Coming from Newark, New Jersey the UFC hits live with some middleweight implications on the line. Title challengers Lyoto Machida and Luke Rockhold face off in a battle of fists and kicks, each hoping for another shot at the middleweight belt. The number one contender may have something to say about that in the co main event, as Souza welcomes back Chris Camozzi to the octagon. All the action kicks off on Fight Pass at 4:30 pm EST, making the final switch over to FOX with the prelims hitting the cage first at 6 pm EST. For live coverage of the UFC event, follow the MMA Spotlight for coverage, then tune in later for the full results. Title shot or broke for three middleweights, Saturday night has almost become a make or break event.
#2 Lyoto Machida (22-5) vs. #4 Luke Rockhold (13-2) Middleweight Bout – Machida can ill afford another slow start facing off with another well polished striker in Luke Rockhold. Feeling his way through the first three rounds has been Machida’s achilles heel in his losses, especially in his last title shot against UFC middleweight champion, Chris Weidman. Rockhold needs to push the Brazilian, and keep an exhilarating pace that only he can match. Both are consider top-tier caliber finishers in their division, but neither are an easy out so do not expect an early fight in this one. This is one of the more evenly matched up main events in recent events, it would be hard to ride either in fantasy lineups. If one must be picked, go with Rockhold; he will have enough output and production from his striking to produce some fantasy numbers. Machida relies heavily on precise accuracy more than high volume to win his UFC bouts. Luke Rockhold via Unanimous Decision.
#1 Ronaldo Souza (21-3) vs. Chris Camozzi (19-9) Middleweight Bout – Fighters keep dropping like flies, in which has almost turned this into a ‘gimme’ fight of sorts for UFC’s number one contender in the middleweight division, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. Chris Camozzi is a well-traveled pioneer of MMA, and a former cast member off the ever so popular, “Ultimate Fighter” series; however the talent level lacks, where the heart does not for Camozzi. Souza will not wow anyone with his striking prowess or slick combinations standing up, but will eat his opponents alive on the ground if he gets it there. Camozzi is one tough son of a gun, but his take down defense lacks tremendously, which is where he will be exploited quickly enough. The UFC main event may not exactly provide the horse you can ride off with into a fantasy victory but the co main event may have solved that issue. Ronaldo Souza wins this with ease, if not, Camozzi earns one huge upset and quite a few wide open eyes. Ronaldo Souza via Submission.
#5 Cub Swanson (21-6) vs. #9 Max Holloway (12-3) Featherweight Bout –A fighter looking for redemption, and another looking for respect. Swanson eyes the rebound after suffering an embarrassing loss at the hands of Frankie Edgar, while Holloway is looking for his sixth win in a row in effort to climb up the UFC featherweight ladder. Swanson will look to stick in Holloway’s face, and land precise blows in volume while Holloway will be eager to dance around Swanson, find angles, and kick-start his attack from a distance. Holloway is the better well-rounded fighter, but does not do good with pressure right in his face. Swanson’s experience, ability, and perseverance will pay off in the long run in this fight. The finish possibility in this UFC featherweight bout quite low, so the fantasy implications are a bit floundered, but this will be a possible fight of the night candidate without a doubt. Cub Swanson via Unanimous Decision.
#8 Felice Herrig (10-5) vs. #12 Paige VanZant (4-1) Strawweight Bout – The feeling here is that Felice Herrig may be underestimating her younger counter part in this fight, going on record saying that VanZant would not have gone past the first round of the recent all women “Ultimate Fighter” series. Paige VanZant trains with some of the best at Team Alpha Male, and showed in her last fight that she can be just as tenacious as any other woman inside the octagon. Herrig likes to consistently turtle up when she gets taken down, and does not put forth too much effort to get back up from her back, choosing to try to nab submissions instead. Paige relied on a pressure and take down heavy game plan in her debut, which is exactly how to defeat an experienced vet like Felice. If Paige VanZant can stay patient and not become overzealous in guard, she could ride out a decision victory over Herrig. Paige VanZant via Unanimous Decision.
The prelims could provide fantasy owners the finishes needed to take home victories, here are some names who could do just that Saturday night. Ovince St. Preux had been on a tear lately before Bader wrestled him to a loss, but rebounded nicely knocking out Shogun Rua. Cummings is a strong wrestler, but lacks the power Bader has to threaten St. Preux. Look for Cummings to shoot in, and for St. Preux to possibly snatch up another “Chicken Wing” submission. Another fighter on the rise is UFC bantamweight, Aljamain Sterling. The “Funk Master” is undefeated in ten fights, and provides the excitement the crowd yearns for in each and every bout. Mizugaki is a top ten bantamweight for a reason, which is exactly why Sterling needs to shine in this fight. For all the UFC coverage on the night, follow the MMA Spotlight for the following coverage.
Commentary by Justin Huffman
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Guardian Liberty Voice sports writer leading the coverage in MMA