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UFC Fight Night: Bisping vs. Le - The Idiot's Guide to the Fight Pass Preliminary Card

Lots and lots fighters from Mongola to Russia look to make some noise in their divisions for the undercard in Macau this weekend.

Photo by Anton Tabuena

Wait...I see a bunch of Asian fighters. I thought all Asian fighters were maltrained, underpaid, and endangered in North America?

Well, Japanese MMA has its own sordid history. Between the UFC expanding and acquiring much of the talent that once made Japan of mecca of MMA, and said acquisition exaggerating the problems that already existed (lack of quality gyms, or a quality network of trainers, the economics of MMA in Asia in and of itself, etc)...you'd be hard pressed to find a more predictable outcome for MMA in Asia. And yet we're still finding quality fighters.

This card is a good example.

Until I see a highlight reel of one of these guys doing this, I'm gonna be hard pressed to get truly excited about these undercarders.

Kid was a generational talent in my opinion. MMA just didn't have the structure to let him establish a legacy which is why his prime was spent in divisions he otherwise wouldn't have had any business in if he wasn't so damn talented. So that's an unfair bar.

I just want to know who I need to pay attention to and who I need to ignore.

Alberto Mina is a solid scrapper. He was scheduled to fight already, but had to pull out. Our cherished Scouting Report had him listed at #9 on the welterweight rankings. His pedigree in jiu jitsu and judo are respectable, but he's also 32 which doesn't exactly make him a prospect even though he's 10-0 and has finished all of his fights.

Yea but who is he fighting? Someone he can put on a highlight reel?

His opponent is Shinsho Anzai. A fighter from Team Climb who not only fails the wikipedia test, but also fails the youtube test, which is very very impressive in our youtube age. I feel that requires serious cunning to avoid a youtube presence. Interpret that how you will. Although he's coming off a TKO win over Ryo Kawamura, who I think is a pretty good Middleweight. He's also one of the more high profile fighters from Pancrase, as fighters might remember him for one of Muhammed Lawal's early bouts, in Sengoku.

Just talk about the good fights. This is already boring me.

Would you like a video compilation of people horrifically screwing up the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to distract you?

Yes.

There ya go.

Thanks.

Up next on the docket is Roland Delorme vs. Yuta Sasaki.

This is a really good fight, and one that just flat out pisses me off from a matchmaking perspective. Delorme is a solid bantamweight fighter who happens to be on a two fight losing streak. And this is how they treat Sasaki, who is actually a promising young 23 year old from Numazi, Japan.

When people talk about "Asian fighters dropping the ball", I think people often fail to look at their strength of competition. So while there are certainly cultural factors at play, there's also overlap with how some Pride fighters came over with little success: they finally starting facing top competition on a consistent basis. I'd curious to look at a numbers break down, and how many fighters from Japan came over and fought ranked competition right away, or rather, what the win percentage of their opponents was.

Anyway, Sasaki is fresh off 1st place at the ADCC Asia trials under 66 kg.

When you watch him fight, his comfort on the ground really shows: so much so that he'll even pull guard! To be honest, I'm not too confident he'll make some noise. Yet.

That's the real qualifier. Wait...are you done watching those ice bucket fails?

No. I had to switch over because I got distracted by a related video of a dude eating not-US legal cheeseburgers in a can from Germany.

The information age in a nutshell, ladies and gentleman.

So anyway, Sasaki is more project and prospect. He has very little power in his punches, and even though he displays some really quick foot movement, it's pretty predictable. Even awful fighters have been to counter his lunging southpaw jab.

But again, the good prospects have a habit of developing new tricks quickly to mask some of their inherent flaws. With a legitimate gym around him, he could do some damage. For whatever reason, he's the favorite, so he's not a good bet. At the same time, he has a higher ceiling than Delorme.

Wow. Cheeseburger in a can managed to look worse than it sounds. What about Wang Anying? Does he offer anything besides a thousand different puns?

Ah, yes. Wang Anying: the name for which paronomasia was invented.

He's pretty entertaining as long as he's up against another fighter who stands straight up like they suffer from orthopnea, and is willing to trade blow for blow. Colby Covington, who trains out of ATT, will put him on his back and keep him there.

How about this Elizabeth Phillips vs. Milana Dudieva female bout? The names just sound intimidating and regal.

I'm looking forward to this bout. Both women are action fighters but Milana probably deserves to be a slighter higher favorite than she already is. She fights a lot like her male Russian peers, with a striking style that doesn't leave a lot to the imagination but is nonetheless highly effective: she possesses an absolutely searing overhand right, and is an absolute pitbull when it comes to ground. She'll encounter problems against top control specialists, like a Sara McMann, but not Phillips. Still, Phillips has some solid pop in her fists too, so expect a barnburner.