There's no way to describe the UFC on Fox 9 preliminary card as anything other than "decimated". The bulk of the injuries hit this portion of the show, and flyweight Scott Jorgensen has seen his scheduled opponent change 3 different times. All things considered, this is still a good set of fights, the bulk of which are taking place at a weight class no higher than lightweight.
We've got two promotional newcomers, three late notice replacements, and one rematch of a controversial no contest in store for us this evening. The UFC on Fox 9 prelims start right here on Bloody Elbow with a live stream of the opening fight at 4:30 PM ET/1:30 PM PT. All remaining bouts air live on Fox Sports 1 at 5 PM ET/2 PM PT before the big main card at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT.
McGee is an ex-drug addict who turned his life around and memorably won season 11 of The Ultimate Fighter. He was brought back from an elimination loss to Nick Ring to replace the injured Rich Attonito, and he rode his second chance towards a submission win over Kris McCray. After picking up two wins post-TUF, McGee hit a rough patch and lost consecutive fights to Costa Philippou and a rematch to Nick Ring. This prompted a drop to welterweight, where he's scored wins over Josh Neer and Robert Whittaker.
LaFlare is replacing the injured TUF 17 winner Kelvin Gastelum for this one. The Ring of Combat product scored prior UFC wins over Ben Alloway in Sweden and Santiago Ponzinnibio in Brazil, both by unanimous decision. He's used his wrestling and active top game to the fullest extent and has looked the part of a prospect to follow in this stacked division, but this is his 2nd fight in a month, so be wary of whether or not he has the cardio to hold up against McGee.
This might be the most anticipated fight on the prelims not necessarily for guaranteed entertainment, but for the clashing styles of the wrestler Castillo and striker Barboza. Castillo is sort of lost in the shuffle in the Team Alpha Male stable, but he's quietly produced a good record in the UFC. He's 2-0 this year, both by decision, against submission specialist Paul Sass and Tim Means. The last time Castillo fought a striker as talented as Barboza was in the WEC vs. Anthony Pettis, and he lost by head kick KO. Castillo is a very credible wrestler, so we'll see whether or not he'll be able to implement that gameplan against the Brazilian.
Barboza has been a hell of a highlight reel fighter since he debuted in 2010. He has two leg kicks stoppages to his name (vs. Mike Lullo and in his last fight against Rafaello Oliveira), and holds the title of having one of the best KOs in UFC history with his spinning wheel kick stoppage of Terry Etim last year at UFC 142. There is a hiccup in his run in the UFC's 155 lbs division, a shocking 1st round TKO loss to Jamie Varner, who had previously struggled to find any bit of success at lightweight towards the tail end of his WEC and post-WEC career. Barboza hasn't really been tested against a wrestler like Castillo, so a win here would put him in prime position for a step up in competition.
Bobby Green (21-5 MMA, 2-0 UFC) vs. Pat Healy (31-16, 1 NC MMA; 0-2, 1 NC UFC)- Lightweights
Both of Bobby Green's UFC fights have had debated refereeing decisions, but each result has ended in a win for "King". He debuted in February by way of Strikeforce as an underdog against Jacob Volkmann, but proved his mettle in dramatic fashion. After a ridiculously bad stand-up by Kim Winslow in the 2nd round that Green was controlling, he was able to capitalize on a tired Volkmann in the final round, hurting him with ground-and-pound before choking him out in the final minute. Green's 2nd UFC fight against James Krause really straddles the line between a DQ and a TKO win. After twice hitting Krause in the groin area with kicks, Green appeared to do so again, but referee John McCarthy deemed the kick to be placed above the cup, thus legal, and a TKO win for Green to move to 2-0. He's only a month removed from the fight, and is taking this bout against Healy as a replacement fighter for the injured Jamie Varner.
Did you know Pat Healy fought in the UFC way back in 2006? 'Tis true! He was choked out by Anthony Torres on the prelims of a Spike TV card before embarking on a long journey through various promotions before finding a home in Strikeforce. The grizzled vet returned to the Octagon in 2013 against Jim Miller at UFC 159, and while he was able to pull off an upset 3rd round submission win over the top 10 ranked LW, he tested positive for marijuana and had his win flipped to a no contest. Healy additionally lost his FOTN and SOTN bonuses, which totaled $100,000. He returned at UFC 165 following his suspension to take on undefeated Russian prospect Khabib Nurmagomedov and was unable to cope with Nurmagomedov's relentless pace and offense. So as it stands, Healy is entering his 4th UFC fight tonight, and technically he's yet to win in the promotion.
