UFC 121 – Preview and Predictions: The undercard

There are some great fights on the undercard of this event, one which particularly catches the the eye is the potential slug-fest involving Sam Stout and Paul Taylor. Both men are no stranger to the fight of the night bonus with Taylor sharing fight of the night honours with 3 of his previous 7 opponents since joining the UFC. Taylor makes his bow at lightweight here after a patchy run at 170lbs. Despite losing 4 of his 7 bouts he alsways brings the fight and has never been stopped since making his big-show debut at UFC70. Stout has 5 fight of the night bonuses in 9 ufc fights and has only been stopped once in all those appearances via submission loss to Kenny Florian. This battle promises fireworks and is unlikely to hit the floor too often.

Another heavy-hitting fight sees Gilbert Yvel take on John Madsen. Yvel has been employed recently has heavyweight barometer an after 3 plodding decision wins in a row for Madsen, this fight should really show us if he is going places or has already found his level. On spike TV’s aired prelims (also due to be aired on ESPN UK) we have Patrick Cote against Tom Lawlor and TUF11 winner court McGee against Ryan Jensen. Both fights are pretty even and will hopefully produce the goods to make the run-in to the main event an exciting one.

Dongi Yang 9-0-0 vs. Chris Camozzi 13-3-0 – Middleweight
Yang is a stablemate of “the korean zombie” Chang Sung Jung who is well-known for plying his trade in the WEC. He is unbeaten in 9 fights, winning the last 8 by TKO. A very impressive statistic but a look into his opponents shows that combined they have more losses than wins. He may very well be a prospect, or he may very well have been built up to look like one. One thing’s for sure, in the UFC paper-prospects always get exposed evenutally and we will find out what he is really made of here. Camozzi is a TUF 11 contestant with a varied background consisting of muay thai, judo and bjj. He was withdrawn from TUF11 after sustaining a broken jaw in his qualifying win over Victor O’Donnell. He fought on the series finale winning a decision against James Hammortree. Whilst Yang looks like the obvious pick and can no doubt throw down, Camozzi has faced better opposition, has more experience and is used to fighting the more ‘wrestling centric’ style of MMA that Yang has yet to be exposed to. Whilst it seems that, certainly on paper, Yang has the power to land the big shot and stop this fight. I’m going to pick Camozzi, purely based on experience and the assumption that he is intelligent enough to get underneath the hands of Yang, put him on his back and rough him up. A look through his record shows that he favours the choke and so in the absence of any other solid knowlegde about the guy, I’ll pick a sub win. Camozzi submission rd 2

Gilbert Yvel 36-15-1 (1 nc) vs. Jon Madsen 6-0-0 – Heavyweight
Madsen is unbeaten but has failed to impress, racking up three uninspiring decision wins since joining the UFC. Originally a cast member of TUF 10, he was KO’d by Brandon Schaub on the show, reappearing at the series finale as many fighters do, and subsequently securing a contract with his win over Justin Wren. He is a spoiling fighter, looking to takedown and control his opponents. He is very able to do this, but he seems to run out of ideas once it hits the mat and is happy to just smother the other fighter, scoring the occasional strike but never really threatening the finish. Yvel has long been known as a devastating striker with only a rudimentary understanding (or so it would seem) of the ground game in MMA. He needs to go back to doing what he does best if he is going to win this fight and not get dry humped by Madsen for 15 minutes. Madsen certainly has father time on his side and Yvel’s time at the top of the MMA game is running out. But I’m thinking Yvel should have enough on the feet to trouble Madsen, certainly early on. However, the longer it goes on, the more it favours Madsen. Yvel will almost certainly be given his marching orders after this fight as it is looking like this will be his third successive loss. I don’t belive Madsen is capable of pulling out a spectacular KO like Dos Santos did against Yvel. I think he can probably nick this one via decision. Madsen decision

