The UFC makes a stop in Sunrise, Florida, tomorrow night for their latest UFC on FX event, featuring a flyweight re-run, a handful of veterans on the main card, and a murderer’s row of nobodies on the prelims. But is it skippable? Maybe not. After studying the card, we’ve found a few somewhat credible reasons to watch this thing. Read on, and if you’re around tomorrow night, be sure to come back to CagePotato.com for our liveblog of the “Johnson vs. McCall” main card, which kicks off at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT.
#1: It’s make-or-break time for Leonard Garcia.
The last time that “Bad Boy” beat anybody decisively was his first-round TKO of Jens Pulver at WEC 36, back in November 2008. That was ten fights ago. Since then, Garcia has gone 3-5-1, with all three of those wins coming by split-decision. Two of those wins are widely considered to be bullshit robberies, and were later avenged in rematches with the “losing” fighters, Chan Sung Jung and Nam Phan. Basically, Garcia’s record since 2009 should really be 1-7-1, and even that lone legit victory (against Jameel Massouh at WEC 42) could have easily gone the other way.
Now, Garcia finds himself on the preliminary card of an FX show, against Matt Grice, whose overall UFC record stands at 1-4, including the first-round TKO loss that Grice suffered against Ricardo Lamas in his last fight. Garcia vs. Grice has all the markings of a “win or go home” match. It doesn’t matter if Leonard turns it into an exciting brawl — if he loses, he’s on extremely thin ice, and we may not see him back again.
#2. Erick Silva might be a future superstar.
The 27-year-old Team Nogueira product’s UFC career has lasted just 69 seconds. First, he ran through Luis Ramos in 40 seconds at UFC 134, then he ran through Carlo Prater in 29 seconds at UFC 142, although the fight left Silva with a controversial DQ loss. His opponent on the UFC on FX 3 main card, Charlie Brenneman, represents a big step up in competition, but if Silva can pull it off, he’ll earn the kind of “future of the welterweight division” hype currently reserved for Rory MacDonald. Keep your eye on him.
#3. Demetrious Johnson figured out how to cut weight.
Mighty Mouse’s first meeting with Ian McCall in March ended in a three-round draw, and look, it’s not like he’s making excuses here, but Johnson did tell MMA Junkie that he ran out of energy in the third round because of a poorly-designed diet that had him cut out carbs entirely: “When I was going down to 125 (pounds), I didn’t want to jump on the scale and be [announced], ‘Demetrious Johnson, ladies and gentlemen!,’ and Joe Rogan’s like, ’128!’…When it came time for me to rehydrate, I didn’t have any carbs because if you take something out of your body for eight weeks and you try to put it back into your body for like one night, to fight, your body is going to go into shock. You’re not going to perform well.”
Though McCall was making his UFC debut that night, he was no stranger to the 125-pound division thanks to his 3-0 stretch in Tachi Palace Fights last year. Unfortunately, Johnson was a flyweight rookie, and made some rookie mistakes. Now that he has a better sense of what’s required to make 125 and feel strong the next day, we might see an even more ferocious Mouse in the cage tomorrow — and this time, he’s definitely not going to want to leave it in the hands of the judges.
#4: Mike Pierce‘s Brazilian-bashing routine might come back to bite him in the ass.
After Pierce’s main card fight with fellow welterweight Carlos Eduardo Rocha was booked, Pierce got on Twitter to drop some rather unwarranted hate: ”WANTED: no work ethic, no cardio, terrible striking and limited ground game. Brazilians, please send fight applications to Joe Silva.“ Now, he’s rolling directly into American Top Team territory making cracks about Thiago Alves and fast food. That kind of near-suicidal dissing of Brazilian fighters has usually been the realm of Chael Sonnen, but Pierce wants to get in on the action too, apparently.
And it’s not because he’s racist. It’s worse — it’s because he’s already looking past Rocha and angling for a future fight against Alves. And that’s a mistake, because Rocha is a tough bastard, and now it’s personal. If Pierce isn’t taking this fight seriously, he could find himself down two fights in a row on Saturday morning, and where he goes from there is anybody’s guess. For the record, Brazilians are intelligent and upstanding people who have Internet access, never feed carrots to buses, and know how to treat a lady.
— Ben Goldstein