UFC on Fox will take place Saturday, July 25th in Chicago, Illinois. The night will be headlined by the long awaited rematch between Tj Dillashaw and Renan Barao. Dillashaw shocked the world back in May of 2014 when he upset Renan Barao to become the bantamweight champion. Fight fans everywhere have been waiting ever since to see how that fight will play out the second time around.
Joe Lauzon vs Takanori Gomi
Joe Lauzon vs Takanori Gomi is a very appealing matchup for fight fans. Lauzon is notorious for being in exciting fights and earning performance bonuses for his efforts. Lauzon currently holds the record for most performance bonuses in UFC history (13). Gomi has been known as legend in the sport for quite some time as well, going all the way back to his days in the now defunct Pride FC. Gomi has been in some of the most exciting fights of all time, such as his battle with Nick Diaz back in 2007.
If this fight had happened 5 years ago, then it would have had the potential to be a fight of the year candidate. While it may turn out to still be an entertaining fight, Gomi clearly isn’t the same fighter that he was years ago. He has appeared noticeably slower in his last few fights.
When Lauzon struggles it is usually with more athletic fighters (see his fight with Michael Johnson). The slower Gomi won’t be able to trouble Lauzon in that fashion. Lauzon is the biggest favorite on this card, and for good reason. I see him getting the finish here, likely within the first 2 rounds.
Pick Joe Lauzon wins inside the distance -135 @5Dimes
Edson Barboza vs Paul Felder
Barboza vs Felder is my most anticipated matchup on this fight card. This fight will surely be exciting from start to finish. Barboza and Felder are both primarily strikers and I see this fight taking place almost exclusively on the feet.
Paul Felder really burst onto the scene with his spinning back fist KO of Danny Castillo in January. A memorable KO can do a lot for your popularity, look to Edson Barboza for proof of that. Barboza’s spinning wheel kick KO of Terry Etim can’t be forgotten after seeing it just once.
I think Barboza’s main weaknesses are that he has a suspect chin and questionable mental toughness. Both of those are weaknesses that Paul Felder hasn’t shown. Felder is a fighter who trains regularly with Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and the training that those two do together breeds both mental and physical toughness.
I see this fight playing out similarly to Edson Barboza vs Michael Johnson. Felder will get in Barboza’s face early and pressure him until he eventually folds. Barboza has to be given the chance to fight at his pace for him to be successful. If you let Barboza get off early then you’ll be in for a rough night. Felder will take the fight to Barboza early, just like Michael Johnson did, and make sure Barboza is uncomfortable very early on in the fight. The only difference between the Johnson fight I expect is that there won’t be a decision. I see a late finish for Felder here, but I feel more comfortable betting on him to win outright.
Pick Paul Felder +120 @5Dimes (This is my pick of the week. If you’re betting on one fight, then make it this one.)
Miesha Tate vs Jessica Eye
Tate vs Eye is an important matchup in the women’s bantamweight division. The winner of this fight will likely be the next to face Ronda Rousey after she dispatches Bethe Correira (that’s an article for another day). Tate is in a rare position where she’s obviously a gatekeeper at this point after losing decisively to Rousey twice. However, she’s one of the UFC’s few “gatekeepers” who refuses to lose to any potential title contender that they throw against her.
Tate may be the 2nd best fighter in her division, but unfortunately nobody sees a route to victory for her against Ronda. She’s beaten Rin Nakai, Liz Carmouche, and Sara McMann since her last loss to Ronda. None of these other contenders have fought remotely comparable competition. Especially Bethe Correira who talked her way into a title shot.
I do think Eye is one of the more talented girls in her division, but she isn’t ready for Tate in the slightest. Eye is an excellent striker, but she won’t have an answer for Tate’s wrestling. And Tate has shown recently that even if she gets caught with a good shot she’ll be able to battle through it and find a way to win. In her most recent fight with Sara McMann she suffered a broken orbital bone, but she still found a way to win that fight. I see Tate taking this fight easily, most likely via decision.
Pick Miesha Tate -210 @5Dimes
Tj Dillashaw vs Renan Barao
Dillashaw vs Barao 1 was a complete shock to the MMA world. Nobody thought that Dillashaw had a chance in that fight. Nobody saw that win for Tj coming, especially in the fashion that he did it. If anyone thought Tj was going to take that fight, then they thought it would be using his wrestling. The striking that Tj showed in that fight was immensely improved, due to his work his coach Duane “Bang” Ludwig.
Dillashaw’s movement and striking are now regarded as some of the best in all of MMA. Renan Barao simply had no answer in that first fight for the dynamic movement that Dillashaw displayed. A lot of Tj’s detractors will point to the big overhand right and headkick that he landed in round 1 as the reasoning behind this. Their argument being that Barao wasn’t the same after that first big shot. However, if you go back and rewatch the fight you’ll notice that Barao had no answer for Tj’s movement well before he took those big shots.
I don’t see this weeks fight differing too much from their first fight. I do think Barao was taking Dillashaw a little too lightly in their first fight, because he was such an unknown fighter. So I think this fight will be slightly more competitive, but I’m a huge believer in Dillashaw and his new found striking. I could see the fight going to a decision, because Barao is a very tough opponent. But I wouldn’t be surprised if Dillashaw managed to get the finish again. I feel most comfortable picking Dillashaw to win outright.
Pick Tj Dillashaw -250 @5Dimes