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UFC 156 Aldo vs. Edgar Full Card Preview

By: Daniel Kendrick

Well, I guess it’s time we “pay the piper,” fight fans. We’ve been gettin’ spoiled the past few weeks with some great freebees and like all great things, it’s not meant to last, but this weekend’s card is well worth our hard earned cash. Loaded with some much anticipated returns, including the one being made by pound-for-pound extraordinare and featherweight kingpin, Jose Aldo, this card is stacked from top to bottom and promises to be explosive. Call up the buddies, load up the grill, and put the beers on ice. Get ready…TIME FOR UFC 156!!!

Prelims on Facebook
Edwin “El Feroz” Figueroa (9-1-0) vs. Francisco “Cisco” Rivera (8-2-0, 1NC)

Well, maybe I jumped the gun when I implied that there would be no freebees. HAHA! First up, are a pair of young, hungry lions starting the night off full speed ahead in the always furiously paced bantamweight division free of charge, courtesy of social media. Fellow Hispanics, Edwin Figueroa and Francisco Rivera step up in the first of two free Facebook prelims. On paper, this looks to be a clear cut case of one-sidedness in favor of Figueroa with his boxing, grappling, and kickboxing pedigree, but Rivera is riding a 4 fight unbeaten streak and has 6 wins by KO in his young MMA career so let’s not count our eggs before they’re hatched.

Prediction: Figueroa by 3rd round KO/TKO stoppage

Chico “The King” Camus (12-3-0) vs. Dustin “The Diamond” Kimura (10-0-0)

Bringing up the rear of the two Facebook prelims is more faced paced action that would make Jeff Gordon jealous and it comes from none other than the bantamweights once again. Chico Camus welcomes undefeated prospect, Dustin Kimura, to the Octagon. Striker vs. grappler is the wrapsheet of this one. Camus boasts of 7 finishes, 5 coming by way of KO/TKO and is also a training partner of former WEC Lightweight champion, Anthony Pettis. Meanwhile, Kimura’s finishes are overwhelmingly dominated in the submission category. Along with striking, big stage experience will vie in favor of Camus so nerves could very likely play a big part. If so, Camus will most surely hone in on it and pour on the pressure with his striking advantage. If the
greener Kimura adjusts to the “Major League” like a pro, Camus will be well advised to avoid a ground battle like it’s the Plague and keep it on the feet in his world.

Fuel Prelims
Yves Edwards (42-18-1) vs. Isaac Vallie-Flagg (13-3-1)

 Moving over from Facebook to Fuel, the prelims continue between two long time veterans of the sport. Longtime UFC vet, Yves Edwards locks horns with Strikeforce veteran contender, Isaac Vallie-Flagg. Both men are coming off of wins of very solid opposition with Edwards having stopped Jeremy Stephens a little over a month ago in the first round and Vallie-Flagg narrowly edging out Gesias Cavalcante last May. The skillset on paper is even, for the most part, but a slight advantage in grappling would have to favor Edwards. This one will likely encompass a little bit of everything before it’s all said and done so for you fans who really appreciate all of the intricacies of mixed martial arts, this will be right up your alley.

Prediction: Edwards by 2nd round KO/TKO

Jacob “Christmas” Volkmann (15-3-0) vs. Bobby “King” Green (19-5-0)

Another lightweight matchup of UFC vet vs. Strikeforce vet. 3 time division 1 all-american, Jacob Volkmann and former King of the Cage champion, Bobby Green keep the pace going in the second of the Fuel prelims. Submission grappling is the forte of Volkmann with a no-gi world title under his belt as well as having the much deeper wrestling pedigree so making this a striking affair is going to be of paramount importance for Green, who has a solid wrestling pedigree of his own, but nowhere nearly in the league of Volkmann’s.
Green also has more KO’s to his credit, unsurprisingly, so let’s go ahead and factor that into the reasons he needs to keep the fight standing.

Prediction: Volkmann by 1st round submission

Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley (10-1-0) vs.  Jay “The Thoroughbred” Hieron (23-6-0)

Welcoming yet another Strikeforce contender to the UFC ranks, Tyron Woodley gets welcomed to the Octagon by Jay Hieron. Both are of very credible wrestling pedigrees with a slight striking advantage going to Hieron. Each man is also coming in off of a loss so getting back in the “W” column is first priority, especially for Woodley who suffered the first loss of his MMA career in a Strikeforce Welterweight title shot against Nate Marquardt this past July. Hieron, on the other hand, survived all 3 rounds against hard hitting, Jake Ellenberger, yet came up a little short. Woodley would be wise to try to press his older opponent and grind him down with an imposing ground attack. Hieron would be well advised to implement his striking advantage to take out his younger, hungry opponent.

Prediction: Woodley by UD

Gleison Tibau (35-8-0) vs. Evan Dunham (13-3-0)

Wrapping up the free preview action, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt, Gleison Tibau and Xtreme Couture product, Evan Dunham step in the cage to throw down in the lightweight division. Winner of his last 4 of 5, Tibau is a huge lightweight so crisp boxing and light footwork would be part of an effective gameplan for Dunham so as not to fall into a clinch game against a stronger opponent and especially since this particular stronger opponent happens to be the proud owner of a black belt in BJJ. Getting caught in the clinch could also spell disaster for Dunham being as that Brazilian fighters are generally renowned for having great muay thai instruction in their fighting maturation. However, fighting out of a camp like Xtreme Couture doesn’t leave you unarmed especially in the grappling department so if it goes to the mat, Dunham will undoubtebly be ready for whatever Tibau’s got up his sleeve.

