UFC 168: Preliminary card preview and prognostications part 1

Photo by Esther Lin of MMA Fighting

Welterweights William Macario and Bobby Voelker meet for the online portion of the UFC 168 undercard, as do Featherweights Robbie Peralta and Estevan Payan. How do they match up?

Before we begin the preview over two fights most people either won't see, or won't care for (no offense combatants), and who therefore aren't reading this, I'd just like to wish you everyone at BE a Happy Holidays. But especially you the reader.

I know we have a love/hate relationship. I put out content that ranges from middling to awful, and one or two guys lie to me and tell me it's occasionally merely 'ok'. The rest either have nothing to say, or are just here to shoot the shit with their fellow BE members and post hilarious gifs/pics/memes.

And that's great. Every now and then I venture elsewhere, and am constantly amazed by how intelligent, bizarre, perverse, but awesome this community is by contrast. Granted, Sherdog.net has the set the bar very low. But you guys (and gals?) remind me that there is more to an MMA community than leftover Pride vs. UFC debates, verbally violent pound for pound discussions, stoners who only watch Nick Diaz, Vadim Finklestein, and trolls.

Thanks BE. You guys rock. I don't have much of a gift to offer except to note the new direct-to-video Van Damme film, Enemies Closer is probably worth your time if just for the end...when the bad guy dies in a way that rivals anything in Sean Bean's extensive death reel.

William Macario (6-1) vs. Bobby Voelker (24-10) Welterweight

When we last left our heroes...Macario is a product of TUF:Brazil 2, and we're still figuring out what that means in the grand scheme of things. Are the international TUF shows doing what American TUF does now, but worse? Or slightly better?

TUF is a product I should have deliberately ignored a long time ago, and I do, but I feel like some of these guys aren't being given a fair shake by observers. Look at the recent news of Kelvin Gastelum facing off against Rick Story at UFC 171. People are giving Kelvin no chance, and I personally think Kelvin will shock some people with a solid performance that won't necessarily translate into a win.

Anyway, in the opposite corner is Voelker who needs this win. He's 0-2 in the UFC, losing to Patrick Cote and the surging Robbie Lawler. Can he break the trend?

What both men can do: Macario will want to keep this standing, which is fine for Voelker. Macario has an odd way of doing business. He has a really solid left hook that he likes to lead with, but it's where they come from that's worth pointing out. By that I mean he chambers his punches from this weird almost John L. Sullivan like posture. However, his quick left hook and general combinations are supported by solid trip takedowns and sturdy takedown defense (something that he shocked viewers from the show on when he beat Alves).

Voelker does what he does on the feet, which is to say, just enough to beat the Roger Bowlings of the world. He isn't bad by any stretch. He uses the jab a lot, often to great effect, but...

What both men can't do: despite some strong knees in the clinch in addition, is your standard ham and egger. He's incredibly tough, but won't be able to compete with the specialists in the division. Macario is still inexperienced, and inexperienced against even moderate competition but he fits the bill of the specialists that Voelker will always have trouble with. I like Macario to win the first two rounds convincingly, only to potentally lose the last in competitive but not close bout.

X-Factor: One of the things we saw against Santos in addition was a questionable gas tank. Voelker is tough, and if Macario drops the ball in any way, or gets discouraged, Voelker will make him pay. I'm not betting on it, but I don't think this is a gimme fight either.

Prediction: William Macario by Decision.

Robbie Peralta (16-4) vs. Estevan Payan (14-4-1 NC) Featherweight

When we last left our heroes...It's been awhile since we last saw Payan. You may remember him for his bout with Jeremy Stephens. Why? Because Payan wore his own blood suit. It was like the rave scene from Blade. Just less fun and entertaining.

Nonetheless, Payan was 7-0-1 (No Contest) prior. Opposite Payan is Peralta who hasn't been in the octagon since last April (his absence of which has been explained by him testing positive for marijuana). He's 2-1-1 since coming from the Gladiator Challenge show he had been making his name on. Needless to say...there will be blood.

What both men can do: Both guys are more or less strikers by trade. Payan is a lumbering striker, but he's not without technique. He throws a solid right hand left hook combination that he likes to lead with. His size makes him tough for opponents to deal with, and he's incredibly durable.

Peralta's ability on the feet are impressive when you forget for a second that he was caught on several occasions by Akira Corassani. He throws a searing right hand, and chambers his kicks quickly. His quickness and accuracy on the feet is precisely what explained his winning streak dating all the way back to 2009 before the Akira bout. Both guys are more or less well rounded but...

What both men can't do: One of the problems Payan has on the feet is overcommiting. He leans in with his strikes with makes counter punches that much more effective, to say nothing of how easily it sets him up to be taken down. I don't expect Peralta to look for double legs but he can mix it up when he must. I feel like Peralta's quickness will set the tone. He'll land hard right hands to catch Payan's attention, and control the bout from there.

X-Factor: Payan's takedowns. Peralta is the smaller guy, and his takedown defense isn't always stellar. He'll stick and move for the first two rounds but I could see Payan getting top control for the third round. That won't entail victory for Estevan but it could if the judges are being dumb, and Peralta doesn't outbox Payan enough in one of the first two rounds. Just saying.

Prediction: Robbie Peralta by Decision.

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