UFC On FX 3 (McCall vs. Johnson) – Main Card Preview

Bantamweight Bout
Eddie Wineland vs Scott Jorgensen

Fight Breakdown: What happens when two top rated bantamweights lose to contenders but are still too good to fight anyone beneath them?

They get matched up together.

That explains Wineland vs. Jorgensen, who have lost to a who’s who of the bantamweight division recently. Jorgensen is coming off a loss to Renan Barao, who’s slated to face Urijah Faber in a month for the interim title. Wineland lost to Joseph Benavidez and Urijah Faber before tonight’s battle with Jorgensen. It’s hard to find fault with losing to a guy fighting for the title shortly and another fighting for the flyweight title later this year (and who gave Dominick Cruz his toughest fight to date for the bantamweight title). It’s one thing to lose; both guys fought elite competition in a losing effort. Both are top 10 fighters in the division … it’s just they’ve lost to guys in the top five. No shame in that.

The key to the fight will be whether or not Jorgensen opts to take this to the ground. Wineland has that “one hitter quitter” type of power in his hands and feet that he can put Jorgensen out with. It’s his saving grace to be able to throw that Hail Mary style shot and win fights that way. It’s why he’s survived so long in the division; big power used effectively wins fights.

Jorgensen will most likely stand with Wineland as long as he can take the sort of power he throws; it’ll be his saving grace if he gets rocked early to dive for a takedown and recover in top position. He can control where the fight goes; he just has to be weary of the sort of power Wineland has.

Why It Matters: Both fighters need a win to stay relevant in the division. Wineland has two losses, albeit to top competition, but three in a row puts him way back in a division that’s going to be on hold for a while. Three losses in a row usually can mean a cut from the roster but Wineland is a top fighter in the division. He could be cut, of course, but it would be a slight surprise because he’s losing to a real high level of opponent repeatedly. Whether or not he can make another run to the top of the division starts with this fight. Jorgensen has the loss to Barao recently and in a better spot but a loss here sets him back as well.

The Prediction: Jorgensen by Unanimous decision

Welterweight Bout
Mike Pyle vs Josh Neer

Fight Breakdown: Josh Neer and Mike Pyle are guys who have a unique history bouncing across the spectrum of the fight business. Pyle made his pro debut against Quinton Jackson and is the only man with a submission victory over Jon Fitch (in his second fight, albeit). Neer has a pair of wins over TUF Champions Mac Danzig and Joe Stevenson, amongst others.

This fight is going to be settled in the clinch. Whoever wins the fight in there can control where it goes; Neer is good enough to finish it standing and Pyle on the ground. If Neer can wobble him with some elbows he can finish this but the key will be if Neer takes him down. If Neer can get a hold of him and drag him onto the mat then he can grind out a win or grab a submission.

Why It Matters: Both men are moving up in the welterweight ranks, slowly but surely, and a win here gets them closer to a top guy. Still a ways away, of course, but closer.

The Prediction: Pyle by submission, round 2

Welterweight Bout
Erick Silva vs Charlie Brenneman

Fight Breakdown: A once hot prospect against a current hot prospect; that’s the tale of Brazilian Erick Silva and Charlie “The Spaniard” Brenneman. And it’ll be an interesting matchup because both do one thing well that the other might not have a good counter for.

Silva has some sick hands at his disposal and has to make this a kickboxing matchup. Brenneman has a smothering, Chael Sonnen type of wrestling game when it comes to top control. Silva hasn’t faced a wrestler with Brenneman’s credentials or ability before, either. Can he keep this standing? That’ll be the key. If Silva can make this a standing affair than he has the ability to finish Brenneman, who has shown to be a bit chinny on occasion. It’s also his first fight outside of his native Brazil, which could come into play.

Why It Matters: Both guys have long term potential as contenders in the division but are nowhere near ready to start venturing up to the top 10 or so of fighters. But a win here gives them momentum and a shot up the charts. That’s what a win here does.

The Prediction: Silva by KO, round 1

Flyweight Bout
Demetrious Johnson vs Ian McCall

Fight Breakdown: We saw this once before and got three excellent rounds before incompetent arithmetic screwed it all up. So we get a rematch of what was already a really good fight and now both fighters are going to go for it for potentially four more rounds.

Stylistically nothing’s changed since the first fight. McCall is bigger and Johnson has a speed advantage to a lesser degree at flyweight than he did at bantamweight. The key will be McCall’s finishing instincts; he showboated in the third round and that might have cost him the fight. If he has Johnson in a disadvantage like that again he’s going to have to pour it on and stop him. Both guys at this point might be leery of letting this go to the judges, as well, so the desire to finish is going to be higher than normal.

Why It Matters: The winner is one fight away from being the first UFC flyweight champion.

The Prediction: McCall via TKO round 2