UFC Fight Night 73 hits Knoxville, Tennessee, and includes one of their own on Saturday, August 8, 2015, as hometown light heavyweight Ovince St. Preux looks to move up the light heavyweight ladder, but only if he can get past the Brazilian, Glover Teixeira. The prelims start on Fight Pass at 6:30 p.m. EST, switch over to FOX Sports 2 at 8:00 p.m. EST, than head to its final destination at 10:00 p.m. EST. With contender status on the line in numerous fights on the card, the competition should be at an all-time high, with a heavy dose of entertaining bouts to round out the night.
#4 Glover Teixeira (22-4) vs. #6 Ovince St. Preux (18-6) Light Heavyweight Bout – Once considered the cream of the crop and a legitimate challenger for the light heavyweight title, for the first time in his MMA career, Teixeira is facing some hardship. It will not be easy, as St. Preux is as tough as it comes, and is winning despite still getting over the learning curve. Athletically, St. Preux takes the cake, and could out wrestle Teixeira if he chooses, but only if he does not get caught first. The Brazilian is a crisp boxer and holds tons of power in each fist. If this was a pure boxing match, Teixeira takes this home in the first round and calls it an early night, but unfortunately it is not. Look for St. Preux to stick to the outside, then explode into take-downs to drag this to the mat. With the hometown crowd behind him, St. Preux may have his best performance yet, but a finish is hard to come by with Teixeira. Ovince St. Preux via Unanimous Decision.
#5 Michael Johnson (17-8) vs. #12 Beneil Dariush (11-1) Lightweight Bout – Both Johnson and Dariush have looked darn near invincible during their respective winning streaks. Johnson has faced some of the upper echelon of the lightweight division, beating Edson Barboza, Gleison Tibau, Joe Lauzon, and Melvin Guillard and coasting his way through four fights. Even though Dariush’s streak comprises of lesser fighters, his last two victories in the UFC, over Jim Miller and Daron Cruickshank, have been superb. Both are very similar, as they like use their striking game to set up take-downs. Johnson does seem to become one-dimensional when taking the fight down, and Dariush can either pound out or submit someone to end the fight. Many opinions vary, but Dariush may have the higher ceiling than Johnson, which will come into play in this co-main event. Beneil Dariush via Submission.
#15 Derek Brunson (13-3) vs. “Smiling” Sam Alvey (25-6) Middleweight Bout – One can almost smell the take-down in the air when it comes to Brunson. Alvey has been rolling; knocking out the last three opponents who dared to stand with him. Alvey is not the most technically savvy striker, nor the most fluent, but when those hands land, they land with devastation. Brunson’s stand-up game has improved monumentally and evolved since his first bout in the UFC, but it really comes into question whether it would be smart to trade with Alvey. If Brunson were to follow a game plan, it should be to take Alvey down, lay and prey on him, and hope Alvey cannot get up and get off on him. Alvey’s take-down defense has always been his Achilles heel, and it will be here as well. Unless Alvey can avoid the take-downs, the fantasy implications are limited in this bout. Derek Brunson via Unanimous Decision.
Jared Rosholt (12-2) vs. Timothy Johnson (9-1) Heavyweight Bout – Rosholt really tried his hand in the striking game last time he was in the UFC cage, but it may be best to avoid the damage this time against the heavy-handed Johnson. Johnson does not manage to impress many with his physique, nor the technicality of his striking, but those fists are nightmares if they find their mark. It is yet to be known what kind of take-down defense Johnson has, which is an area Rosholt should test early and often. If Rosholt can continuously drag Johnson to the ground throughout the bout, Johnson does not stand much of a chance. Jared Rosholt via Unanimous Decision.
Chris Camozzi (21-10) vs. Tom “Kong” Watson (17-8) Middleweight Bout – This bout is a contender for possible “Fight of the Night” honors if the two live up to their striking ways. Watson prides himself on standing and banging with each opponent he faces, and he should get a lot of compliance with Camozzi. Camozzi will be happy to exchange with anyone willing to take on the challenge, and he throws some of the hardest kicks in the division. These two sluggers should be able to provide exactly what a crowd yearns for; some gruesome exchanges and possibly someone getting knocked out. Tom Watson via Technical Knockout.
#14 Ray Borg (8-1) vs. Geane Herrara (8-0) Bantamweight Bout – Borg has quietly become one of the rising prospects in a prospect-needy UFC flyweight division. It is unfortunate enough to see that the UFC could not get a more sensible match-up with another top 15 flyweight, so a newly signed undefeated fighter will have to do. Herrara made his mark on the local scene before being swooped up by the UFC, having won five of his eight fights by submission. His submission game will be put to the task against the aggressive Borg, as he himself has compiled quite the submissions as well. Borg will look to wrestle early and often, relying on quick transitions and opportune scrambles to grab Herrara’s back and sink something in nasty-like. Granted, it will not be the prettiest fight to open the main card, but Borg does provide that fantasy factor with a possible early finish. Ray Borg via Submission.
In other notable fights on the card, Urijah Hall brings his show-stopping abilities to the cage when he takes on newcomer Oluwale Bamgbose. Sarah McMann and Amanda Nunes also compete to see who can creep into title contention later down the line. Another interesting bout to pay attention to could be the Dustin Ortiz and Willie Gates fight, if Gates can keep the fight standing, it could be a pretty entertaining preliminary bout. For all UFC preview and fantasy analysis, check out the MMA Spotlight for the insider scoop.
Commentary by Justin Huffman
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