispatched Phil Davis. While Johnson won't be Rogerio's Frank Mir, I think he'll become just the second man to send Nogueira into unconsciousness.
Winner: Anthony Johnson, KO, Round 1
Evan Zivin: We're a day away from the fight and Minotouro hasn't pulled out with an injury yet? I'm impressed. Nogueira, despite his relative inactivity over the last few years, has always been highly ranked and a tough fight for anyone at light heavyweight. That being said, Johnson is going to run through him. Rumble has been a beast at 205 and in his last fight, he humiliated Phil Davis in a way only the best have been able to. Nogueira has actually lost to Davis previously so MMAth, which is never wrong, indicates a Rumble victory, but he's going to win either way. He has the better, more powerful striking and he has no problem putting Lil' No on his butt if necessary. I don't think he'll get the knockout (he might) but it should be a dominant performance either way. Nobody's stopping Rumble from getting a title shot.
Winner: Anthony Johnson, Decision
Jonathan Solomon: I have no idea what to expect from Rogerio Nogueira in his first fight in 17 months. Back injuries, for any person, are no joke and we'll have to wait and see what the lasting impact on the Brazilian's fight career will be. When we last saw him, he won a decision against Rashad Evans (who himself is currently out injured) and since that fight, Rumble Johnson has won three bouts (including one at heavyweight). Johnson has burst back onto the UFC scene thanks to a win over Phil Davis, a perennial top 10 light heavyweight. While the promotion has already started hyping a potential fight with Jon Jones, I'm not totally sold on Johnson. Making 205-pounds is no issue for him, as opposed to his frequent inability to make middleweight over the years. But, if Nogueira is healthy enough to put his technical skills on display, this should be more of a fight than most expect. However, Johnson has the power and speed advantage on the feet and unless Lil' Nog can put him on his back and work for a submission, it's tough to see the 38-year-old step back and immediately knock down one of the hottest fighters in the division.
Winner: Anthony Johnson, TKO, Round 2
Robert Winfree: Little Nog has, in theory, the skills to beat Anthony Johnson. Unfortunately those skills have been on the shelf for over a year due to injuries and Anthony Johnson seems to have found himself at light heavyweight. Johnson has the type of powerful striking and athleticism that will allow him to handle Nogueira. Nogueira's best chance is to close distance and land punches from close quarters, but Johnson hits harder, has a more diverse striking attack and the better wrestling. Johnson is likely to clobber Nogueira in the first round.
Winner: Anthony Johnson, TKO Round 1
The staff picks Anthony Johnson, 5-0.
Welterweight Bout: Robbie Lawler vs. Matt Brown
Jeffrey Harris: Without a doubt, this is the premier superfight of the year. OK, not an actual "superfight," but this is one of my most anticipated match-ups of the year. You have Robbie Lawler, who looks like a man on a mission since he came up short against Johny Hendricks. And then you have Matt Brown, who has seven straight wins and is a far cry of the fighter he was in his earlier UFC days post-TUF. I cannot wait to see what happens in this fight. Lawler looks amazing at welterweight. However, sometimes he still gets too relaxed in his fights. Against Hendricks, it looked like he was taking the first two rounds off before he woke up. Brown's cardio and stamina are legit. Against Erick Silva, he came back from some sick body shots, but he weathered the storm and maintained a furious pace. Between these two, it is a tough call. On an emotional level, I am sort of rooting for Brown because of all he has done and accomplished. I wanted him to get the title shot already after his last win. However, Lawler is just a beast with ridiculous knockout power and kicks. So my head and my gut are saying Lawler. I really do not care. I just want a great fight.
Winner: Robbie Lawler, TKO, Round 3
Wyatt Beougher: Lawler, like Johnson in the last fight, is one of the better stories in the UFC right now, as he's experiencing something of a career renaissance at age 32. He's currently the number one ranked welterweight and his only loss in the UFC came at the hands of current champion Johny Hendricks in a very close fight. Brown, on the other hand, has the third longest win streak among active UFC competitors with seven. And while Lawler has faced the better competition, both guys have been having exciting fights along the way, and this one should be no exception. Lawler is better at putting combinations together while Brown is arguably more aggressive, and both guys are going to look to keep this fight standing, which means we're either going to have five rounds of excitement or an early finish. If it does go past round three, you'd have to give the edge to Lawler, since he's been in deep water before, but I don't think we're going to see that happen. Lawler's got enough precision and defense that he'll be able to weather the worst of Brown's offense and test the Immortal's chin. To this point, Brown's chin has held up, but I like Lawler to give it its first crack.
Winner: Robbie Lawler, TKO, Round 3
Your Name: Quick! Everybody get their hopes up! Really, this should be a good fight. You have two of the most punch-happy fighters at 170 who are both aggressive and love going for the knockout, so it hell better be a good fight. I kinda wish UFC had given Matt Brown a title shot before this fight happened since this is going to be the fight that ends his title aspirations (at least for now). I don't think anyone is going to kid themselves that Brown will will this. He has the classic puncher's chance, sure, but Lawler is a smart fighter and won't allow himself to get caught in any wild exchanges with Brown. Robbie will use his superior technique to dance around Brown's brawling style and pick him apart until the right moment comes to end the fight, probably in the second or third round. Personally, I think that, win or lose, they should just give Brown a title shot anyway. C'mon, UFC. Don't deny us a good fight. You can't afford to anymore.
Winner: Robbie Lawler, TKO, Round 2
Jonathan Solomon: I have nothing against Robbie Lawler, but I would rather see Matt Brown get the next title fight with Johny Hendricks. However, every way I look at this fight, I'm not sure Brown can stop Lawler. Both are skilled strikers, but this will not be a matchup where you see Matt Brown bully and physically dominate his opponent. We've seen Lawler in the octagon against some of the best welterweights around and he's never looked out of place. He knocked out Josh Koscheck, he beat Rory MacDonald and went the distance with Hendricks before knocking out Jake Ellenberger. Along with his KO of Bobby Voelker, Lawler is 4-1 since his UFC return. While Brown is riding a famous 7-fight win streak (six of them finishes), can you say that Mike Swick, Jordan Mein, Mike Pyle or Erick Silva (the biggest names of the group) are in the same class as Robbie Lawler? I expect this fight to go long (third or fourth round) and Lawler to weaken Brown with body strikes before overwhelming him to win by TKO.
Winner: Robbie Lawler, TKO, Round 4
Robert Winfree: This should be a great fight for as long as it lasts, which I'm guess will be about three and a half minutes. Matt Brown has been on a roll lately, he's tough and applies a constant pressure that breaks almost everyone who steps across the cage from him. Brown fights well from the clinch and isn't afraid to be hit as long as he gets the chance to land a couple of punches as well. Unfortunately Brown doesn't have a lot of defensive tools and he hasn't fought someone with the raw striking power of Robbie Lawler. Brown is also soft to the body, both Jordan Mein and Erick Silva hurt him badly with body blows. Robbie Lawler should have been drilling power kicks to the body, and has the benefit of fighting southpaw so his power leg naturally goes into the exposed abdomen. Lawler is a seasoned fighter and highly unlikely to make the tactical errors that Mein and Silva did which resulted in Brown getting back into the fight, he'll not get tied up grappling while Brown recovers. Unless Lawler decides to start slow or take a round off he should win, and win with a powerful body kick in the first.
Winner: Robbie Lawler, TKO Round 1
The staff picks Robbie Lawler, 5-0.
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