Hemp Force Active - Protein Designed for Active People.

UFC 128: Shogun vs. Jones

Jon Jones (21-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’4″ Age: 28 Weight: 205 lbs Reach: 84.5″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Daniel Cormier (1-3-15)
  • Camp: Jackson-Wink MMA (New Mexico)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Switch-stance / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+  *Former UFC LHW Champion
+   JUCO National Wrestling Champ
+   9 KO victories
+   7 first round finishes
+   6 Submission wins
+   Creative & dynamic striker
+   Switches stances effectively
+   Superb dictation of range
^   Wide variety of techniques
+   Excellent takedown defense (95%)
^   Good hip awareness
+   Multiple takedown tools
+   Devastating ground striker
–    Head dips low inside
–    Head upright upon retreats
+/-Will play into opponents game


Ovince St Preux (19-7)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’3″ Age: 33 Weight: 205 lbs Reach: 79″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Rafael Cavalcante (2-6-15)
  • Camp: Knoxville MMA (Tennessee)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Southpaw / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Blue Belt BJJ
+   10 KO victories
+   4 Submission wins
+   12 first round finishes
+   KO Power
+   Incredible athlete
+   Accurate shot selection
^   Left hand in particular
+   Hard left body kick
+   Improved & active footwork
^   Shows intelligent shifts
+   Underrated submission game
+   Shows get-up urgency off takedowns
^   Uses athleticism to explode up
–    Struggles w/wrestling pressure
–    Gas Tank bares watching


The main event will feature the return of what is potentially the greatest fighter to ever step into the Octagon, as Jon “Bones” Jones will take on Ovince “OSP” St. Preux. Originally slated for a rematch with now-champion Daniel Cormier, a shakeup ensued soon after Cormier was reported to be injured. Stepping in on “Rocky”-esque terms, OSP will now look to turn the intangibles in his favor as he attempts to shock the world.

Whether it is unique talents like Jon Jones or matchups with on-paper deficits, it is very easy to get sucked into the stream of general narrative and be overly dismissive. After all, MMA has reminded us time-and-time again that is it truly a game of inches. Especially at heavier weights, power becomes the elephant in the room when it comes to intangibles. Despite being technically outgunned almost everywhere, St. Preux’s lone on-paper advantage is an important one, as he does have the knockout power and athleticism to close the show.

Although my official pick is clearly Jones, I will attempt to highlight the intricacies of OSP’s game that could see the light in this fight. Despite his supernatural ability dictate the terms of a cage fight, Jon Jones has the propensity to play into his opposition’s power and strengths. With his almost unparalleled athleticism and ability, Jon has yet to pay for playing with fire, although he has come close at times. For example, Jones often keeps his head upright upon exits and dips particularly low when reacting inside the pocket. Given these tendencies to traditionally open up uppercuts and winging punches, Jon will have to be especially careful as those are OSP’s most effective attacks.

The former champion should also have the advantages at range, but will need to respect Ovince’s offerings, even if they appear limited. Although Jon has a tremendous chin, St. Preux’s hard left body kick could sway momentum his way should it land to the liver. Even though OSP wields powerful left kicks & crosses, I feel his shifting hooks will serve him best. Displaying a shift variation referred to in traditional martial arts as “opening the gate“, the Southpaw will swing his lead foot backward into an orthodox stance. This deceptively changes the attack range and perceptions of OSP’s opposition. It also allows St. Preux to keep his accurate left hand in play, as we saw this in perfect depiction against Shogun Rua(I also refer to this technique in my Cruz-Dillashaw Breakdown as Cruz has been masterfully doing this for years).

If Jon Jones respects or takes away these weapons, he should be able to continue his trend of commanding action. Given St. Preux’s noted struggles with solid top position players, I would not be surprised to see Jon take this party to the floor. As one the most dangerous ground strikers in the sport, an early night would not surprise me should OSP’s explosive get-ups fail him. Although I wouldn’t mind being wrong on this one, I feel that no matter what the ring rust or intangibles are, Jon Jones will likely just need to “add water” for a victory here.

