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Diggin’ Deep on UFC Stockholm: Gustafsson vs. Teixeira - FS1 prelim preview

Get the lowdown on the UFC contests out of Stockholm as the card switches over to television, including a bantamweight contest between Pedro Munhoz and Damian Stasiak.

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Munhoz vs Scoggins Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

No need to beat around the bush. There aren’t any contests on the televised prelims that you’ll regret missing. All of them consist of low to mid-level guys on the roster either trying to keep their jobs or continue a long climb into relevance. The fights could be good. The fights could be bad. My job isn’t to sell you on them. It’s to get you prepped for them.

The FS1 prelims begin at 11:00 AM ET/8:00 AM PT on Sunday.

Pedro Munhoz (14-2) vs. Damian Stasiak (10-3), Bantamweight

Is it just me, or is this a pretty big mismatch? A look at their UFC records might indicate otherwise as Munhoz sits at 3-2 with a No Contest while Stasiak clocks in at 2-1. However, a closer look reveals a potentially lopsided contest.

Munhoz was a highly-regarded prospect when he arrived in the UFC. While many will claim that he hasn’t lived up to expectations, his losses have come against Raphael Assuncao and Jimmie Rivera. Nothing to be ashamed about there, as he wasn’t blown out of the water in either contest. Throw in the fact that he has picked up finishes in each of his victories and I see no reason to believe he’s a flop. There is very little flash to his grappling, though he is about as fundamentally sound as they come with a serious knack for pulling out a sub out of nowhere. His wrestling isn’t bad either.

Stasiak was an afterthought upon his UFC entry, dropping a decision to Yaotzin Meza in his debut. He bounced back with two wins over less-than-stellar competition, going against type by securing submissions despite his karateka background. He’s improved the timing on his shots and overall wrestling technique, though he is still prone to being bullied. Considering Munhoz’s reputation on the ground, expect Stasiak to stay on the outside to utilize his flashy kickboxing.

Munhoz should find a way to secure a finish one way or another. His boxing is stout and I’d be surprised to see him struggle on the ground with the likes of Stasiak. Stasiak has proven to be scrappy, so a decision loss wouldn’t be too surprising. Still, I’d expect Munhoz to secure a finish. Munhoz via submission, RD1

Trevor Smith (14-7) vs. Chris Camozzi (24-12), Middleweight

Connor Ruebusch is drooling over this contest of middling middleweights. Camozzi has long been the poster boy for what middleweight is all about: given the right matchups, a long winning streak can be put together. Given the wrong opponents, and a long losing streak is just as likely. Can you see why he’s on his third UFC stint? An entertaining kickboxer, Camozzi has never been a powerful striker. Instead, he relies on volume, throwing a hefty amount of punching combinations complimented by a steady supply of leg kicks. His technique has improved too, illustrated best by his string of finishes that ended about a year ago. The question has become whether or not the opponent he’s facing wants to take him to the ground.

Though Smith has been willing to stand and trade in some of his contests, he’s still a wrestler and grappler at heart. Given Camozzi’s record against those type of fighters, Smith should be wary of trying to outstrike the Colorado native. Smith is generally aware of his opponent’s areas of strength and takes the fight where they are weakest. Even if he can’t finish the takedowns, he is good in the clinch and wearing down his opponent and making a fight ugly.

Matchup wise, this is a great contest for Smith. The last opponent Camozzi beat that was better known for their grappling? Nick Catone all the way back in 2012. But I keep looking at the wins Smith has accumulated – a well-past-his-prime Dan Miller is his best win – and I can’t find it in myself to pick him. Add Smith’s questionable durability and I’m picking Camozzi to extend his UFC career further. Camozzi via TK, RD3

Reza Madadi (14-5) vs Joaquim Silva (9-0), Lightweight

Madadi was talking about a retirement fight in his home country of Sweden earlier this year. After Mairbek Taisumov pulled out of yet another contest – his third in the last 17 months – Madadi may be getting that chance on short notice. An aggressive wrestler with a simplistic yet effective submission game, it would appear that Madadi has an early edge in this contest given Silva’s weak wrestling and grappling.

Silva has been granted the gift of favorable matchups in his UFC run, facing one opponent who was severely undersized (Nazareno Malegarie) and another who was not a great athlete (Andrew Holbrook) in his sophomore effort. Neither were able to get the young Brazilian to the ground, falling prey to his superior athletic gifts and powerful striking. Madadi has never been finished in his career. Given Silva’s lack of volume and wrestling, he’ll probably need a finish to secure a victory.

Madadi turns 39 next month. It’s rare for a fighter to push his career into their later years without having their chin erode. Look at Dan Henderson or Diego Sanchez. It isn’t a far stretch to see Silva finishing off Madadi with one of his hard hooks, though the odds still favor the veteran wrestler to grind out his opposition. In fact, I’m expecting Madadi to secure a submission before the end of the contest despite taking the fight on short notice. Madadi via submission, RD2

Niko Musoke (13-4-1) vs. Bojan Velickovic (14-4-1), Welterweight

Wait…Musoke is still in the UFC? Damn. The Swede has been absent from the UFC for the past 28 months, dating back to a time when Jon Jones and Anthony Pettis stilled ruled their respective divisions. Largely a kickboxer, Musoke tends to rely on the clinch and takedown attempts after being touched up a bit. To help compensate for his poor defense, he spends a lot of time in the clinch.

Velickovic is a bigger welterweight, which would lead you to believe that he would be able to avoid Musoke’s takedowns. Though Musoke isn’t exactly a great takedown artist – he couldn’t get Albert Tumenov down once in ten attempts – Velickovic’s wrestling is his Achilles heel. He shows sound submission defense and durability, but those aren’t the type of compliments you want to receive about your wrestling and grappling.

If Velickovic is going to win, it will be behind a steady diet of jabs and kicks from the outside. Though plausible, Musoke is the longest opponent Velickovic has faced by far. Throw in the fact that Musoke is the better athlete and has been every bit as durable as Velickovic, I’m prone to give Musoke the edge despite the long layoff. Musoke via decision

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