Tomorrow night, Jan. 22, the UFC returns to Fort Hood in Texas for the third time for UFC: Fight for the Troops 2 takes place. The main card features top heavyweight and lightweight prospects fighting in winner take all type battles, given that as stacked as both weight classes are, one loss could take a fighter out of championship contention.
On the other hand, with an impressive win any of these fighters can make their bid for a upcoming title shot later in 2011, but they first need to be victorious tomorrow night.
The Ultimate Fighter Matt Mitrione will be taking on Tim Hague in one of the heavyweight fights. While on TUF, it didn’t appear that Mitrione felt comfortable in the octagon and was big on all of the training and discipline it took to be a professional MMA fighter, but has gone 3-0 inside the octagon, winning two of the fights by way of KO.
Hague is coming into this battle having won two previous fights with Aggression MMA following three consecutive losses in the UFC. The fight against Mitrione is huge in determining the future of Hague in the UFC. He’s been given a second chance, against a strong opponent, and if he wins he can be back on track, but a loss and he can kiss his days as a UFC man goodbye.
The other heavyweight matchup on the main card is Pat Barry against Joey Beltran. Barry is a big heavyweight at 252 and only 5’ 11” and has an extensive background as a kickboxer. As a MMA fighter he has gone 5-2, with none of the seven fights going the distance. Fans are guaranteed an exciting fight when Barry steps into the cage; win or lose, he is going to fight his heart out. And each of his wins he demonstrated his ability to end the fights with his lethal strikes, earning five KO’s in five fights.
Beltran should make for an interesting matchup against Barry as he has a huge edge on the ground, being a blue belt in BJJ. But you wouldn’t know it by looking at his record—10 of 12 wins have come by way of KO.
The tempo of this fight is going to be dictated depending on whether or not Beltran wants to stand and exchange with Barry or if he looks to take the fight to the ground.
One of the lightweight fights on the main card and my prediction for ‘Fight of the Night’ is Evan Dunham against Melvin Guillard. Both of these lightweights have explosive quickness and have comparable standup and ground skills.
Dunham is coming into this fight following the first loss of his professional career back in September against Sean Sherk, so you have to wonder if it is still in the back of his mind.
Guillard has been a great fighter over his career but his biggest problem is consistency. He’ll win a couple fights, then lose, win a few, then lose. Since starting his career 10-0, he hasn’t been able to put together a streak of more than three wins in a row. If you want to be the best in the weight class you have to be able to do that, plain and simple.
This is a bigger fight for Dunham, as with the recent merger there are some big names in the lightweight division, and he needs to keep winning to stay near the top.
Cole Miller against Matt Winman pits two experienced lightweights against each other. Both fighters have a strong ground game, so look for the edge to go to whoever is able to control the pace of the fight on his feet.
This fight has the makings to be a runner-up for “Fight of the Night” as both men have shown they leave it all in the cage. Miller has won his past two fights by submission, earning “Submission of the Night” honors twice, and Winman has been involved in the “Fight of the Night” three times in his career.
But I’m looking for Miller to stand out in this fight. He has a lot to gain with a win—most likely a shot against Donald Cerrone somewhere in the near future.
Lastly on the main card is the featherweight bout between Mark Hominick against George Roop. This fight has a lot on the line for Hominick as UFC President Dana White stated that if he wins he will get a title shot against Jose Aldo at UFC 129.
With that announcement White took all the pressure off of Roop. Ending his WEC career Roop bounced back and forth between weight classes, trying to find his right fit, before settling back in Featherweight and knocking Chan Sung Jung out with a head kick.
The title shot for Hominick is within view; all he has to do is get through Roop. What he can’t do is take Roop lightly. Both men have great standup and kickboxing skills, and although Hominick has a stronger ground game, I think he is going to keep the fight on his feet looking for an impressive KO to send a message to Aldo.
Ok, so here come the predictions:
Heavyweight bout- Mitrione wins by TKO in Round 2.
Heavyweight bout- Barry wins by KO in Round 1.
Lightweight bout- Evan Dunham wins unanimous decision.
Lightweight bout- Miller wins by submission (rear naked choke) in Round 2.
Featherweight bout: Roop shocks Hominick and wins by TKO in Round 2.