Official Pick: Jones – Inside the distance

Official Outcome: Jones – Decision


Demetrious Johnson (23-2-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’3″ Age: 29 Weight: 125 lbs Reach: 66″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / John Dodson (9-5-15)
  • Camp: AMC Pankration (Kirkland, WA)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Switch-stance / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Excellent

Supplemental info:
+   UFC Bantamweight Champion
+   Amateur MMA Titles
+   4 KO victories
+   9 Submission wins
+   8 first round finishes
+   Incredible speed
+   Superb footwork
^   Angles & switches stances effectively
+   Intelligent coaches & corner
^   Adjusts well during & in between rounds
+   Unrivaled pace & pressure
^   High output / does not slow
+   Creative clinch game
^   Stifles, strikes, sets up takedowns
+   Excellent transition game
^   Seamlessly switches attacks
+   Never stops / recovers well

UFC 185: Cariaso v Cejudo

Henry Cejudo (10-0)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’4″ Age: 29 Weight: 125 lbs Reach: 64″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Jussier Formiga (11-21-15)
  • Camp: Fight Ready (Phoenix, AZ)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Excellent

Supplemental info:
+   Olympic Wrestling Gold Medalist
+   Bronze Gloves Boxing Champ
+   3 KO victories
+   1 Submission win
+   4 first round finishes
+   Natural athleticism
+   Improved boxing
^   Favors L. hook-R. cross
+   Hard kicks & knees
+   Strong clinch game
^   Solid grips / hand fighting
+   Excellent wrestling ability
^   100% takedown defense
–    Head high upon retreat
^   Counter availabilities
–    Difficulty making flyweight
^   Gas tank bares watching


The evening’s co-main event features a flyweight title affair, as Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson defends his belt against Henry “The Messenger” Cejudo. Widely considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters today, Demetrious Johnson will further cement his legacy with a successful defense against this highly credentialed opponent.

Winning Olympic Gold back in 2008, Henry Cejudo is no stranger to championship level competition. With the help of his boxing background, Cejudo has shown he is much more than a wrestler thus far in his short MMA career. Despite his accrued Octagon-time, we have seen a very limited view of Henry’s potential game, as I suspect he will need to lay all his cards on the table to win this particular title.

Consistently showing a stick & move curriculum, the former freestyle wrestler displays surprising fluidity as he rarely throws himself out of position. Favoring left hook-right cross setups, he often finishes his combinations with hard kicks to the body. Although Henry shows confidence in his striking, it is inside the clinch where he is truly most comfortable. Utilizing fundamental hand-fighting, Cejudo will subtly stifle his opposition’s offense inside as he delivers a healthy dose of hard knees.

Thwarting all takedown attempts from the clinch thus far in his career, Cejudo shows to strike particularly well off the break. That said, Henry will need to be careful himself when exiting that specific range. Often off of the break, Cejudo will retreat with his head upright. This habit, coupled with slightly lowered guard has made right-hands a consistent culprit in his Octagon appearances.

Despite said accumulation of Octagon time for Cejudo, we have yet to see him in any ground stanzas last for more than 45 seconds in the past 3-years. Unless Henry has been hiding a world class submission game, I suspect Mighty Mouse should have the on-paper edge on the ground. Stating as much in multiple interviews, Cejudo vows to keep Johnson’s wrestling out of this, as he has the credentials to back up such a proclamation.

That said, stopping what is the best transition game to grace our sport may be easier said than done. Technically sound & well timed, Johnson has taken down every opponent in the last three years. Even if Henry can stop his shots, he will still be subject to Mighty Mouse’s stellar(and often overlooked) clinch game. After being dropped in his first fight with John Dodson, Demetrious intelligently adjusted by taking the fight into the clinch. Using a myriad of grips to trips, or strikes into high-crotch hikes, Johnson has developed quite the taste for breaking his opposition in close.

