This April 11, 2015 a ton of action on the Fight Pass undercard takes place at the Venue Kraków Arena in City Kraków, Poland.
The Line Up
UFC Fight Pass
Welterweight Seth Baczynski vs. Leon Edwards
Middleweight Bartosz Fabiński vs. Garreth McLellan
Welterweight Sérgio Moraes vs. Mickael Lebout
Featherweight Damian Stasiak vs. Yaotzin Meza
Heavyweight Daniel Omielańczuk vs. Anthony Hamilton
Women's Strawweight Izabela Badurek vs. Aleksandra Albu
Lightweight Marcin Bandel vs. Steven Ray
Featherweight Taylor Lapilus vs. Rocky Lee
Leon Edwards -110 Seth Baczynski -110
Bartosz Fabinski -125 Garreth McLellan +105
Mickael Lebout +310 Sergio Moraes -370
Damian Stasiak -130 Yaotzin Meza +110
Anthony Hamilton +145 Daniel Omielanczuk -165
Aleksandra Albu -175 Izabela Badurek +155
Marcin Bandel +150 Stevie Ray -170
Rocky Lee +175 Taylor Lapilus -210
3 Things You Should Know
1. The welterweight bouts are like a cold bowl of pinto beans; not appetizing in the slightest, but maybe you'll be something savory in the abyss of extreme hunger.
Seth Baczynski is in an interesting spot in his career. He had always come off as an overachiever for a short stint, but recently he's threatened his own journeyman status going 1-4 in his last 5. It's becoming apparent that his size isn't the advantage it used to be. To be fair, he's had a toughish schedule, and his victory was over the surging Neil Magny. His opponent is Leon Edwards, who is modestly athletic fighter who nonetheless manages to plod along. It's a strange trait. Even though he's a reasonable striker, he doesn't hide anything spectacular behind his punches, or movement. Though his KO over Shaun Taylor is one of the better nailed to the cross canvas droppers in recent memory. Seth should be able to take this fight to Leon pretty good; Seth is still beastly in the clinch, and Leon's lack of activity will be his undoing.
Sergio Moraes is a fighter who sort of impressed on the TUF show, and has sort of impressed within the UFC; he's completely under the radar, and yet one of the more accomplished overachievers in it. His biggest win was over Neil Magny, though Magny is a much improved fighter since then. Back in 2013. So Moraes having such a long layoff could be a factor if you believe in such soundbites. He's taking on the fighting Frenchman Lebout, making his UFC debut. Lebout is a solid fighter when it comes to activity. He's not dangerous at any one area, emphasized by the fact that he's mostly a striker with only one TKO/KO win. He punctuates his punches with solid kicks like some sort of hobo Parisian version of TJ Dillashaw, but he doesn't have the defense to prevent from being turned into a pretzal in this one.
2. The Featherweight bouts are all neophytes with the exception of Meza. So expect the international unexpected.
Polish FW Stasiak is not a real certified prospect despite a polished record, and a good birthday for a fighting prime. When I watch him I think of something like Niinimaki; solid enough to upset someone better than he us, but not enough to consistently beat those he's superior to. Sounds like some silly MMA jive, but I'm sure you know what I mean. He moves well on the ground, with shades of Alpha Male, minus the Red Bull quality. It's a good fight for him, since Meza has yet to really separate himself from the pack with anything other than a journeyman's toolkit. While I don't sound high on Stasiak as a blue chipper, I do think he's quality, and certainly in this one.
Rocky Lee sounds like a good fight on paper versus Taylor Lapilus, assuming you knew nothing about them except their names. They're ok fighters; just not unique ones. Lee strikes well but never seems comfortable enough on the feet to let the bout play organically. It's a compliment that he knows to switch hit between striking and grappling, but there's a fine line to the art; at some point the unpredictable becomes predictable. Taylor has the opposite problem, preferring truly rote striking to be efficient. Lapilus is well put together, and draws his effectiveness from his strength. Problem is, he's not active enough to threaten in a way that's more suitable for his build. That and the Frenchman draws negative points from this goofy writer/hobbyist for having a nickname reminding me of one of Van Damme's much much lesser films.
3. The best of the rest features a handful of very interesting fighters with little to no fanfare, but who are worth watching despite the mediocrity surrounding the undercard.
Bandel took a pretty tough loss to Taisumov in his last UFC outing. Of his 13 wins, 12 are by submission so he's one of those rare fighters who seems like the sum of his record. Submissions are his game, and there's little reason to do much of anything else. He's taking on another fighter capable on the ground in Steven 'Braveheart' Ray; a southpaw fighter from Scotland who has a good understanding of how the action on the ground is supposed to play out. Which sounds obvious enough, but Ray is pretty good at positioning himself in a variety of aspects. He's competent on the feet by virtue of some deceiving power, and mechanics. And his ability to keep it on the feet should be his key to victory, though you should never count out anyone who loves to break heels and ankles.
Albu could either be the next Nikita Krylov, or the next Jorge Masvidal; a fighter who comes out of nowhere, for better or for worse. Albu is the one that has many observers talking. While she just has one single pro fight, she's a considerable athlete, possessing lightning quick strikes with a karate base (think a less mobile, forward version of Machida). Still, she's a complete unknown. Badurek is less of an unknown though still very green, with only four more pro fights than Albu. For the most part, Badurek is a top control type. She's not a great wrestler, but when she's on top, she strikes well with position, and is responsible enough on the feet to avoid getting blown out. Normally I'd pick the veteran, but the word veteran has less significance because 1) 5 pro fights is not a lot and 2) certainly not in a young division where you're fighting known mediocrity. I think Albu simply has the look of a solid athlete and fighter, which is why I favor her.
From the land of District 9 and increasingly inferior work from director Neill Blomkamp comes Garreth McClellan, who is mostly here just for the clinch, and the top control. But hopefully not here for any zef. His up against his Polish doppelganger in Fabinski, who loves to work in top control. Fabinski is the favorite, and rightfully so I guess. His top control game is a little more polished, as he does a lot of things well when moving inside, getting underhooks, efficiently clinching, et cetera. So it could be a fairly stock fight with not much going on except for excessive reffing, but Fabinski should be fairly imposing.
Hamilton didn't exactly endear him to the gods of effective fighting when he took losses to Duffee and Oleinik, but as with most heavyweights, there's value to the guys who don't have much to offer when the offerings are sparse. Daniel is actually a good striker who can make his punches sing. It's one of the few things that still excites me; watching a heavyweight not move like a heavyweight. Then again I have to cop to indifference; Heavyweight is a complete funk for as long as Cain Velasquez is on permanent IR while the rest of the cast does little to distinguish themselves. Oh yea; Daniel by TKO.