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UFC Fight Night: Magny vs. Gastelum - Idiot's Guide Preview to the Fox Sports 1 Main Card

An action packed main card will precede the main event for UFN 78 in Mexico with a host of projects, prospects, and veterans.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

A solid exchange of brown on brown crime precedes the main event (that Phil and I will preview tomorrow) this November 21, 2015 at the Arena Monterrey in Monterrey, Mexico.

The Line Up

Featherweight Ricardo Lamas vs. Diego Sanchez
Flyweight Jussier Formiga vs. Henry Cejudo
Welterweight Erick Montano vs. Enrique Marin
Lightweight Enrique Barzola vs. Horacio Gutierrez
Lightweight Efrain Escudero vs. Leandro Silva

The Odds

Diego Sanchez +425 Ricardo Lamas -550 
Henry Cejudo -550 Jussier Formiga +425 
Enrique Marin -185 Erick Montano +160 
Enrique Barzola +150 Horacio Gutierrez -170
Efrain Escudero +120 Leandro Silva -140

The Rundown

Featherweight Ricardo Lamas vs. Diego Sanchez

Diego Sanchez was once an exciting prospect. There was a time when he seemed filled with blue chip potential. If you remember his fight with Nick Diaz live, you know this feeling very well. Not only does that fight feel like ages ago, but it feels like it was documented by a different sport.

A fighter who used to be a frenetic mixture of pace, prowess, and will is now a punchline of menace, mean-mugging, and cartwheels. I mean, there's no way I can write this preview without some measure of disappointment. It's possible there's nothing funny at all either; Diego has been palpably impacted by the damage he's taken in recent fights. Luckily for him, the Ross Pearson bout wasn't a dramatic example.

I know a lot of people thought that was a robbery. Not saying it wasn't, but I couldn't muster much outrage over it. Say what you want about Diego's gameplan, but Pearson fought as reactively foolish as Diego fought proactively foolish.

This is a lay-up for Lamas all the way. Lamas may have brutally lost his last fight, but it was singular and not prolonged against one of the division's elite. Ricardo doesn't have many knockouts on his dance card, but he seems to save his power for top control, where he possesses the kind of ground and pound I can easily see dusting Sanchez entirely. In the past Sanchez would have had a scrambler's chance here, but his mind has ignored scrambles and transitions in favor of perfect opportunities; be it the big punch, or the big submission.

It's why Diego has suddenly lost the 'pace' that made so dangerous; opponents couldn't keep up with his unique form of pressure. Except his pressure is singular now, which makes him way less effective.

Flyweight Jussier Formiga vs. Henry Cejudo

What bizarre odds. I think this is a really good fight, but a tough sell for the kind of bout that projects to make Cejudo look good. Formiga, on an impressive three fight winning streak, is basically an amped up version of Chris Cariaso, who was last seen giving Cejudo modest fits.

Difference between Formiga and fighters like Cariaso and Chico Camus is that Formiga is simply more polished; not only is the better athlete, and throws a slick right had, but his grappling is the kind of "one punch knockout" proxy asset that Cejudo could easily fall victim to. Unlike typical grapplers, Formiga works fundamentals with modern speed and vision. Yes, he's an athlete, but he's an athlete with the required muscle memory to make it look like he's skipping steps in the position chain to score the submission win when he's not.

Cejudo is erratic for a fighter with his record. His wrestling isn't the game changer it was projected to be, but it hasn't mattered because he's developed his striking into a brilliant ballet. He's great at combination punching for his limited experience, and jabs with authority. We haven't seen Cejudo on the ground, but I think Formiga gets his chances in the scramble. He's quick enough to accomplish it against Cejudo, and he'll land enough to force Henry back into his instincts as a wrestler. This glitch of habit will be his undoing for this one; I'm not bullish on Formiga. Cejudo has the striking to make him crumble. But Cejudo has been more inconsistent than consistent, and Formiga is the perfect fighter to punish anyone possessing the former over the latter.

Welterweight Erick Montano vs. Enrique Marin

Because I'm an idiot (which makes the title for these previews fitting rather than meta), and didn't update the card order (which is always weird for these TUF Finales), I'll lazily copy and paste what I wrote in the prelim preview.

'This is one of the stranger matchups on the card from a stylistic point of view. Montana likes to fight going backwards, and Marin likes to battle horizontally. Usually this makes for a fairly awful fight; the counter puncher is typically in good position to defend the takedown just by sheer inactivity, and especially for fights on the undercard, the fighter's wrestling isn't polished enough to offset the counter striker's ability to keep his/her distance. Montano hasn't learned, however, that counter striking is not about moving backwards; it's about knowing when to move forward.'

Lightweight Enrique Barzola vs. Horacio Gutierrez

One of the things I've noticed about Latin American fighters is that with their cultures steeped in boxing history, the athletes breaking out in mixed martial arts tend to be 'perfect plan tomorrow' strikers. They're not high output Thomas Almeida types. They like to score punches as much going forward as they do going backwards. This doesn't make them extra efficient or anything; just interesting habits. And Barzola and Gutierrez both wear some of these tics on their sleeves.

Barzola keeps a real tight arsenal on his vest. He's not a combination striker, but he's active even when he's not throwing punches.

I'm not sure he's enough of an athlete to get passed Gutierrez' three round speed. Horacio's only loss was because of a questionable illegal knee in a fight he was winning. He's got a strong, and quick right hand, and left hook. When he chambers that right kick to the body, kidneys bleed. This is a really interesting fight that is a coin toss for me; Barzola warms the heart because he's nicknamed after one of Street Fighter's most stereotypical but fantastic characters (hard as hell to learn), but usually the rule is to err on the side of athleticism.

Lightweight Efrain Escudero vs. Leandro Silva

Escudero is slowly earning back the good will he once flushed away. Granted, how much of that is the truth, or just arbitrary Zuffa narrative is anyone's guess. Whatever the case, Escudero basically scrubbed out despite looking like a solid prospect on TUF when he won the show against Philippe Nover.

Silva's the slight favorite, probably because a similarly skilled fighter on the ground in Charles Oliveira knocked Efrain out of the UFC. But Oliveira is a powerful, imposing grappler whereas Silva is a more reactive, less durable one. I don't see him getting Efrain on the ground long enough to get a submission win. On the feet, he won't get crushed by Efrain, who has good power but a limited arsenal, but he will get beaten if he relies too much on opportunities on the ground.


Lamas by TKO, round 2

Formiga by Decision

Marin by RNC, round 3

Gutierrez by Decision

Escudero by Decision

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