As much as I could spend time pontificating on Mighty Mouse’s skillset, I ultimately see his consistent speed & pressure being the deciding factor. A fighter who is known for his struggle to make the flyweight limit, Cejudo tends to fade as the fight goes on, as this also reflects in his conservative outputs. Despite changing his diet and looking in phenomenal shape, I see another level of speed and movement in Might Mouse’s favor. Even if Cejudo gets off to a strong start, I can only imagine the energy output that he will need to sustain it. Although Henry has surfed big waves before, I am not so sure he stays above water against the endless sets that are coming his way.

Official Pick: Johnson – Decision

Official Outcome: Johnson – TKO (round 1)


Anthony Pettis (18-3)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’9″ Age: 29 Weight: 155 lbs Reach: 72″
  • Last Fight: Decision loss / Eddie Alvarez (3-14-15)
  • Camp: Roufusport (Milwaukee, WI)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Switch-stance / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Former UFC LW Champion
+   Black Belt Tae Kwon Do
+   WEC Lightweight Title
+   9 KO victories
+   12 first round finishes
+   6 Submission wins
+   KO Power
+   Athletic & Agile
+   Accurate shot selection
+/-Plays along the outside
+   Dangerous kick variety
^   Hard body kicks
+   Active guard/bottom game
+   Effective in scrambles
+   Excellent feint utilization
^   Intelligently reads & reacts
–    Struggles with wrestling pressure


Edson Barboza (16-4)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’11” Age: 30 Weight: 155 lbs Reach: 75″
  • Last Fight: Submission loss / Tony Ferguson (12-11-15)
  • Camp: Ricardo Almeida BJJ (New Jersey)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Muay Thai
  • Risk Management: Good

Supplemental info:
+   Regional MMA Titles
+   Multiple Muay Thai Titles
^   Record of 25-3 (22 by KO)
+   10 KO victories
+   7 first round finishes
+   1 Submission win
+   KO Power
+   Explosive fast-twitch striker
+   Devastating leg kicks
+   Accurate spin kicks
+   Lightning left switch-kick
+   Dangerous right hand
+/-Requires space to operate
^   Consistently circles out
+   Good takedown defense (84%)
+   Solid butterfly guard/get-ups
–    Struggles when pressure fought


Amongst the firefights that form the main card is an exciting matchup of the sports most touted strikers, as Anthony Pettis and Edson Barboza battle for style supremacy.

As many would suspect, I feel this affair will likely stay and be decided standing. Coming off a pair of losses to the division’s top-ranked pressure fighters, I am sure that Anthony will happily oblige a similarly natured striker. Also looking to rebound from a loss is Edson Barboza, who has shared similar struggles against pressure-style fighters.

Starting off on the feet, Pettis tends to circle the outside so he can create opportunities to read and react on his opposition. With this complimenting the Muay Thai stalkings of Barboza, I expect Edson to dictate the initial pace and space of this fight. Although aggressive when appropriate, Barboza is a primarily a measured striker who rarely throws himself out of position.

Edson, in my opinion, will have the firepower advantage on the feet, but his usual speed superiority may be more leveled considering his opposition. More importantly, Barboza will have to be especially careful not to be predictable. As efficient as the Brazilian is with his offense, his ethics also translate defensively into his standing guard. However, despite being effective with feints of his own, he does tend to bite regularly on his oppositions, as Edson will often show his hand with defensive parries.

Although there is nothing wrong with these traditional defenses, Anthony Pettis is one of the last fighters you want to give tells to in regards to reactions. Renown for his dynamic kicking attacks, it is Anthony’s ability to read his opponents reactions and setup precision shots that make him so dangerous. If Barboza is not mindful in mixing up his approach, he may fall into an inadvertent trap.

With Pettis possessing good lateral movement to dictate attacks, Barboza will have to be on his game to dissuade the former champions movement. Usually achieving his immobilization objectives via devastating right leg kicks, that option may not be as clear for Edson in this matchup. As many traditional martial artists or switch-stance fighters do, Pettis primarily operates out of a southpaw stance. I suspect he will follow his recent trend of fighting lefty, as it will especially limit Barboza’s favorite kicking technique.

