UFC on FOX 26 Main Card
By Tyler Kartler
Rafael dos Anjos vs. Robbie Lawler
Rafael dos Anjos loves to press forward with leg kicks and heavy rear leg body kicks. He quickly follows his kicks up with straight punches to the head to back his opponents up. His highly active stand-up has proven to be hard to deal with. He loves to punch to the body and enter the clinch where he proceeds to throw knees to the body. His top game on the ground is phenomenal. He gives a lot of pressure when on top, and is always looking to pass while smothering you. He is active with his strikes while on top, and will lock up a submission if he finds an opening. His takedowns are decent. He’s not the greatest at getting takedowns against the cage, but he can time a nice takedown in the center of the octagon if he catches his opponent off balance. I see RDA staying as a top contender in the 170lb division. He might lose to the top guys, but he will give the bottom half of the top 10 some problems for sure.
Robbie Lawler could be considered the “Most Violent Man” in the sport. This guy just brings violence whenever he steps in the cage. He has great power in all of his strikes, and in his recent UFC run, he has shown a well rounded game that is very competitive with the best the division has to offer. He is strong in the clinch, super hard to take down, and if he does get taken down, it’s hard for his opponents to get any offense off. He often starts his fights out by rushing at his opponents with a lot of heavy strikes for the first minute. Then he falls into a very composed, but lackadaisical, rhythm. Pressing forward is when he scores big points, because he is throwing big strikes, but if he is getting pushed back he has a hard time getting any offense going. His opponents have success if they mix up the strikes from low kicks to head punches. If someone is throwing a lot of punches at him, he tries to parry all of them and his opponent is able to escape before he can fire any counters. At 35, he doesn’t have much time left in his career. He is still at the top of the division, but I don’t think that he will be able to hang with the fresher fighters coming up the ranks in the next couple of years. I feel that he can be outpointed if you stay highly active against him like: Carlos Condit, Donald Cerrone, and Johny Hendricks. Hopefully he can earn one more title shot and possibly snag the title back. If not, he has a lot of fun fights ahead of him with Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson being at the top of the list.
Prediction: I see this fight being a close contest. It will be a technical war for most of the bout, and could be a wreck-less brawl at some point. Both guys are highly technical in the stand-up department, but RDA uses more of his tools than Lawler does. Lawler might come out strong with a bum-rush, but RDA should be able to withstand it and slow this fight down. Both men are southpaw, and both men will look to pressure each other. If Lawler pressures it will take away RDA’s strong kicks, but RDA should be able to hold his own when fighting backwards. I see RDA having a lot of success when he is pressuring Lawler. He will chew up the lead leg with controlled inside and outside leg kicks. He will throw strong kicks to the body to back Lawler up and then follow up with a pack of straight punches that will force Lawler to freeze up. This fight will involve the clinch and Lawler might be the stronger guy at first. I see Lawler controlling the clinch if it’s against the cage. I can’t see RDA having much success taking Lawler down against the cage either. If RDA is going to take Lawler down it will have to be in the center of the octagon on a well-timed takedown. Just because RDA is so active with his strikes I think he takes this fight. As long as he does not get caught with a bomb from Lawler he should be able to fight his way to a decision. Lawler freezes too much when he punches are thrown at him, and he takes rounds off in 5 rounds fight to conserve his energy for big bursts. I am concerned with RDA putting too high of a pace in the early rounds, and Lawler pouring it on in rounds 4 and 5. Because RDA is a more active guy that mixes it up well, I will have to go with him as my prediction. It won’t be easy, and it will be close. Rafael Dos Anjos by Decision.
Ricardo Lamas vs. Josh Emmett
Ricardo Lamas has fought them all. He may not have ever defeated the best, but he has beaten everyone else in his way. He is as well rounded as they come. He has super strong grappling, with nice fundamentals on the feet. His jab is probably his best move on the feet when he can slow the fight down. He has good leg kicks, and nice crisp hooks when he’s in the pocket. The kicks from Lamas is another feather in his cap. He has clean and hard leg kicks, and he loves to throw a rear spin kick to the head in almost every fight that he has. I would say that his signature move would have to be his guillotine. He believes in his ability to tap anyone with that choke, and he will go for it anytime the opportunity presents itself. I see Lamas getting another shot at the featherweight belt with 2 more wins. I believe that he is the #4 best guy in his division and its going to be hard for someone to take his place.
Josh Emmett is a very great fighter coming out of a great camp in Team Alpha Male. He is a big strong guy for the featherweight division, and he has the skills to be a top-15 ranked fighter already. His striking is effective by using his footwork to close the distance and land heavy hooks. He is really good at switching stances as he’s coming forward with strikes to keep his opponents from circling off. He will chop your legs with kicks if he’s not rushing forward. His wrestling is very good, and he has very strong top control. From the top position he likes to posture up and land big elbows and punches. At the featherweight division I don’t see him getting out wrestled by many people since he is the bigger man. The biggest downfall of Josh Emmett will be his cardio. And I think that is due to his big weight cut. His last fight was his return fight to the 145lb division, and he came on very strong in round 1. By round 2, he was slowing down significantly, and his footwork seemed not to exist anymore. I don’t like Emmett at this weight class. I think he has too much muscle on him to make the 145 weight class. He might be able to make it, but it will hamper his performances. But as far as his future in the UFC goes, I see him making a good run for a title, and eventually becoming a top 5 guy. The guy possesses some good skills.
Prediction: This is one of those fights where I’d like to see Emmett on weigh in day to make my judgment. Even though he is taking this fight on short notice, I think he can give Lamas a very competitive fight. The first round will be fire-works with Emmett coming out strong with huge shots. I see Lamas staying composed, and just content with making Emmett work for everything that he does. Once round 2 comes around, Lamas should have a more stationary target in front of him. Lamas should be able to use his jab and leg kicks to pick Emmett apart from a distance. If Emmett shows any sign of slowing down Lamas will corner him, and go for the kill with big punches. In the later rounds I see Emmett getting worked on the feet, and shooting for a desperate takedown. Lamas will capitalize with a guillotine to close the show. Lamas will have to weather the early storm, but he gets the job done. Ricardo Lamas by Submission, Round 3.
Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Mike Perry
Glover Teixeira vs. Misha Cirkunov