UFC on Fox 7: Facebook Preliminaries Preview

Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

The UFC is headed to San Jose with a Lightweight title fight and there are two Facebook fights featuring some Strikeforce and TUF fighters, T.P. Grant breaks down both fights.

The UFC will be returning to the old home of Strikeforce, the HP Pavilion in San Jose, when they present the UFC on Fox 7 on April 20th. And unsurprisingly, a few Strikeforce guys have already been booked for the event. The main event will be a champion vs. champion bout with UFC lightweight title holder Ben Henderson putting his belt on the line against Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez.

The Facebook preliminaries feature a few TUF and Strikeforce fighters and they start up 4 PM ET, and here is a full preview of the three Facebook bouts.

Anthony Njokuani (15-7) vs. Roger Bowling (11-3) [Lightweight]

Anthony Njokuani is a WEC veteran who crossed over to the UFC in 2011 and has gone 2-3 inside the Octagon. Roger Bowling spent two years in Strikeforce, moving between weight classes and collecting a 5-3 record.

Njokunai is a striker with a Muay Thai background, and has translated those skills into MMA success. Njokunai has a very well rounded striking game; he has straight and strong punches, powerful kicks, and good strikes in the clinch. Bowling is more of a generic American MMA fighter, with fairly well rounded skills but no one outstanding skill. He has fairly good wrestling and striking, and is good at finishing fights on the mat.

This is a tough fight to call. Njokunai has power and fairly good defensive wrestling, but he doesn't have much to offer from off his back. He could knock Bowling out, but the safer bet seems to be a grinding decision by Bowling.

Roger Bowing by Decision.

More UFC on Fox 7 Previews: FX Preliminaries Preview Part I

Clifford Starks (8-1) vs. Yoel Romero (4-1) [Middleweight]

A match of two wrestlers coming off losses kicks off this card. Clifford Starks is a former Arizona State Wrestler who began working with Arizona Combat Sports. Starks turned pro in 2009 and was fighting in Shark Fights when he took a UFC fight on short notice at UFC 137. Starks defeated Dustin Jacoby by decision and then went on to lose to Ed Herman at UFC 143 by submission. Yoel Romero is a product of Cuba's demanding and elite Freestyle wrestling program, and collected medals in international wrestling, including a world championship and an Olympic silver medal in 2000. He defected and took up residence in Germany, where he started fighting MMA in 2009.

Starks has a pretty classic Arizona Combat Sports wrestler-boxer game. He mixes together strikes with takedowns, gets his opponents down and then works ground striking. The fight with Herman exposed some holes in his ground grappling and since then Starks has been working on his jiu jitsu.

Romero was a pretty raw wrestler turned striker when he fought in Europe, but showed some natural power in his hands. But in his one Strikeforce fight with Rafael Cavalcante he showed next to nothing. Romero is now fighting out of California and to hear it from him he has fallen in love with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Romero has never really flexed any serious ground grappling in his fights. His striking is wild and he has amazing takedowns when he puts his mind to it.

It seems possible that Romero could slam Starks to the mat and work a top game, but a fighter changing his whole game in one fight is very difficult. I expect the better overall MMA game of Starks to win the day.

Clifford Starks by Decision

More UFC on Fox 7 Previews: FX Preliminaries Preview Part I


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