By: William Holmes
Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. have long ruled the pound for pound list in boxing. While the heavier weight classes in MMA garner the attention of the media and the casual fan, the lighter weight classes tend to showcase the technical ability and beauty of MMA that most of the casual fans don’t get to observe in the heavier weight classes. This Saturday, in what may be the last UFC event on Versus, features a bantamweight title fight between Dominic Cruz and Demetrious Johnson. The following is a preview of the main card matchups.
Matt Wiman(13-6) vs. Mac Danzig (20-8-1); Lightweight
Mac Danzig, a former winner of The Ultimate Fighter, takes on a former contestant of the Ultimate Fighter in Matt Wiman. This is a rematch of their 2010 fight in which Wiman was declared the winner by technical submission, even though replays show Danzig never tapped and was still conscious. The UFC rightly decided to allow these two to rematch and quell the controversy that remains.
Danzig was previously in danger of being cut when he went through a three fight losing streak at the hands of Clay Guida, Josh Neer, and Jim Miller. Since then he has gone 2-1 defeating Justin Buchholz and Joe Stevenson, with his defeat being the controversial one to Wiman. Wiman has gone 3-2 in his last five fights, defeating Cole Miller and Shane Nelson, while losing to Sam Stout and Dennis Siver. Wiman has holes in his standup game that Danzig should be able to take advantage of. However, Wiman’s ground game is solid and he has never lost by submission. Danzig certainly has the superior talent standing, but has been known to make mental mistakes and will pay for them if he lapses against Wiman. This will likely be a very close and entertaining fight, and provided Danzig executes his game plan perfectly, he should win this by decision.
Stefan Struve (21-5) vs. Pat Barry (6-3); Heavyweight
It is not uncommon for the UFC to put on a fight on their main card that will most likely not see any action on the ground, and this is the perfect example of that type of fight. Stefan Struve hails from Holland, and country that is known for producing fighters with an excellent kickboxing pedigree. Pat Barry hails from the United States, and has trained with some of the world’s best kick boxers such as Ernesto Hoost. There is little to no doubt that this will be a standup affair, and the type of fight that the higher ups in the UFC hopes to catch the attention of the casual sports fan.
Stefan Struve has seen mixed results in the UFC, and has a record of 5-3 in the organization. In his past five fights, only one has gone to decision. Even though he is a kick boxer, his chin has been questioned recently as he has experienced two KO defeats to Roy Nelson and Travis Browne. Pat Barry has gone 3-3 in the UFC, with his last defeat being a KO at the hands of Cheick Kongo in an extremely exciting fight. Barry has fought fighters with a kick boxing experience in the UFC before, losing to Mirko Cro Cop by submission, and defeating Antoni Hardonk by TKO. Struve might be wise to attempt to take this fight to the ground, as Barry has shown little to zero ability to avoid submissions. To his credit, Barry has been training with Brock Lesnar and likely has developed a decent sprawl to avoid any takedown attempts by Struve. This fight could go either way, but Barry will likely catch Struve sometime in the second or third round and score an exciting TKO victory.
Charlie Brenneman (14-2) vs. Anthony Johnson (9-3); Welterweight
The last time we saw Brenneman he was a last minute replacement for Nate Marquardt and pulled off the upset victory over Rick Story. The Pennsylvania native, and Ring of Combat veteran, has gone 3-1 in the UFC, with his only loss being a TKO at the hands of Johnny Hendricks. Brenneman has yet to pull off a submission or TKO victory in the UFC, and possess great stamina that allows him to outwork his opponents and grind out victories. Brenneman appears to be a prototypical MMA fighter, someone with good wrestling and average standup.
Anthony Johnson is one of the biggest welterweight that the UFC currently employs. He shows flashes of brilliance and has five KO or TKO victories while in the UFC. Johnson however has questionable stamina, and has been known to fade late possibly due to his drastic weight cutting measures. He was able to score a decision victory over Dan Hardy in his last fight, but prior to that submitted to Josh Koscheck late in the second round. If Johnson’s conditioning has improved he should win this fight easily as he has decent takedown defense and very good power in his standup ability. Brenneman’s best chance to win is to press the pace and grind out a decision victory and hope Johnson begins to fade in the later rounds. It’s doubtful that Brenneman will pull off an upset two fights in a row.
Dominick Cruz (18-1) vs. Demetrious Johnson (9-1); Bantamweight
The main event features current Bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz against Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson. Since Cruz started fighting for the UFC/WEC, he has gone 8-1 and only one of his victories has been by TKO, the rest went to a decision. Johnson has gone 4-1, with only one of his victories coming by submission. Based on the odds, it is likely that this fight will go to a decision. However, based on prior performances, this fight will likely be fast paced with non stop action.
Johnson’s sole loss came at the hands of Brad Pickett by a decision. Since then he has defeated former Bantamweight champion Miguel Torres and former #1 ranked featherweight Kid Yamamoto. Johnson has incredibly quick takedowns, and is able to mix up his stand up with his takedowns to keep his opponents guessing. Cruz’s only defeat came by submission to Urijah Faber in 2007 by guillotine choke. Cruz has since avenged that defeat with a close five round decision victory over Faber in July of this summer. Since his defeat to Faber, Cruz has gone 9-0, defeating Faber, Benavidez twice, and Brian Bowles. Cruz is non-stop motion, and will hit his opponent with a few shots and glide out before they get a chance to counter. He lacks knockout power, but his victories have been based on pure voluminous punching.
If Johnson is successful in his takedown attempts early in the fight, he will likely be able to control the pace and where the action goes. One thing about Johnson is that he is only 5’3”, and may have trouble taking down the much taller Dominick Cruz. If Cruz can stay standing, he will coast to another decision v