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.
There will be six matches on FX before the main card kicks off on Fox, and one of the first three features top ranked Flyweight contender Joseph Benavidez.
In a sad statement of the UFC's view of the Flyweight division #1 Flyweight Joseph Benavidez takes on #8 Darren Uyenoyama in an FX prelim fight. Benavidez hails from Team Alpha Male, and has been coming up just short in title fights, but has dominated both the Bantamweight and Flyweight divisions otherwise. Uyenoyama is fairly new to the UFC, having just joined the promotion in 2011 and having won both is fights inside the Octagon.
Both fighters are grapplers by trade, Benavidez is a submission wrestler and Uyenoyama is a Ralph Gracie black belt. Uyenoyama and Benavidez both prefer to be on top, Benavidez has the better wrestling and Uyenoyama the better guard. The real difference maker will be the scrambling ability of Benavidez and his mastery of the guillotine choke. If trapped on the feet, Benavidez can account himself well.
Joseph Benavidez by Submission (Guillotine Choke), Round 2.
Tim Means is a King of the Cage Champion in three different weight classes and has been fighting since 2004. He is 2-0 thus far in his UFC run and is returning to action after knocking himself out slipping in the sauna cutting weight for an aborted match at UFC on Fox 5. Jorge Masvidal, despite being just 28-years-old, has made a tour of modern MMA, having fought in Hook-n-Shoot, Bodog Fights, Strikeforce (pre and post Zuffa), Sengoku, and was the victim in the original Bellator highlight when he was choked out by inverted triangle choke by Toby Imada.
Means is a scrappy fighter who will engage without hesitation on the feet, throwing a wide variety of techniques, including plenty of spinning strikes. Means brawls on the feet, but is also dangerous on the ground. While not really a threat off his back, Means is down right dangerous on top with heavy striking. Masvidal is a fairly well rounded fighter who is primarily a jiu jitsu grappler. He has fairly good wrestling and striking, and when on top he is not a gentle grappler, as he rains down damage on anyone unlucky enough to find himself under him.
It's a tough fight to call, but what stands out when I look over Means is the lack of good grapplers on his record. While Masvidal isn't a great grappler, he will be a tough test for Means and I'm not convinced he will pass.
Jorge Masvidal by Decision.
Formerly a Facebook book match, this fight features a matchup of TUF fighters, T.J. Dillashaw hailing from the 14th season of the American version of the show and Hugo Viana from the first season of TUF Brazil. Dillashaw has won three straight since losing the finale of his season and Viana has won his first two fights in the UFC.
Dillashaw comes from a wrestling background and trains with Team Alpha Male. He fights primarily as a grappler with very good positional grappling and ground striking. Dillashaw is quite good at catching the back, and from there he is a dangerous finisher.
Viana comes from a variety of striking backgrounds including Taekwondo, Wing Chun, and Boxing. Viana had a very impressive knockout in his last fight, and it was his first career KO win. He is a dynamic athlete and can throw exciting strikes, but is a bit out of control at times. What is concerning is Viana's lack of grappling experience, and it seems overly likely he gets a lesson in wrestling from Dillashaw.
T.J. Dillashaw by Submission, Round 2