UFC 139: Facebook Undercard Dissection

The UFC 139: Henderson vs. Rua live pay-per-view will feature a five-piece undercard stream on the UFC's Facebook page. The Facebook prelims will stream prior to the hour-long Spike TV broadcast that airs at 8 p.m. ET.

For reasons unknown, the Michael McDonald vs. Alex Soto bout was swapped with the Tom Lawlor vs. Chris Weidman match. The former will now air on the Spike prelims and Lawlor-Weidman was bumped down to the Facebook undercard. This leaves the following layout for the Facebook stream:

Nick Pace vs. Miguel Torres
Rafael dos Anjos vs. Gleison Tibau
Tom Lawlor vs. Chris Weidman
Seth Baczynski vs. Matt Brown
Shamar Bailey vs. Danny Castillo

The Pace vs. Torres scrap will be detailed separately and the remaining four match ups will be covered within. Gleison Tibau (24-7) vs. Rafael dos Anjos (15-5) is the first fight on tap after the break.

Gifs and analysis in the full entry.

SBN coverage of UFC 139: Henderson vs. Rua

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Two Brazilians with black-belt grappling credentials will look to vault up the ladder in the UFC's stacked lightweight class.

In what was only his second career TKO, dos Anjos crushed Australian contender George Sotiropoulos in the first round at UFC 132.

The victory was pivotal for dos Anjos, as he was coming off a loss to Clay Guida, who snapped his three-fight streak in the process.

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It was a rather wild but well-placed and timed right hook that caught the Aussie's chin in a heated exchange (above).

After back-to-back losses in his first two UFC fights (Jeremy Stephens and Tyson Griffin), dos Anjos reeled off nonstop kicks to Robert Emerson 's leg, scored a second decision victory over Kyle Bradley, then finished Terry Etim with an armbar (right).

Seven of dos Anjos' fifteen career wins come via submission, with another two by TKO. His recently improved striking and quickness will be vital against the hulking ATT behemoth he's facing.

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Tibau is high on two career rejuvenating wins over New Jersey fighters Kurt Pellegrino and Rafaello Oliveira.

After an encouraging victory over Etim, Tibau's descent to 155-pounds was side-tracked by consecutive losses to Tyson Griffin and Joe Stevenson. He bounced back with two in a row over Rich Clementi and Stephens, but would again suffer a setback in a razor-thin split-decision against Melvin Guillard.

Continuing to ride the wave, two more wins followed (Josh Neer, Caol Uno) before Jim Miller handed him another loss by decision.

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Turning things around in his last two is a fitting example of the unyielding and gritty determination that fuels Tibau.

After a slow start, he began to impose his massive frame in the clinch to put Pellegrino on his back and overtake the momentum. His significant size advantage usually has Tibau battling from the top rather than guard, where he pursues power-subs from dominant positions with stiff ground-and-pound.

His boxing has also tightened up and he's able to hold his own behind a stiff jab and right cross. He's a bully in the clinch with the multiple threat of punches, elbows, knees and takedown attempts.

These fighters are both well rounded and have been camped on the fringe of the lightweight elite. It's a tough fight to call. Both have different styles but are equally effective in most areas, with Tibau having the edge in strength, size and wrestling; dos Anjos with his quickness, footwork and more polished kickboxing.

The betting lines hold Tibau as a substantial favorite, probably based on the likelihood that he'll grind out a decision. I also feel that his submission knowledge and ability to out-muscle dos Anjos makes him a safer pick, though dos Anjos could cause problems if he continues to up his punching power and attacks with his cracking low kicks. I also think he could catch Tibau in a submission during a scramble or after a heated striking flurry.

I foresee this turning out like Tyson Griffin's fight with dos Anjos, where the better wrestler narrowly escapes a handful of precarious situations to pull out a decision win.

My Prediction: Gleison Tibau by decision

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Tom Lawlor (7-3) vs. Chris Weidman (6-0)

Serra-Longo Fight Team rep Chris Weidman exploded onto the scene with a commanding decision over Alessio Sakara with less than a month to prepare in his UFC debut.

