I decided to alter the format of my fight previews for a couple of reasons. I title the previews "Everything You NEED to Know" and as I reviewed them I realized I wasn't giving everything you needed to know. I often wasn't giving the stakes of the match or how the fighters got to where they had presently arrived. While in many cases I can probably safely assume that anyone reading this might already know... but it is idiotic for any author to assume anything.
I also realized that in some cases I was giving MORE that what the reader needed to know. Yes, the intricacies of a fighters fighting style is nice to know... but are you going to be able to remember everything that I have said about what they do and don't do well? Hell, I don't always and I write these. So I've decided to dumb that portion of the preview down a little and break it up into their background or style and what the viewer should expect strategy wise. And of course, I gotta throw in possible X-factors.
Before anyone tries to be a smart ass and point out this possibility, I'm going to address a potential concern. Am I using a bit of the formats from what I have seen used before in previews from multiple places? I'd be lying if I said no. Am I trying to plagiarize? No. I would say the correct term is utilizing influences.
I hope the new format works out better. If ya care, let me know what ya think. If ya don't... why the hell are you even reading this? Hmm... maybe that was a little too harsh. Either way, I appreciate anyone simply reading these.
Story Thus Far: Gamburyan has had a rollar coaster ride of a career under Zuffa. From underdog finalist on the 5th season of TUF, to losing to Rob Emerson in 12 seconds, to fighting Jose Aldo for the WEC featherweight title and then a 3 fight losing streak. Coming off of a No Contest that was originally a loss to Dennis Siver, he looks like he'll be a gatekeeper at this point.
Lentz didn't lose in the UFC until his 9th fight in the Octagon (though a No Contest and a draw were in there) fighting up at lightweight. After a few losses, he dropped to featherweight and has found great success outside of a loss to Chad Mendes, but everyone not named Jose Aldo has lost to Mendes. A win over Gamburyan might be the biggest of his career.
Fighting Style: As would be expected of Karo Parysian's cousin and Ronda Rousey's training partner, Gamburyan is a judo expert. Thus he has an excellent base and is difficult to get to the ground. At 5'5, he packs a lot of muscle on his tight frame and isn't afraid to throw. And he can throw hard.
Lentz is the absolute definition of a grinder. His strategy is and always has been to get his opponent either agains the fence or to the ground and beat of them from there. No surprise to find out he was a collegiate wrestler as a result. Though the majority of his wins have come by submission (10), only one has come in the UFC.
What to Expect: There is no doubt that Lentz will try to get the fight to the ground and grind out Gamburyan, but that isn't an easy task. Only Dennis Siver has been able to floor Gamburyan since he dropped to featherweight... not that many have tried considering Gamburyan is pretty well-versed in submissions.
Most have been content to stand and trade with the usually shorter Gamburyan. Lentz's standup has improved, but Gamburyan is still the more polished and certainly more powerful striker despite the reach disadvantage.
Lentz's takedown defense has been grossly overrated. Anyone who has had better than average takedown ability has been able to get him to the floor when they wanted. If Gamburyan wants to flip him on his butt I thoroughly expect him to, especially seeing as how Lentz does his best work from a closed distance.
X-Factors: Nothing major here. Neither has endurance issues. But Gamburyan has had a history of shoulder issues and you never know when those will decide to flare up. Just saying.
Who Will Win: It is always said that styles make fights and stylistically this is a bad match up for Lentz. He struggles with physically stronger opponents and Gamburyan's judo background clashes badly with his grinding style. Siver was able to beat Gamburyan by controlling the fight from a distance and Lentz doesn't have that ability. Gamburyan by Decision
Story Thus Far: I'm gonna sound like an ass for saying this, but Salas isn't the type of fighter who has a long UFC career. Nonetheless, I like the guy. He is tough, but that is the best thing going for him. His two UFC victories have been by decision and are to fighters no longer on the roster while his losses have come quickly. He could be fighting for a job here.
There is no doubt that Wall is fighting for his job. He saved the day for the UFC by stepping in on about a weeks notice in Australia to have his ass handed to him by Alex Garcia. At his more natural weight class in this bout, Wall should look better. It still doesn't look too good for him though. He was first introduced to the UFC via TUF Smashes where he lost to Colin Fletcher. What happened to that guy? Oh yeah... he washed out of the UFC quickly.
