Honestly, I’m feeling a little spoiled right now.
UFC 120 was just seven days ago, and yet here I am, breaking down another jam-packed card for another UFC event already. While last weekend’s event was short on star power, UFC 121 has got it in spades, with the biggest name in the business stepping into the Octagon in the main event.
Even crazier than events on back-to-back weekends is the fact that UFC 121 is just the second show in an incredible nine-card collection that will unfold between now and New Year’s Eve. I better go apologize to the wife now because I don’t think she’ll be seeing much of me between now and then.
Jon Madsen (6-0-0) vs. Gilbert Yvel (36-15-1)
Am I the only one who finds it really weird that Ultimate Fighter alumni Madsen and Matt Mitrione have combined to go 6-0 since filming wrapped?
The former Hit Squad member turned Brock Lesnar training partner looks to move his record to 4-0 following his time in the TUF house by pushing veteran Gilbert Yvel to 0-3 in the Octagon. Before anyone goes thinking that Madsen might be the real deal, it’s grain of salt time: he’s earned three-straight decision wins over Justin Wren, Mostapha Al-Turk and Karlos Vemola, a trio that doesn’t exactly scream title contention.
That said, Madsen has done much better than Yvel, who has been on the receiving end of a first round knockout courtesy of Junior dos Santos, and a three round slugfest loss to Ben Rothwell. Once a perfect example of what it means to be bat-shit crazy, Yvel looks a lot like a lion in the zoo these days; the ferociousness that made him dangerous is gone, surfacing only for brief moments here and there.
If Yvel can stay standing, he has the power to knock Madsen into next week, but that is a big if when you look at both men’s resumes.
Dong Yi Yang (9-0-0) vs. Chris Camozzi (13-3-0)
Take a guess which fighter the UFC is trying to showcase here?
Is it the TUF 11 alumnus who didn’t actually stay in the house because he suffered a broken jaw in his qualifying bout or the unbeaten South Korean newcomer who makes his debut as the UFC increases their push into the Asia market?
Sorry Chris Camozzi, but you’re expected to be a stepping stone here.
Sam Stout (15-6-1) vs. Paul Taylor (10-5-1)
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say this one gets Fight of the Night, considering Stout has won five such awards, and three-straight, while Taylor has a trio of bonus checks in his back account as well.
Stout was thought to be rounding into form following his upset win over Joe Lauzon back in January, but the power of Jeremy Stephens proved to be too much for the Shawn Tompkins student to handle in May. Now 7-5 through 12 UFC appearances, if Stout ever hopes to be more than a preliminary card participant who earns routinely earns bonus checks, he needs to start putting together a solid string of victories.
This will be Taylor’s debut in the 155-pound division, and it comes six months later than originally planned. The Brit was scheduled to face John Gunderson back at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi, but after a bad weight cut, Taylor wasn’t cleared to compete. Now he crosses the Atlantic for the first time to face his Canadian doppelganger.
Expect an epic slugfest.
Daniel Roberts (10-1-0) vs. Mike Guymon (12-3-1)
Fun fact: a number of months ago, I was asked to join a Facebook group called 100,000 people want to see Mike “Joker” Guymon fights aired live on UFC. There are just over 3,300 members of said group heading into this bout, and that is pretty much all you need to know.
Patrick Cote (13-6-0) vs. Tom Lawlor (6-3-0)
For better or worse, there is a decent chance that whoever loses this fight gets handed their walking papers, as both Cote and Lawlor enter on two-fight losing streaks.
Cote has the better chance of keeping his job; one of those losses came in his often bemoaned title bout with Anderson Silva where his knee gave out. After two different knee surgeries and 18-months away from the cage, Cote got dropped on his head by Alan Belcher and handed a second consecutive loss.
D’you think he’s hungry for a win or what?
Lawlor could stick around simply on the basis of his outstanding entrances, whether at the weigh-ins or coming to the Octagon. His Dan Severn impersonation last time out was perfect, though his performance in the cage was not. After a strong start, “The Filthy Mauler” gassed and got tapped, the second consecutive outing where his lack of cardio caused him issues.
This could either be an extremely entertaining kickoff to the Prelims LIVE event or a battle of the lactic acid arms depending on how long it goes.
Here is how I know that The Ultimate Fighter is in serious need of a reboot: Season 11 champ McGee is kicking off his post-TUF career with a bout against a guy who was staring unemployment in the face before earning a victory in his last appearance. Can we please get back to searching for the best up-and-coming talent and stop pushing the edited drama?
My personal disappointment with TUF aside, McGee is a truly a solid prospect, having earned a win over DaMarques Johnson before winning the reality TV tournament, while his lone loss came against Jeremy Horn, a veteran of more than 110 professional bouts.
Jensen is a journeyman who earned his first legit UFC win by submitting Jesse Forbes at UFC 114 in May. Before that, he scored a scandalous win over Steve Steinbeiss when the referee misinterpreted “The Hooligan” giving him the thumbs up to mean that he wanted to submit.
Maybe moving to Jackson’s in Albuquerque will prove to be a turning point in Jensen’s career, but for now, he still looks like he’s being set up to get beat down by the latest TUF winner.