UFC on Fox 4 Preview: Shogun vs. Vera
UFC on Fox 4 will be taking place this Saturday, August 4th, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. It will feature a total of ten bouts, half of which really truly could go either way. The main event is stacked, and the prelims don't look half bad either. Read on for the deets.
Shogun's last fight was an all right barn burner, and although the former UFC light heavyweight champion ended up on the wrong side of a decision while squaring off against Dan Henderson, the two won Fight of the Night honors in what is considered one of the best brawls in UFC history. Even UFC President Dana White stated that he thought the fight could just as easily have been scored a draw. Rua was set to face Thiago Silva at UFC 149, but a knee injury forced Silva out of the bout. Instead, Rua will now face Brandon "The Truth" Vera in this title elimination bout. Vera himself originally had another opponent as well. He was supposed to face James Te-Huna on the Munoz vs Weidman card, but was pulled to step in to this main event. It's not too long ago that Vera was on the UFC chopping block after losing back-to-back fights to Randy Couture and Jon "Bones" Jones, but a loss to Thiago Silva was overturned when it was found that Silva falsified his urine sample. Since then, Vera defeated Eliot Marshall by decision at UFC 137 last October. Vera's definitely fighting an uphill battle in this bout, so it'll be interesting to see what he does with the opportunity.
Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida and Ryan "Darth" Bader both hold losses against Jon Jones. Machida's is recent--he bounced back from back-to-back losses to Shogun and Rampage with a stunning win over Randy Couture. Bader infamously lost to a Tito Ortiz guillotine, but bounced back with two victories against Jason Brilz and Rampage Jackson. This is an interesting match-up for sure. Bader will probably work his world-class wrestling to take the bout to the ground, and Machida will use his evasive striking to work for a knock-out victory, a likely outcome.
J-Lau is constantly getting called out, for some reason, and though he's proven some people wrong--like Melvin Guillard, who succumbed to a rear-naked choke in just 47 seconds--his most recent bout was a devastating loss to Anthony "Showtime" Pettis--a 1st round KO loss, to be precise. Varner, who has a respectable wrestling game and amazing striking in his arsenal, will be an interesting challenge. He looked great in his first UFC battle against Edson Barboza, winning in the first round by TKO. Though Varner may have the edge in wrestling and boxing, Lauzon's got a slick submission game The victor of this incredibly evenly matched tilt is anyone's guess.
Mike Swick will be stepping back in the cage for the first time since February 2010, when he lost to Paulo Thiago at UFC 109. It's hard to imagine that ring rust won't be a problem, but Swick has been known to take people by surprise. Although Johnson has been more active, he does have a pretty spotty record, so facing a veteran like Swick may be more than he can handle.
Nam Phan is coming off of a tough loss to grappling phenom Jimy Hettes, but at least this one was by a legit submission rather than the BS decisions that have plagued his career. Cole Miller is coming off of a submission loss to Stephen Siler. Both have a phenomenal ground game, but Phan also has good precision striking. Miller, however, is as well-rounded as they come. Another great matchup which could easily go either way.
Phil Davis is a bigger favorite coming into this bout than any other fighter on the card. Though Prado is undefeated on local cards, this is his UFC debut, and "Mr. Wonderful" is a big step up in competition. Davis is coming off of his first professional loss to Rashad Evans, but it's fair to say that Prado is probably not yet on the same level.
Rani Yahya's career has been spotty as of late; he's gone 1-1 in the UFC after losing 2 in a row for the WEC. Grispi went 4-0 in the WEC, but lost two in a row after signing over to the UFC, so it's fair to say that he's been having difficulty as of late as well. But although Yahya's got the superior submission game, Grispi's got a significant reach advantage and may very well be a bit hungrier. He's a slight favorite going into the bout.
De Fries is a favorite going into this bout, both because of his position game and his slick takedowns. A former strongman, Oli Thompson lost to Shawn Jordan in his UFC debut and will be looking to make a better showing. We'll see if he can get his phenomenal strength to transfer over into his fighting.
Coming off of 3 losses in a row, Manny "The Anvil" Gamburyan not only needs to win this fight, but to win it decisively. The same may be said for Omigawa, who has lost 3 out of his last 4. Expect to see some high-level judo coming from both fighters in this stand-off. The loser may well receive their walking papers.
These submission specialists will both be making their UFC debut after fighting for primarily smaller promotions, so it's hard to know what to expect from the two talented flyweights under the lights.