The UFC returns this Wednesday to pay tribute to the armed forces of the United States with a solid card held at Fort Campbell in Kentucky. Headlining the event is Tim Kennedy, who still is listed as an active military serviceman, who takes on fellow middleweight Rafael Natal. Listed as co-main event for the evening is former marine, Liz Carmouche who is paired up with Alexis Davis; with the rest of the main card populated by middleweights Ronny Markes and Yoel Romero, lightweights Jorge Masvidal and Rustam Khabilov, and fellow 155lb’ers Colton Smith and Michael Chiesa.
Now, as ever I am here to guide you through the undercard action so let’s not waste any more time and dive straight in to the prelims.
James ‘The James Krause’ Krause (20-4-0) vs. Bobby ‘King’ Green (20-5-0) –
Headlining the prelims is a lightweight clash featuring James Krause and Bobby Green.
James Krause had a promotional debut to savour in his most recent clash at UFC 161 earlier this year in June. Krause was matched up with long-time UFC vet Sam Stout and was able to finish the tough Canadian via submission in the third round. Krause was also rewarded for his efforts handsomely as he took home the Submission of the Night award as well as sharing the Fight of the Night award with Stout. Not a bad way to introduce yourself at the new place. Krause is currently riding an eight-fight win streak having compiled the majority of those wins under the Resurrection Fighting Alliance banner.
Similar to Krause, Bobby Green also debuted in the UFC last time out and again like Krause, Bobby Green took home the Submission of the Night award for his rear naked choke victory over Jacob Volkmann at UFC 156 back in February. Green is in the midst of a five-fight winning run and should be familiar to few having recently enjoyed a five-fight stint in the now defunct Strikeforce.
While Bobby Green is a handle for most on the feet due to his powerful striking, I expect Krause to fight smart and at a distance that will prevent Green from landing successfully. Krause will likely offer more of a varied attack and look for takedowns in order to work his superior ground game.
Prediction – Krause via unanimous decision.
George Roop (14-9-1) vs. Francisco ‘Cisco’ Rivera (9-2-0-1 NC) –
Next up is a battle of the bantamweights as George Roop and Francisco Rivera lock horns.
George Roop is enjoying somewhat of a career renaissance since dropping down to the bantamweight division. Despite looking positively skeletal in his new weight class, since Roop transitioned to 135lbs he has registered two straight victories, his finest run of form since ‘07/08. Both victories have come over solid competition while his most recent victory can be chalked up as a career best as Roop was able to TKO the former WEC bantamweight champion, Brian Bowles.
Francisco Rivera is also on form of late, having remained undefeated since 2011 when he was defeated by Reuben Duran in his UFC debut. Five fights have passed since then with Rivera having his hand raised in each, however his encounter with Roland Delorme at UFC 149, a fight that Rivera won via KO, was eventually overturned to a No Contest after Rivera tested positive for a banned substance. Rivera bounced back from this mishap with a victory over Edwin Figueroa in his most recent bout back at UFC 156 in February.
I’ve gone against Roop in his previous two encounters since he dropped down to bantamweight and I will not be making the same mistake again. Roop looked better than ever in his recent victory over Brian Bowles and if that Roop turns up in Wednesday night, Rivera shouldn’t stand much of a chance.
Prediction – Roop via KO/TKO in the 2nd round.
Dennis ‘The Menace’ Bermudez (11-3-0) vs. Steve ‘Super’ Siler (23-10-0) –
Representing the featherweight division is a contest between two rising stars of the division.
Dennis Bermudez has come on leaps and bounds since his days as a fairly one dimensional power wrestler on the 14th season of The Ultimate Fighter. Having been defeated by Diego Brandao in the season finale, Bermudez has dusted himself off and got to work on the division. Currently riding a four-fight win streak, Bermudez has risen to the increase in competition every time he has entered the cage. Bermudez has added an aggressive striking game to an already formidable wrestling base and his come forward approach has won him fans as well as awards. Most recently, Bermudez battled with Max Holloway to a split decision victory at UFC 160 that thrilled those in attendance; and this performance was on the back of a Fight of the Year candidate in which Bermudez and Matt Grice waged war for three pulsating rounds.
Long gone are the days when people would underestimate Steve Siler. Siler first came to our attention on the same season of The Ultimate Fighter as Bermudez, but many never gave him a chance when competing despite him making the quarter final stage of the competition. Siler has since gone on to have an admirable career in the UFC, having only been defeated once in a tough encounter with Darren Elkins and racking up wins against UFC vet Cole Miller and former WEC featherweight champ Mike Brown in his most recent outing.
Siler’s best chance of victory is to successfully utilise his superior physical advantages, as Siler possesses a 5 inch height and 4 inch reach advantage over Bermudez, but if Bermudez is able to close the distance then Siler does have a credible clinch game that could pose problems for Bermudez. Having said that, if Bermudez does close the distance, which I think he will be able to do, I cannot see this being a good night for Siler. I expect Bermudez to carry on his good run of form and prove far too powerful for Siler both standing and on the mat.
Prediction – Bermudez via unanimous decision.
Chris Camozzi (19-6-0) vs. Lorenz Larkin (13-1-0-1 NC) –
Here we have a middleweight matchup to keep us interested as Chris Camozzi takes on Lorenz Larkin.
Chris Camozzi was unlucky last time out against Ronaldo ‘Jacaré’ Souza. Unlucky, not in terms of the outcome, but more in terms with the circumstances that lead to the pair facing off. Chris Camozzi was enjoying a four-fight winning run and had been preparing to face Rafael Natal at UFC on FX 8 back in May. Unfortunately an injury to Jacaré’s opponent for that event meant that Chris Camozzi got a bump in the running order of the event, as he had chosen to fill in for the withdrawn Costa Philippou. Jacaré was way too big of a step up for Camozzi and he got stomped, losing out in quick fashion to Souza’s otherworldly BJJ game, which all but stunted the momentum Camozzi had worked hard to build.
Lorenz Larkin can also count himself hard done by in his most recent performance, as the former Strikeforce combatant lost out in highly controversial circumstances in his UFC debut back in April at UFC on Fox 7 to Francis Carmont. In what was hardly a classic, Larkin was thought to have done enough to defeat the tedious Francis Carmont by stuffing several of the Canadian’s takedowns and displaying a varied striking attack, but it was not to be and Francis Carmont moved on to the top 10 of the middleweight division whilst Larkin wallows on the lower reaches of the undercard.
Larkin has shown in previous fights to have improving takedown defence, a diverse striking game and troublesome hand speed, all factors that should lead to him triumphing over the competent Camozzi who will not have the required grappling chops nor striking ability to really trouble Larkin.
Prediction – Larkin via unanimous decision.
Tags: Bobby Green, Chris Camozzi, Dennis Bermudez, Francisco Rivera, George Roop, James Krause, Liz Carmouche, Lorenz Larkin, Mixed Martial Arts, MMA, Steven Siler, tim kennedy, UFC, UFC Fight For The Troops 3