Rob Emerson (17-8-1) vs. Phillipe Nover (9-2-1)
The Fighters: In what has become a staple of UFC undercards, this match, between two former Ultimate Fighter contestants, has "loser leaves town written all over it."
For some reason Rob Emerson seems to have nine lives. He’s 2-2 [1 NC] in the UFC. In his debut fight he got slammed on his dome by Grey Maynard and while it was eventually ruled a no contest it was obvious he would have lost that fight. His two wins were over Kekita Nakamura (a split decision against a fighter who went 0-3 in the UFC) and Manny Gamburyan (who now fights at 145 pounds.) Emerson has solid kickboxing and good takedown defense but not enough to present a serious threat against even middle of the road lightweights.
Nover of course had a ton of hype coming into the Ultimate Fighter Finale. Dana White went as far as to compare him to Anderson Silva….whoops. Nover is 0-2 in the UFC and has had serious medical trouble along the way. Nover feinted in the opening moments of his TUF season and had another incident before his scheduled fight against Sam Stout in September. On the day of the fight Nover had another feinting episode and was not medically cleared to fight.
Breakdown: While Nover is primary a ground fighter his standup is more then adequate. In this fight expect him to look to go to the ground early where he will have a significant advantage against Emerson. The key to this fight will be Emersons take down defense as the only hope he has of winning this fight is on the feet. And even then I’m not so sure how he’d fare.
Prediction: Nover Via Unanimous Decision
Brian Stann (8-2) vs. Phil Davis (4-0)
The Fighters: Brian "All-American" Stann is a former Marine who is probably best known for his three fight trilogy against Steve Cantwell. Since joining the UFC, Stann is 2-1 and 8-2 overall.
Phil Davis is one of the UFC’s newly signed prospects. Considering how many prospects the UFC has let sign with other organizations recently one would assume they think very highly of him. The 25 year old Davis is 4-0 heading into his Octagon debut. Davis was a decorated wrestler at Penn State. He was a 4 time All-American with a career 116-20 record, including a 26-1 senior year where he won an individual title.
Breakdown: While it’s possible Davis will have the so called "UFC jitters" it’s hard to see him losing this fight. While he is raw he’s far too decorated of a wrestler and natural athlete for Stann to contain. Plus do you really think the UFC would make a big deal about signing Davis only to have him lose? Davis is the second coming of Rashad Evans.
Prediction: Davis Via Unanimous Decision
Tim Hague (10-2) vs. Chris Tuchscherer (17-2)
The Fighters: Two guys that are infamous for very different things. Hague was on the wrong end of one of the most embarrassing losses in recent memory (the Todd Duffee power-jab) Tuchscherer in his UFC debut was kicked in the groin by Gabriel Gonzaga in one of the most horrifying sights in recent memory.
Hague fights like a caveman. He keeps his hands and body so square he’s just asking to be knocked out. He’s 1-1 in the UFC and billed as having submission skills but don’t let the one win fool you. Pat Berry, who has no ground game, basically gave Hauge his neck and said "please choke me." Tuchsherer on the other hand trains with Brock Lesnar and Minnesota MMA. He has legit wrestling skills and was a Division II All-American at Morehead University.
Breakdown: While we haven’t seen a ton of these guys in the Octagon I have yet to be impressed with Hauge. His chin is questionable, to say the least, and his stand up game leaves a ton to be desired. The same could be said with Tuchscherer but if nothing else we know he’s incredibly tough and a solid wrestler.
Prediction: Tucscherer TKO Round 2
Rolles Gracie (3-0) vs. Joey Beltran (10-3)
The Fighters: Rolles Gracie continues the legacy of the Gracie Family. He is the son of Rolls Gracie, who was raised by his uncle the Helio Gracie. As the Gracie name would suggest Rolles is an excellent submission fighter and is a second degree blackbelt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. This is Rolles UFC debut. Gracie is 3-0, including one win in the now defunct IFL.
Beltran is replacing Mustapha-Al Turk on very late notice (Al-Turk had visa issues.) The Mexicutioner, awesome nickname, presents a tougher test than Al-Turk would have. Primarily a kickboxer, Beltran is 10-3 with wins over UFC vets Wes Combs and Houston Alexander.
Breakdown: While Gracie is rough around the edges as a complete fighter his ground game is world class. As seen in his other fights his game plan will be simple. He will look to use his boxing to close the distance, clinch and proceed to look for a submission. While Beltran is a solid prospect he lacks top fight experience and will have no answer to Rolles ground skills.
Prediction: Rolles Gracie Rear Naked Choke Round 1
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