Saturday night's UFC Fight For the Troops 2 will be the organization's third major tribute to the United States Armed Forces. The main card will air live on Spike TV from Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas with the preliminaries scheduled to stream on Facebook.
First there was Fight Night 7, where Diego Sanchez demolished Joe “Diesel” Riggs in the first round of the main event. Next, the initial Fight for the Troops event came to Fayetteville, North Carolina. That fight card raised more than $4 million for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. For this event, a star-studded lineup is prepared to put it all on the line. Here are the match-ups and fighter weights for this one:
Evan Dunham (156) vs. Melvin Guillard (155)
Matt Mitrione (260) vs. Tim Hague (265.5)
Mark Hominick (144.5) vs. George Roop (145)
Patrick Barry (240) vs. Joey Beltran (230)
Cole Miller (155.5) vs. Matt Wiman (155.5)
Cody McKenzie (155) vs. Yves Edwards (155)
DaMarques Johnson (170) vs. Michael Guymon (170.5)
Mike Thomas Brown (146) vs. Rani Yahya (145)
Waylon Lowe (156) vs. Willamy Freire (155)
Charlie Brenneman (171) vs. Amilcar Alves (171)
Will Campuzano (135) vs. Chris Cariasco (135)
TELEVISED CARD (SPIKE TV)
Evan Dunham (11-1-0) vs. Melvin Guillard (26-8-2)
The main event gives Evan Dunham a chance to rebound from a tough split decision loss to Sean Sherk at UFC 119 last September. Dunham was undefeated until that fight, which many fans and experts thought he won. Guillard has three times as many fights under his belt than the older Dunham and is riding a three fight win streak. Guillard has won six of his last seven fights in the UFC, his last defeat coming at the hands of Nate Diaz at UFC Fight Night 19 in September of 2009. The experience factor certainly goes to Guillard, but Dunham is crafty and dynamic. Dunham gave Sherk a real run for his money and showed that even against a guy with world championship experience he can hang. This should be an all out war, and it's hard to envision this fight not going the distance. Dunham should get it done this time and will be trying not to leave it in the hands of the judges. Either way, he should grind out a victory in this one by avoiding Guillard's strengths and employing a well-rounded attack strategy.
Matt Mitrione (3-0-0) vs. Tim Hague (12-4-0)
Matt "Meathead" Mitrione faces Tim Hague in the co-main event. These two heavyweights are looking to prove their worth and guarantee themselves a chance to stay in the UFC and move up the rankings for a title shot someday. Hague's been out of the league for a stretch, and he comes back to face a 3-0 Mitrione in a fight that is likely to end by knockout. Mitrione has heavy hands, and his sloppy style has shown marked improvement since the TUF 10 season ended. Also in his favor is the fact that he beat Joey Beltran in his last fight, the same fighter Hague lost to in his last UFC tilt. The edge goes to Mitrione, but Hague will be fighting with more intensity knowing a win might keep him in the big leagues. It's a great fight for the fans, and despite having less experience, Mitrione should come out on top.
Mark Hominick (19-8-0) vs. George Roop (11-6-1)
There are featherweight title implications for Mark Hominick in his fight against George Roop on this card. Dana White announced that a Hominick win would earn him a meeting with UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo at UFC 129 in Toronto. Roop comes in with a height and reach advantage, but he is definitely the underdog. Look for Hominick to establish control early and win easily.
Pat Barry (5-2-0) vs. Joey Beltran (12-4-0)
Two more heavyweights face off next in a match-up of two former Tim Hague opponents. Pat Barry takes on Joey Beltran with both coming off tough losses. Barry's loss came to a legend of the sport he held in high regard and called his idol: Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic. With just 30 seconds to go in a fight he had been winning early, Barry lost by rear naked choke. Beltran, as mentioned above, had a brawl with Matt Mitrione go the distance last September and also looked to be winning early. Mitrione came back in the final two rounds to sway the judges and take the fight. Both of these fighters want and need a win to stay viable in the division. Beltran has the experience factor in his favor and 10 of his 12 wins come by knockout. Barry's wins are all in the first or second round, so if Beltran brings him to deep water he's likely to drown. Beltran should win this battle by catching Barry with his superior striking.
Cole Miller (17-4-0) vs. Matt Wiman (12-5-0)
Cole Miller and Matt Wiman have both won two of their last three fights. Miller won his second straight submission of the night bonus by beating TUF alumnus Ross Pearson in his last fight. Wiman submitted Mac Danzig last time out at UFC 115 last June. Both fighters will come into this contest wanting to prove their worth at 155, but Miller is the more well-rounded of the two. Miller should win by decision.
Cody McKenzie (12-0-0) vs. Yves Edwards (39-16-1)
Yves Edwards has one of those records that automatically commands respect. I had the pleasure of watching his last loss live at a Moosin event promoted by Eric "Butterbean" Esch last year. A tough as nails Mike Campbell took him to the final bell in a contest that could have gone either way. Edwards has seen his last three fights--all for different leagues--go to decisions. His opponent, Cody McKenzie, has won 11 straight fights by first round submission despite struggling a bit on the last TUF season. Not since his pro debut has he closed out a fight with anything other than a guillotine choke. If Edwards can effectively guard against McKenzie's bread and butter move he'll win this fight, but McKenzie's guillotine is no joke. Edwards has seen it all and been in the cage against a who's who of the sport, so he will be ready and should win a one-sided affair.
DaMarques Johnson (11-8-0) vs. Mike Guymon (12-4-1)
This is one of those fights where the word "release" instantly comes to mind for whoever loses. Guymon went down by submission in the opening round in two out of three of his past UFC fights. Rory MacDonald and Daniel Roberts both made quick work of him. Johnson failed to make weight in his last bout against Matt Riddle and had a two-fight win streak halted when he went down in the second round. Johnson comes in with the greater motivation to perform well this time out. He served in the United States Army for 8 years. He will now be fighting for the troops he used to fight with, so that dynamic could mean everything in this fight. Johnson should win early and show a much improved game, and he won't come in with weight issues this time out, either.