Starting at 6 p.m. ET, Fuel TV will broadcast 6 preliminary card match ups for this Friday's UFC on FX 4 show. Perennial lightweight contenders Gray Maynard and Clay Guida hold down the main event on the FX channel, which consists of 4 fights in all.
The Fuel TV preliminary card, which will be preceded by a pair of fights on the UFC's Facebook page, shakes out like this:
Hatsu Hioki (26-4-2) vs. Ricardo Lamas (11-2)
Ramsey Nijem (5-2) vs. C.J. Keith (8-0)
Brock Jardine (9-1) vs. Rick Story (13-5)
Joey Gambino (9-0) vs. Steven Siler (20-9)
Matt Brown (14-11) vs. Luis Ramos (19-7)
Chris Camozzi (16-5) vs. Nick Catone (9-2)
With the Fuel TV featherweight headliner of Hioki vs. Lamas being addressed earlier today, we'll tackle the remaining 5 match ups herein.
TUF 13 finalist Ramsey Nijem will welcome undefeated C.J. Keith to the Octagon in a lightweight bout. Nijem was a Division 1 wrestler at Utah Valley University and now trains under John Hackleman at the Pit Elevated Fight Team with former TUF winner Court McGee and fellow UFC on FX 4 cast members Steven Siler and Brock Jardine.
More UFC on FX 4 Dissections
C.J. Keith started wrestling at a young age and signed up for the Army right out of high school. His record is flawless at 7-0 with 3 TKOs and 2 submissions, though noticeably devoid of any reputable names or even semi-premiere promotions.
Continued in the full entry.
Keith is pretty long and lean for a lightweight and seems to have a good grasp of wrestling, grappling and striking mechanics. The video above shows that his punching preference is to wing violent haymakers and nearly straight-armed hooks to generate power rather than play the finesse game. It's not easy to come up with too many arguments for Keith to win this besides just revealing that he's a lurking terror. Ramsey's boxing has come along nicely and his wrestling, striking and defense is much more proven.
My Prediction: Ramsey Nijem by TKO.
Brock "The Machine" Jardine is another newcomer from the Pit Elevated who draws an established opponent in welterweight Rick Story. Jardine, a former D1 wrestler at Lock Haven University and Utah Valley University, has faced noteworthy opponents in former WEC fighter Blas Avena (2nd-round TKO) and TUF winner Tony Ferguson, who's responsible for Jardine's only loss (4th-round TKO).
Wrestling-wise, Rick Story was a NAIA Runner-Up at the national championships for Southern Oregon but has really excelled with fusing his striking and wrestling together in MMA. There is no better example than his focused execution against Thiago Alves, which was an uncanny strategy of methodically steering Alves back into cage corners and artfully interchanging his basic, crisp boxing with takedowns and feints. Rather than staying locked in either strke- or wrestle-mode, Story has the keen ability to wreak havoc on opponents by fusing both together.
This is another case of an experienced, savvy and high-level fighter facing a UFC 1st-timer, and it's illogical not to side with the former. Jardine is definitely a worthy acquisition who brings top-shelf wrestling, solid boxing with heavy hands and a general air of meanness. He actually matches up with Story quite well and mirrors his wrestle-boxing approach, though Story is a legit contender with a major advantage in experience and status. Story gets my nod but Jardine could be a handful.
My Prediction: Rick Story by decision.
Gambino, an undefeated Tristar Gym fighter making his debut with a 9-0 record (5 subs, 3 TKOs), landed the #2 spot on Bloody Elbow's World MMA Scouting Report. He was a standout wrestler in high school alongside TUF 14 finalist Dennis Bermudez and hot on the heels of capturing the CFFC (Cage Fury Fighting Championship) title with a decision over Bellator's Kenny Foster. Gambino is a wrestler at heart but wields a malicious set of hands and aggressively looks to finish from bell to bell.
"Super" Siler's only losses in his last 17 fights are to Chad Mendes and Cole Escovedo. He was a surprisingly feisty entry on TUF 14 who drew attention for submitting early favorite Micah Miller and then defeating Micah's brother Cole in his last turn. Siler also fitted Josh Clopton with a nonstop Thai clinch in his TUF 14 finale match, which he won by unanimous decision. Siler's composure and striking has looked excellent as of late.
Gambino is clearly a talented newcomer and this should be a pretty evenly matched and entertaining scrap. One of these new prospects is going to walk away with a win and it could surely end up being Gambino. However, I've consistently under-rated Siler and he's thoroughly impressed me in the Octagon, so I feel like I'm due to side with him. Gambino's wrestling and punching power should be quite a formidable challenge, but Siler's a monster-sized featherweight at a hefty 5'11" and should be resilient enough to avoid takedowns and haymakers while slipping in punches.
My Prediction: Steven Siler by decision.
Luis "Beicao" Ramos is the Brazilian from Nova Uniao who was crushed by Erick Silva in 40-seconds in his Octagon debut. Notable opponents include Roan Carneiro (decision loss) and former Pride fighter Luciano Azevedo (decision win, decision loss) and Ramos has 4 submissions and TKOs apiece with 11 of 19 wins by decision. He's also a former Shooto welterweight world champion.
Matt Brown is a hard-nosed fan-favorite with good kickboxing, clinch tactics and length, yet his inherent gameness is his best weapon. The Matt Hume product has been highly vulnerable to submissions in the past, which doesn't bode well against one of Andre Pederneiras' Nova Uniao fighters. Brown has a brick-built chin but should struggle against Ramos, who's a robust welterweight with decent striking and wrestling to complement his grappling.
On paper, Ramos is the more sensible pick ... actually, this is an atrocious match up for my boy, but Brown is a sentimental fave and I expect him to defy the odds by some combination of amazing, beard and/or chewin' tobackey.
My Prediction: Matt Brown by TKO.
Nick "The Jersey Devil" Catone is a D1 wrestler and BJJ brown belt who's fresh off defeats over Costa Phillippou and Jesse Forbes. Perhaps "fresh" isn't the best description, as Catone last appeared in the Octagon in March of 2011 and has been nursing injuries ever since. Prior to his 2-fight win streak, Catone notched a 1-2 clip in the UFC with a submission win over Derek Downey in his debut followed by a submission loss to Tim Credeur and highly impressive split-decision loss to Mark Munoz.
Chris Camozzi is 3-2 in the UFC: starting with his win over James Hammortree at the TUF 11 Finale, he eked out a controversial split decision over Korean Top Team's Dongi Yang, was submitted by Kyle Noke, crept by Joey Villasenor in another closely contested split decision, was defeated by Francis Carmont and submitted Dustin Jacoby by guillotine in his last.
Camozzi is a jack-of-all-trades with decent striking; I don't see him having the striking or submissions to fend off the overbearing takedowns of Catone here.
My Prediction: Nick Catone by decision.