We’re halfway through June and in the Northern Hemisphere that means summer is in full swing. In Milwaukee (where I live), that means bratwurst and lots of beer. Sure, we do that during the winter, too, but now it happens outside. Luckily for all the MMA fans out there, the fight card this Friday is as hefty as your average Wisconsinite.
The first of a two-fight card weekend begins with UFC on FX 4 at the Revel Casino in Atlantic City. The main event features a lightweight bout between Clay Guida and Gray Maynard. If there ever were two guys built for Atlantic City, it’s these two. Clay Guida is as big and recognizable personality as anyone that Jersey Shore has given us. Then, we have Gray Maynard, a man who needs no more introduction than this New Jersey hot spot.
Ross Pearson (13-5) vs Cub Swanson (16-5)
The night begins with a featherweight contest between Ross “The Real Deal” Pearson” and Cub Swanson. This will be Pearson’s second fight in the division after a successful 145 lb debut at UFC 141 against Junior Assuncao. Cub Swanson experienced injuries before it was the in thing to do, but now he’s looking to the momentum going after an impressive TKO victory over George Roop in January.
This fight has the most potential for Fight of the Night. Both guys are seasoned strikers who are game to stand toe-to-toe and swing it out. Cub Swanson really impressed me in his last fight (and I don’t impress easily). His strikes were much more crisp and he looked stronger overall. Pearson’s striking defense exceeds Roop’s, but Cub has a speed advantage that could pose problems. Swanson needs to move in and out and avoid prolonged engagements. Unfortunately for Cub, fighters often lack the patience for this nickel and dime strategy and eventually make a mistake. Swanson will overcommit to one too many punches and get clipped. This will allow Pearson to get the finish and put it away in the second.
Brian Ebersole (49-14-1) vs T.J. Waldburger (15-6)
Next up is a welterweight fight between Brian “Bad Boy” Ebersole and T.J. Waldburger. Ebersole is a 12-year journeyman currently riding a 10-fight win streak. Despite these successes, you probably know him best as the guy with the Hairrow. T.J. Waldburger is a BJJ black belt who's won three of his four UFC fights and does not have any recognizable body hair art that I’m aware of.
When two grapplers face one another, there’s always a possibility of the epic “Stand and Wang,” but this isn’t one of those times. Waldburger has notched 12 of his 15 wins via tapout, but I don’t see him finishing Ebersole. When you have that many miles on your tires, you don’t make it this far without learning a few tricks. Just ask this lady. Ebersole will be able to hold top position and keep Waldburger down. Sure he’ll be active and go for submissions, but judges rarely give rounds to the guy on his back. Ebersole takes this by UD
Sam Stout (17-7-1) vs Spencer Fisher (24-8)
Jesus’ temptation in the desert, Back to the Future movies and Sam Stout vs Spencer Fisher -- that’s right, all good things come in threes. After fighting each other at UFC 58 (March 2006) and UFN 10 (June 2007) the series is tied and both fighters are searching for something I never got from the TV show Deadwood -- closure. Since that last rematch, both fighters have had their respective ups and downs. Stout has gone 5-4 and is looking to rebound off a loss to Thiago Tavares. Fisher has lost 4 of his last five, is looking to rebound off a loss to Thiago Tavares, and may well need a victory to stay on the roster.
Unfortunately for “The King” he’ll have to search elsewhere for a win. Both are tough, battle-tested fighters but this one comes down to power. These two lightweights will stand in front of one another and Stout’s heavy hands will be the X factor. Fisher will consider changing his name to “Chin of Stone” because he’ll absorb a lot of damage en route to a UD loss.
Gray Maynard (10-1-1) vs Clay Guida (29-12)
That brings us to the main event of the evening. While the lightweight title picture looks about as clear as New Jersey’s skyline, either one of these fighters could secure a spot on the top third of the rankings with an impressive win. Clay “The Carpenter” Guida wants to get himself back into the title picture after losing to Benson Henderson in November. It was his first loss since 2009 and the 2nd worst Clay Guida performance I've seen -- numero uno being the time he interrupted my friends' drum circle at 10,000 Lakes Festival (true story). Speaking of crazy hippie jam bands, Gray “The Bully” Maynard wants another shot at the belt after two entertaining fights against then-champion Frankie Edgar.
For me, Clay Guida fights are like the first time you hook up with a girl. Beforehand, there’s a lot of excitement, jumping around and getting ready. Then, once the time for action comes, there’s just a bunch of flailing of limbs and you just kind of lay on top of the other person until time runs out. While this tactic proved successful against opponents like Nate Diaz and Anthony Pettis, Maynard will not be a willing participant. Maynard’s strength surpasses even his charisma and not only will he defend the takedown attempts, but he’ll also be able to get the better of the standup exchanges as he cruises to a UD win.
That wraps up another edition of the Downes Side. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @dannyboydownes read my beer reviews here and see a picture of my cat playing Yahtzee here. Also, be sure to leave your thoughts, comments, questions and attempts to hurt my feelings on the page as well. Even if you succeed in making me feel bad, I have enough encased meats and booze to fill the hole in my soul so HAH!
The Downes Side: UFC on FX 4 Predictions
By Dan Downes June 22, 2012
UFC/WEC veteran Dan Downes talks strategy and predictions for UFC on FX 4, taking place Friday, June 22