UFC Fight Night 31 Prelims: 5 Reasons to Watch

By Mike Whitman Nov 4, 2013
Bobby Green sports 16 finishes among his 20 career wins. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

The Ultimate Fighting Championship will offer up its annual Harvest Fest show on Wednesday, when UFC Fight Night 31 goes down from Fort Campbell in Hopkinsville, Ky.

OK, fine. There is no actual UFC Harvest Fest, but that should not stop us from praying to our various pagan gods for a fruitful bounty of violence during the Fox Sports 1 broadcast and the online prelims. Let us show the haters that we are made of hardy stuff, MMA fans. After all, who needs Lyoto Machida in the main event when you have five reasons to watch the “Fight For the Troops 3” undercard?

Sherdog Fantasy MMA: UFC Fight Night 31 Free Fan Pick’Em

‘King’ Green

I cannot lie. I really dig the way Bobby Green fights.

He is a gamer through and through, and that quality was on full display in his most recent Octagon appearance in which the former two-division King of the Cage titlist outlasted skilled grappler Jacob Volkmann en route to a third-round finish. Green’s rear-naked choke of the former Minnesota Golden Gopher extended his winning streak to five fights and earned him “Submission of the Night” honors.

The lightweight will now do battle with World Extreme Cagefighting veteran James Krause, who makes his sophomore Octagon appearance riding an eight-fight winning streak despite washing out quickly on Season 15 of “The Ultimate Fighter.” Krause looked sharp against Sam Stout, going move-for-move with the Octagon staple before submitting him via guillotine choke in June.

Will the lanky Krause be able to stifle Green’s aggression and make him work on the mat or can the “King” overpower him? I think the winner of this one deserves serious consideration as a sleeper in the lightweight division.

Violent Delights

Sometimes you see a fight on paper, and you just know that it is going to be violent. I think that is what we have with George Roop and Francisco Rivera.

Rivera’s punching power is something to behold at 135 pounds. While I do not think “Cisco” packs a wallop quite like Renan Barao or Michael McDonald, he is also not that far behind. The Californian owns two thirds of his victories by knockout and most recently buried another hard-hitting bantamweight in Edwin Figueroa.

Photo: Jeff Sherwood/Sherdog.com

Rivera packs a wallop.
In Roop, Rivera faces a talented but inconsistent competitor who has trimmed down from 155 to 135 pounds over the last four years. The 6-foot-1-inch bantamweight has won back-to-back fights heading into his confrontation with Rivera, outpointing Reuben Duran before stopping Brian Bowles at UFC 160 in May.

Roop’s path to success appears to be an oft-repeated one: maintain the distance in order to maximize that huge reach advantage. However, the fighter has struggled to execute this strategy in the past and even found himself on the deck in his most recent outing before turning the tables in round two to stop Bowles. If Rivera can close the distance and lay hands on his lanky foe, I do not see Roop surviving. Likewise, if Roop can hold him at bay and wrap one of those shin bones around Rivera’s dome, “Cisco” will not require a lullaby in order to fall asleep.

Menacing Momentum

Dennis Bermudez is on quite the roll.

After losing three straight fights and coming up short in “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 14 final, “The Menace” has turned around his ship. Since his bitter submission defeat to Diego Brandao, the featherweight has posted four consecutive victories and pocketed two post-fight bonuses. Bermudez is a powerful, determined fighter who continues to polish his game. Though he was gift-wrapped a split decision over Max Holloway in his last outing, it should be noted that he did put some hurting bombs on the Hawaiian in their third round.

The 26-year-old will now face Steven Siler, an “Ultimate Fighter” vet coming off the biggest win of his career in the form of a 50-second knockout of ex-WEC ruler Mike Thomas Brown. Siler has won five of his last six, and his beating at the hands of Darren Elkins now feels like a distant memory. Which featherweight will make a statement?

‘The Iron Lady’

What am I going to do with Germaine de Randamie?

Her standup is without questions some of the cleanest in all of women’s MMA, but her technical approach has appeared passive at times. I am desperately waiting for her to open up with her hands and feet as she continues to acclimate herself to fending off takedowns.

Yes, she walked away with a split decision win over respected veteran Julie Kedzie in July, but I do not think that fight should have been as close as it was. “The Iron Lady” was far too content to simply tie up Kedzie from the guard and wait for a referee standup -- a mistake she also made against Julia Budd. Though her defensive skills are adequate from her back, de Randamie needs to focus on creating space in order to return to where she is most dangerous.

The Dutchwoman will now meet Amanda Nunes, who is aggressive almost to a fault. I cannot wait to see which style will prevail when the hard-swinging Brazilian takes on a technician like de Randamie.

‘Monsoon’ Season

I do not know which fight the judges were watching at UFC on Fox 7, but it could not have been the same one I watched between Lorenz Larkin and Francis Carmont.

In the fight I saw, Larkin clearly won the first two rounds based on his takedown defense and more accurate striking. Unfortunately, the judges saw the bout differently and wheeled out a unanimous decision victory for Carmont, handing “The Monsoon” a loss in his UFC debut.

Now, the Strikeforce vet will lock horns with “The Ultimate Fighter 11” alum Chris Camozzi, who saw a four-fight winning streak snapped by Ronaldo Souza in May. The 26-year-old is clearly the more well-rounded fighter, but I believe Larkin’s unorthodox and powerful striking attack could get the better of him if the Californian is able to keep Camozzi from roughing him up in the clinch and scoring takedowns.

Which middleweight will reverse his momentum and get back in the win column?


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