UFC on Fuel TV 9: Facebook Preliminary Card Previews and Prognostications Part 1

Tom Lawlor attempts to block a kick to the midriff at UFC 154. - Photo by Esther Lin of MMA Fighting.

Welterweights and Middleweights litter the facebook prelimary card for UFC on Fuel TV 9 in Sweden in what should be the kind of action that lets the healing process of losing Gegard Mousasi vs. Alexander Gustafsson finally begin.

UFC on Fuel TV: Mousasi vs. Latifi, previously titled Mousasi vs. Gustasson, which itself was previously titled Mousasi vs. Silva, promises more than just a bad april fools joke for MMA fans in Stockholm, Sweden. It also promises a good dose of action when you forget for a second that the main event was the only reason to watch this show. And yes, I'm aware that the first part of that sentence totally contradicts the second.

Part of that has to do with the sting of losing a really solid main event, and the ensuing high jinks that followed; a series of events that hopefully falls somewhere between Robbie Lawler's UFC 40 " maybe if I touch him with my hands" prefight comments, and Sean Gannon's rewarded UFC presence for surviving a beatdown from Kimbo Slice at a gym that looked like the home of Swamp Thing in the annals of MMA history. Which is to say, let it go, forget it ever happened, and move on from what will turn out to be an obscure bit of trivia.

The facebook card has some decent fights, all things considered, so let's talk about them.

Ben Alloway (13-3) vs. Ryan Laflare (7-0) Weltwerweight

With only three decision wins between the two of them, we should expect a finish in this one. Alloway is coming off a brutal knockout win over Manny Rodriguez from the FX show in Australia. It was a nice debut for Alloway, and one that will linger in people's memory if just for Manny's knockout face (in addition to the front kick). Laflare, meanwhile, is on a seven fight winning streak in what has turned out to be his home away from home at the Ring of Combat promotion.

Just to keep this short and sweet, both guys are scrappers. Laflare likes to stand, box, and dirty it up in the clinch which is complimented by an aggressive top control. While he's got submissions, and a spotless record with nothing but finishes, his opposition hasn't exactly been stellar.

Neither has Alloway's, but by this point, he's beaten better competition. However, Laflare seems to have a decent style for Alloway, who likes to stay at range, and isn't as active as he should be for a guy who tends to look more polished kickboxing than he really is. Laflare will go for takedowns, and strike in close, and to me, this should be the difference.

Pointless Postscript: Ben Alloway's nickname is 'Benny Blanco' in what I can only guess was inspired by Carlito's Way. Let's hope for his sake, the fight looks less like his encounter with Al Pacino near a stairwell, and more like his encounter with Al Pacino at a train station.

Prediction: Ryan Laflare by Decision.

Michael Kuiper (12-1) vs. Tom Lawlor (8-5-1) Middleweight

Tom Lawlor's career looked like a promising one following his loss to Aaron Simpson; a fighter who himself was highly touted at the time. Lawlor, meanwhile, was just known as the guy who punched LW Dave Kaplan in the face on the reality show while drunk after being dared to do it (season 8 really was something special; a show that reminded me of the Mel Brooks chestnut; a show that had risen "below vulgarity").

Unfortunately he's looked uninspired since then, losing to perennial journeyman Joe Doerkson, and his last bout against Francis Carmont had everyone taking extended bathroom breaks at UFC 154.

Michael Kuiper, meanwhile, has walked a similar path; he seems to play the part of the overachiever, but you wonder how long it'll last. After all, while he's coming off a win, it was against a one-legged Jarad Hamman;a fighter who struggles enough just getting opponents to tire their fists out with his face. I don't think Hamman is trash, granted, but Kuiper's performance demands as many questions as answers.

In a way, this is the perfect fight for both men. Lawlor wants to strike, clinch, and take his opponent down. Kuiper wants to strike, clinch, and throw. Fights like this can either be ugly, or entertaining, but I'm betting on both in this one. Lawlor's pretty limited striking wise, but he makes the most of a deceptively quick right hand from his southpaw stance.

I like Kuiper in this one though. His strong base means Lawlor will have to win the fight on the feet, and while his limited counterattack worked on Aaron Simpson for awhile, I don't expect the same to happen here. It should be close, and gritty, but watch for Michael to keep his distance, and stay aggressive in and outside the clinch.

Prediction: Michael Kuiper by Decision.

Papy Abedi (8-2) vs. Besam Yousef (6-1) Welterweight

Despite looking like he has he physical tools to win fights in the UFC, being chiseled and reminding fans of what Melvin Manhoef looks like hasn't worked out for Papy Abedi. Despite his Judo background, he's been submitted in both of his UFC appearances. Rest assured...he's only on this card because he lives in Sweden.

However, that's not to say he's a lost cause. Abedi is still a dangerous fighter, and especially for someone like Besam Yousef, who didn't make much of an impression in his loss to Simon Thoreson. In fact, he's a lot like the guys Abedi was beating before getting the callup. Not much to analyze here.

Prediction: Papy Abedi by TKO.

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