The UFC returns to Minnesota for the first time since 2008, as UFC on FX 5: Browne vs. Bigfoot takes place in Minneapolis. A key heavyweight battle is the main event while a flyweight title shot is on the line for the main card. The preliminary card is fairly strong, with Yves Edwards vs. Jeremy Stephens highlighting the night's FUEL TV broadcast. Two UFC 151 bouts are also scheduled, but Dennis Hallman vs. Thiago Tavares as you know has been scrapped due to Hallman missing weight.
This is a quick preview of each prelim fight, which starts on the UFC's official Facebook page and continues on FUEL TV at 5 PM ET/2 PM PT.
The headlining preliminary card fight sees entertaining lightweights face off. Stephens is a fan favorite for his KO power and his wild style of fighting. Donald Cerrone easily shut him down and it's his 2nd straight loss overall, with the other against Anthony Pettis. Edwards is a long-time veteran with a 3-2 record in his return to the UFC. He dropped his last fight, a close one against Tony Ferguson. This could easily be a leading candidate for Fight of the Night no matter where the fight plays out.
Editor's Note - Jeremy Stephens was arrested this morning and is currently in custody. As of right now, it is unsure if this fight will take place.
Team Alpha Male has been struggling in title fights, but lightweight Danny Castillo has quietly compiled a 4-1 record in the UFC. He's not a crowd-pleaser in the slightest, but he's effective so far in grinding out these decision wins. Johnson is a TUF 12 runner-up who knocked out Edward Faaloloto before losing to Paul Sass. He's since picked up consecutive upset wins over Shane Roller and Tony Ferguson. He's only 26 and is an interesting prospect, but he needs to shore up his submission defense, which has felled him 5 out of 6 losses.
One of the three fights moved from UFC 151 taking place tonight is a lightweight fight between former WEC man Shane Roller and Jacob Volkmann. Roller was highly fortunate to stay in the UFC following three straight losses, but made sure he stuck around following a win over John Alessio. Volkmann was finished by Paul Sass with a Sassangle-armbar, and he still has no finishes in the UFC out of 5 wins. It snapped a five-fight winning streak at LW after going 0-2 at WW. I highly doubt this ends up being a striking contest, as both men prefer to grapple, but if it does then Roller has the advantage.
Nunes hast lost 2 of his last 3 but is still considered a top 10 featherweight. Bartimus is a WEC veteran and former lightweight who dropped to featherweight and upset Tyson Griffin via 1st round KO in September 2011, but was dominated by Hatsu Hioki in Japan this February. The Nova Uniao fighter has well-rounded skills and has never been finished. Palaszewski has heavy hands but his weakness is definitely his ground game.
The flyweight bout before the big #1 contender fight on the main card features England's Phil Harris and Japanese-American Darren Uyenoyama. Harris has had experience as high as featherweight where he fought Jose Aldo in 2005. He's 2-0 at his new home and specializes in submissions. Uyenoyama has fought just once in the UFC but he impressed, dominating Kid Yamamoto last November. Injuries have prevented him from fighting in 2012, but he finally makes his return tonight.
This is a clear-cut "loser is out of the UFC" fight. LeVesseur is from Minnesota, was a standout Division III wrestler in the state, but he was unable to get out of Cody McKenzie's guillotine in his debut. Prater's only UFC win is a DQ against Erick Silva, who hit him on the back of the head in what was otherwise a lopsided half-minute of fighting. A loss to T.J. Grant has put the Brazilian on thin ice.
With LeVesseur/Prater elevated to FUEL TV status, this welterweight matchup between two grinding wrestlers is the sole Facebook.com fight. Pierce won a unanimous decision over Carlos Eduardo Rocha in June, and his only UFC losses have all been close fights with top contenders Jon Fitch, Johny Hendricks, and Josh Koscheck. It's arguable he won the latter two. Simpson, a career middleweight, dropped to welterweight in July where he dispatched Kenny Robertson by decision. Presumably these guys are on Facebook because they're perceived as boring, but sometimes the fights you most expect to deliver little end up being exciting.
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