Weidman boasts two-time All American wrestling honors at both the junior college and Division 1 level. Also billed as a Grappler's Quest and US BJJ champion while training under Matt Serra, Weidman is no stranger to the submission grappling game.

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In his breakout win over Sakara, it was a simple case of specialty vs. specialty with wrestling -- as usual -- coming out on top. Weidman neutralized Sakara's boxing with cage-grinding and takedown tactics.

Next up for the rising middleweight prospect was Jesse Bongfeldt at UFC 131. Weidman was no less impressive, this time notching a stoppage with a wicked guillotine choke from the front headlock position (below).

His wrestling is phenomenal and what little of Weidman's striking we've seen has looked solid.

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His excellent base allows him more freedom in the stand up, such as regaining his balance after delivering the stiff knee to Bongfeldt's midsection (left). Bongfeldt times his double-leg well and gets a good grasp on Weidman's hips, but the wrestler is just too poised and not only avoids the danger but tacks on a fight-finishing submission.

Weidman is rightfully trumpeted as a hot middleweight prospect but yet to face a top-level opponent or someone who can challenge him wrestling-wise.

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That is precisely why I think "Filthy" Tom Lawlor is being criminally overlooked here, as the slanted betting odds indicate.

Weigh-in shenanigans aside, this is a guy that beat a hefty light-heavyweight in Kyle Kingsbury before dropping a full twenty-pounds to middleweight.

With a loss by DQ as his only only flaw leading into his Octagon stint, Lawlor decisioned Kingsbury at 205, then submitted C.B. Dollaway in the first round of his middleweight debut.

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Lawlor is a three-time National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA) champion who has already tangled with a litany of adept UFC wrestlers and attacked them with tightly laced, on-balance boxing.

To the left we see almost the same guillotine that Weidman caught Bongfeldt with above. Dollaway tries to time his double-leg when Lawlor is throwing his hands and gets more penetration with his head than he does with his takedown. Lawlor pounces on the head and neck with submission attempts in the clinch.

Lawlor's best performance by far was against Aaron Simpson, whose D1 All American wrestling credentials make him quite comparable to Weidman.

Lawlorsimpson00_mediumDespite losing a split-decision, Lawlor unveiled a shocking onslaught of crisp boxing and dominated Simpson in the first round, rocking him with punches on multiple occasions.

The second round was much closer but it was obvious in the third that Lawlor's pace had slowed dramatically. Simpson finished strong and took a split-decision.

Another loss would follow, as sub-whiz Joe Doerksen secured a rear-naked choke in Lawlor's next outing. He returned with a commanding decision over Patrick Cote at UFC 121.

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I'm always hesitant to side with promising but inexperienced prospects in their first huge leap in competition, especially when they don't have a glaring advantage to exploit.

I think Weidman is the better wrestler, but Lawlor has been hell on wheels for equally talented takedown artists in Simpson and Dollaway. Scrambling and transitions could be a concern with Weidman's agility. Lawlor always fine-tunes his boxing for wrestlers by hammering stiff uppercuts to discourage level-drops and stays light on his feet with good footwork.

Weidman definitely has the potential to win this one, but I'm leaning towards the experience, clinch-subs, boxing and manageable gap in wrestling to pave a Lawlor upset.

My Prediction: Tom Lawlor by decision

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Matt Brown (12-10) vs. Seth Baczynski

In what seemed like an unfavorable match up after losing three-straight, Matt Brown thoroughly handled John Howard on the UFC Live on Versus 4 card.

With cannons blazing in typical fashion, Brown clipped Howard on the feet, was rugged with strikes in the clinch and stayed ultra-active off his back to take a definitive decision victory.

Brown is another fiercely offensive-minded fighter who is deadly in every facet except wrestling.

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He's the caliber of fighter who may never challenge for a title but, in my opinion, deserves a spot on the roster for his rugged gameness and consistent excitement.

