The UFC debut of Carlos Condit was a particularly sensational affair, albeit disappointing for him when he lost by split decision to division stalwart Martin Kampmann. Tonight Condit gets a chance to redeem himself and get back on the winning track towards another title shot when he faces Kampmann again in the UFC's second show on Fox Sports 1.
Can Condit prove he's matured more as a fighter since his first meeting with Kampmann? With the Dane prove he was as good then as he is now? I answer these questions and more with my predictions for tonight's fights.
What: UFC Fight Night 27: Condit vs. Kampmann 2
Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
When: Wednesday, the two-fight Facebook card starts at 5 p.m. ET, the four-fight Fox Sports 2 card starts at 6 p.m. and the six -fight main card starts on Fox Sports 1 at 8 p.m.
You can make a case Condit won the first fight despite not getting the judges' nod. This time around, however, I don't think he'll have as much issue. Condit is still the same go-for-broke striker he once was, but with a bit more patience and polish. His guard is massively improved as is his timing. Kampmann's one of the most talented fighters at welterweight, but I don't think he's made as much improvement in his game as Condit has since their first meeting.
Donald Cerrone vs. Rafael dos Anjos
Cerrone's takedown defense is surprisingly good, for starters. Second, his striking, I believe, is better and at a much longer range than dos Anjos'. The Brazilian's improvements cannot be discounted, but Cerrone is a tall order. I wonder if his recent legal problems might throw him off of his game, but if he fights the way he's capable, this is his to lose.
For whatever reason, I'm just not sold on Gastelum. It could be my own blindspot, but I've yet to see him put it on someone who I truly thought was a threat start to finish. The drop to welterweight is a smart one for him, so I'm curious to see how he looks. But I wonder if Melancon's punching prowess might make things difficult for the TUF winner. Of course, Melancon has to stay on his feet to make that happen, so this one could get interesting.
Frankly speaking, I was really underwhelmed by McGee's welterweight debut while I thought Whittaker looked pretty close to sensational against Colton Smith. I thought the drop down for McGee would've provided him the horsepower in wrestling and punching he could take advantage of, but it seems to have only underscored the lack of speed in his game.
I'm very hopeful for Perez and believe he'll be capable of great things, but I just don't know if he's ready for Mizugaki. The Japanese fighter is notoriously hard to hurt, hard to takedown, hard to do much against, really. Is Goyito's game really there yet? I hope I'm wrong, but I think he needs more to time to develop.
Tavares might be one of the most underrated middleweights out there, but even still, McDaniel is criminally underrated. I like Tavares to win by mixing up his game and pressuring McDaniel backwards, but the oddsmakers have this as a blowout for the Hawaiian. I'd be shocked to see that happen.