Well, UFC on FOX 27 is here. And although it doesn’t offer much, there are some fights that are notable and probably worth watching. In the main event of the card, middleweight contenders Ronaldo Souza and Derek Brunson meet in a rematch. This might not be a title eliminator bout, but you can say that the winner here will get back in the mix, sort of. Apart from the main event, UFC on FOX 27 features a fun featherweight bout between Dennis Bermudez and Andre Fili, a fun lightweight contest pitting veterans Bobby Green and Erik Koch, and the return of prospect Mirsad Bektic, who’s takes on a game Godofredo Pepey in hopes of bouncing back from his first professional loss.
What: UFC on FOX 27
Where: Spectrum Center, Charlotte, N.C
When: Saturday, Jan. 27.
Ronaldo Souza vs. Derek Brunson
This fight is kind of up in the air, which makes it an intriguing and compelling main event. Normally, I would pick Ronaldo Souza over most middleweights, but with Souza’s last performance against champ Robert Whittaker, and Derek Brunson’s current win streak, I really wonder how this will all play out.
Before the fight against Whittaker, Souza was seen as a killer that deserved a shot at the belt. Today, that perception is perhaps a little different. Souza has lost relevancy at middleweight and this fight is a crucial for him to prove that he’s till a top contender. Souza is 38 years old now, so I don’t expect a much improved or different fighter to step in the cage against Brunson. In my opinion, Souza will be the same elite fighter that we’re accustomed of seeing or lesser version of his old self.
The outcome of this bout depends on what version of Souza will show up that night. For the most part, Brunson is a very consistent fighter that always shows a decent amount of improvement in each fight. Meaning, Souza is the wild card here.
This is a tough fight to call, but I think we’re going to see Brunson emerge as a serious contender here. Being close to 40, I’m not sure we’ll get the 2012 Souza that knocked out Brunson in a Strikeforce event. Souza is very dangerous, but I think Brunson will be the quicker guy here and beat the Brazilian to the punch. Brunson has the wrestling to deal with Souza’s takedowns, and I believe he’s now experienced and composed enough to strike with Souza.
Dennis Bermudez vs. Andre Fili
Here’s a huge opportunity for Team Alpha Male’s Andre Fili. There is no doubt that Dennis Bermudez is the biggest opponent Fili has been ever been matched up against.
Bermudez is a seasoned veteran that has lingered in the top 10 of the featherweight division for quite some time. “The Menace” is one of the better athletes of the division. He is a powerhouse with quick movement and a deep gas tank. Skills wise, Bermudez is a phenomenal wrestler that’s dominant on the ground and can hold his own on the feet. Bermudez doesn’t have a weak chin, but he doesn’t posses a granite one, as he’s been wobbled and knocked out in the past.
Fili came into the UFC as a hot prospect, but has failed to take off in the promotion. Fili has alternated between wins and losses, leaving him with a UFC record of 5-4. The 27-year-old featherweight has solid striking and fights at a solid pace. Fili is no phenom on the ground, but he can stay out of trouble against decent grapplers.
Most of the fights that Bermudez loses are against top-10 guys that can pressure him. Fili could very well pull an upset here, but I don’t find that to be likely. I think Bermudez will dominate with wrestling and get himself a dominant decision win.
Jordan Rinaldi vs. Gregor Gillespie
Gregor Gillespie is an undefeated fighter that shows a good deal of promise. Gillespie has been fighting professionally for only four years. Although he’s 31 years old, I consider Gillespie a prospect, as he seems to be improving in each fight and also doesn’t have much mileage on him. Being an NCAA wrestling champion, Gillespie has very good takedowns and an excellent top game. Gillespie also has strong submissions and an improving standup game with decent power.
Jordan Rinaldi is a pretty well-rounded fighter. He has a solid ground game and has good submissions and a respectable standup game. Rinaldi’s ground game is not wrestling based like Gillespie’s, but I’d say he has a wider range of submissions and he can be a threat off his back (something Gillespie is likely not comfortable doing).
This should be a competitive bout filled with fun scrambles. Abel Trujillo had a good amount of success taking down Rinaldi. And being a better grappler than Trujillo, I don’t think Gillespie should have too many issues getting Rinaldi to the ground, and I also find Gillespie to be savvy enough to avoid Rinaldi’s submissions.
Drew Dober vs. Frank Camacho
This is a very competitive match up that can go either way.
Drew Dober is an experienced fighter with good movement on his feet and solid striking. Dober also has a good ground game with effective takedowns. The 29-year-old is durable and a very good athlete. On the other hand, Frank Camacho is another experienced fighter with a similar skill set to Dober’s. Camacho has very fluid striking and can put together nice combinations. Camacho’s ground game is not bad, as he has good takedowns and control.
I think Camacho is the better striker here. Camacho packs plenty of power and his striking seems more advanced than Dober’s. I can see Dober finding success on the ground, but probably not enough to get him a decision win. I see this being competitive with Camacho getting the better of the striking.
Bobby Green def. Erik Koch
Mirsad Bektic def. Godofredo Pepey
Mara Romero Borella def. Katlyn Chookagian
Randa Markos def. Juliana Lima
Justine Kish def. Ji Yeon Kim
Joaquim Silva def. Vinc Pichel
Niko Price def. George Sullivan
Cory Sandhagen def. Austin Arnett