("This big horsemeat-eating motherf*cker is next.")
There’s been a veritable orgy of UFC fight-bookings happening over the last couple days, and we might as well throw them all at you in one lump sum. We’ll start with one that might not be the biggest of the bunch, but definitely struck us as the strangest…
Jim Miller vs. Kamal Shalorus - UFC 128:
When Dana White proclaimed that Miller’s impressive kneebar submission win over Charles Oliveira at UFC 124 put him in the mix of lightweight contenders, nobody figured that would mean that he’d be paired with an Octagon newcomer in his next bout. But this is the UFC, and sometimes the organization’s MMA math just doesn’t make a hell of a lot of sense. The Sparta, New Jersey native will attempt to increase his winning streak to seven when he takes on (7-0-2) WEC veteran Shalorus at UFC 128 in his backyard in New Jersey.
Dan Miller vs. David Branch - UFC 128:
Considering that his brother is on the card and they can save on cornermen hotel rooms and plane tickets, it’s a no-brainer that the UFC would have another local fighter like Miller on the card for UFC 128. The fact that they now have to pay Chuck Liddell‘s seven-figure salary, bar and strip club tabs has not been lost on the accounting department who have undoubtedly suggested some cost cutting measures that will be implemented in 2011. Wait until you see the beat-up budget ex-strippers they bring in to replace Arianny and Chandella.
Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic vs. Brendan Schaub – UFC 128:
It turned out that reports earlier this week that a rumored bout between Schaub and Stephan Struve had been verbally agreed to by both fighters were incorrect. Instead, Schaub will look to climb over former PRIDE wrecking machine, Cro Cop on his way to a top five opponent in 2011.
Filipovic will attempt to prolong his rapidly shortening career by defeating the up-and-coming fighter who is riding a three-fight winning streak which includes a "W" over Gabriel Gonzaga — the last man to put Cro Cop to sleep prior to Frank Mir turning his lights out in his last outing at UFC 119.
Urijah Faber vs. Eddie Wineland - UFC 128:
Faber’s first UFC opponent was supposed to be Dominick Cruz, but "The California Kid"will instead get an equally apt opponent in Wineland who was the WEC’s first bantamweight champ. Coming off of a Submission of the Night garnering performance over Takeya Mizugaki in his 135-pound WEC debut at WEC 53 a few weeks ago, Faber will be looking to use Wineland as a stepping stone to get his struggling career back on track and to get back on the path to title contention.
Hopefully for Urijah’s sake, Wineland doesn’t try to nail down the canvas with his cornrows like he did with Ken Stone earlier this month.
Edson Barboza vs. Anthony Njokuani - UFC 128:
Barboza would be well-advised to put on another leg-kick clinic like he did in his UFC debut against Mike Lullo at UFC 123. Otherwise he may find himself at the business end of a Njokuani highlight reel knockout like the 30-year-old Nigerian fighter pulled off against Chris Horodecki.
Amir Sadollah vs. Duane Ludwig - UFN 24:
Expect Sadollah to go to work early on Ludwig’s gimpy leg, which was grotesquely broken two fights ago against Darrin Elkins at UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones in March. If he drops another fight, "Bang" may find himself back on the outside looking in at the UFC’s welterweight class.
Although Sadollah isn’t in as dire need of a win as Ludwig considering he won three of his last four bouts, the TUF 7 winner needs to rack up a few quality wins if he wants to move up in competition next year.
Alex "Bruce Leroy" Caceres vs. Mackens Semerzier UFN 24:
It’s interesting that the UFC would sign a guy like Semerzier who lost his last three bouts, yet it chose to let both former WEC lightweight champ Jamie Varner and 155-pound prospect Chris Horodecki go. Maybe he’s a polite loser.
Whatever the reason for hanging on to him, Semerzier will get the opportunity to smack the goofy smile and afro off of TUF 12 mouthpiece Bruce Leroy and possibly send him packing from the UFC.
Rousimar Palhares vs. Alexandre Ferreira - UFC Live on Versus 3:
A clash of former Brazilian Top Team teammates, this fight will likely be a jiu-jitsu clinic that will be decided by who can get into a dominant position on the ground to pound the other one out first, considering both men are black belts with similar skill sets.
Kurt Pellegrino vs. Gleison Tibau - UFC 128:
This fight will be an interesting clash of brains vs. brawn. A self-described grappling savant, Pellegrino makes up for his lack of size by thinking on his feet as demonstrated by the somersault slam he executed on Fabricio Camoes after the Brazilian took his back during their UFC 111 bout. The Point Pleasant, NJ native held his own against UFC lightweight contender George Sotiropoulos at UFC 116 losing to the Aussie standout by decision.
A huge lightweight, Tibau has never beaten anybody of note that he has faced in the UFC. He lost all of his bouts against the promotion’s top 10 lightweights he has faced including Joe Stevenson, Tyson Griffin and Jim Miller.
Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto vs. Demetirous Johnson - UFC 126:
It looks like the UFC is planning on bringing Kid along slowly to build up a fight between him and Jose Aldo some time in 2011. Johnson is no slouch, but at 8-1 with a loss to Brad Pickett in the WEC, it’s safe to say that he’s slightly below the calibre of opponent that Yamamoto is used to facing.
Sure you could argue that Joe Warren and Masanori Kanehara aren’t exactly killers, but they are the only two blemishes on Norifumi’s record in more than eight years. In that time he beat the likes of Rani Yahya, Jeff Curran, Royler Gracie, Genki Sudo and Bibiano Fernandes. Haters gonna hate.
Michihiro Omigawa vs. Chad Mendes - UFC 126:
At 9-0, including four UFC wins, Mendes is a stud, but Omigawa has stepped up his game since being dropped by the UFC in 2008. A drop to featherweight served the Japanese fighter well as he has compiled a solid 7-2-1 record fighting at his new weight. Unless Mendes can do what no other fighter has been able to do since 2005, which is finish Omigawa, his only chance of beating his judoka opponent is by decision.