UFC on FX 5 takes place on Friday, October 5th, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The action starts with the Facebook prelims at 4:00pm est (what the hell? I’ll still be at work… what idiot thought it would be a good idea to start the event at a time when most viewers will be unable to watch??? Hopefully it’s a typo on the UFC website… moving on…) The Fuel TV prelims will start at 6:00pm est, and the main card on FX will start at 8:00pm est. This should be a great event, as the preliminary card is riddled with great fights. The reason is because most of these guys were supposed to be fighting on the UFC 151 card, which of course was cancelled after the main event (Jones vs Henderson) fell apart.
Travis Browne (13-0-1) vs. Antonio Silva (16-4)
Browne is a very in-your-face heavyweight, focusing on pressuring his opponents with his powerful striking arsenal. Still undefeated, Browne’s only poor performance came against Cheick Kongo, who used: eye-pokes, low blows, held on to the cage, and held on to the shorts so much that he was deducted a point. Last year, Browne flattened top ranked Stefan Struve with a single punch. When it comes to the ground game, Browne is still working on it, but he definitely has a dangerous top game when it comes to both striking and submissions. “Bigfoot” Silva is also a very dangerous fighter, holding black belts in Karate, Judo and BJJ. He is fairly slow and plodding in the standup department, but his linear approach to striking makes great use of his long reach. He’s a former Cage Rage and Strikeforce champion, with wins over big name opponents of yesteryear, such as: Tom Erikson, Ricco Rodriguez, Andrei Arlovski and Fedor Emelianenko. Bigfoot has struggled lately, dropping two in a row against today’s top level fighters Daniel Cormier and Cain Velasquez (actually they both crushed him in the 1st round). I really like Browne in this fight, although he doesn’t have the same level of experience against elite competition, stylistically he should win this fight. Silva is 6’4 and 265 pounds, while Browne is 6’7 and 250 pounds, and although Silva will still have a 4 inch reach advantage, he won’t be able to bully Browne around the octagon. Browne’s moving forward style is tailor made for overcoming reach advantages, which he displayed against Stefan Struve, but if he finds himself underneath Silva he will be in a world of trouble. All things considered, I see Browne going right after Silva, crowding him early and letting loose some heavy leather to the Brazilian’s dome.
Winner: Travis Browne
Jake Ellenberger (27-6) vs. Jay Hieron (23-5)
Ellenberger is the hardest hitting welterweight in the UFC today, utilizing devastating strikes to mount an early first round assault on his opponents. In addition to his striking power, Ellenberger also uses his strength in the wrestling department, basically muscling guys to the ground instead of using great technique. He lost his UFC debut in what was an absolute dogfight against title contender Carlos Condit, but he also dropped his last fight against Martin Kampmann. Interestingly enough, Kampmann was working with Hieron in preparation for that fight. Hieron is also a striking specialist, but he uses much better technique, and although he might not have the power of Ellenberger, he has more than enough to score a knockout over anyone in the division. Apart from his striking though, Hieron also possesses an exceptional ground game, which he put on display in a razor-thin split decision loss to Bellator kingpin Ben Askren. This really is a tough fight to predict, and no matter what happens, it should be an amazing fight. Never the less, I have to pick someone, right? Well, Hieron actually has a win over Ellenberger from back in 2006, but so much has changed since then. Ellenberger has clearly grown and expanded his game more than Hieron has in that time, and the advanced age of Hieron has probably cause him to fade just a little. I think Hieron will be unable to keep Ellenberger off him in the first round, and Ellenberger will pick up another knockout on his way up the welterweight ladder.
Winner: Jake Ellenberger
John Dodson (13-5) vs. Jussier Da Silva (14-1)
Yet another Jackson’s fighter on this card, Dodson got his UFC start by winning the TUF 14 tournament, finishing T.J. Dillashaw by 1st round TKO in the finale. Dodson is a well rounded fighter with great speed and athleticism. Being a southpaw makes his elusive counter striking style that much more effective, and confusing for his opponents. You have to admire the level of energy and enthusiasm Dodson brings to every fight, but although he’s undefeated in the UFC, he’s still 0-1 in the ultimate nugget championship. Da Silva is a longtime top ranked featherweight fighter, coming out of the highly acclaimed Nova Uniao fight team, he will be making his UFC debut tomorrow night. His striking is decent, and he’s been working on it for years now, but his true talent lies in his amazing BJJ game. His crazy agility allows him to get the upper hand in most scrambles, and his level of experience on the ground makes it seem like he can predict his opponents next move. I’m at a loss once again for picking a winner… The way I see it, Dodson is the superior striker, and he has the wrestling ability to keep the fight standing. If they do end up on the ground, Dodson will be in trouble, but he’s pretty competent in that position himself (having never been submitted), and there’s a chance that he could force a stalemate until the end of the round. All things being equal, I think this is Dodson’s fight to lose, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Da Silva wrap himself around Dodson like a snake and elicit the tapout.
Winner: John Dodson
Justin Edwards (7-2) vs. Josh Neer (33-11-1)
Winner: Josh Neer
Reminder: The fights are tomorrow night, on FRIDAY, so make sure to get your picks done in time. Good luck!