Newark, New Jersey will host UFC 159; a mixed bag of a card that would be more fitting on Fuel TV than as a PPV. As with any card, however, there are hidden gems on the preliminary card (Sara McMann, for example, and Sara McMann). Who will rise in the land of food porn and instagram?
Maybe the typing of the above names should count as analysis by itself.
Garcia is 0-4 in his last four, yet could easily be 0-9 in his last nine. Obviously, Garcia's existence in the UFC is questionable, but complaining about his presence is like complaining about a Fast and Furious sequel*. The bargain made in hell for Garcia's soul was resolved long before MMA judges confused effective striking for the Mexican junebug of Caerbannog.
McKenzie exists in a similar parallel pink sheet universe, where his performances might have landed him elsewhere had Dana and Joe Silva been less forgiving at the time. His last fight in particular, a 30 second defeat to Chad Mendes with a one punch body shot KO, was especially forgettable for fans of McKenzie.
But forget all the negativity for a second. Will it be fun? High brow fans pretend a sloppy brawl can't be amusing at worst, and fascinating at best, and so maybe that's what we're in for. For all the faults of both men, they are not without talent.
It's McKenzie's wicked guillotine versus Garcia's hamster wheel boxing. I'd expect McKenzie to stand with Garcia. Somehow Garcia's power has decreased over time (Takaya doesn't have a bad chin, and Garcia turned off his lightbulb), but he's enough of a threat early that I lean towards Garcia in a boxing match. Cody's too stiff on the feet, but I do think both are evenly matched. Garcia has better fundamentals on the ground, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him submitted by McKenzie's guillotine. Nonetheless..
Prediction: Leonard Garcia by Decision.
Catone and Head are not bad fighters, but they're basically the prokaryotes to Hendricks and Ellenberger's eukaryotes.
Both men are coming off losses; Catone to TJ Waldburger, and Head to Mike Pyle. The problem with Catone is that his style, a style that earned him a lot of real accolades in the collegiate ranks in New Jersey, has suffered from his many injuries over the years.
Head, meanwhile, is simply the more dynamic fighter. He's fairly slick on the ground, and can be aggressive on the feet, which is all he'll need against Catone. I'd expect this match to look less like Catone's fight with Waldburger, and more like Catone's fight against Camozzi.
Prediction: James Head by RNC, round 3.
Siler began his trek into the octagon through TUF, where his fight to get into the house involved a saavy veteran in Micah Miller. Against all odds, Siler submitted Miller. He's had an impressive run, essentially making a name for himself by beating the Miller brothers.
Siler has shown himself to be a sharp fighter; not flashy, but like the Miller brothers, he's blue collar dynamic. He moves well off his back, and throws with intensity (which is not to say he's a power puncher). This description applies to Holobaugh as well, whose lone loss was to Pat Healy who is on a hell of a six-fight winning streak. It was a good scrap, with Holobaugh having his moments on the ground, and on the feet against a very good opponent.
This is an excellent matchup, to be honest. However, the difference will be Kurt's wrestling. Siler can be muscled around, and guy like Holobaugh will have no trouble dictating the pace of the fight. He's the stronger puncher as well, so I expect him to assert authority early with punches and takedowns until Siler can't compete.
Prediction: Kurt Holobaugh by TKO, round 2.
*I enjoyed part 5 (spoiler inside), regardless of whether or not it indicts my taste in film.