UFC on FOX 4: Breakdown and Predictions for the Main Card Fights

Still have a bad taste in your mouth from UFC 149? Well it looks like Dana White is going to make up for it sooner than you may think with the UFC on FOX 4.

Hosting the Showtime Lakers and Lob City, Staples’ Center is no stranger to excitement. Expect nothing but that when four of the top Light Heavyweight fighters in the world go head to head in title eliminator matches. After the lackluster effort given by the fighters on the UFC 149 card, expect Dana to reward  finishes and Octagon brilliance. With that being said, let’s take a look at the UFC on FOX 4 main card.

Fight One- Welterweight matchup

Mike “Quick” Swick vs Damarques “Darkness” Johnson

Tale of the tape

  Swick Johnson
Record 14-4 16-10
Height 6’1” 6’1”
Reach 77” 75”
Age 33 30
Finishing % 71% 88%

 

With a combined 14 knockouts and 10 submission victories, these two know how to finish fights. Both guys are entering this fight after losing by submission so the pressure is on to deliver a victory.

Grappling- Johnson will enjoy a submission advantage in this fight with seven tapout victories to Swick’s three, but he’ll also have a big  wrestling disadvantage. According to FightMetric, Johnson stops takedowns at a clip of 21%, while Swick stuffs 71% of his opponents’ attempts. When it comes to getting takedowns, “Quick” completes 50% of his takedowns while Johnson is at 43%.  Most likely Swick will want to keep this one standing, but he has a good advantage if he wants to try to take Darkness down.

Advantage- Swick

 

Striking- Both men have seven knockout victories to their names but when it comes to striking advantage is very clear. Swick lands 2.5 strikes per minute while Johnson is at 2.1 strikes. Where the advantage comes in is that Johnson absorbs 3.9 strikes per minute to Swick’s 2.3. With “Quick” being a kickboxing specialist and training with AKA, this is an easy choice.

Advantage- Swick

Prediction- Anything can happen when two men are across the cage from one another, but I see this ending in quite dominant fashion for one man.

Mike Swick by 2nd round TKO

Fight Two- Lightweights

Joe Lauzon vs Jamie Varner

Tale of the Tape

Lauzon

Varner

Record

21-7

20-6

Height

5’10”

5’8”

Reach

70”

71.5”

Age

28

27

Finishing %

100%

90%

Mention the word “Decision” to either one of these guys and it’s likely that you’ll get a puzzled look in return. Out of 41 combined wins they’ve only failed to finish two. With a combined 26 submission victories, this fight is the early favorite for submission of the night. This should be an incredible matchup.

Grappling- With 17 of his 21 victories coming via submission, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu purple belt is all about getting you down and putting himself in position for the win. Jamie Varner is also a very capable grappler with nine submission victories to his name, but It’s a no brainer as to who deserves the advantage.

Advantage- Lauzon

Striking- Varner is a very diverse fighter with 9 of his 18 stoppages coming by way of knockout. He prides himself on being able to get the job done wherever the fight goes. However, with four knockouts to his name, J-Lau can be dangerous on the feet also. Just not as well as Varner.

Advantage- Varner

 

Prediction- With both men constantly looking for a finish, don’t expect the final bell to ring on this match. The real question is can J-Lau contain Varner’s striking and get him down? If not then this fight will end quickly.

Joe Lauzon by 1st round submission

 

Fight Three- Light Heavyweight

Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida vs. Ryan “Darth” Bader

Tale of the Tape

Machida

Bader

Record

17-3

7-2

Height

6’1”

6’2”

Reach

74”

74”

Age

34

29

Finishing %

47%

64%

Of all the fights on this card, this is the one I am most looking forward to. This is the Wrestler vs the Karate Master. The real question mark in this match is Bader. Will he opt for a wrestle heavy approach or will he try to strike with Machida on the outside? The answer will most likely be the key of who wins this fight.

Grappling- Bader is a high level wrestler who can control the fight once it hits the ground. He completes 3.45 takedowns per 15 minutes but completes those at a 43% rate. His problems come in against good counter wrestlers like Jon Jones and Rampage when he wasn’t able to control the ground game. Add Machida to that list. Stuffing 80% of his opponents takedown attempts, Machida can usually control where the fight is going to take place. He’s also successful when he goes for the takedown himself, successfully completing 65% of his attempts.

Advantage- Machida. Big surprise on this one since Bader is a high level wrestler, however Machida should be able to nullify most of Bader’s attempts.

Striking- When it comes to volume striking, Machida has some of the fastest hands in the Light Heavyweight division. His low open stance helps to see all strikes coming in which attributes to his 61% striking defense. Landing shots at a 57% rate himself, The Dragon will make Bader pay if he gets an opening. Darth Bader is much less of a striker, connecting on only 39% of his strikes. His low percentage vs Machida’s counterstriking style could spell certain doom if he can’t get top control and keep it there.

Advantage- Machida

Prediction- Unless Bader catches Machida off guard with a solid right hand, I can’t see many avenues where he can win this fight. Machida should be an overwhelming favorite in this one.

Machida by decision

 

Main Event- Light Heavyweight

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Brandon “The Truth” Vera

Tale of the Tape

Rua

Vera

Record

20-6

10-5

Height

6’1”

6’3”

Reach

76”

78”

Age

30

34

Finishing %

90%

66%

Dana White is noted as saying that both the Main Event and Co-Main Event could have implications on the next challenger for the Light Heavyweight Championship. In other words, Shogun needs to finish Brandon Vera in spectacular fashion in order to get a rematch against one of the last two men to defeat him. Unfortunately for Shogun, Vera isn’t the easiest guy to finish.

Striking- This main event should be a striking masterpiece. Brandon Vera will want to try and take advantage of the reach advantage he has by using his boxing to the fullest. Shogun has a much more diverse Muay Thai striking attack, using his eight points of contact to inflict damage. Out of a combined 32 wins for these guys, 24 were by way of knockout. Give them five rounds to stand in front of each other and chances are that one won’t make it to the final bell.

Advantage- Shogun Rua

Grappling- When it comes to grappling Shogun is more likely to use his wrestling. He averages 2.4 takedowns per 15 minutes while Vera is just at .75. With Vera stopping 62% of his opponents’ takedowns, it won’t be an easy task.

Advantage- Shogun Rua

Prediction- Anything can happen in a fight, but the only question in this match is when and how will Shogun finish it. Look for Shogun to be like a shark that smells blood when the bell rings and don’t be surprised when you hear the bell again that ends it. This won’t go the distance.

Shogun Rua by 3rd round TKO

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