Prediction: Tibau by 2nd round submission

Main Card
Joseph Benavidez (16-3-0) vs. Ian “Uncle Creepy” McCall (11-3-1)

Time to get what your hard earned dollars paid for, fight fans! If you think the action has been furiously paced so far, you haven’t seen anything yet. The first fight on the main card blows through the gates from the recently added flyweight division. Former bantamweight and flyweight title contender, Joseph Benavidez takes the first step back to title contention against the handlebar mustache wearing, “Uncle Creepy” Ian McCall. The kung fu black belt is trying to get back in the win column after losing 3 of his last 4. It’ll be anything but easy against a grinder like Benavidez. If “Uncle Creepy” can pull it off, he’ll certainly earn it since Benavidez makes opponents fight every second of every round. Benavidez advantages will be on the grappling and submission grappling end with McCall’s being on the feet with his kung fu background.

Prediction: Benavidez by UD

Jon Fitch (27-4-1, 1NC) vs. Demian Maia (17-4-0)

If you’re a big fan of ground battles, check the calender to see if it’s your birthday. The next matchup all but guarantees to only be standing at the start of the rounds. Former title challenger, Jon Fitch matches grappling arts against jiu jitsu wizard, Demian Maia. Both are coming off wins so there should be a lot of confidence in both corners. The drop to welterweight has so far been a wise move for the decorated submission grappler. Fitch has been somewhat frustrating for the fanbase to watch since the vast majority of his fights tend to be ground grinders that are determined on the scorecards, but perhaps a different strategy should be considered against a jiu jitsu ace like Maia. Fitch has definitely battled his fair share of jiu jitsu practitioners, but Maia is a different animal altogether when a fight hits the ground.

Prediction: Maia by UD

Alistair “The Reem” Overeem (36-11-1) vs, Antonio “Big Foot” Silva (17-4-0)

Here come the big boys! Former K-1 Grand Prix and Strikeforce Heavyweight champion, Alistair Overeem makes his much anticipated return against “Big Foot” Silva. There aren’t many professional mixed martial arts titles or pro fighting titles, for that matter, that Overeem hasn’t won, but the UFC Heavyweight title happens to be one of the missing. A win over “Big Foot” would undoubtebly put him in that position to challenge
for the much coveted heavyweight crown. On paper, this looks to be a classic “striker vs. grappler” matchup, but Overeem is far from a stranger to ground fighting with a European Abu Dhabi title under his belt as well as 19 of his professional wins coming by submission. Having said that, “Big Foot” will need to utilize his jiu jitsu black belt pedigree against the much, much deeper striking prowess of Overeem. Standing with the statue-esquely built Overeem would be disasterous for the big Brazilian. As shown in his fight with Brock Lesnar,  Overeem is not an easy man to takedown, either. Silva definitely has his work cut out for him.

Prediction: Overeem by 1st round KO/TKO

Light Heavyweight
“Suga” Rashad Evans (22-2-1) vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (20-5-0)

The predecessor to the main event is an intriguing style matchup between 2 of the sports long time stars. Former UFC Light Heavyweight champion, “Suga” Rashad Evans top UFC contender and former Pride standout, Rogerio Nogueira do battle for top title challenger contention. Wrestling could very likely be the deal breaker in this one since both have very credible standup and both possess Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belts with the higher submission pedigree leaning more favorably to Nogueira, of course. Being as that Rashad has never been submitted, betting on that to happen wouldn’t have great odds. If Nogueira trained on his takedown defense extensively, it could be a long night for Rashad since Rogerio’s boxing is on a higher level with a Pan American bronze medal on his resume. If Rashad has a relatively easy time putting Minotauro’s twin brother on his back, it won’t look good for the Brazilian.

Prediction: Evans by UD

Main Event
Featherweight Title Match
Jose Aldo, Jr. (21-1-0) vs. Frankie “The Answer” Edgar (14-3-1)

Superfights are special because they only occur every great once in awhile and this is one of those special occurances. Atop the pound for pound list and UFC Featherweight champion, Jose Aldo is back after a year layoff against former UFC Lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar. Making his featherweight debut, Edgar, in the eyes of many, doesn’t bring anything to the cage that Aldo hasn’t already seen and destroyed, but counting Edgar out has proven to be a guaranteed faulty way of thinking time and again. Edgar is a real life Rocky Balboa, repeatedly defeating larger and physically superior opponents. He’ll need every bit of that tremendous heart against a man as lethal as Aldo. A highly decorated Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt who rarely uses it since he crushes opponents with scorching leg kicks and precision power punching, Aldo will still come in as the heavy betting favorite. One of the questions is how Edgar will do at his new weight, though most would agree that this is the rightful weight class for him anyway. Also, how will Edgar solve the puzzle that the world’s top featherweights have attempted to and failed miserably.

If Edgar can disrupt Aldo’s vicious striking accuracy with his busy footwork, he may be able to segue that into putting the champion on his back more than he’s accustomed to. Keeping him there is no guarantee, however, since Aldo has shown that when he’s taken down, he comes back to his feet almost immediately. Still, if Edgar can pull this off with regularity, he might possibly be able to mentally rattle the psyche of the beast. Also, Edgar’s boxing may be enough to afford him a better chance at testing the chin of the champion. If he can’t pull any of that off, well, just take your pick from the list of any of Aldo’s victims and do the math.

Prediction: Aldo by 4th round KO/TKO

The first 2 previews for UFC 156 can be viewed courtesy of Facebook through your local Internet provider beginning at 6:35pm ET/3:35pm PT. The next 4 preview bouts will continue on Fuel TV through your local cable or satellite provider beginning at 8pm ET/5pm PT. UFC 156 can be ordered on Pay Per View through your local cable or satellite provider as well as online at UFC.TV beginning at 10pm ET/7pm PT.



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