Glover Teixeira made sure to give Jon Jones his props at the UFC 172 weigh-ins.
He also made sure to state that he is taking the belt tonight.
Jones, flanked by his brothers onstage, made sure to thank the military veterans and the Baltimore Ravens fans before declaring victory as well.
A pre-amble short on soundbite fireworks now transitions to action.
Can Glover get inside the reach of Jones? Can he get Jones to the ground or work off his back? Does he have the cardio to keep Jones guessing?
Jones has proven almost unbeatable when he can utilize his range, a weary fact for the challenger.
Both have additional motivation to win.
Can the preparation of former champ Chuck Liddell and John Hackleman topple the Greg Jackson and Mike Winklejohn tandem?
Welcome back to The Crossfire.
MMA Crossfire Expert Cassie Wiseman checks in:
UFC FIGHT PASS EARLY PRELIMS (7:30 PM ET/ 4:30 PM PT)
CHRIS “THE REAL DEAL” BEAL (8-0-0) VS PATRICK WILLIAMS (7-3-0)
Wiseman: Trying to make a name for themselves, these guys are going to put on a show. Beal is known from TUF 18, having been on Team Rousey’s team. He has tons of heart and starting mixing up his combinations better as the training progressed. The biggest hole in his game is when he is on his back. Williams will try to stand with him, but both have KO power so it’s a little risky. I see Williams taking this to the mat and being able to use his ground game to take home the W.
Wiseman Prediction: Patrick Williams via submission.
SPORTSNET 360 PRELIMS (8 PM ET/ 5 PM PT)
DANNY “LAST CALL” CASTILLO (16-6-0) VS CHARLIE “THE SPANIARD” BRENNEMAN (19-6-0)
Wiseman: These guys are almost mirror images of each other which will make for an exciting fight. Castillo has a slight power advantage. He tends to throw more while Brenneman is more precise with strikes. It’s going to be a true test for both, as they will cancel each other out. Based on past fights like this, it either makes out for a fantastic chess-match type fight or it’s extremely boring. I’m going to say entertaining.
Wiseman Prediction: “The Spaniard” Charlie Brenneman via decision.
#14 JESSAMYN “THE GUN” DUKE (3-0-0, 1NC) VS #12 BETHE “PITBULL” CORREIA (7-0-0)
Wiseman: While both are making their debut to the UFC, Duke does have a load of experience due to having been on TUF. Correira has fighting experience outside of the UFC and coming in with a perfect record. The biggest edge that Duke has is her striking ability matched with the huge reach advantage. She will be able to do damage while staying outside the pocket. She also has an incredible chin which the Pitbull will test, but considering over 80% of her wins have been via decision, I have Duke ending the night.
Wiseman Prediction: Jessamyn “The Gun” Duke via TKO.
“THE FIREBALL KID” TAKANORI GOMI (34-9-0, 1NC) VS ISAAC VALLIE-FLAGG (14-4-1)
Wiseman: Gomi’s aggression and wrestling will mess up Vallie-Flagg’s night. Flagg has knockout power and can defend himself on the mat, but he will need to keep up with the pace of Gomi. Gomi has power and fights in a sticky-type manner, similar to Guida. Flagg won’t be able to keep distance on his side to use his striking power, which will make for a rough fight.
Wiseman Prediction: “The Fireball Kid” Takanori Gomi via decision.
#2 JOSEPH BENAVIDEZ (19-4-0) VS #8 TIM ELLIOTT (10-4-1)
Wiseman: This is a fantastic fight! Benavidez is so diverse and dangerous. The same is true for Elliot. Both exemplify what it take to be a real MMA fighter. The biggest difference going into this fight is the level of competition. Benavidez has been in there with Mighty Mouse and those in the top 5, Elliot is trying to seep into the top-5. That doesn’t mean this is going to be an easy fight for either, but Benavidez has the edge in wrestling and technical striking which will challenge Elliot’s readiness for top-5 competition.
Wiseman Prediction: Joseph Benavidez via decision.
MAIN CARD (10PM PT/7PM PT)
“BLESSED” MAX HOLLOWAY (8-3-0) VS ANDRE “TOUCHY” FILI (13-1-0)
Wiseman: Holloway has shown great improvements in his striking and his takedown defence has always been amongst the best. Fili’s aggression and power will be a challenge. Holloway has always been able to use his reach to keep opponents at a distance, but Fili’s forward approach will force Holloway on the defence early in the fight. The power and ground game of Fili makes him a more diverse fighter by leaps and bounds. While I don’t see this fight going to the ground, I do see Holloway getting roughed up with the superior striking and power of Fili.
JIM MILLER (23-4-0, 1NC) VS YANCY MEDERIOS (9-1-0, 1NC)
Wiseman: Mederios has the clear power advantage, but will that help him against the diverse skill setting of Miller? I don’t see it. Miller is nasty on the mat and is an aggressive striker. His chin can stand a pounding and anyone stepping in with power in their hands as their only weapon is in for a rough night. The lack of experience and versatility really is going to clip Mederios.
Wiseman Prediction: Jim Miller via submission.
#5 LUKE ROCKHOLD (11-2-0) VS #13 TIM “THE BARBARIAN” BOETSCH (17-6-0)
Wiseman: The boxing of Rockhold and level of experience can’t be denied, but I’ve been a Boetsch fan for awhile now so maybe that’s what it’s making me see him winning this. The heart he possesses and the power are undeniable. Rockhold is nasty when striking and given he has the reach advantage here will look to keep things standing. However, Boetsch is no one to sleep on. He can end the night for anyone and will take this fight to the ground for a brutal beating. I see it being a battle, but Boetsch pulling off the win mainly due to his takedowns.
Wiseman Prediction: Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch via decision.
#4 PHIL “MR. WONDERFUL” DAVIS (12-1-0, 1NC) VS #14 ANTHONY “RUMBLE” JOHNSON (16-4-0)
Wiseman: Johnson had been out for a little while, but that isn’t the reason he is going to lose. It’s because of his gas tank and the wrestling of Davis. Davis will be driving for takedowns from the beginning and scoring them. He will weigh down on Johnson and grind out a win. Johnson has no ground game, so I see this being the fight to make snacks.
Wiseman Prediction: Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis via decision.
JON “BONES” JONES (19-1-0) VS GLOVER TEIXEIRA (22-2-0)
Wiseman: The reach of Jones has always been a huge asset. That mixed with his unique combinations and strategy always make him elusive. Teixeira is better at striking, not necessarily mixing up his combinations. He had knockout power, but in the last Jones fight he showed that his chin isn’t as weak as most thought. Another issue is the ground game of Teixeira. While he had Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) to rely on, getting a submission game going when there are elbows beating through your skull is unlikely. Jones has finishing power and versatility that isn’t because of a skill setting, his versatility is because of the combinations he creates of the cuff while inside the octagon. That’s isn’t something that can be taught.
Wiseman Prediction: Jon “Bones” Jones via TKO.