Lots and lots of welterweights and a group of bizarre nicknames face off for the UFN 70 undercard this June 27, 2015 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
The Line Up
Preliminary Card (Fox Sports 2)
Welterweight Alex Oliveira 11-2-1 vs. Joe Merritt 6-0
Welterweight Leandro Silva 17-2-1 vs. Lewis Gonzalez 10-1
Welterweight Steve Montgomery 8-2 vs. Tony Sims 9-2
Bantamweight Danny Martinez 16-6 vs. Sirwan Kakai 11-2
Alex Oliveira -440 Joe Merritt +350
Leandro Silva -150 Lewis Gonzalez +130
Steve Montgomery -140 Tony Sims +120
Danny Martinez -135 Sirwan Kakai +115
3 Things You Should Know
1. The evening begins with a pair of bouts starring '2.0 Sims' versus 'The Creepy Weasel', and 'Zohan' versus 'The Gremlin'. You know...just your garden variety battle between tattooed modern day overfed Dick Tracy characters.
Montgomery probably has the most unfortunate nickname in MMA. I mean, I'm assuming nicknames are actually supposed to mean something, which means the 'Creepy Weasel' just inspires inquiry more than fear. If nicknames were like horror movies, Montgomery would be Dr. Giggles, in other words. And across from him is 2.0 Sims. Without actual names, this fight reads like a battle between an arcade and Peyronie's Disease.
Not oddly enough, these are two fighters that are hard to actually describe. Stature wise, they're completely normal. Sims is a tall, lanky fighter from Elevation Fight Team who likes to be patient from afar and wait for counters from different positions. He's constantly switching southpaw to orthodox. He can change levels fairly well, and has a well rounded polish to his game, but he's got swift strikes when he lets his hands lose. Montgomery is even taller and lankier. At 6'4 the American Top Team product has got a heavy frame to work with.
Yet despite their size and trade, both men fight much smaller than they are. Despite the odds, this fight is dead even in my opinion. Sims is crafty on the feet, and I get the impression he thinks he's too clever for his own good. His switching of stances is rarely in service of anything other than a prolonged setup. There are simply way too many lulls in his arsenal, and even then, he gets hit a lot. Montgomery is the same way minus the striking craft; his win over Brock Jardine was a clear combination of timing and luck.
He was letting the much shorter fighter get inside of him, taking bombs all day before the quick flash knee KO (think Vick on Cruickshank). Despite the odds, I like Sims because I think he'll land the cleaner shots at range. Montgomery's defense needs a lot of work, though to be fair, at 24 years of age he can afford to take damage as long as his defense progresses.
Martinez got his shot in the WEC in what feels like ages ago when he got a one and done deal against Joseph Benavidez. In his second stint, the 30 year old from Alliance MMA is once again winless, hoping to turn it all around. Danny is actually a solid overall striker, especially with his respect to his boxing. I always felt like he deserved better against Benavidez in terms of matchmaking, as he seemed like an entertaining gatekeeper. He's facing the Swedish prospect who has spent some time with American Top Team in Sirwan Kakai. Kakai is an interesting fighter because athletically he's all there; good speed, modest pop, and excellent mechanics. Most of his wins are by submission, but he's content to stand, jab, and patiently look for counters while pressuring with his own grappling prowess. He seems to excel in close, where his elbows do yeoman's work in the clinch. Like the Sims, bout, I feel this fight is more or less even with Kakai's well roundedness being a greater service here than Martinez' boxing.
2. Leandro Silva won't have referee Eduardo Herdy to save him against Lewis Gonzalez. Unfortunately for Lewis, Silva won't need Herdy's help.
Leandro will forever be tied to one referee's completely boneheaded mistake. I've seen some boneheaded mistakes in professional sports. Metaphysically boneheaded, even. But Herdy's gaffe was something supernatural. Silva obviously didn't beat Dober, but that shouldn't be held against him. Oh yea. Leandro did admit he felt the choke was sunk in, and began celebrating shortly after. Nevermind. SIlva's grappling and combination striking are enough to get him through most fights. His only two losses are to solid fighters as well. Gonzalez is a solid fighter who sometimes is just a little overmatched, and doesn't know quite how to mitigate his disadvantages.
He's got decent power, and a good right hand. He's a little like diet-Wiman. A strong pressure fighter who can a little of everything at breakneck speed, but doesn't seem to have the durability to sustain such a style. He'll threaten Silva enough on the feet to make this competitive, but I don't seem avoiding the ground long enough.
3. Finally the squash match of the night. At least this squashee has a puncher's chance.
This is what a solid fighter playing in the smoker show sandbox should look like. Sure Merritt is picking on a poor defenseless amateur fighter, but if that's how you cash those checks, so be it.
As you can see, Merritt favors the straight right lead. He likes to open with it, and once in the clinch, does an excellent job of hastily landing knees to the body and head. It's important to note that despite his brief tenure at 6-0, he's 31. So it's hard to gauge just what exactly he has to offer to the elite.
Even worse, he has to test himself against Alex Oliveira who is coming off a big win over KJ Noons. Oliveira owns an extensive arsenal of strikes, along with imposing accuracy and power. He's also the superior ground fighter, and may look to take it there if the opportunity presents itself. Wherever the fight goes, he's the better mixed martial artist.
Sims by Decision
Kakai by Decision
Silva by RNC, round 2.
Oliveira by TKO, round 1.