Predict the outcomes for UFC on Fox 19’s main card fights
MICHAEL BANE, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
It’s been four years since a 17-1-1 Rashad Evans took on former teammate Jon Jones in a Light Heavyweight Championship fight grudge match. Evans’ career has gone downhill since then, as the former champion has averaged about a fight a year, due largely to injury, and gone 2-2 during that time. Injuries have contributed to his decline, but at 36 years old, it’s hard to think he’s about to make another run at the belt.
Brazilian Glover Teixeira is also 36 years old, but he doesn’t appear to be showing the effects of the years like Evans is. He’s a finisher, with six of his seven wins coming by way of stoppage in the UFC, and has shown himself to be adept at both the striking and submission game. Evans hasn’t been finished since he lost his title to Lyoto Machida way back in 2009, and I don’t expect Teixeira to be able to either. Evans best bet is to smother Teixeira with his wrestling the way Phil Davis did, with his body failing him, I expect the Brazilian to rough him up en route to a decision victory.
Nurmagomedov is another fighter who’s missed time due to injury. It will have been nearly two full years since his last appearance in the UFC, which was a decisive win over current champ Rafael dos Anjos. The 22-0 Dagastani competitor was destined for a title shot before getting hurt repeatedly over the course of the last 24 months. Now finally healthy again, the Eagle just can’t seem to catch a break. His main event match was scrapped due to an injury to Tony Ferguson; thankfully, the Eagle will get to stay on the card as sacrificial lamb Darrell Horcher steps up to be pounded out or submitted in the first round. Numagomedov goes onto a title shot, and Horcher gets another fight in the UFC for doing Dana and company a solid.
Rose Namajunas has all the makings of a future champion at strawweight, but first she’s going to have to get past someone who’s already beaten her in Tecia Torres. The 23 year old submission specialist is still very much improving her skills, and it’s hard to peg exactly where her ceiling is, other than to say it’s pretty high. Torres is a relatively young fighter herself, at only 26 with seven professional fight under her belt, but she doesn’t have the natural gifts that Namajunas has to work with. Thug Namajunas gets her revenge and stakes a claim at a crack at the belt, with a late submission victory over the Tiny Tornado.
Cub Swanson’s career has really taken a nose dive since he won six straight and then got thoroughly outclassed by Frankie Edgar. A second devastating submission loss to Max Holloway firmly established that Swanson can no longer be considered among the elite at 145 pounds. Harcran Dias is a 27-3 fighter who is still missing that signature victory to start generating contender buzz. It’s hard to say if Swanson would be that guy, but it’s also harder to say that Dias is going to win. While Swanson has looked bad recently, he’s shown he can reach a level that Dias probably never will. Swanson is either finished or just tops out around #5/#6 in the division, but here’s thinking he shows his superior talent and gets back on track with a decision win over Dias.
Finally, there is a clear winner to declare in the Lyoto Machida vs. Dan Henderson rematch, and that’s the fans. It’s been cancelled, so we no longer have to watch that completely unnecessary garbage. Go fans!
FRANK HYDEN, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I think Teixiera wins by decision in a dull grindfest, Nurmagomedov will lay atop Horcher and blanket him en route to a boring decision win, and Torres gets the decision win over Namajunas in a fight that could be pretty good or really bad. Ultimately, I don’t think this will be a good card at all and likely makes me turn the channel several times over the course of the evening. However, this is the price we pay for getting big pay-per-view cards.
DAYNE FOX, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
While I very much believe ring rust is a very real thing and that Evans should look better than he did against Ryan Bader, I think too much of the athleticism that he relied upon so heavily for his success has faded due to age and injury. He’ll be able to make the fight competitive, but that has more to do with Teixeira not being an elite fighter himself. What Teixeira does have is a lot of power in his punches, something that I don’t think Evans will be able to avoid over the course of 25 minutes. I say Teixeira gets a TKO victory in the third or fourth round.
Darrell Horcher is a UFC caliber fighter. He is not anywhere near Nurmagomedov’s level. Few are. Nurmagomedov uses his wrestling to score a dominant decision after a two year absence.
Namajunas and Torres is the fight with the most intrigue, as there are so many possible outcomes with almost all of them being most entertaining. Torres has seemingly stalled in her progress as a fighter while Namajunas has continued to improve. As JDS showed on Sunday though, it doesn’t take long for a fighter to reverse their trajectory and Torres is still young enough that she could quickly turn things around and make herself a name that everyone wants to see. If this ends up being a point fight, I favor Torres. But Namajunas has shown so many different ways to finish her opponents that I don’t think she lets Torres see the final buzzer. Namajunas gets an… I’ll say armbar in the second round.
JAMIE PENICK, MMATORCH EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Evans didn’t look all that great in his return against Ryan Bader last September, but a lot of that can be chalked up to his near two-year absence. Teixeira took this on short notice, but he’s looked good in two straight fights after consecutive losses to Jon Jones and Phil Davis. Teixeira’s got power enough to hurt Evans, but Evans is good at grinding things out himself and working decently from a distance. Teixeira has more ways to finish the fight, but don’t be surprised if Evans pulled out a decision of his own. Teixeira by decision.
Rose Namajunas and Tecia Torres fought almost three years ago, but while both have had success in their respective runs since that first meeting, Namajunas has progressed her game significantly while Torres hasn’t exactly gotten any better. This could be a showcase in how much better Namajunas is than she was in her third career fight, and I think she stops Torres this time around. Rose by submission in the third round.
Khabib Nurmagomedov’s been out two years, but the layoff shouldn’t hamper him from beating a late replacement in Darrell Horcher. Nurmagomedov should take this easy.
Finally, Cub Swanson is in need of a good return, but he should be better than Hacran Dias. Yes, he got destroyed in two straight fights, but it was against two of the best featherweights in the world. Dias isn’t that. Swanson by decision.
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