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UFC on Fox: Machida vs. Rockhold - Idiot's Guide Preview to the Fox/Fight Pass Prelims

David Castillo breaks down the three things you need to know about a really good undercard that you don't want to miss for the Fox card in New Jersey this weekend.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

A rare star-ish studded card for UFC on Fox provides the fireworks this April 18, 2015 at the Venue Prudential Center in City Newark, New Jersey.

The Line Up

Preliminary Card (Fox)
Lightweight Jim Miller vs. Beneil Dariush
Light Heavyweight Ovince Saint Preux vs. Patrick Cummins
Light Heavyweight Corey Anderson vs. Gian Villante
Bantamweight Takeya Mizugaki vs. Aljamain Sterling

Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)
Welterweight George Sullivan vs. Tim Means
Featherweight Diego Brandão vs. Jimy Hettes
Middleweight Eddie Gordon vs. Chris Dempsey

The Odds

Beneil Dariush -175 Jim Miller +155
Ovince St. Preux +105 Patrick Cummins -135
Corey Anderson -280 Gian Villante +220
Aljamain Sterling -280 Takeya Mizugaki +220
George Sullivan +130 Tim Means -160
Diego Brandao -185 Jimy Hettes +155
Chris Dempsey +285 Eddie Gordon -375

3 Things You Should Know

1. There are two upper tier bouts on the Fox undercard in Miller vs. Dariush and Mizugaki vs. Sterling.

Miller has been an upper tier mainstay for years. It's hard to envision him anywhere else. But coming off a tough loss to Cerrone, you have to wonder just a little, even if he isn't, where his head is at. While Miller doesn't seem designed this way, sometimes it's hard for fighters of Miller's caliber to accept their fate; the swings are just too dramatic. To be on the cusp of a title, only to be resigned to gatekeeper status is a hard lesson. Moreover, the mental drive necessary to beat solid fighters night in and night out knowing the hierarchy doesn't really involve you much is its own psychological trial.

The Miller family in general, as I said, doesn't seem wired this way. And yet it's all I can concentrate on when thinking about this matchup; Dariush is a legitimate LW who has nothing to lose. This is purely a show me fight for Dariush who will get to show the UFC that he belongs on Chael Sonnen's Fox Spin Zone talking points memo. Miller's already been there. He's had the Jay Glazer commentary comb over.

Miller is the underdog in somewhat shocking fashion. This all feels like the stage set for a showcase, with the flashy prospect  looking to stake his LW claim with a win over an aging veteran. Dariush is a solid fighter, able to swiftly navigate on the mat, while possessing a decent striking blueprint that deserves to look passed his TKO loss to Ramsey Nijem. However, I'm a little wary of the Dariush's hype. Miller isn't like Mike Pyle; a tough as nails veteran who can be a little inconsistent depending on the competition. Miller is as consistent a fighter as there is. No matter what his potential mental hangups might be, I like his junkyard dog quality, and I feel like his assertive nature on the ground and on the fight won't prepare Dariush for what Miller has to offer that his opponents did not.

Mizugaki is the Japanese version of Miller. Except unlike Miller, I don't see him getting passed Sterling. Mizugaki has always been a sturdy fighter, and the Dominick Cruz KO loss hasn't changed that. But he's the kind of aging veteran who typically doesn't age well; never fleet of foot, Mizugaki will suffer from losing a step against fighters just like Sterling. Sterling is a true blue chipper; he knows how to take advantage of scrambles in a way few fighters are capable of doing without looking like they're panicking ala Alpha Male. As fluid an athlete as there is right now, I feel like Sterling will be able to put Mizugaki on his back with ease while scoring enough shots on the feet to have Mizugaki confused over both. Look for Mizugaki to get overwhelmed by fast switch muscle fibers.

2. There are two lower tier bouts on the Fox undercard in OSP vs. Cummins and Anderson vs. Villante.

OSP vs. Cummins is anything but "lower tier". But one beating the other doesn't tell us a whole lot about the LHW hierarchy. Then again I'm a little skeptical of both. OSP is coming off a big win over Shogun, but I'm not sure it says that much about him. Rather, it's a sign of Shogun's decline. Meanwhile, Cummins has little experience as a 34 year old HW coming down in weight trying to make a name for himself. I rarely count OSP out in any fight if just because of his momentum crazed style of fighting. While he's still not as polished as you'd hope, there's no doubt he's got the speed and power to pick up lots of victories in the UFC. Conversely, I can see Cummins controlling him for three full rounds. OSP doesn't transition his game from one facet to another the way he looks capable of. His inability to adapt will be his undoing if Cummins is able to land enough low impact shots as he constantly transitions from the feet to the ground.

Anderson is a decent young fighter who I think benefits a lot from training under Mark Henry's tutelage; a trainer I've interviewed before, and who I think does brilliant, technical work in fighter's corners before. He's facing Villante, who has never done much either in the UFC or Strikeforce. I think Anderson's ability to polish the bout on the ground and off it will be the deciding factor, as Villante doesn't do much with the abilities he does have.

3. The Fight Pass card is full of quality action fights, with little at stake in the division's themselves. Don't let it fool you.

Diego Brandao may be kind of a nut, but he's still a gas inside the cage. Against Hettes, it's the perfect fight to showcase his lunacy; a tall fighter who isn't very athletic, which means he'll either blitzkrieg the guy, or methodically picked apart. It's hard to know just what is liable to happen. Neither guy is consistent, despite showing some promise. I like Diego to maul his way through Hettes' limited defenses.

Despite his age, George Sullivan is quietly becoming the kind of fighter you mistake for a solid prospect. He's on a nice little win streak, winning 5 of his last 7 bouts by TKO, and hasn't lost since 2011. He's up against Tim Means, who is on a solid 3 fight win streak in the UFC. It's kind of hard to predict. Sullivan is a solid numbers pick, but it's hard to say he's actually better than Means, who fights tough and durable inside the clinch. If he can dull the sensation of Sullivan feeding him right and left hands, he should win this one with a bloody nose, and a few broken body bones.

Gordon vs. Dempsey is not a strange matchup, but there's definitely little to write home about. Gordon has some solid power, but hasn't fleshed out his game yet. The same could be said of Dempsey, who simply hasn't fought enough solid competition to figure out his identity as a mixed martial artist. Gordon is the obvious pick because of the law of athletes vs. not athletes.


Miller by Decision

OSP by Decision

Anderson by Decision

Sterling by TKO, round 2.

Means by Decision

Brandao by KO, round 1.

Gordon by TKO, round 1.