The UFC on Fuel 9 will be the UFC's return to their new European hotbed of Sweden. The final four Facebook fights feature some excellent talent and European prospects undergoing acid tests with tough match-ups. Here are the previews for the rest of the Facebook fights:
While it feels like Johnson has just stepped out of the TUF house, he has two full years of UFC experience and a 4-3 record inside the Octagon. He had been riding a surprising three fight winning streak before a rather flat performance that resulted in a loss to Myles Jury at UFC 155. Madadi, on the other hand, is coming into only his third UFC fight. Back in 2010 he was ranked as the #6 prospect in the World MMA Lightweight Scouting Report, and is coming off a controversial loss to Cristiano Marcello at UFC 153.
Johnson is a wrestle-boxer with good offensive striking and some power, and some offensive wrestling. However his defensive wrestling is a liability that has cost him in the past, most recently in his last performance. This doesn't bode well for Johnson as Madadi is a relentless wrestler and top grappler who is fairly good at not getting beaten up on the feet.
This one seems like a bad match for Johnson who is pretty inert from his back and Madadi has the skills to put him there. Fight Prediction: Reza Madadi by Decision.
This is an interesting match in that both Troeng and Cella are contestants on the current season of the Ultimate Fighter. It is very abnormal for fighters from a season of TUF to enter the UFC before the finale. Cella might be a familiar name as he was on the receiving end of that resounding Uriah Hall knockout. Troeng left the show in a less dramatic fashion, but it was a one-sided loss nonetheless.
Both fighters are making their UFC debuts and the reason for this fight really seems to be to get Troeng in front of a Swedish crowd. Cella has some skill in all areas, but nothing really stands out. He is very hittable as he carries his head up right and has little defensive movement.
Troeng is a pretty talented fighter, a 2012 BE Prospect, and is still looking to put it all together. Toreng has solid Muay Thai and this fight was likely made to get Troeng a win in front of a friendly crowd, likely a highlight. Fight Prediction: Tor Troeng by KO, Round 1
A battle of Strikeforce crossovers making their debut, both Spang and Amagov are coming in 1-1 in their last two fights. This promises to be a fun fight as they have contrasting styles. Spang was basically raised in a Swedish boxing gym by his professional boxer father, though he did spend some time as a competitive gymnast. Amagov is a Chechen who has spent time in Combat Sambo and trains out of Jackson's MMA.
Spang has nice, tight boxing, as you'd expect, but also has decent kicks and good knees from the clinch. Spang keeps his hands up at all times and covers very well as he throws punches, but he doesn't have much head movement. His punches don't look like power punches, but they are technically solid and accurate, and when they land guys tend to get hurt. Amagov tends to throw the wide, casting Sambo-style punches rather than straight punches. Amagov is very athletic and dynamic on the feet and throws explosive kicks.
The issue for Spang is the grappling, and Amagov is a good grappler. He has good takedowns, heavy ground striking, and threatening submission offense. He doesn't employ a normal BJJ attack on the ground, sticking to his aggressive Sambo roots. For examples of that here are some links to videos of Amagov submitting 2012 Olympic Judoka and near medalist Travis Stevens, former Bellator Welterweight Champion Lyman Good, and a grappler named Steve Ficca with an awkward finish worthy of Rousimar Palhares.
This should be a fun fight, Spang will likely have the advantage on the feet technically but if one of Amagov's big bolo punches lands that could turn the lights out. More likely is that Amagov gets things to the ground and controls the fight from there. Fight Prediction: Adlan Amagov by Decision.
Irish prospect Conor McGregor makes his anticipated UFC debut riding an eight fight winning streak. He faces Marcus Brimage, a TUF veteran who is no stranger to prospect killing as he is coming off beating Jim Hettes at UFC 152.
McGregor fights just about how MMA fans would hope an Irish cage fighter would, an aggressive striker with some flash and some attitude. A southpaw boxer, McGregor has a crisp left cross and mixes in strong and flashy kicks. The Irishman is very quick and athletic and is constantly looking for a knockout. Not that different from Brimage, who was inspired by Dragonball Z to begin fighting.
Both fighters are working on their grappling, McGregor is more advanced on the ground while Brimage's wrestling is likely stronger. This looks like a stand war in the making, and a tough one to call. Conor has experience and speed on his side, while Brimage brings his heavy kicks, tenacity, and superior tumbling skills. Tough fight to call, but I'll take McGregor, despite Brimage's power level being over 9,000. Fight Prediction: Conor McGregor by Decision.