Well, it wasn’t the best season of the show, but it was certainly an entertaining event! So, what to make of all this action and new UFC fighters? Allow me to make some observations and see where all these fighters are headed.
Tony Fergueson vs Ramsey Nijem: Decent scrap here, but nothing spectacular from either fighter. Fergueson came in with a smart game plan of aggressive wrestling and avoiding Nijem’s top game, while Nijem was predictable in his hunt of takedowns. Nijem clipped Fergueson several times, but Fergueson fired the final salvo and put Nijem out cold.
Fergueson has some very nice hands, but his defensive ability is lagging behind his overall striking skills. I expect he’ll face someone like Sean Pierson in his next bout as a trial by fire. For Nijem, he displayed an unbelievable amount of strength with his takedowns and striking. Lightweight is the best place for Nijem to continue his UFC career.
Clay Guida vs Anthony Pettis: Anyone who fights Guida knows they have fifteen minutes to avoid losing a decision, and Pettis certainly tried to beat that clock. Guida used the perfect amount of striking to allow for takedowns and held position for almost the entire fight. Pettis did his level best to work combinations standing and offense off his back, but Guida’s defense was simply too sound, giving him a decision win.
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Guida has been on a tear, and while the line of Lightweight contenders is stacking up, no one is a clear-cut contender. Guida vs Jim Miller for a title shot is the best situation here once the title picture is clear. For Pettis, he showed a great deal of talent in this fight, and I expect him to work even harder on his takedown defense and bottom game. A fight with Donald Cerrone or Mark Bocek makes sense at this point.
Kyle Kingsbury vs Fabio Maldonado: The rightful FOTN winner, both men unloaded punishment on each other, scoring numerous crushing blows and near submissions. In the end, it was Kingsbury’s knee strikes from the clinch and takedowns that gave him the decision win in a close bout.
Kingsbury showed continued improvement in this fight, and an ability to avoid danger areas once they presented themselves. One criticism would be his lack of a solid wrestling base, which has plagued him since his time in the TUF house. A fight with the winner of Soszynski vs Pokrajac is a great fit for Kingsbury to test himself and build a fan base. For Maldonado, a drop to Middleweight would be smart to fix his cardio issue and allow him to be more competitive in the future.
Ed Herman vs Tim Credeur: Short and sweet fight, as Herman survived Credeur’s wild shots early and landed a crushing uppercut for the win.
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For Herman, this fight didn’t show much but at least helped him with his confidence, both in getting through a fight and getting through a training camp uninjured. I think he may get Tim Boetsch next time out, or perhaps test some new blood in the division. For Credeur, an unimpressive performance will send him packing to the minor leagues, and I don’t expect him to be back.
Chris Cope vs Chuck O’Neil: A fight that showcased Cope’s improvement and O’Neil’s lack thereof left me fairly unexcited for either man’s future. Cope showed a good deal of footwork and angles in his strikes, but failed to put away a clearly over-matched opponent, taking an easy decision.
Chris Cope won, but did little to make his stock rise. A fight with castmate Clay Harvison will help the winner get a foothold in the division.
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