The other patent kick the Brazilian is known for is his lightning fast left switch-kick. However, the southpaw stance also presents limitations with that kick as well. It falls under a similar rule-of-thumb of punches in regards to outside foot awareness. Not only will this be the key factor for this kick, but it will also determine the success of a large part of Edson’s offense. Despite struggling with the southpaw Michael Johnson, Barboza did show much-improved stance awareness and foot placement in his last fight. It will be interesting to see his approach to this matchup, as I feel his underrated right hands and accurate spinning sidekicks will serve him best against Anthony’s style.

If either fighter has more motive and shown tools to take this fight to the floor, it will likely be Pettis. Showing glimpses of takedown ability earlier in his career, it will be interesting to see if his recent stint at Jackson-Wink MMA and past few camps with Izzy Martinez will finally come to fruition. That said, I do not expect any ground stanzas to last long, as both men show solid butterfly guards and get-up urgency. Although my early pick for this matchup was Barboza, I ultimately feel that Pettis has more shown tools to accompany what I feel is a stylistic advantage.

Official Pick: Pettis – Inside the distance

Official Outcome: Barboza – Decision


Rafael Natal (21-6-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’0″ Age: 33 Weight: 185 lbs Reach: 76″
  • Last Fight: TKO win / Kevin Casey (1-30-16)
  • Camp: Renzo Gracie BJJ (NY/Brazil)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   BJJ Black Belt
+   Multiple Grappling Accolades
+   8 Submission wins
+   8 first round finishes
+   3 KO victories
+   Consistent pace & pressure
+   Will switch stances
^   Hard kicks from each side
+   Underrated wrestling
^   Improved shots & takedowns
+   Excellent top game
^   Actively strikes & passes
+/-Aggressive entries
–    Strikes retract low
^   Counter availabilities


Robert Whitaker (15-4)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’11” Age: 25 Weight: 185 lbs Reach: 73.5″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Uriah Hall (11-14-15)
  • Camp: PMA Martial Arts (Australia)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   TUF Smashes Winner
+   Black Belt Karate/Hapkido
+   Purple Belt BJJ
+   5 first round finishes
+   8 KO victories
+   5 Submission wins
+   KO Power/heavy hands
+   Quickly & deceptively blitzes
+   Unique angles & off-beat attacks
^   Disrupts opponents rhythm
+   Good head movement / footwork
+   Underrated wrestling
^   92% takedown defense
+   Improved grappling
+/-Aggressive entries


In the midst of the main card madness, middleweights Rafael “Sapo” Natal and Robert “The Reaper” Whitaker will compete for that next crucial step in their careers.

Coming off a three-round thriller with Uriah Hall last November, the #7-ranked Whitaker has come into his own since moving to middleweight. Riding on solid momentum amongst an impressive winning streak, “The Reaper” will likely find himself in the division’s top fights should he emerge victorious here.

Another quietly rising contender, Rafael Natal has steadily strung together some scalps of his own in his latest run. Now lurking just outside the top-ten in the division, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu champion will seek to make a statement and earn his spot amongst the mainstays at middleweight.

With both fighters consistently pushing a high pace, expect an action filled affair as neither man is easily discouraged. Although Natal is aggressive in nature, he has shown a tendency to run his offense with an outside circling curriculum. Coupled with the occasional switch-of-stance, Rafael has made himself harder to hit while encouraging exchanges to take place more toward his terms.

With improved straight punches and hard kicks from both sides serving as the bulk of Sapo’s attacks, it is his ability to read and play with range that keeps him afloat in the striking realm. Despite the Brazilian’s improvements, Natal will need to mind his entries as he still shows to retract his hands low off strikes. Although his senses inside have often kept him safe, these habits could be costly against someone like Whitaker, who counters with conviction.

