The ProMMAnow.com (www.prommanow.com) staff comes together to give their thoughts and predictions on the UFC on FX 5 fight card headlined by a heavyweight match-up between Travis Browne and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva. The action kicks off Friday afternoon at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minn. Here’s how we see the fights going down. Let us know who you agree with, who’s off in left field and who’s just plain nuts.
Heavyweight Travis Browne (13-0-1) vs. Antonio Silva (16-4)
JACK BRATCHER: Travis Browne is a very good fighter and is still undefeated inside the Octagon. He fought to a draw with Cheick Kongo in 2010. Since then he scored a KO win over Stefan Struve, a unanimous decision over Rob Broughton and a submission win over Chad Griggs. Bigfoot Silva is coming off back-to-back losses to Daniel Cormier (Strikeforce) and Cain Velasquez (UFC debut). Prior to that, Bigfoot had TKO wins over Fedor Emelianenko and Mike Kyle and a decision win over Andrei Arlovski. Bigfoot’s only losses have come against top competition. I personally don’t think Browne is quite ready for his level. Maybe the Jackson/Winkeljohn camp can put together some type of elusive gameplan but I think Bigfoot wins this one via stoppage (T)KO or submission. (A Fuel TV poll had over 60% picking Browne)
JAY CEE: Travis Browne wins via KO.
BRIAN FURBY: Travis Browne.
GARY THOMAS: Bigfoot did what I wanted done so many times by beating Fedor. That being said it may be the last of the Bigfoot highlights. Browne is undefeated with a draw and is only getting better. Silva may last longer than he did with Cain but not much. Pick – Browne by TKO (Round 2).
Welterweight Jake Ellenberger (27-6) vs. Jay Hieron (23-5)
JACK BRATCHER: Ellenberger is coming off a knockout loss to Hieron’s main training partner Martin Kampmann. Hieron’s last loss in recent memory was a split decision to Ben Askren where Asren took him down and laid and prayed. Although Ellenberger has good wrestling, he’s no Askren. Hieron takes this one either via TKO or decision. Hard to believe this is Hieron’s first fight in the organization since 2005.
JAY CEE: Jay Hieron wins via Decision.
BRIAN FURBY: Jake Ellenberger.
GARY THOMAS: Jay Hieron hasn’t been in the Octagon since 2005. He has made his name through Bellator and is coming in against a fast Jake Ellenberger who was once considered a true threat in the welterweight division. Bellator fighters have a stigma and this fight won’t change that. Pick – Ellenberger by knockout.
Flyweight John Dodson (13-5) vs. Jussier Formiga (14-1)
JACK BRATCHER: Dodson is 2-0 in the UFC, including his KO win over TJ Dillashaw to win TUF 14. His last fight was a decision over Tim Elliott in May. Formiga is a submission ace from Brazil and is making his UFC debut. He’s never won a fight via strikes (7 subs, 7 decisions). Dodson should be able to handle someone like that, especially in their big show debut. Formiga’s only loss was a decision loss to Ian McCall last year at Tachi Palace. Dodson via TKO or decision.
JAY CEE: Jussier da Silva wins via Submission.
BRIAN FURBY: John Dodson.
GARY THOMAS: John Dodson moving to flyweight is a great move on his part. Tough, fast and eager to get out there look for him to do what he does best and overwhelm Jussier Formiga in his UFC debut. Pick – Dodson by TKO.
Welterweight Justin Edwards (7-2) vs. Josh Neer (33-11-1)
JACK BRATCHER: Both guys are coming off losses; Edwards – a decision to John Maguire, Neer – a KO to Mike Pyle. Edwards has one win via knockout and five submission wins. His biggest win is over Jorge Lopez at UFC Fight Night 25. He lost a split decision to Clay Harvison in his UFC debut. I want to be as clear as possible with this pick: Neer wins by any way he wants. Almost a mis-match. Just look at their records (not that it always matters, but I feel it does here).
JAY CEE: Josh Neer wins via TKO.
BRIAN FURBY: Josh Neer.
GARY THOMAS: Josh Neer was on a tear. Edwards is 1-2. Easy pick for me as The Dentist gets it done and a loss to Mike Pyle isn’t so bad now is it/ Pick – Neer by TKO.
Lightweight Jeremy Stephens (20-8) vs. Yves Edwards (41-18-1)
JACK BRATCHER: I think Jeremy Stephens is probably fighting for his job. Both guys may be. Stephens is coming off back to back losses to Donald Cerrone and Anthony Pettis. Edwards is coming off a loss to Tony Ferguson.Yves is more well rounded than Stephens but I think Stephens’ power will be the difference here and he will stop Edwards via TKO.
JAY CEE: Jeremy Stephens wins via TKO.
BRIAN FURBY: Jeremy Stephens.
GARY THOMAS: Jeremy Stephens Yves Edwards are both coming off losses. Stephens has been in big fights before but dropping his last two has to weigh on his mind. I am gonna call a knockout in this one. Pick – Stephens by KO.
