Saturday’s card isn’t the UFC’s most prolific. In fact, it’s pretty darn uninteresting.
Brandon Vera is irrelevant and insufficient for a main event that will determine a contender. Rua already lost to Jon Jones, so many fans will not be psyched to see a rematch. Machida is interesting and always an entertaining watch, but he has also been disposed of by “Bones” at UFC
Jamie Varner vs. Joe Lauzon
Tune in — this will be an entertaining fight. Lauzon’s fights never go to a decision and tend to be action packed. He is an aggressive grappler with a penchant for choking his opponents, which is probably the reason he is making his fourth appearance on a UFC Live event. “J-Lau” has been hot and cold over his last four fights. He easily submitted Melvin Guillard at UFC 136 but was KO’d in the first round by Anthony Pettis. We will see on Saturday if this loss was an aberration
Varner did not record a win in his last four fights in the WEC. His addition to the UFC roster seems to have set a fire underneath him, as he came out guns blazing when he KO’d Edson Barboza. Now he has a chance to show Dana White and Joe Silva that he is the real deal. White has respect for Joe Lauzon, evidenced by his appearance on live shows. A win over J-Lau would be another step toward being a serious contender
Lyoto Machida vs. Ryan Bader
Expect a chase. Bader is a wrestler, and Machida is well-known for his avoidance tactics. Bader will struggle to get his hands on Machida and bring him to the floor. In fact, I don’t see any way Bader can win this fight. Despite the likelihood of running and chasing, this fight may still produce a violent ending. Machida is a dangerous and precise striker, and has performed very well against the Bader-style fighters. For example, Machida crushed Randy Couture and Rashad Evans in devastating fashion. Expect more of the same here.
After Machida moves past Bader, and Rua moves past Vera, the two men could be on track for a rubber match in the near future.
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Brandon Vera
In short, expect a drubbing. Brandon Vera is a pedestrian fighter. His fights against Thiago Silva and Jon Jones were embarrassing. Not sure what Dana White was thinking when he said the winner of this fight would be the #1 contender. Although I am certain Dana knows two things: Rua will win, and win convincingly. This will make for good live television.
Although Rua looked weak and slow against Jon Jones, it is fair to say that “Bones” makes everyone look that way. Outside of that performance, Rua has looked fantastic. After crushing Lyoto Machida two years ago, Rua went on to lose to Jon Jones and Dan Henderson. The Henderson fight was close, and the Jones loss understandable. Rua also dispatched of Forrest Griffin easily.
Compare this to Vera’s last four fights, and it’s hard to fathom how this match was even made, other than the theory that Vera is a sacrificial lamb for the live event on FOX.
Barring an injury that may have affected his cardio training (Rua is notorious for gassing out because of nagging training camp injuries), Rua should dispatch of Vera handily.
As for a title rematch, Rua will be more motivated the second time around. He has also had an opportunity to watch the film and game plan. I expect him to give Jones a much tougher fight, but the result will ultimately be the same as before.
Verdict: Tune in for a night of entertaining fights, even though the fighters and results bear little excitement in regards to the title picture.