Sam Stout 15-6-0 vs. Paul Taylor10-5-1 (1 nc) – Lightweight
An early contender for fight of the night, this is going to be a fantastic fight and I really hope we get to see it. Stout brings a spectacular style of Muay Thai striking to his MMA game and is a really exciting, dynamic fighter to watch. Taylor has a more orthodox kickboxing style, but that doesn’t make him less dangerous. Both men are notoriously hard to put away and both come into this fight off the back of hard-fought decision losses. Taylor is dropping down for his first fight at lightweight and will benefit from a slight size and reach advantage. This is going to be a war of attrition and is incredibly tough to call. Obviously I will be rooting for Taylor but I really like Stout’s style and just have a feeling that the way Taylor fights will play to Stouts strengths. On balance I think a Stout decision win is the right pick, but i’m all for Taylor proving me wrong here! Stout decision

Michael Guymon 12-3-1 vs. Daniel Roberts 10-1-0 – Welterweight
Guymon has been around a long-time and has had a few well publicised battles with his own personal demons to get to a point where after 10 years as a professional MMA fighter he made it to the UFC. Roberts is an excellent grappler and now trains with top 3 lightweight Gilbert Melendez. I genuinely don’t know how this fight is going to go as my knowledge on these fighters isn’t fantastic. Guymon has more than enough experience to handle everything Roberts can throw at him, but I’m not sure if he will be able to really impose himself on the younger man and do enough to be the clear winner in the judges eyes. Fingers in the air then as I take a wild-stab at a Roberts decision by wafer thin margin. Roberts decision

Aired prelims:
Patrick Cote vs. 13-6-0 Tom Lawlor 6-3-0 (1 nc) – Middleweight
If this fight was decided on the humour-factor at the weigh-ins then Lawlor would win. In fact Lawlor would be the ultimate, ultimate champion of the world. His weigh-in and walk-in antics are the stuff of legend and he comes across as one of the funniest guys in the whole of MMA. Unfortunately funny doesn’t win fights and he is up against a former title-contender here in the shape of Patrick Cote. Lawlor is no slouch and has shown improved striking and flashes of wrestling and submission brilliance. His 55 second guillotine over CB Dolloway is a standout moment for him. Both men are coming off 2 losses with their most recent being by submission (Lawlor to Doerksen and Cote to Belcher). You have to feel for Cote in those two losses though, his knee blew out against Anderson Silva and then he was dropped on his head by Belcher which is the only reason Belcher was able to secure the submission. There is a hell of a lot riding on this fight for both men with 3 losses in a row almos certainly leading to being cut. This is another fight that is real close and I could make a case for both men being able to take this fight. My gut instinct though, is that Cote can tough this one out and maybe even pull out a late stoppage. Cote T/KO rd 3

Court McGee 12-1-0 vs. Ryan Jensen 15-6-0 – Middleweight
McGee’s life story is one of those inspirational tales and if he continues to shine in MMA, you would expect a movie of his life to be made one day. A one time drug addict who was pronounced clinically dead after an OD went on to win the ultimate fighter and put together a 12 win in 13 fights streak that was snapped only by uber veteran Jeremey Horn ( who he took to a decision). McGee is an ex-pro boxer and has great wrestling. He faces off against a life-long martial artist in Jensen, who trains out of the infamous Jacksons MMA. His UFC record is patchy but he is coming in off off the back of a submission of the night victory over Jesse Forbes (somewhat tainted by the fact that it was the only submission win on the card that night and so won the bonus by default!). Everything about this fight tells me it’s McGees. He is a man on a mission to show everyone just how far he has come since turning his life around and it is often that single-minded determination and will to win that breeds champions. I am not overlooking Jensen, he has been in with some top fighters and will surely make this a fight. But I am picking McGee to take this one by decision. McGee decision

See my Main card picks here

**************UPDATED with Results ***********************
Jon Madsen vs. Gilbert Yvel – My Pick:Madsen decision Actual:Madsen TKO rd 1
Chris Camozzi vs. Dongi Yang – My Pick:Camozzi sub rd2 Actual:Camozzi decision
Sam Stout vs. Paul Taylor – My Pick:Stout decision Actual:Stout decision
Mike Guymon vs. Daniel Roberts – My Pick:Roberts decision Actual: Roberts submission (anaconda choke) rd 1
Patrick Côté vs. Tom Lawlor – My Pick: Cote TKO rd3 Actual: Lawlor decision
Court McGee vs. Ryan Jensen – My Pick: McGee Decision Actual: McGee submission (arm triangle choke) rd 3.


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