Coming from a traditional martial arts base, Robert Whitaker has developed into one of the most dangerous strikers in the division. Using a combination of speed, accuracy, and a fluid economy of movement, The Reaper will deceptively blitz off different angles. Like many Karate based strikers, Whitaker will show a certain speed to draw his opponent into a false sense of security, only to disrupt the perceived timing with off-beat strikes.

Given how each fighters styles align, I feel this striking matchup favors Whitaker. That said, Natal’s ability to change levels and shoot will be a looming threat standing. If the Brazilian can time the young Kiwi coming in, he could take this fight to the ground where he should have the on-paper advantage. However, Whitaker has some underrated wrestling chops of his own, as he boasts one of the best takedown defense rates in the division at 92%.

If Natal manages to get this fight on the mat, I do not feel that Whitaker will be completely out of his element. Robert also has demonstrated improvements on the floor from his defense, get-up ability, and overall ground IQ. Never the less, Sapo still possesses a pressure game that could steal this fight from Whitaker by making it an ugly affair. But if Robert’s renown defenses can keep him upright, I feel his stylistic advantages will come to light and give Rafael a reason to fear The Reaper.

Official Pick: Whitaker – Inside the distance

Official Outcome: Whitaker – Decision


Yair Rodriguez (6-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’11” Age: 22 Weight: 145 lbs Reach: 71″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Dan Hooker (10-3-15)
  • Camp: Izzy-Style Wrestling (Illinois)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Switch-stance / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   TUF LATAM 1 Winner
+   Black Belt Tae Kwon Do
+   2 KO victories
+   1 Submission win
+   3 first round finishes
+   Athletic & explosive movement
^   Covers distance quickly
+   Dynamic kicking attack
^   Variates stances & styles
+   Improved wrestling
^   Shows solid hip awareness
+   Creative ground game
+   Active & attacking guard
+   Excellent leg dexterity
^   Retains guard well
+/-Rarely strikes from left side
–    Hands slightly low/head often upright

UFC Fight Night: Benitez v Fili

Andre Fili (15-3)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’10” Age: 25 Weight: 145 lbs Reach: 74″
  • Last Fight: KO win / Gabriel Benitez (11-21-15)
  • Camp: Team Alpha Male (Sacramento, CA)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   Regional MMA Titles
+   Piano Key Belt in Joe-Jitsu
+   8 KO victories
+   3 Submission wins
+   6 first round finishes
+   Aggressive pressure & pace
+   Improved footwork
^   Angles well off attacks
+   Accurate L. Hook-R. Cross
+   Dangerous head kicks
+   Underrated wrestling
^   Solid defense & hip awareness
+   Active & attacking guard
^   Looks to sweep or stand
+   Excellent takedown instincts
^   Changes level & times well
–    Hands slightly low/head often upright


Kicking off the main card in Las Vegas is a fantastic featherweight fight between Yair “Pantera” Rodriguez and Andre “Touchy” Fili. Since winning the first season of TUF Latin America, Yair has managed to stay undefeated thus far in his UFC run. Often compared to Anthony Pettis or Jon Jones, there is no shortage of hype on the Mexican prospect as he attempts to continue his growth as a fighter. Standing in his way is another developing talent, as Andre Fili will look to take some shine from Rodriguez and parlay it into his own.

No matter where this fight takes place, expect fast action as each fighter consistently pushes the pace throughout contests. Despite Yair being the more dynamic & explosive striker, Andre is the more aggressive man who arguably pulls from a deeper arsenal. Displaying improved footwork and movement, Fili will angle off his attacks instead of his previous tendency of crowding punches. However, Andre tends to keep a slightly-low standing guard, that coupled with his natural aggression, has traditionally shown to leave counters available.