Lightweight Michael Johnson (11-6) vs. Danny Castillo (14-4)
JACK BRATCHER: I like this match-up a lot. Both guys are very tough and well-rounded. Johnson trains with the Blackzilians and Castillo is part of Team Alpha Male. Castillo has faced and beaten the tougher competition and is coming off three straight wins over Shamar Bailey, Anthony Njokuani and John Cholish. Johnson is coming off wins over Tony Ferguson and Shane Roller. I’m going to have to go with Castillo via decision. I don’t see either guy finishing the other.
JAY CEE: Michael Johnson wins via Decision.
BRIAN FURBY: Danny Castillo.
GARY THOMAS: Easy to pick the next one as Danny Castillio has the pedigree in my mind to take it to the next level. Michael Johnson is an up and comer but I like Danny pull this off. Pick – Castillo by KO/TKO.
Lightweight Jacob Volkmann (14-3) vs. Shane Roller (11-6)
JACK BRATCHER: Fight between two tough submission artists. Roller has the advantage on the feet, but Volkmann should have the edge on the ground. Volkmann coming off a loss to Paul Sass. Roller coming off a win over John Alessio. I’m picking Volkmann via submission. He was on a five-fight win streak prior to his loss to Sass and I think he’ll get back to his winning ways.
JAY CEE: Jacob Volkmann wins via Submission.
BRIAN FURBY: Shane Roller.
GARY THOMAS: Coming off a loss there has to be a sense of urgency in Volkmann. Roller was in a do or die situation but survived and got the victory in his last outing. Volkmann is tough though and I see him finding a way to win. I hate to even say it but probably a decision. Pick – Volkmann by decision.
Featherweight Bart Palaszewski (36-15) vs. Diego Nunes (17-3)
JACK BRATCHER: Tough match-up between two very well-rounded fighters. Both guys are coming off losses and are 2-2 in their last four. Bart is coming off a loss to Hatsu Hioki via decision and Nunes is coming off a decision loss to Dennis Siver. Both guys are 29-years-old but Bart has a lot more fighter years on his body. Nunes is the fresher fighter and I give him the edge. Nunes via decision.
JAY CEE: Diego Nunes wins via Decision.
BRIAN FURBY: Diego Nunes.
GARY THOMAS: Bart came in overweight but was able to cut the pound he needed. He has glimmers of promise. Diego Nunes has failed to produce in his big fights but should be game for this one. I am calling this the first finish of the night. Pick – Nunes by submission.
Flyweight Darren Uyenoyama (7-3) vs. Phil Harris (21-9, 1 NC)
JACK BRATCHER: Harris has won his last five; four via decision, one via submission. This will be the Brit’s UFC debut. Uyenoyama used to train BJJ with one of the original members of ProMMAnow.com, Fast Eddie Constantine (R.I.P.). For that reason alone I would probably pick Uyenoyama. Harris has a lot more MMA experience and has a very strong submission game. But Uyenoyama is adept on the ground and won his UFC debut over “Kid” Yamamoto last November. “Kid” is far from a pushover. I got Uyenorama via decision.
JAY CEE: Phil Harris wins via Decision.
BRIAN FURBY: Darren Uyenoyama.
GARY THOMAS: Trying establish a pecking order at flyweight will be a hard task but Phil Harris could be that guy to surprise people in his UFC debut. I like Harris to grind out a decision and maybe even pull off a submission over the grappler Darren Uyenoyama.
Lightweight Marcus LeVesseur (21-6) vs. Carlo Prater (30-11-1)
JACK BRATCHER: LeVesseur got guillotined by Cody McKenzie in his UFC debut back in May. Prior to that he’d won three straight bouts against people you never heard of on the regional circuit. Prater is coming off a decision loss to TJ Grant in May. Before that he’d won four straight via submission, and won his UFC debut via disqualification against Erick Silva. This one is a bit of a toss up for me but I’m going with Prater via decision.
JAY CEE: Carlo Prater wins via Submission.
BRIAN FURBY: Carlo Prater.
GARY THOMAS: Levesseur is another wrestler who was highly touted. Having watched his UFC debut in Fairfax it is hard to judge him based on his submission loss to Cody McKenzie. Carlo Prater was on the same card and took a decision loss in a boring fight. Prater needs this win even though he technically is 1-1 but was one was a DQ win. I like Levesseur to come out with something to prove. Pick- Marcus Levesseur by decision.
Welterweight Aaron Simpson (12-3) vs. Mike Pierce (14-5)
JACK BRATCHER: Very strange these two guys are on Facebook. Don’t understand that at all. I like this match-up a lot. Simpson is coming off a decision win over Kenny Robertson in July. Pierce is coming off a decision win over Carlos Eduardo Rocha in June. Both guys are very tough, have strong wrestling and are pretty evenly matched, but I’m leaning toward Simpson via decision.
JAY CEE: Aaron Simpson wins via Decision.
BRIAN FURBY: Mike Pierce.
GARY THOMAS: How can all this talent kick off the show on Facebook? Aaron Simpson and Mike Pierce have been around the block. I like the wrestling of Simpson to grind on Pierce. A decision more than likely but a “W” none the less. Pick – Aaron Simpson by decision.