UFC Fight Night 47: Bader vs. Saint Preux
Fox Sports 1 Main Card: 10PM/7PM ET|PT
Fox Sports 2 Prelims: 8PM/5PM ET|PT
The Ultimate Fighting Championship will crash Stephen Edwin King’s stomping grounds this Saturday, August 16th, when they set up their famous eight-sided cage inside the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, Maine. Headlined by a mathcup between two top 10 light heavyweights and populated by bouts featuring well-known fighters such as Gray Maynard, Ross Pearson, Tim Boetsch, Brad Tavares, Shawn Jordan, Tom Watson and former #1 women’s bantamweight contender Sara McMann (who, for some reason, has been relegated to the Fox Sports 2 undercard after losing only one fight – to the greatest women’s bantamweight ever, no less), this card, while lacking the luster provided by title fights and grudge matches, is otherwise solid throughout.
Something extra cool about this event: Every single weight class is represented. There are 10 matchups, so only one division (middleweight) gets repeated.
In an effort to keep things a tad shorter, only the top three fights on the main card will receive my full analyses, while the other three, interesting to me as they may be, will only be briefly examined before predictions are given. As for the four prelims… hit me up on Twitter. I revel in fight banter (and am eager to talk about the McMann injustice, the return of “Smilin’” Sam Alvey and why in the hell there are two top 10 flyweights fighting on the undercard again).
Note: If the fighters are ranked, their ranking will appear to the left of their name. To the right of their bracketed professional records are the fight odds at the time of this writing.
Light Heavyweight (205 lbs.) Fight – 5 Rounds
#8 Ryan “Darth” Bader [18-4] (-160)
#10 Ovince Saint Preux [16-5] (+140)
We might as well call this what it really is: an elimination match to decide who’s probably getting fed to Anthony “Rumble” Johnson next.
Once upon a time (or, more accurately, back in 2010), the consensus that Ryan Bader was among the light heavyweight division’s top rising stars was all but resounding. He had reigned supreme through 12 fights against increasingly difficult opposition leading into his matchup with a man who, on paper, possessed an inferior grappling pedigree.
Unfortunately for him, that man was Jon “Bones” Jones.
We all know how that played out. Jones trounced him, was subsequently offered a title shot against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in lieu of an injured Rashad Evans, won the belt and has held fast to it since.
Bader, on the other hand, lost his next fight to Tito Ortiz (who, before that, hadn’t won since 2006 and, after that, only won this last year against Bellator’s severely undersized middleweight champion, Alexander Shlemenko), before moving into a checkered routine of win and loss alternation.
He’s riding a two-fight win streak into Saturday – both of them decisions. Although he’s looked decent in both outings, there is that undeniable hesitation that accompanies his actions that suggest a man who’s had his chin checked and had it come back reading “Faulty.”
Ovince Saint Preux had a grand old time over in Strikeforce, accruing a 6-1 record before the promotion’s absorption by the UFC in early 2013. Since moving over and conquering that first fight hump (a technical decision against Gian Villante), he’s looked exceptional, finishing all of his opponents in a variety of ways. He’s got knockout power, terrific joint-based submissions and ingenuitive chokes.
Unlike Bader – who has an immensely impressive collegiate wrestling record – St. Preux grappling abilities, although supported by a strong high school wrestling tenure that saw him go 26-1 as the Florida runner-up in his weight class, rely largely on the twitch reflexes he developed while playing football in high school and college.
The reason why Bader appears as the (slight) favorite in this matchup is simple: he’s been facing top competition since knocking out Keith Jardine got him an invitation to play in the big boys’ club. Sure, he’s been knocked around pretty good a few times, but he’s done his fair share of that to others. With this fight, St. Preux will be facing a top 15 LHW for the first time since signing with the promotion. He may find out – much like Bader did before him – that the step up is a steep one.
Ryan Bader defeats Ovince Saint Preux by technical knockout (TKO).
Lightweight (155 lbs.) Fight – 3 Rounds
#12 Gray “The Bully” Maynard [12-4-1, 1 NC] (+110)
Ross “The Real Deal” Pearson [17-7, 1 NC] (-130)
Gray Maynard is a man with his back against the wall. Since getting knocked out by Frankie Edgar back in 2011, “The Bully” has looked absolutely dreadful – a man outside his own body. First there was that awful fight with Clay Guida that, let’s face it, nobody fucking won, and then there were the back-to-back first-round TKO losses to T.J. Grant and Nate Diaz. Maynard, who once stood inarguably as the #2-ranked fighter in his division, has nosedived out of the top 10 completely and is likely one loss away from being given the ol’ heave-ho.
Ross Pearson, on the other hand, is in no such state. Sure, his last fight may say “Loss” next to it, but we all know that’s bullshit; nobody except maybe the cageside judges that night in Albuquerque and Diego Sanchez himself think Pearson lost that fight. If not for that robbery and an illegal knee from Melvin Guillard that caused their fight to be ruled a no contest, Pearson would be on a four-fight win streak going into his matchup with Maynard.
