UFC 172: The 'Just Bleed' Q & A guide to the full preliminary card

Photo by Esther Lin of MMA Fighting

A former title contender,a former champion, and the usual assortment of UFC rag taggers get set to do battle for UFC 172: Jones vs. Teixeira in Baltimore, Maryland.

Dana White has called this the most STACKED card in UFC history. That's insane, bro! If they increase the PPV to 90 dollars, it's probably worth it, right?

LOL

I apologize for using text speak to convey my incredulity, but because you're a casual fan you just have to accept that Dana White can be incredibly hyperbolic. When I think of stacked cards, I think of cards with lots of fights involving fighters who are winning in their divisions.

6 of the 12 fighters on the undercard are coming off losses. Those that aren't, like Jessamyn Duke and Bethe Correia are mostly novices.  I'd argue that the previous two undercards were actually better on paper.

Well that sucks. Dana seems so genuine, with a down to earth 'dude you'd want to have a beer with' demeanor.

Well, at least he has good taste in music...despite the irony of it all.

Ok so the card isn't stacked. Joseph Benavidez is on it though. Didn't he just recently fight for a title?

Correct. The undercard isn't bad. It's just not what you'd expect from the "most stacked card" ever. However, every Benavidez fight is always a pleasure. If Flyweight dries up and no one is left to challenge Demetrious Johnson, I'd be completely cool with watching a third fight. As satisfying as the knockout win for Johnson was, I feel like Benavidez is still a competitive matchup for him.

His opponent is no joke. Tim Elliot fights in ways that leave you confused, and unable to explain how he's so effective, but his unorthodox style has allowed him to be pretty successful. In addition, his two losses were hardly blowouts and they came against John Dodson (title contender), and Ali Bagautinov, who just beat the man Dana White claimed would have gotten a title shot if he stopped missing weight so much (future title contender by default).

Takanori Gomi is on this card. Wasn't he that Asian kid who got submitted by that stoner in 2007?

Good memory. For whatever reason Gomi's resume in the UFC seems worse than it is. He lost his last fight to Diego Sanchez last March, but was on a two fight winning streak before then, having beaten the underrated Eiji Mitsuoka and the retired bird watcher Mac Danzig.

It's hard to say what Gomi has left. He still has that one hitter quitter power, but he uses it less effectively these days. I think part of his decline is due to his inability to evolve his grappling. Gomi started out as a man child in the grappling department. He was considered a wrestle-boxer type early in his career, and won most of his fights by top control. He fell in love with his striking and never seemed to round out his game in a way that complimented his strengths.

As much as I hate to bring in the TMZ dynamic, there's also the issue of work ethic. Rumors often displayed Gomi as a guy who didn't take training as seriously, and apparently he really enjoyed the Vegas experience. That's in stark contrast to fighters like Tatsuya Kawajiri who explicitly hated the North American experience.

Why didn't you tell me Jake Ellenberger was on this card? That's awesome!

He's not. This is Joe Ellenberger, his brother.

Boooo!!!

Careful. Joe's an interesting fighter with a fascinating story. He suffers from a rare condition called paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria; in just bleed speak, this means his red blood cells are destroyed because of a problem with the identification step in the immune system response (hence the phrase "complement induced"; complement molecules, which attach themselves to the surface of cells, act as beacons for your immune system by triggering the release of antibodies).

Enough! I hated A & P!

So he's similar to Jake in that he's got excellent wrestling chops. What I like most about his wrestling game is that he chambers his takedown attempts: they're rarely telegraphed. He's got decent power, like any wrestle-boxer, and even sports 8 TKO finishes, but I wouldn't describe his power as other wordly the way I'd describe Jake.

Yea, yea. Make me money! (unlike last time).

Charlie Brenneman at +236 is pretty good. His loss to Beneil looks terrible on paper, and it looked terrible in practice. However, Danny Castillo is just as prone to losing matchups you assume favors him on paper. In addition, Brenneman has the ability to win by attrition whereas Castillo has a tendency to lose by attrition. I predict Castillo will win, but this is a good upset pick on paper.

Elliot at +325? Wow. Unless a team Alpha Male fighter is in a title fight, you're better served by saving your money, but Elliot is deceptively good. He's a big guy he moves in counterintuitive ways. Nobody wants to fight this guy. He's beatable obviously, but like I said...his unusual methods make for an appealing bet. If you're into voodoo logic, you could also point out that Joseph may be in a bad spot psychologically; after all, he can't fight for the title anytime soon with two losses to Johnson. I tend to think getting paid to fight is incentive enough to win since winning means you get to keep getting paid, but it's a possibility.

Isaac Vallie Flagg at +182 is the moneymaker here. He's a big LW, with some big wins over guys like Gesias Cavalcante, Yves Edwards, and Brian Melancon. Granted, the first two guys are clearly passed their prime, and Melancon retired after 10 pro fights but "passed their prime" is exactly how I'd describe Gomi. Gomi is no better than JZ and Edwards at this point in his career.

So your precious Dallas Stars won't get swept after all. Congrats. Hockey still sucks though.

Blasphemy! Playoff hockey is looking more violent than MMA lately. Between Seabrook decapitating David Backes, Matt Cooke getting rid of all the connective tissue in Tyson Barrie's knee, and Milan Lucic taking notes from Cheick Kongo and Kongo's recent opponents...there's plenty to choose from the violence buffet. Not that these are anything to be proud of...

Anything else to note?

Not really.

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