Fresh off UFC Fight Night 80, the spotlight now moves over to Frankie Edgar, Chad Mendes and the TUF 22 Finale.
Welcome back to The Crossfire.
MMA Crossfire Expert Cassie Wiseman checks out the main card:
MAIN CARD (10PM ET/7PM PT)
TATSUYA KAWAJIRI (34-8-2) VS JASON KNIGHT (15-1-0)
Wiseman: I don’t really understand this matchup. Knight is coming into the UFC against a guy who has 34 wins. What? Yes, Knight has a submission game. However, Kawajiri is a vet of the sport, well-rounded, and has power. This is a tough match for Knight.
Wiseman Prediction : Tatsuya Kawajiri via TKO
RYAN LAFLARE (11-1-0) VS MIKE PIERCE (17-6-0)
Wiseman: Pierce has been out for a long time, since 2013 when he fought Rousimar Palhares to be exact. LaFlare has only one loss in his career and it was against Demian Maia, in a decision no less. When I look at a fighter who is still a presence in the division, it’s LaFlare. Pierce has cardio issues and when he isn’t able to get a KO via strikes, he’s limited. LaFlare managed to stay away from danger against an incredible BJJ artist. He is a well-rounded fighter, so I see him being able to use his skills to get the W.
Wiseman Prediction: Ryan LaFlare via unanimous decision.
JOE LAUZON (25-10-0) VS EVAN DUNHAM (16-6-0)
Wiseman: The ground game of both these guys is a sight to see, but Lauzon has been too inconsistent to be able to say this fight will be his. Dunham has losses, but his most recent losses have been against the top three guys in the division. All that says to me is that he has a load of work to do on his standup if he wants to be champ. Lauzon is always entertaining, but just hasn’t found what helps him to get an actual streak going on.
Wiseman Prediction: Evan Dunham via unanimous decision.
ARTEM LOBOV (12-10-1, 1NC) VS RYAN HALL (4-1-0)
Wiseman: How did this happen?? A good question, but it all had to do with the legal issues of Rogers. Rogers being unable to get a visa created a problem and it was Hall who they asked to step in to fix the problem. Hall lost against Rogers in a majority decision win. How will this go down? Hall’s submission game is something to just be admired. The problem is that Lobov has takedown defence and power. Hall showed against Rogers that he is really a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) fighter. Rogers got off the mat, used his wrestling, and got a win. Lobov fights long, is a dangerous counter-striker, and will be a more dangerous opponent than Rogers was to Hall. Regardless of if Lobov was facing Rogers or Hall, I still had him and have him winning this six-figure contract.
Wiseman Prediction: Artem Lobov via TKO.
#6 EDSON BARBOZA (16-3-0) VS #7 TONY FERGUSON (20-3-0)
Wiseman: This is possibly fight of the night. These guys always put it on the line, 100% of the time. The issue I see coming into play is the power advantage of Barbosa. His fight against Felder was incredible and they were both throwing sick leather. Ferguson will trade like that, but doesn’t have the same power. Let’s not forget the powerful leg kicks of Barbosa. His kickboxing career is going to help him do a load of damage which will slow down Ferguson. I see it going the distance because of the heart of these guys, but the power and standup experience of Barbosa will give him the edge.
Wiseman Prediction: Edson Barbosa via unanimous decision.
FRANKIE “THE ANSWER” EDGAR (18-4-1) VS CHAD “MONEY” MENDES (17-3-0)
Wiseman: Mendes has power and wrestling, but how can he take down someone he can’t time. The timing and cardio of Edgar will be much for Mendes. Plus, Edgar has power, as well as wrestling. Really, Edgar is the fighter that reminds me most of Cruz. The well-rounded skills, plus cardio, and movement of Edgar will certainly top Mendes. No doubt in my mind.
Wiseman Prediction: Frankie Edgar via unanimous decision.