Counter striking, in particular, is where I see the road of this matchup beginning to split in two. With the more visually impressive style, Yair Rodriguez translates his creativity, and Tae Kwon Do based striking seamlessly into the cage. Showing no fear in variating his high-risk kicks, it can be very easy to “not see the trees through the forest” if you will, as values can get tricky when trying to decipher between flashiness & effectiveness. That said, footwork will be a key factor for Yair standing as his athleticism shines through in his ability to control and cover distance. These attributes coupled with a possible speed advantage could set him up nicely to counter Andre’s advances, except countering is something that the Mexican’s game lacks, as he primarily looks to set and kick.

As a Tae Kwon Black Belt myself, I can truly appreciate Yair’s technique applications, but I also immediately noticed his lack of hands and habitual one-sided ways. Despite the constant stance switches and dazzling displays, Rodriguez seldom throws any strikes off of his left side. With forms of his left-sided offense including lackadaisical paws for punches and the occasional left-kick accentuation, the Mexican barely clears 10-attempts off his left side per round(not including ground strikes). This single-sided approach makes Rodriguez’s stance switching crucial, as it opens up options/gives the illusion of a dual-sided repertoire.

For example, instead of utilizing a left switch kick to encourage opposition to his right side, Yair will instead elect to throw spin kicks(a la Conor McGregor) to corral his opponent to the power side. Like most young prospects, I expect Rodriguez to continue and demonstrate fight-to-fight improvements, especially training between Jackson-Wink MMA & Izzy-Style Wrestling. However, if Yair fails to counter or capitalize on Andre’s aggression, it could cost him on his exits as he tends to keep his head high upon retreating. With Fili’s natural acumen in forward striking, we could see his accurate left hook or right head kick come into play here.

Despite Yair’s noted efforts of improving his wrestling under Izzy Martinez, I feel that Fili may surprise most in being a more effective wrestler. Although Rodriguez shows superb hip awareness & defensive wrestling(especially off the fence), his lack of strike setups has really hurt his shot percentage. Who does have an underrated shot, is Fili, as the Team Alpha Male-trained fighter fluidly changes levels and intelligently times his opposition. Although Andre’s takedown ability & fight IQ may be a key factor for his success, he will need to mind the active ground game of Yair.

Yair’s creativity comes through especially strong on the floor, as he strikes me as an improvisational fighter. Leaning heavily on his leg dexterity and hip awareness, Yair likes to utilize his length to lock up his opposition in corner/closed guards, or by other unorthodox means. Even though Rodriguez’s experimentations have made for interesting entanglements, they have also revealed his level of positional awareness, and possible lack of fundamental understanding. Fearlessly flowing in and out of trouble spots, Yair’s athleticism & resiliency have primarily kept him out of danger thus far. Once Rodriguez gains a better grasp of himself and his fundamentals, he will be a scary, scary fighter to behold. But just as Max Holloway checked Andre’s ascension, I believe Fili will pay that lesson forward here.

Official Pick: Fili – Decision

Official Outcome: Rodriguez – KO (round 1)

Preliminary Card Predictions

  • Kelades def. Pettis
  • Roberts def. Steele
  • Lima def. Esparza
  • Vick def. Franca
  • East def. Harris
  • Hester def. De Lima
  • Lee def. Escudero

Recommended Plays

Fantasy MMA Picks

High Tier Picks:

-Jon Jones
-Demetrious Johnson
-Anthony Pettis

Low Tier Picks:

-Andre Fili
-Chris Kelades
-Clint Hester

Pieces for your parlay:

-Danny Roberts
-Jon Jones
-Demetrious Johnson

Props worth looking at(5Dimes.eu):

-Johnson/Cejudo – Over: -190 (2 Units)
-Jones/St. Preux – Under: -225 (2 Units)
-Robert Whitaker – by Decision: +266 (1 Unit)
-Andre Fili – Inside the distance +383 (1 Unit)

Fights to avoid:

-Esparza vs Lima
-Pettis vs Barboza
-Vick vs Franca

For the complete analysis of future & past UFC events visit MixedMartialAnalyst.com and for future breakdowns & your latest in world-wide MMA news, stay tuned & follow @MMALatestnws MMALatestNews.com

Fuller Products