Scott Jorgensen (14-7 MMA, 3-3 UFC) vs. Zach Makovsky (16-4 MMA, 0-0 UFC) - Flyweights
Jorgensen is the latest ex-bantamweight contender to join the ranks of the flyweight division. He apparently made up his mind that he'd drop to 125 lbs even before his recent 4th round submission loss to Urijah Faber in April. Jorgensen once fought for the WEC bantamweight title against Dominick Cruz, losing a one-sided unanimous decision. He's best known for his KO power, wrestling skills, and generally exciting bouts. His chances of contending at bantamweight are clearly over after his 3rd loss in 4 fights, but flyweight provides him a fresh start and perhaps another crack at a Zuffa title.
Makovsky is Jorgensen's 3rd different announced opponent for this card, and stylistically he's definitely different than both Ian McCall and especially John Dodson. "Fun Size" makes his UFC debut having literally just fought three weeks ago in RFA, beating Matt Manzanares for the promotion's inaugural flyweight belt. Previously, Makovsky wreaked havoc in Bellator's bantamweight division, where he won the title against Ed West in 2010 before losing it to Eduardo Dantas last year. These are two ex-Division I NCAA wrestlers with good ground skills (although on the feet it's a clear advantage to Jorgensen), and we should be in for some entertainment out of this one.
Can you believe that Sam Stout is 29 years old? This is the 3rd time I've said he's in his 20s just in primers alone and I still can't believe it. Anyway, Stout's career is best described as someone who gets into exciting brawls but does not have the capability otherwise to finish most of his fights and is rarely finished himself. The Canadian was choked out with 13 seconds left in the final round in his last bout against James Krause. Stout's biggest problem in the UFC has been consistency, and he's never won 3 fights in a row. He's alternated wins and losses in his last 5, so based on patterning he's going to win this one, but if he does not then it does not speak well for his future with the UFC.
You're reading that correctly, Cody McKenzie is 3-3 in the UFC. He's best known for his "McKenzietine", which has stopped 11 of 14 opponents he's beaten. McKenzie is often hailed as a "one trick pony" who is otherwise deficient in other areas of his game, but he did manage to show more than just a guillotine choke against Leonard Garcia, besting him on the ground en route to a decision win. So after a 1-2 start to his UFC career, he's won 2 of 3, with the lone loss coming against Chad Mendes in an utterly predictable outcome of 1st round TKO. If he can beat Stout (better yet, show more improvement in his striking), then it'd be the biggest win of his career.
Trujillo drilled Marcus LeVesseur with hard knees to the body in his UFC debut last December, but he was woefully overmatched against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 160, and FightMetric ultimately stopped counting the takedowns after the 500th. His first fight with Roger Bowling at UFC Fight Night 27 in August ended in a no contest after Trujillo was deemed to have illegally kneed Bowling in the face while he was "downed". Dana White seemed to think Bowling was play-acting to get a DQ win and still awarded Trujillo his win bonus. The rematch gives him an opportunity to settle the score once and for all, and hopefully controversy-free.
Bowling is no stranger to rematches. In Strikeforce, he defeated Bobby Voelker by technical decision after Voelker poked him in the eye and was unable to continue. A trilogy ensued, but Voelker knocked him out on both occasions. On the heels of a loss to Tarec Saffiedine, Bowling dropped to lightweight for his UFC debut and was flattened by Anthony Njokuani in April. The Trujillo rematch is a must-win for Bowling, who is staring at the possibility of 4 fights without a win stretching back to his last fight in Strikeforce.
Ozkilic is a former collegiate wrestler out of Long Island, New York who has been called in to replace the injured John Moraga. The Turkish-American has competed in pro MMA for only 3 years but has racked up the victories to put himself in position to be a solid prospect. Ozkilic's last fight before signing with the UFC was an impressive 30 second TKO of former WEC bantamweight Antonio Banuelos at Legacy FC in Texas.
Uyenoyama first raised eyebrows in the UFC when he upset the then revered Norifumi Yamamoto at the first ever UFC on Fox card in Anaheim, CA. Afterwards he dropped to flyweight, where he easily submitted England's Phil Harris by rear-naked choke. His grappling was completely nullified by Joseph Benavidez's fists this past April, and a left hook to the body finished him off in the 2nd round.