Poor UFC. Since settling down with it’s new serious girlfriend FOX, both Spike and Versus have been acting like crazy exes. Gone is all the promotion we used to see for UFC events on these networks – it’s been a black hole of bitter resentment. But just because you haven’t heard much about this card doesn’t mean there isn’t cool stuff going down. First, some of the storylines coming into the event, then a breakdown of some prelim fighters you may wanna keep an eye out for!

Can Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson lay on Dominick Cruz for 5 rounds?

…or will Dominick Cruz dance dance dance his way to yet another win? This is the kind of fight I’d be comfortable betting a kidney on going to a decision. And this does not bode well for Johnson, who’s basically a one trick pony. Not only does he have to catch Cruz, he’s gotta take him down and then successfully keep him down long enough to take the round. And while Cruz’s main weapon is his hit & run style, he’s also got a spring up his butt and never stays on the mat for long.

Which weirdo heavyweight will become the heavyweight division’s gatekeeper?

Maybe Stefan Struve will develop into a thick, mean heavyweight over the next 7 years but right now he’s just a wonky giant dude who hasn’t quite learned how to use his body like a deadly weapon. He needs this win badly, because the UFC has run out of strange freakshow fights to put him in. They’ve done tallest vs 2nd tallest (McCorkle), tallest vs fattest (Nelson), and now tallest vs shortest heavyweight. Will the UFC still want to keep him around once they’ve run out of strange match-ups that result in pictures like this?

Pat Barry is in a similar situation. Sure, he’s got a lot of heart. But that only gets you so far when you’re 5’11. Once the novelty of seeing a tiny dude struggle against giants wears off, what’s left? Fortunately for Barry, he’s probably going to win this fight and hold onto his job. Struve can go back to Europe and get some much needed seasoning.

Can Charlie Brenneman keep his Rocky streak alive?

The last time we saw Charlie Brenneman, he was pulling off a crazy upset over the highly touted Rick Story in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He’s gonna have to dig deep again if he wants to beat Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson, who has shown he’s not afraid to hold a guy down for three rounds if a fight isn’t going his way.

Can Matt Wiman be consistently awesome?

Who is the real Matt Wiman? The invisible Wiman we saw on TUF? The Matt Wiman who showed some serious potential against Thiago Tavares? The guy who dropped a totally winnable fight to Sam Stout? The one who was dominating Mac Danzig? Who knows. It might be that Wiman is just consistently inconsistent. Tonight will be a good night to test that hypothesis as he rematches Mac Danzig. He was wiping the floor with Mac the last time they fought, so if Danzig turns things around we know it’s a coin toss as to whether Matt will kick ass or suck dicks on any given night.

Will Mac Danzig become the third TUF winner to lose his job?

Being the Ultimate Fighter season 6 winner is no longer as impressive as it used to be now that the show is up to season numero 14. He’s also developed the dreaded reputation around UFC headquarters as a pain in the ass / not a team player. On top of that, he’s been talking a lot about lacking the motivation you need to keep on top as a fighter. Combine all this with an opponent who soundly dominated him the last time they fought, and things do not look good for Danzig.

After the jump: Fighters to watch for during the prelims and GIFS GIFS GIFS!

(as always, our artiste extrordinaire is Pete O’Toole, who can be found at http://www.peter-otoole.co.uk)

Undercard Watch!

Paul Sass
Paul Sass is the Cody McKenzie of triangle chokes. He’s got 8 submission wins that way (including his debut fight with the UFC). But he’s no one trick pony. He’s also got some sick sick transitions to leg locks, armbars, and omos. And that’s just what we’ve seen in his only UFC fight. He’ll be taking on Michael Johnson, who will probably be using his wrestling to stay on his feet rather than take Sass to the ground. Let’s hope Sass – who’s down with pulling guard to get to that gravy triangle zone – can prove he’s the real deal with a submission win.

Shane Roller
Shane might not be a 155 contender right now, but he’s a crazy dangerous fighter who’ll submit or knock you the frack out if you give him half a chance. He’s facing TJ Grant, who I like soley based on the fact that he’s Canadian. He always seems to fight to the level of competition he gets, barely winning or losing all his fights by decision. I don’t think this one’s gonna go the distance, which is bad for TJ.


Josh Neer
It’s trip to the big leagues #3 for Josh Neer, who looks like a mutant Diaz brother and often fights just as stupid. If Josh didn’t spend so much time on his back acting like the ref should stand the fight back up, maybe he wouldn’t get decisioned so much. He’ll be facing Keith Wisniewski, who was one and done in the UFC back in 2005 and had the dubious honor of having his arm broken backwards by Shinya Aoki in the same year.