Two lightweights, both potential immortals, figure out their ranking differences in LA to open the main card.
The Match Up
Lightweight Tony Ferguson -220 vs. Gleison Tibau +180
3 Things You Should Know
1. Tony Ferguson is one of the best prospects to come out of TUF in a very long time, and despite his age, he's still trending up.
When we last saw our hero, he was choking out Abel Trujillo, who is, well, kind of a dirtbag. It was a tough fight, as both men decided quickly that defense wasn't going to be part of the octagon equation. He's 7-1 in the UFC, with his only loss coming against Michael Johnson. Despite being 31, Ferguson keeps adjusting to his opposition, and continues to do well for himself. I don't think a title shot is in the cards, but he's got the moxy to put himself in a position where the bout is high profile enough. Perhaps a rematch with Michael Johnson for a potential title shot? Whatever the case, this is a good fight for Ferguson.
2. It's Gleison Tibau. The very name translates to "that which does not wane". If we're including the 'Jani' and 'Herculano' I mean.
I feel like I'm just spinning a record here. Tibau is just a freak of consistency. Neither an underachiever, nor an overachiever, he just...is. Like some weird Brazilian incandescent force of equilibrium. Like The Shape, but less scary and imposing. His bout with Norman Parke was just another example of how he constantly under and overachieves even within the battle. It wasn't entertaining, but I don't think many expected it to be. Maybe Joe Silva, while tripping on PCP, but certainly not fans and media.
3. Unlike the bout against Parke, Ferguson will push Tibau to battle back the only way Tibau can: by slowing the fight down, and hopefully not succeeding at it.
Ferguson is quietly one of the more entertaining fighters in the UFC. He doesn't have enough wild finishes to call himself a Kenny Florian like "finisher", but he's active in a way that doesn't sabotage effectiveness, or maximize mistakes. He fights like he's on a swivel at all times, moving his head, keeping his opponents guessing.
The only problem with Ferguson's game is that he seems a little too offense oriented at times. You might not know it but Ferguson has brilliant takedown defense. He's almost impossible to take down straight up, and yet you'll see him on his back too often because he's throwing risky, sometimes flat out unnecessary moves. The Castillo fight was a good example, as Danny would have had little for him otherwise (though I think Castillo did better on the feet than was determined in the court of public opinion).
Tibau is a fairly patient fighter. He doesn't throw what he doesn't need to, and just keeps everything calm and collected. I have to think that Ferguson takes this though. I think his wild, offensive nature will play to Tibau's weaknesses which aren't many; but this is the kind of fight where judges favor the offensive fighter. Ferguson will push the pace while Gleison will look to weather the storm. In addition, I think Tony's freakish reach should help neutralize Tibau's comfort in sitting down on his counter punches.
Tony Ferguson by Decision.