The UFC 168 event is stacked from top to bottom. Many bouts on the prelim card could easily have been chosen to be on the main card of tomorrow night’s event or any number of events down the line. The point is that there are a ton of free fights tomorrow night that should get you excited for.
Today, I will breakdown the FOX Sports 1 prelims and tell you the good, the bad, and the GIF’s for each bout.
John Howard vs Siyar Bahadurzada
The Good: This Welterweight battle has fireworks written all over it. Both Howard and Bahadurzada have 21 wins to their credit. Howard has 9 wins by TKO/KO, while Bahadurzada has 11 wins TKO/KO.
The Bad: The fight is not exactly momentous for the Welterweight division.
Bottom Line: Howard is currently in his second stint in the UFC, as he picked up a late replacement win over Uriah Hall back in August. Bahadurzada made his UFC debut in April, 2012, but has only fought once since then, losing to Dong Hyun Kim by unanimous decision. Both men have knockout power, and have shown time and again their willingness to stand and trade. I fully expect both men to go toe to toe until one man is taken out. I say Bahadurzada gets the TKO win in the second round.
Gleison Tibau vs Michael Johnson
The Good: This bout has a lot on the line for both men, who are looking to break into the top 10 in the crowded Lightweight division.
The Bad: Nothing bad about this fight in my opinion.
Bottom Line: After losing two straight, Michael Johnson rebounded better than anyone could have predicted against Joe Lauzon back in August. Johnson completely dominated Lauzon on the feet with his most impressive stand up outing to date. He will have his hands full against the wrecking machine that is Gleison Tibau, however. Tibau is a powerful man at Lightweight, and is usually able to bully his much smaller opponents like Johnson. Johnson will have to execute his footwork better than he ever has if he hopes to win this fight. Johnson has yet to impress from his back, so expect Tibau to look for the takedown often. If Johnson can defend the takedowns, he should be able to pick Tibau apart on the feet. I expect Tibau to grind out a decision, but it wouldn’t shock me if the faster Johnson could stay on his feet. If he is able to, this should be a fun fight to watch as Johnson’s striking has improved in every fight he is in.
Dennis Siver vs Manvel Gamburyan
The Good: A striker vs grappler matchup is always intriguing. Dennis Siver’s savvy striking arsenal should never be missed, either. This fight could also catapult either men into the top 10-15 in the Featherweight division.
The Bad: Nothing bad about this fight either. It could potentially be a bit of a snoozer, but the upside is definitely better.
Bottom Line: Dennis Siver was looking great at Featherweight before he met the streaking Cub Swanson back at UFC 162. He will look to rebound against the always tough Manny Gamburyan. After winning two straight, Gamburyan is looking to use Siver as a stepping stone into the top 10. Siver, a former welterweight, will be the much bigger fighter come Saturday night. Expect Gamburyan to try to get Siver on the mat, due to Siver’s ineffectiveness off his back. If he can’t get Siver down, it may be a long night for the former TUF 5 finalist. Gamburyan, while not exceptional at anything, is pretty well rounded. I see Gamburyan taking a split decision in a hard fought battle.
Uriah Hall vs Chris Leben
The Good: There is so much riding on this fight for both men. A loss for either man could end their respective careers. That being said, a big win by either man could get them right back in the mix.
The Bad: Hall’s last two fights have been incredibly disappointing. He has yet to show the killer instinct we all expected after his TUF stint. Leben’s last few fights have been dreadful as well, so this fight could disappoint.
Bottom Line: If you miss all of the prelims, then make certain you do not miss this one. The Uriah Hall hype train is on it’s very last leg at this point. The man who some considered could be the next ‘Anderson Silva’, or could immediately contend for the Middleweight title after his TUF stint, is now one loss away from losing his UFC contract. After losing two straight inside the Octagon, and getting bashed by Dana White, Hall needs a big rebound performance on Saturday night. His opponent is none other than TUF 1 veteran, Chris Leben. Leben is currently on a three fight losing streak, and is 1-4 in his last 5. Dana White has stated numerous times that he takes special care of the TUF 1 guys, and especially Chris Leben. Could a loss tomorrow night spell the end for his career? This fight does has the chance to be a real snoozefest, like Leben’s last few fights. That being said, the opportunity for a hellacious KO from either man is very real. Add to that the importance of the fight for each man’s respective career and you have got yourself a fight. I think Hall impresses and finishes Leben in the third.