Does Maynard have the wrestling chops to turn this fight into a one-sided hump-a-thon? Absolutely. However, as Brock Lesnar once put it succinctly when speaking of the damage he caused Frank Mir in their second meeting, “You can’t un-scramble an egg.”
At some point during their three-round contest, Pearson is going to connect with a punch and when he does, it’s lights out and happy trails for the 34-year-old Mr. Maynard, who you shouldn’t be surprised to see retire soon after.
Ross Pearson defeats Gray Maynard by TKO.
Middleweight (185 lbs.) Fight – 3 Rounds
#14 Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch [17-7] (+220)
Brad Tavares [12-3] (-260)
This bout first appears as a rather nice matchup between two hardnosed sluggers who prefer nothing more than to stand and trade. However, that may not be what we wind up seeing on fight night. In fact, this may be among the most one-sided fights of the night.
See, although Boetsch prefers to record wins by way of his heavy hands, his fighting style is entirely built on the back of a wrestling foundation that saw him win four state championships and numerous other grappling accolades en route to his being inducted into the Maine Wrestling Hall of Fame in August 2012. Boetsch has, with the exception of Costas Philippou and Luke Rockhold, only ever lost to fighters with equal or better wrestling backgrounds.
Brad Tavares, despite his exceptional ability to keep himself vertical in a fight, does not have anywhere near as impressive a grappling acumen. He’s fared well against wrestlers of middling ability, but he’s wilted upon facing wrestlers with skill sets comparable to Boetsch’s – Aaron Simpson and, in his last fight, Yoel Romero.
It won’t be pretty – Tavares is a resilient combatant who has yet to be put away despite this being his fourth year with the UFC – but Boetsch will reconfirm his gatekeeper status with a controlling victory over his outmatched opponent.
Tim Boetsch defeats Brad Tavares by unanimous decision.
Welterweight (170 lbs.) Fight – 3 Rounds
Seth “The Polish Pistola” Baczynski [18-9] (-140)
Alan “Brahma” Jouban [9-2] (+120)
Seth Baczynski has fallen on some turbulent times as of late, going 3-3 over the last two years. In fact, his career hasn’t hit a spot this rough since he began it back in August 2005. That’s right, folks, he’s celebrating nine years of getting hit in the head this month!
Alan Jouban, who works as a model when he isn’t actively trying to prematurely undermine what God gave him inside a cage, is making his UFC debut after an impressive run in Ed Soares’ UFC feeder league, Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA). He’s got great striking and jiu-jitsu, and although his wrestling leaves a little to be desired, he’s a gritty scrambler.
Baczynski, however, is coming off of a closely contested loss to Thiago Alves, who possesses skills similar to Jouban but has fought opponents far higher up on the welterweight ladder.
Seth Baczynski defeats Alan Jouban by unanimous decision.
Heavyweight (207 and up) Fight – 3 Rounds
Shawn “The Savage” Jordan [15-6] (-190)
Jack “The Outlaw” May [7-1] (+165)
Two men whose weights soundly infer that neither of them turn down McDonalds very often, Shawn Jordan and Jack May – both looking to rebound from knockout losses – will either deliver one of the most fun fights of the night or one of the most disappointing.
What stands out – besides the fact that, while May’s TKO loss could be attributed to the malignant “Octagon jitters,” Jordan has been knocked out cold in two consecutive fights – is that May, at 6’8”, will absolutely tower over the comparatively diminutive 6’0” Jordan.
Reach advantage isn’t everything, but when you largely rely on your hands to do your business, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have it on your side.
With the loser likely being given his walking papers, there is high motivation for both men to deliver.
Jack May defeats Shawn Jordan by knockout.
Featherweight (145 lbs.) Fight – 3 Rounds
Thiago Tavares [22-5-1] (-178)
Robbie “Problems” Peralta [18-4, 1 NC] (+153)
I’m going to be a total dick and just go with the fact that, while I recognize the name of every single fighter Thiago Tavares has lost to, I cannot say the same for Robbie “Problems” Peralta.
Seriously, who the fuck is Landon Piercy?
Also, Sam Stout vs. Spencer Fisher is one of my all-time favorite nontitle MMA trilogies and Tavares beat them both – back to back, at that!
Thiago Tavares defeats Robbie Peralta by submission.
Preliminary Main Event
Flyweight (125 lbs.) Fight – 3 Rounds
#6 Jussier Formiga [16-3] (+250)
#9 Zach “Fun Size” Makowvsky [18-4] (-300)
Women’s Bantamweight (135 lbs.) Fight – 3 Rounds
#4 Sara McMann [7-1] (-315)
Lauren Murphy [8-0] (+265)
Middleweight (185 lbs.) Fight – 3 Rounds
Tom “Kong” Watson [16-7] (-125)
“Smilin’” Sam Alvey [23-5] (+105)
Bantamweight (135 lbs.) Fight – 3 Rounds
Nolan Ticman [4-1]
Frankie Saenz [8-2]
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