Just a week removed from a dual event extravaganza last Saturday overseas, the UFC will now move back into the States and head down south to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Former lightweight champion, Benson Henderson, will take on Rustam Khabilov in the main event. The event will kick off on Fight Pass at 7:30 pm EST, and tranferring over to the FOX Sports 1 network at 8 pm EST for the remainder of the card; the main card is expected to start at 10 pm EST. Down below will be full fight analysis and predictions for the main card, while noting some other bouts on the early UFC prelims.
#1 Benson Henderson (20-3) vs. #11 Rustam Khabilov (17-1) – Lightweight Bout Henderson is just two fights removed from losing his championship belt to Anthony Pettis, and is working his way back up the ranks for another shot. Khabilov has won two fights in a row in the UFC, exhibiting some strong wrestling and grappling skills along the way. Henderson has the better overall MMA skills between the two, has gone the full five rounds numerous times, and is a former champion. Khabilov has yet to experience a five round fight, and has not fought a fighter the caliber of Henderson. Rustam will cause fits throughout the fight with his strong grappling base, Henderson will be ready though, and will find a way to squeak out a decision like he usually does. Benson Henderson by Unanimous Decision.
Diego Sanchez (26-7) vs. Ross Pearson (17-6) – Lightweight Bout This fight has “Fight of the Night” written all over it. Pearson and Sanchez will almost surely stand and trade in the middle of the octagon, causing much inflicted harm among each other, leaving battered warriors standing in front of everyone. Pearson is the more technical of the two and if they get into an all out brawl during the duration of the fight, Pearson will more then likely land the more effective strikes. In order for Sanchez to win this fight, he will need to resurrect the old Diego. “The Nightmare” needs to reinsert his take down game, along with some strong ground and pound. If he is able to get Pearson to the mat, he has the ability to win a decision. Unfortunately, Diego has become to caught up in his striking, and Pearson will win the striking exchanges all day long. Ross Pearson by Unanimous Decision.
#1 John Dodson (16-6) vs. #5 John Moraga (14-2) – Flyweight Bout The Dodson versus Moraga fight has number one contender-ship status written all over it. Dodson is th top contender in the rankings, but a win by either could catapult one into a title shot. Moraga is the relentless brawler with some decent wrestling if he so chooses to use it. Dodson has the unique one punch knock out power in the flyweight division, while being one of the quickest fighters in the organization. Moraga can sometimes come in without abandon which will leave him open for one of Dodson’s meat cleaver left hooks. Have to admire Moraga’s determination and heart, but Dodson is the superior fighter. John Dodson by KO.
#6 Rafael Dos Anjos (20-7) vs. Jason High (19-4) – Lightweight Bout Jason High is the bigger fighter, but is making his first ever weight cut down to lightweight. Dos Anjos is a serious threat in the division and has won five out of his last six fights. High is known for his grappling prowess and his submissions. Dos Anjos will look to keep this fight standing, and beat High with his striking. If the bigger High can oppose his will in the grappling department, the decision is his. The MMA Spotlight has Rafael Dos Anjos winning though, bouncing back from his loss back in April. Rafael Dos Anjos by Unanimous Decision.
Yves Edwards (42-20-1) vs. Poitr Hallmann (14-2) – Lightweight Bout Hallmann is the favorite in this fight, and has faced a few tough opponents his last few fights in the octagon. None may be tougher then his latest draw against Yves Edwards. Edwards has fought a list of who’s who fighters throughout his career. Maybe the number of fights have caught up to the “thug-jitsu” practitioner, having loss two of his last three fights; with his recent loss overturned into a no contest after his opponent tested positive for marijuana after the bout. Losing streaks do get to some fighters, and it seems like Edwards brighter days are behind him. Poitr Hallmann by Unanimous Decision.
#11 Erik Perez (14-5) vs. #14 Bryan Caraway (18-7) – Bantamweight Bout Perez is the favorite, Caraway should give him a run for his money though. Both have a track record full of submissions, it may come down to who has the better striking game out of the two. Perez is well versed in both and could Bryan Caraway asleep whether if it is on the ground or standing. Erik Perez by TKO.
Some other Notable fights on the card include Scott “Young Gun” Jorgenson trying to keep his name on the Zuffa roster, after losing five of his last six fights. The loser between Jorgenson and Danny Martinez will almost certainly be axed after the event. Patrick Cummings will also participate on the card as part of the only fight on Fight Pass. Cummings is coming off a knock out loss to Daniel Cormier, and is hoping a lengthened camp will spearhead success in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Make sure to stay tuned into the MMA Section on the Guardian Liberty Voice, as the UFC events will be covered live through social media,; and will also be followed up on after the Henderson versus Khabilov event concludes.
Commentary by Justin Huffman
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Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer leading the coverage in MMA