Two veterans of The Ultimate Fighter reality show have been tapped for Saturday's UFC Facebook stream at 7:30 pm ET prior to the 10 p.m. Spike TV broadcast of UFC Fight Night 24: Seattle. Alex Caceres will move down to featherweight to face WEC veteran Mackens Semerzier and heavyweight Jon Madsen gets Mike Russow.
That leaves the other twelve fighters on the undercard to hope that they can score a quick finish and make their way onto the live broadcast.
Alex Caceres (4-2) vs. Mackens Semerzier (5-3): Caceres, aka "Bruce Leroy" makes his official UFC debut after losing to runner-up Michael Johnson in the quarterfinals of TUF: GSP vs Koscheck. He was supposed to face Nam Phan at The Ultimate Fighter 12 Finale but had to bow out due to injuries. Cacares has a penchant for flashy striking techniques but his lack of wrestling skills probably puts a fairly low ceiling on his long-term prospects.
Semerzier was a decorated high school wrestler before joining the Marines. He shocked the world by submitting Wagnney Fabiano via triangle choke at WEC 43. He dropped his next two WEC fights but picked up Fight of the Night honors against Cub Swanson at WEC 52.
This fight has "loser leaves town" written all over it. Look for Semerzier to dictate where the fight takes place with his wrestling and he should have the submission skills to avoid Cacares' traps on the floor.
Jon Madsen (7-0) vs. Mike Russow (13-1): Madsen competed on the tenth season of The Ultimate Fighter, getting KO'd by Brendan Schaub in the quarterfinals. Since then he's been perfect in the UFC, maintaining his perfect record. (TUF fights are considered exhibitions and don't count on fighters' pro records) by decisioning Justin Wren, Mostapha Al-turk, and Karlos Vemola before getting a TKO stoppage over Gilbert Yvel. Madsen trains with former UFC heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar in Minnesota.
Russow, whose only loss came from Sergei Kharitonov in Pride back in 2007, had a well-earned reputation for boring fights himself until his comeback win over Todd Duffee at UFC 114. Duffee had been thrashing Russow over three long rounds, but the iron-headed Chicago cop refused to go down and in the end caught Duffee with a right hand to the jaw that stopped the fight. Russow broke his arm in that fight and hasn't fought in ten months. Russow has also trained with Brock Lesnar.
Madsen is the smaller and quicker of the two men and possibly the better wrestler. I'd give him the edge in striking as well. The oddsmakers like Madsen's chances as well.
We'll look at the rest of the undercard in the full entry.
UPDATE: The UFC has added three more fights to the Facebook card: John Hathaway vs Kris McCray, Christian Morecraft vs Sean McCorkle, and Edwin Figueroa vs Michael McDonald.
SBN coverage of UFC Fight Night 24: Seattle
John Hathaway (14-1) vs. Kris McCray (5-2): Two welterweights looking to get back on track meet in this one. Hathaway was red hot after reeling off four straight UFC wins, including a dominant decision over Diego Sanchez, when he ran head-first into Mike Pyle at UFC 120. Pyle dominated him from bell-to-bell and popped the Hathaway hype bubble.
McCray has yet to get a win in the Octagon, losing to Court McGee in The Ultimate Fighter Finale 11 before dropping down from middleweight to lose to Carlos Eduaro Rocha via kneebar at UFC 122. He's almost certainly looking up at the guillotine if he loses to Hathaway.
The oddsmakers love Hathaway's reach and mix of striking and submission skills in this fight but McCray's ground control game may stymie the Brit.
Johny Hendricks (9-1) vs. TJ Waldburger (13-5): Hendricks gets a chance to rebound from his first career loss to Rick Story at The Ultimate Fighter 12 Finale against the 22 year old Waldburger. Hendricks, a two-time NCAA division 1 national wrestling champion, trains with Shane Roller and Jake Rosholt at Team Takedown. He's got power in his hands and generally likes to use his wrestling to keep the fight standing, but he's got some submission skills as well.
Waldburger, a 22 year old from Austin, TX, won his UFC debut over David Mitchell in an amazingly entertaining back-and-forth bout at UFC Fight Night 22. That fight saw Waldburger bring a very aggressive submission attack to the Octagon, but he was pretty sloppy and never did get the tap. He's also got a Shark Fights win over the very tough Pat Healy.
As fun as Waldburger is to watch, he's making a huge jump in competition here and that's reflected in the odds, which hugely favor Hendricks. Waldburger may surprise everyone but Hendricks should have the skills to dominate here.
Mario Miranda (10-2) vs. Aaron Simpson (7-2): Two middleweights who once carried a fair bit of hype will be fighting for redemption here. Miranda has gone 1-2 since joining the UFC as a highly touted undefeated prospect with a win over contender Rick Story. He scored a TKO win over David Loiseau at UFC 115 but dropped a decision to Demian Maia and got TKO'd by Gerald Harris. Miranda has won numerous Brazilian and South American wrestling titles and he'll need those skills against the formidable Simpson.
The 36-year-old Simpson was undefeated before back-to-back losses to Chris Leben and Mark Munoz. Leben came back to finish him in the third when Simpson visibly gassed. The Munoz fight was a back-and-forth contest featuring lots of great scrambles and a close decision. Simpson supporters still decry the referee's decision to stand the fight up in the second round just as Simpson passed Munoz' guard, but that's water under the bridge now.
Simpson probably has a slight wrestling edge and has power in his hands but Miranda has the smoother stand up. Look for Miranda to survive an early surge by Simpson and come back for a decision.
Waylon Lowe (10-3) vs. Nik Lentz (20-3): These two lightweights don't get a lot of love from fans or UFC brass, but they've both used their wrestling skills to score a string of uneventful decision wins in the Octagon. Lentz is notorious for putting on one of the dullest UFC preview fights ever seen on Spike TV against Andre Winner at UFC 118. Since then he's decisioned Tyson Griffin to bring his UFC record to 4-0-1.
Lowe got KO'd by Melvin Guillard in his UFC debut but has since picked up two straight decision wins. The loser of this bout is almost certain to be cut.
It doesn't always work out this way, but wrestler-vs-wrestler bouts are a great cure for fighters prone to layNpray or wallNstall tactics. Both of these guys have too much skill to spend much time on their back or pressed into the cage. This is a darkhorse to be Fight of the Night (wish I could get odds on that!) as both men will be forced to bring the power and skill that has brought them a career 20 wins by KO/TKO or submission. The oddsmakers like the better known Lentz.
Sean McCorkle (10-1) vs. Christian Morecraft (6-1): Both of these heavyweights owe their sole loss toStefan Struve. Morecraft did make it into the second round against the lanky Dutchman before getting TKO'd. Both men are behemoths who come in at or near the heavyweight limit of 265 pounds, with the 6'7" McCorkle having an inch of height on Morecraft. Morecraft is ten years younger but he gives up a huge edge in keyboard warrior skills to the shit-typing McCorkle, but to my knowledge so far McCorkle hasn't taken to the web to build the fight. The odds-makers like Morecraft and who am I to disagree.
Edwin Figueroa (7-0) vs. Michael McDonald (11-1): WEC veteran McDonald will take on short-notice substitue Figueroa in a bantamweight bought that was to originally have featured McDonald vs Nick Pace. McDonald was the youngest fighter on the Zuffa roster last year when he debuted with a submission win overClint Godfrey at WEC 52. Figueroa has been fighting on the Texas regional circuit, mostly against nubs competition, but he did pick up a TKO win over the veteran Johnny Bedford in August. Have to go with the more proven McDonald here but Figueroa could surprise us.