I personally believe this card should be combined with the next UFC on FX event. There's good talent at tomorrow's fights, but enough to carry ratings on Friday night? Maybe. Combining tomorrow's talent with next week's top fights, though, and then weeding out the less important bouts would give fans a serious FX card worth destination viewing. But I digress.
The most important consideration heading into tomorrow's main event is who Joseph Benavidez is going to fight for the inaugural UFC flyweight title. I tend to think it won't matter as Benavidez will beat whoever emerges from the victor, but it's nevertheless a fight I'll want to see.
Who will become the other top contender to the flyweight throne? I try to answer that question and more with my predictions below.
What: UFC on FX 3
Where: BankAtlantic Center, Sunrise, Florida
When: Friday, the eight-fight FUEL card starts at 6 p.m. ET and the four-fight FX card starts at 9.
Predictions on the four FX fights below.
Let's just be clear about something: McCall arguably won the first fight against Johnson. That's especially true as the fight went late. The question we have to ask ourselves is that do we have a compelling reason to think they'll be a different outcome? Did or could something have happened in three months to make us believe the outcome will be different this time? I have a hard time seeing it. Johnson's striking is good, but it's hesitant against better wrestlers. And that's exactly what McCall is. When Johnson's striking fails him, he resorts to takedowns and top control. But not only is McCall better in several dimensions of the wrestling game - takedowns, counters, etc - he's better as a submission grappler maintaining top control. Short of a fairly drastic change in game plan or some unknown injury changing how these two fight, I expect a repeat performance.
A Silva win here would be a rather significant statement. It's not that Brenneman is a top tier welterweight, but he does posses the kind of indefatigable, smothering wrestling style that's difficult to contend with. Should an explosive striker with finishing instincts demonstrate the wherewithal to thwart what should be takedown attempt after takedown attempt from 'The Spaniard', we'll have ourselves someone to watch. Until that happens, though, I have to side with the known commodity.
This is a fight Pyle should not lose if he fights making smart, prudent decisions. He has the boxing skill to work from the outside and the takedowns and top control to keep Neer from doing a whole heck of a lot. Neer, though, can sucker better fighters into forgetting or neglecting their fight IQ. Pyle can and should win this fight, but the only way to do that is to have a clear game plan in mind and not let Neer's forward movement, clinch striking and taunts to derail him.
It's hard to believe someone as talented as Wineland is facing three consecutive losses under the Zuffa banner, but it's true. And unfortunately, I think it's the fate he's going to suffer. Wineland is defensively hard to score against, but doesn't easily transition from offense to defense or vice versa. Jorgensen is just a bit more adept at it and that'll make the difference. Wineland is hard to hurt and hard to score on, but in a game with Jorgensen where being able to scramble, strike, cover up, stop a takedown, execute a single leg, clinch, clinch break all quickly, effectively and fluidly, he won't be able to keep up as the rounds pass by.