Yves Edwards (right) | Jeff Sherwood/Sherdog.com
The UFC “Fight for the Troops 2” preliminary card is examined by Sherdog.com staff:
Yves Edwards vs. Cody McKenzie
Freddie DeFreitas: I applaud McKenzie’s genuine intestinal fortitude for taking this fight on such short notice; however, a fighter with the experience of Edwards is just too big a step up at this stage in his career. Edwards will avoid McKenzie’s trademark guillotine and push the fight into the later rounds -- Edwards by TKO in the third.
Lutfi Sariahmed: Winning 10 fights in a row via guillotine choke is a jarring statistic regardless of whom it may come against. Check out his Fight Finder page; it's just a surprise to look at even knowing what McKenzie's already done. Edwards has experienced something of a career renaissance of late, winning five of his last six and he should add to the total here. He'll outclass McKenzie on his way to a submission win of his own.
Tristen Critchfield: It’s no secret as to how McKenzie would like this one to end. Anticipating if and when the TUF 12 competitor can slap on his beloved guillotine is all part of the fun, but the experienced Edwards will be too crafty to let it happen. Edwards by decision.
Brian Knapp: Maybe the easiest fight to pick on this card. Until McKenzie shores up his stand-up game, he's going to enter almost every one of his fights in the UFC at a disadvantage. Edwards is too experienced to fall into the clutches of his guillotine. Edwards by second-round TKO.
DaMarques Johnson vs. Michael Guymon
Rob King: Here’s a case of pink slip derby if I’ve ever seen one. You hear Guymon’s story and you can’t help but root for him. Both guys are pretty well rounded and even in most categories; neither guy jumps out as having a definite advantage in any one aspect of the game. Guymon has faced a bit better opposition over the course of his career, and that experience could be the difference. Guymon via decision. Tony Loiseleur: Guymon will probably look to take Johnson down, where he can control from top to grind out a decision. However, Johnson could just as well throw up submissions from bottom and tap him out. Since I'm not confident in Guymon's submission defense here, I see Johnson tapping him from bottom probably by the second round.
Tomasz Marciniak: While both fighters have defensive shortcomings, I think Johnson is better offensively and a better athlete. I think he hurts Guymon in the stand up and polishes the "Joker" off on the ground for a TKO.
Todd Martin: This is an important fight for both men as the loser is likely to be out of the UFC. I think Johnson will have physical advantages with greater natural strength and relative youth compared to the 36-year-old Guymon. Guymon’s best shot at winning is putting Johnson on his back and going for submissions from the top, and I don’t see that happening.
Waylon Lowe vs. Willamy Freire
Jordan Breen: Freire won't blow anyone's socks off with his offense game, but it's still much more potent than Lowe's. Make no mistake, Lowe has massive, massive power. However, on the feet, he doesn't have the technique or reach to land consistently, and from top position seems reticent to ever throw. On the feet, Freire will likely be able to kick to the legs and body; he can threaten with his anaconda choke off of Lowe's takedowns, and potentially sweep or submit from the bottom. Freire can land enough strikes to win a decision, but is also skilled enough on the floor to tap Lowe early in the fight.
DeFreitas: Freire overcomes the Octagon jitters and survives an early scare from Lowe en route to a decision win in his promotional debut.
Sariahmed: Welcome to the UFC, "Chiquerim." Freire is just another potential stud out of the Nova UniÃ£o camp adding to an already loaded division in the UFC. He'll beat Waylon Lowe without much of a problem. With more than 20 fights already to his name, "Chiquerim" is the Brazilian lightweight who could step right into some of the bigger fights in the division with a win here.
Critchfield: Freire boasts an 11-fight winning streak and a penchant for submitting foes. He forces Lowe to tap in the third round of their bout.
Amilcar Alves vs. Charlie Brenneman
Knapp: Brenneman's wrestling and top game will carry him here. "The Spaniard" takes a unanimous decision.
King: A judo black belt and a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Alves should have a legit chance at submitting Brenneman. But he was submitted in his last fight by another wrestler, Mike Pierce. So against another wrestler who has pretty good standup, how can you not like Alves to drop this one as well? Brenneman will live to fight in the UFC another day with a stoppage victory here and send Alves back to the small shows.
Loiseleur: Brenneman's wrestling may not be a match for the likes of a Johny Hendricks, but it should be more than enough for Alves. In much the same way that Mike Pierce controlled Alves before him, I'll take the Spanish teacher for three rounds of takedowns and top control for the decision.
Marciniak: Pierce laid out a blueprint on how to beat Alves and I expect Brenneman to follow it to a tee. That is he will put the Brazilian on his back, keep him there for 15 minutes and avoid being submitted en route to a decision.
Rani Yahya vs. Mike Thomas Brown
Martin: Yahya is an interesting novelty because of how one-dimensional his game remains. If Yahya can get the fight to the ground, his submissions are lethal but Brown is the superior wrestler and striker. That spells trouble for the Brazilian.
Breen: A dreadful matchup for Yahya. As we've seen in losses to Manny Gamburyan and Diego Nunes, Brown can be exploited on the feet, whether with a knockout shot or superior technique. However, Yahya's standing offense consists of running straight forward and trying to grab his opponent in hopes of a takedown. Coming back up from 135 pounds, Yahya will find that kind of offense doesn't come to easily. If this goes the distance, I don't see Yahya winning a speck of the fight, but if Brown's stand-up is on point, this might be over and done with inside of the first frame.
DeFreitas: Brown understands the dangers of working within the guard of Yahya, so you can expect the American Top Team featherweight to keep the fight on the feet until he finds a home for one fight-ending right hand -- Brown by KO in the first.
Critchfield: Yahya might have taken home a victory in his originally scheduled bout against the Korean Zombie, but Brown will be a more difficult test. The former champion will rebound from his loss to Diego Nunes to finish Yahya via TKO in the second round.
Will Campuzano vs. Chris Cariaso
Critchfield: Campuzano’s experience against higher level competition like Damacio Page and Eddie Wineland should give him a slight edge against muay Thai specialist Cariaso. Campuzano by decision.
King: I saw both of these guys fight live at WEC 49 and I am going to use their performances from that night to make my pick here. Cariaso got stronger as the fight went along against Rafael Rebello, whereas Campuzano had his insides pulverized by Eddie Wineland from one of the best body punches I have seen in recent memory. Cariaso via decision here.
Loiseleur: With WEC and the UFC now fully merged, I'm figuring that these two will be fighting just for the privilege of continuing their employment under the Zuffa banner. Both guys are coming in on a loss, so I'm expecting either a very tight tactical battle with neither guy committing to the charge for fear of losing, or both guys throwing with reckless abandon. I'm hoping for and leaning toward the latter since both guys will not want to go for takedowns, either. If that happens, I favor Campuzano, who's got winging punches and flying knees for days. Cariaso has punishing low and body kicks, but I think Campuzano will -- as always -- calmly walk through them to pile on punches to win the decision.
Brian Knapp 6-5
Todd Martin 6-5
Tristen Critchfield 6-5
Joseph Myers 6-5
Tomasz Marciniak 6-5
Guilherme Pinheiro 6-5
Rob King 5-6
Lutfi Sariahmed 5-6
Jordan Breen 4-7
Tony Loiseleur 4-7
Freddie DeFreitas 3-8