The UFC comes to Baltimore, MD tonight for their latest pay per view fight card at UFC 172. The main event tonight is Jon Jones taking on Glover Teixeira for the Light Heavyweight Championship. The fight card looks pretty entertaining, and given my proximity to Baltimore I would love to be there live - just didn't work out. Here are some quick thoughts on tonight's card:
Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira; Light Heavyweight Championship
Jon Jones has range and finishing ability. He can beat you with submissions and with TKOs. Glover hasn't lost a fight in nine years, but the class of his opposition hasn't been the likes of Jones. Jones has only been disqualified for illegal elbows against Matt Hamill, being the only recent mark on his record.
Jones is the favorite for a reason. Glover is not the biggest challenge that Jones has faced, and despite his success in UFC and the wins he logged, I have a hard time seeing him doing much to Jones. Jones has been hit before, and he struggled against Gustafsson in the first half of their bout. Vitor almost caught him with an arm bar. Despite a few humanizing moments like this, Jones has been spectacular.
Jones has a reach advantage and good striking range to go with a fantastic ground and pound game. He's dangerous in the submission game and in the clinch. Jones has weapons and he knows how to use them in a variety of ways. Teixeira hits hard though, and he has a good submission game too. He lacks the speed that Jones has and doesn't have the height and reach issues that a guy like Gustafsson had either. But Glover can do damage with that big right hand, and he accumulates strikes well.
In the end, this is Jones' fight to take it wherever he wants. I can't discount Glover's ability to land a killshot, but his run comes to an end tonight.
Prediction: Jon Jones by submission, round 3
Phil Davis vs. Anthony Johnson (Light Heavyweight Bout)
Davis has some good submission skills and is a fantastic wrestler, but lacks a good striking game. Johnson, on the other hand, is an excellent striker but has struggled against good wrestlers before. Johnson has been doing well of late to get this opportunity. He can stop just about anyone if he catches them, but that's not a given going against Davis.
If Johnson were to KO Davis, it would breath some life into the Light Heavyweight division and put him on the path to a title shot. I just think it's going to be a lot more possible that Davis is able to get him to the ground using his wrestling skills and make it a long night for Johnson.
Prediction: Phil Davis via submission, round 2
Luke Rockhold vs. Tim Boetsch (Middleweight Bout)
Rockhold, the former Strikeforce fighter, looked fantastic against Costas Philippou in his last outing. Costas put away Boetsch, who is a durable fighter. This seems like a placeholder fight for Rockhold. While you can never count anyone out, and that's why you fight the fights, I'll be shocked if Rockhold slips here and loses. If he shows the form he showed against Costas, he will pick up the victory.
Prediction: Luke Rockhold via submission, Round 1
Jim Miller vs. Yancey Medeiros (Lightweight Bout)
Talk about short turnarounds. Medeiros took this fight on a week's notice. Given he was already on the card, he is in fighting shape. Miller, however, is a veteran who can control fights and score a submission from out of anywhere.
Mederios has a height and reach advantage on Miller and is a hard hitter. His lone career loss came in a fluke injury from defending a takedown. He has good finishing instinct and has shown a lot of good things inside the octagon even though we've seen little of him. Miller, on the other hand, hasn't looked all that great in his last couple fights. He did defeat Fabricio Camoes but didn't look too good until he locked the armbar in from his back.
As long as Miller comes in better than his last fight, he will do enough to get a decision victory.
Prediction: Jim Miller via decision.
Max Holloway vs. Andre Fili (Featherweight Bout)
Fili has only made one appearance in UFC. He took a short notice fight against Jeremy Larsen and won it, making a big impression. Holloway has entertained in a few fights, but he lacks greatness in any particular area of his game. Fili is a good finisher, and he has a better upside over Holloway in this fight.
Prediction: Andre Fili via TKO, round 2
Bonus Quick Picks for the Preliminary Card:
Joseph Benavidez over Tim Elliot
Issac Vallie-Flagg over Takanori Gomi
Jessamyn Duke over Bethe Coreia
Danny Castillo over Charlie Brenneman
Patrick Williams over Chris Beal