The UFC returns to our screens tonight with UFC on FX3. The event takes place at Bank-Atlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. The Main-card fights air live on ESPN whilst the prelims can be watched for free on UFC.tv and Facebook.
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The full UFC on FX 3 card includes:
MAIN CARD (ESPN):
Demetrious Johnson vs. Ian McCall
Charlie Brenneman vs. Erick Silva
Josh Neer vs. Mike Pyle
Scott Jorgensen vs. Eddie Wineland
PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC.TV)
Mike Pierce vs. Carlos Eduardo Rocha
Seth Baczynski vs. Lance Benoist
Leonard Garcia vs. Matt Grice
Dustin Pague vs. Jared Papazian
Tim Means vs. Justin Salas
Caio Magalhaes vs. Buddy Roberts
PRELIMINARY CARD (Facebook)
Bernardo Magalhaes vs. Henry Martinez
Jake Hecht vs. Sean Pierson
Lets take a look at the main event to begin things.
Demetrious Johnson vs. Ian McCall:
The night’s main event serves as a rematch of one the opening round fights in the four-man flyweight tournament to decide the first UFC flyweight champion. The tournament was put together by the UFC to announce the arrival of the new division. The original bout, which took place March 3 at UFC on FX 2, originally was announced as a split decision victory for Johnson but an error was found with the scorecards that lead to the result being changed to a majority draw. The winner of tonight’s fight meets Joseph Benavidez at an event that is yet to be decided. Both men have blamed their failure to win the first fight on very specific reasons.
Johnson has blamed dietary concerns as the reason for his performance in the original fight and has claimed to have rectified this in recent press conferences. It could be interesting to see if this bears fruit or not. One thing for sure is that “Mighty Mouse” will possibly have a striking advantage. He’s excellent at closing distance and retreating, which makes him extremely elusive and frustrates opponents. Johnson kept McCall off his rhythm with leg kicks early on in the first fight. He landed quick combinations before peeling off. McCall caught him a few times, but Johnson racked up points with a few stiff right hands, add to that he was also very active with takedown attempts. One question important question regarding Johnson will be if he can have the same success rate with his ability to sweep from the bottom position. McCall managed to take him on a number of occasions but Johnson was able to sweep or get back to his fight quickly.
McCall’s however blamed a mental issue for his performance on the night; saying that he was distracted by a thought that he couldn’t clear. If it’s true that he was distracted and couldn’t get in the fight, and he’s told himself to “shut up and get over it” as he did in explaining what went wrong in the first fight; it may lead to a different outcome. But while he was generally outworked in the first and second rounds, he absolutely dominated Johnson in the third round and it’s due to this that you can’t write him off.
In the 3rd round he pinned down Johnson and was able to stop him from sweeping. He also got into a dominant position at one point prior to gesturing to the crowd that may have stopped him from sealing the deal via stoppage in my opinion. Whilst he was very successful using trips to take the fight down, McCall struggled to keep the fight on the ground until Johnson’s stamina issues came into play. If he can stay on top and work ground and pound, he’ll be ahead on points. He’ll have to perform better when on the feet and inside Johnson‘s range. He was way too often second to engage in the first two rounds of the original fight. When he took charge in the third round, he started using more variety and landed knees up the middle in the clinch and he also landed more leg kicks. There is a possible argument that that clinch work was partially responsible for Johnson’s drop off in the 3rd round. He most definitely is the bigger of the two and reported cuts as much as 13lbs on the day of the weigh in to make weight.
Of course, the problems reported by Johnson and McCall could be just a convenient way for both to explain a lacklustre performance. I for one expect an exciting fight and even with the issues both men encountered the fight was action packed for the 15 minutes.
Recommendation: I’d go with McCall (he’s 13/10 with Bwin or if you prefer brick and mortar bookies you’ll get 5/4 with Ladbrokes). The fight is most likely going to go to decision and if you are betting with McCall you can extend the value to 7/4 with Ladbrokes.
Other main card matchups:
Charlie Brenneman vs. Erick Silva:
I personally think this is a bit of a mismatch and with the odds being floated around there’s potential to make some money. Welterweight Silva trains with striking phenoms such as middleweight king pin Anderson Silva, but the bulk of his wins come by way of submission ironically. He’s shown a propensity to strike in his first two UFC bouts. He’s been extremely impressive and only spent 69 seconds in the Octagon thus far. Unfortunately for Silva he did get disqualified in his most recent fight for strikes to the back of an opponents head. There’s been much debate about the decision but don’t let that get in the way of you picking up some value. His hand speed and power have been evident though.
Looking at their bare skill sets this looks like a test of how well his submission skills could stack up against a wrestler like Brenneman. Brenneman has had an impressive victory over the then surging Rick Story on short notice however his striking game leaves much to be desired as witnessed in the fight with Anthony Johnson. The “Spaniard” is definitely going to want to get this to the ground and try to grind out a decision from top position if he can.
Recommendation: Silva at 8/13 on Bodog or 8/15 with Paddy Power is value for a guy that would have a lot more hype behind him if he was American.
There is tremendous value in the fight not going to decision at 10/11 with Paddy Power.
There is also a beautiful bet on Silva to win in the first round at 3/1.
The double chance of Silva by KO or submission is 5/4 with Paddy Power too.
I anticipate a quick fight so the value of evens with Paddy Power for the fight to last less than 2.5 rounds is a lump opportunity.
Josh Neer vs. Mike Pyle: I think Pyle @8/15 should have the advantage in this fight. Neer is a durable fighter but Pyle has the wrestling skills that have seen Neer struggle in the past. Still should be a close fight and probably one to avoid.
Scott Jorgensen vs. Eddie Wineland: Both are perennial challengers that constantly come up short against the top men in the division. Jorgensen should do this in my opinion. He’s currently 1/2
Mike Pierce vs. Carlos Eduardo Rocha: Mike Pierce was the victim of a close split decision loss with Josh Koscheck not so long ago in his last appearance. Rocha has some power in his hands and appears to have some very good ground skills. He ran Jake Ellenberger close prior to gassing badly. I think an underdog play on Rocha may bear fruit at 15/8 (Bet365 or 7/4 in William Hill and Paddy Power shops). I’m just hoping he’s fully recovered from the elbow surgery that’s kept him on the sidelines. With a move to Black House his striking should have improved sufficiently.
Seth Baczynski vs. Lance Benoist: This is a pick’em fight according to the bookies but I definitely give the advantage to Kaczynski (10/11 with Bet365). He’s got a good striking game and an excellent ground game.