UFC 148 Fight Card Preview Part I

America East Tournament Preview
Fights will air on FX
UFC 148 begins tonight on FX with the main card being a PPV event. These prelim fights will all be good ones though, so let’s take a quick look at who might win these anticipated matches!

Yoislandy “Cuba” Izquierdo (-200) vs. Rafaello “Tractor” Oliveira (+160)

Yoislandy Izquierdo is a lefty Cuban fighter without much of a track record. He has only one win against a fighter with five or more professional fights, which was a TKO victory in a CFA promo against the then 8-0 Patrick Cenoble. So it’s hard to get a good gauge on Izquierdo. He has a 6-1 pro record but lost his only UFC match to Reza Madadi, as Madadi guillotine choked him. He’s a very good striker and has a diverse array of moves he employs, not the least of which are a great assortment of strong kicks. As with most good kickers, he is very limber and has no problem launching powerful kicks to the head. His boxing is above average, but he doesn’t have a ton of power. He has TKO wins over Cenoble and Chris Garcia, but neither was a clean knockout.

Oliveira enters the fight 14-5 but has a horrid 1-4 record in the UFC. He lost his last fight to Yves Edwards at UFC on Versus 6. Oliveira is a strong and aggressive striker, but that isn’t his forte still. If this fight stays standing, Izquierdo should be able to win it. The problem for Izquierdo will be keeping it there, because he has a poor takedown defense and en even worse ground game. Oliveria, the underdog, does have the ability to take advantage of these weaknesses, though he isn’t the greatest wrestler in his own right. He still needs to take it to the ground, and he should be able to, if he realizes that is where his greatest advantage is. I like the underdog Oliveira to win this by submission or at the worst by decision.

Shane Roller (-190) vs. John “The Natural” Alessio (+155)

Alessio enters this fight with a 34-15 record but has never won a UFC fight, going 0-4 through his contests. His first UFC loss was to Pat Miletich at UFC 26. Shane Roller is 10-6 overall and 1-3 in the UFC. Both lost their last fight by unanimous decisions.

Alessio has the experience but has been known to struggle with high level fights. He wins all the small shows but isn’t quite good enough to win the premier fights. He has wins over Luiz “Buscape” Firmino and Chris Clements lately, but also lost badly to Siyar Bahadurzada and was manhandled by Bocek. He’s just not a good enough grappler and he isn’t dominant enough in fights to end them early. He’s a mediocre striker and doesn’t score many points because of it. He’s not the greatest at defending strikes either, which only hurts further on the score card. What is worse is that he isn’t a very good take down artist either. For Alessio to win fights, he has to either face a very poor striker or a very poor wrestler, since those are his only two slight strengths, and they aren’t even overwhelming.

Roller has a strong wrestling background but has never been a great takedown fighter. He had some good wins in the WEC but hasn’t done much in the UFC. Roller has a lot of the same problems as Alessio, so that should make this entertaining. He’s a respectable grappler but not the greatest, t one sure, so he’s going to have to work the angles if he tries to get it to the ground. Roller should win this fight, as he is favored to, but Alessio could take it by TKO or out grapple Roller. I’m going with Roller, but neither fighter has any real future in terms of moving up the ranks after this fight.

Constantinos Philippou (-175) vs. Riki Fukuda (+145)

This fight will be the first to air on FX and should be a good one. Fukuda enters at 18-5 with a 1-1 split in the UFC, but he really should be undefeated in the UFC because he was the victim of some poor judging against Nick Ring at UFC 127. Phillipou enters at 10-2, with a 3-1 record in the UFC.

Fukuda is a versatile fighter but lacks defined strengths. He’s a good striker and has some strong punches, such as his upper cut, and his ground game is very solid. He’s also good at getting it to the ground. He’s never been submitted. He sometimes fights at too slow a pace, and leaves a lot of openings for his opponents. He has good take downs, but isn’t outright dominant at that aspect, nor is he at any particular aspects of MMA fighting. Still, Fukuda should beat most of the average to below average opponents in the UFC, and he’ll remain in the UFC as long as he is healthy and young.

Phillipou likes to box. He came to the US as an aspiring pro boxer but discovered MMA and joined the Ray Longo-Matt Serra fight team. He’s learned quickly. In his first UFC fight against Nick Catone, he showed himself to be a great striker, but as expected he had a lot of difficulty fending off Catone’s take downs. However, he’s made strides there as he was able to stay on his feet against a good wrestler in Court McGee last fight. He’s a great defensive boxer and doesn’t allow his opponents to land many clean strikes, particularly to his face. If he can keep this fight standing he should have no problem winning it, but he isn’t the greatest at fending off takedowns nor is he great at submitting opponents himself. Phillipou should win this one because he is a better fighter, but he has to guard against his weaknesses on the ground, because Fukoda is good enough in that aspect, as he is with most, to still win this fight.

Melvin “The Young Assassin” Guillard (-285) vs. Fabricio “Morango” Camoes (+225)

Camoes enters this fight at 14-6-1 and 1-1-1 in the UFC and Guillard is 29-10-2 overall and 10-6 in the UFC. Camoes is a strong BJJ fighter and is great with chokes. He won his last fight over Tommy Hayden at UFC on FX 1 by submission using a rear naked choke, and of his seven career submission wins, five are by a choke of some sort. His ground game is solid and he has good footwork which enables him to capitalize on positions. He’s not very well rounded, which will be a problem if he wants to move up the ranks in the UFC. His striking is mediocre but he did knock down Steve Lopez with a great head kick. He has a nice jab punch and is good with getting his knees into the body, but overall just doesn’t have a lot of moves that could render him a winner by take down.

Guillard is a fighter who was once regarded as a top tier guy, but has fallen recently after two quick submission losses to Joe Lauzon at UFC 136 and Jim Miller at UFC on FX 1. He’s a very fast striker who packs a lot of power, and he’s a good wrestler. He’s very difficult to get to the mat, but is prone to lapses in attention which render him weak at points. It will take some of those attention lapses to give Camoes a chance, because unless it gets to the mat, Camoes has no chance in this fight. Guillard is his own worst enemy and has to avoid doing his flying knees, but if he does keep it standing and avoids a stupid takedown, this fight is his to lose. I like Guillard to win this by knockout.

Gleison Tibau (-200) vs. Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagmedov (+160)

This is the final bout broadcast on FX before the Pay Per View portion begins, and it should be a great lightweight match because Khabib is a perfect 17-0 and 1-0 in the UFC and Tibau is 25-7 overall and 10-5 in the UFC. Both fighters are at the top of their games. Khabibb hasn’t fought a lot of great opponents yet, though, so his record is deceiving. The only quality fighter he beat was Kamal Shalorus, and he’s not exactly a contender to say the least. The thing is, you can’t discount him just because he hasn’t faced the competition, because he HAS taken care of business against the fighters that he actually has fought.

Khabib is a good ground fighter and is good at landing strikes while he is on the ground. He’s good with submissions, and he knows how to take advantage of a fighter while he has the upper hand. What should worry Khabib is that he has some serious flaws that Tibau could and should expose, namely a sloppy fighting technique, erratic punches, and a lack of directed power in his punches. Also, while he loves taking fights to the ground, he probably won’t be able to against Tibau. Tibau’s takedown defense is awesome, and he’s only been submitted once in 32 career fights. Because of the fact that Tibau is well suited for Khabib’s main attacks, I think he wins this as favored to, and it will likely go to decision.

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