Fighting Style: Salas is one of the do-everything-well-but-nothing-great kind of guys. As a result he tries to be unpredictable with where he wants to take the fight and when able to do that is when he finds the most success.
Wall is more of a grinder. He doesn't have a lot of power and his submission abilities are limited, so he tries to wear down his opponents. His striking is nothing to sing about either... which is why I'm not mentioning anything else about it.
What to Expect: Salas doesn't mind letting his opponent take the center of the cage as he uses good angles to pop his opponents with shots. As a result, rather than let Wall take the fight against the fence, he'll try and let him control the center and think that he is controlling the fight. Even if Salas opts for this strategy, Wall is tentative in space.
I'd also expect Salas to get the fight to the ground quite a bit too. He isn't a great wrestler, but he is certainly better than Wall. Wall is alright at fighting off submissions and Salas isn't great at them by any means, so don't look for a submission. As for Wall on subs? He has two submission victories (his only stoppage finishes), but they came against fighters with 5 combined fights. He isn't gonna get Salas.
X-Factors: Wall is from Australia, so the time difference and flight across the world could throw him off.
Who Will Win: Wall has fought against some tough Australian dudes, but the circuit in Australia has yet to reach the levels of the US. Salas won't be able to finish him, but should win handily. Salas by Decision
Story Thus Far: Tumenov is a 22-year old prospect from Russia with a little bit of hype behind him. That hype has been tempered though as he is coming off of a loss in his UFC debut to Ildemar Alcantara. Now the UFC is trying to get him back on track with a more than winnable fight against Lapsley.
That isn't to say that Lapsley qualifies as a walk in the park. He is a long-time regional veteran who finally made his UFC debut unsuccessfully at the end of last year against Jason High. Even though I am glad to see Lapsley get his shot in the UFC, he is 34 and the UFC has no investment hype-wise in him. He is being set up to make Tumenov look good.
Fighting Style: Tumenov likes to box and does so very well. He has some very solid kicks too and his last victory was kicked off by a head kick (see what I did there?). With 8 KO/TKO victories and zero by submission, his method of victory offers a lot of insight. He throws everything he's got in all of his punches and has devastating GNP. I can't recall seeing him go for a submission attempt and he didn't show much on the ground against Alcantara besides the ability to survive.
Lapsley on the other hand is quite the opposite with 16 submission victories which is accentuated by his wrestling background. He is a good grappler, but was smothered by High and isn't a BJJ expert by any means. He is simply a smart fighter who capitalizes on opponents mistakes. The perfect type of opponent for the UFC to match up young prospects against.
What to Expect: You haven't been paying attention if you haven't figured it out yet. Lapsley will be looking to floor Tumenov and Tumenov will want to keep things standing. The fans will be cheering for Tumenov considering everyone loves a KO and Tumenov wouldn't be capable of providing an entertaining grappling match with Lapsley. Does Lapsley have some power? Yeah... but it would take a very precise punch for him to score the KO.
While Tumenov will look to keep the fight standing, he does have a powerful shot and Lapsley isn't the best at defending them. It might be the ideal way for Tumenov to end the fight via GNP. Lapsley is tough and has great survival instincts too (no losses by KO/TKO) so Tumenov will have a hard time finishing him. Plus, Lapsley was able to reverse High in the second round and steal that round from him and Tumenov isn't nearly as skilled as High on the ground.
Lapsley does have the ability to take Tumenov down using your basic wrestling takedowns and is very methodical on the ground. His submissions are telegraphed, but as tactical as he is it really doesn't matter. Tumenov is powerful though and would likely be able to stifle most of what Lapsley has.
X-Factors: Tumenov put forth a good showing against Alcantara early on, but his gas tank didn't run very deep. Lapsley has been around for a long time and his even-keeled manner within the Octagon indicates that. He knows how to pace himself. Neither fighter has been KO'd either.
Who Will Win: The UFC thinks Tumenov will win this and so do I. Lapsley is an ideal opponent for him as he will make him work for his victory and is just dangerous enough to make sure Tumenov doesn't take him lightly. Tumenov wins the striking exchanges and gets a few takedowns to get his first UFC victory. Tumenov by Decision
Record for last Card: 6-4
Record for Year: 96-55-1