Brown always shows subtle hints of brilliance, such as the slick foot sweep he hits on Howard to the left. The voraciousness of his kickboxing came to light with the blazing combination he landed on Pete Sell, and he's also demonstrated a firm grasp of catch mechanics from his back. His kicks are crippling, his hand speed is phenomenal and he fights with an aura of pure grit and toughness.

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Since he set up shop with legendary trainer Matt Hume at AMC Pankration, Brown has really started to put things together well despite the setbacks.

He's learned to capitalize on his Diaz-like reach length (76") to enhance his already powerful striking, his feisty submission grappling has grown to a formidable level (see: near D'arce choke on black belt Chris Lytle) and he's tremendously elevated his overall skill-set in the last few years.

Defensively, Brown has a sketchy habit of keeping his hands low and has trouble staying afoot against savvy wrestlers.

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Hailing from Arizona's Power MMA Team, Seth Baczynski deserves credit for keeping his nose to the grindstone after an unsuccessful stint on TUF just like Brown.

Fans may recall the controversial kick he landed to a downed Brad Tavares, which resulted in a DQ and his second ticket home. He was initially defeated by Court McGee in the elimination round, but returned when an injury left a void and won a fight before facing Tavares.

Despite losing the rematch to Tavares at the TUF 11 Finale, "The Polish Pistola" would eventually return.

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Dropping to 170, he compiled two wins outside the UFC: one against tough journeyman Tim McKenzie (though again shrouded by controversy) and the other over Alex Garcia, both by TKO.

He stepped in to face Clay Harvison at UFC Fight Night 25 and tacked on his third consecutive stoppage, this time with a rear-naked choke after folding Harvison with a nasty shovel punch (right).

Baczynski is also a tough and resilient scrapper and I expect fireworks in this fight.

I'd give him the clear wrestling edge and he'll be significantly bigger and stronger and will have the advantage of control, though that's not an unfamiliar circumstance for Brown. I can see Baczynski weighing down on Brown in the clinch and hitting just enough takedowns to win the round, but I like Brown here for his avid submission game and the cleaner set of strikes.

My Prediction: Matt Brown by submission

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Danny Castillo (11-4) vs. Shamar Bailey (12-4)

Many forget that Team Alpha Male's Danny Castillo is responsible for the sole blemish on Dustin Poirier's record.

He has Ju-Co level wrestling accolades but conducts himself more like a ruthless slugger. Three of Castillo's defeats come at the hands of upper-tier WEC lightweights in Donald Cerrone, Shane Roller (both by submission) and Anthony Pettis (TKO). He beat Joe Stevenson in his UFC debut but was out-muscled by Jacob Volkmann in the follow up.

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Shamar Bailey didn't gain many fans from the control-first outlook he showed on TUF. Already a big dude, he's now dropped to 155 and started well with a gutsy and encouraging loss to Evan Dunham.

His hands looked sharper than ever, but it was Bailey's iron-chin that attracted attention. Dunham bounced everything but the kitchen sink off of him, but the Indiana firefighter took it like a man and kept on chipping away.

I definitely appreciated the valor and am intrigued about the potential of his drop in weight and laudable spirit.

Castillo is a pretty large favorite on the betting lines but, while I'm still picking him to win, I wouldn't count Bailey out. Bailey can surely replicate the overbearing wrestling that Castillo has struggled with in the past, though I don't think he'll offer the same level of submission grappling of those who've defeated Castillo. The way he takes chances and slings haymakers could leave him exposed for takedowns, but I think Castillo has the scrambling ability to negate his fair share of takedowns and will know what to expect.

Bailey's striking could make the difference, as he caught Dunham clean on more than one occasion, and he might be worth a look for the upset here.

My Prediction: Danny Castillo by decision

 

 

 

dos Anjos vs. Etim gif via MMA-Core.com

Baczynski vs. Tavares gif via smoogy

All others via Zombie Prophet of IronForgesIron.com

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