That’s right boys and girls, Danny Boy Downes here for the final Downes Side....of my bachelorhood. I know this news disappoints many of you almost as much as my predictions, but c’est la vie. Believe me, I tried to convince my future wife that it’s my duty to humanity that I share my “gifts” with as many people as possible but she does not seem to share my progressive views with regards to polyamory.
As I stand at the altar in San Diego, the second most important event in California will be taking place as the Ultimate Fighting Championship rolls into the Staples Center in Los Angeles for UFC on Fox 4. Earlier this week, Dana White informed us that the light heavyweight who wins the main or co-main event most impressively will likely potentially maybe probably perhaps become the number-one contender for the title. Now some people question this move, but everyone questioned my choice of wedding cake, too. In the end, I’m confident everyone will concede to our expertise and be happy.
Mike Swick (14-4) vs DaMarques Johnson (15-10)
After being laid up with injury and illnesses for over two and a half years, TUF 1 alum Mike “Quick” Swick returns to the Octagon. Looking to spoil his comeback is TUF 9’s DaMarques Johnson. Johnson seeks to get some momentum after alternating wins and losses in his last few fights; most recently a second-round submission loss to John Maguire in April.
The big factor here will be Swick’s “cage corrosion.” Yes he’s been training, yes he feels great, but a UFC fight is a lot like ye olde English countryside -- as much as you try, you can never truly recreate it. It will behoove "Quick" to slow his roll so he can get his legs under him. To counter this, Johnson will want to use his aggressive style and pressure Swick as soon as the bell rings. Paradoxically, this will be a bigger mistake than giving the Downes family an open bar. The majority of Johnson’s losses are by submission and Mike Swick has one of the best guillotine chokes in the game. “Quick” lives up to his moniker and puts this one away with a first-round tapout.
Joe Lauzon (21-7) vs Jamie Varner (20-6-1)
Next up we have a lightweight contest between Joe “J-Lau” Lauzon and the newly resurgent Jamie Varner. The submission ace from Bridgewater, Massachusetts looks to get back on the winning track after falling victim to an Anthony Pettis head-kick KO at UFC 147. After getting his walking papers from the organization after WEC 53, Jamie Varner had the comeback of the year performance against then-undefeated next-big-thing Edson Barboza at the end of May. Given recent events, Varner should seriously consider changing his nickname to Lazarus. (Either that or Neil Diamond.)
In the striking department, Varner has a slight advantage. Lauzon’s boxing has steadily improved, though, plus he has the chin to weather whatever Jamie Varner can throw at him. When you compare their grappling, Lauzon has a clear advantage. Despite Varner’s wrestling credentials, he has been taken down and submitted a number of times. As the fight goes on, Varner’s cardio (which has hurt him before) will come into play and make it easier for “J-Lau” to get him to the ground. I took a couple theology courses in college and the one thing about Lazarus that most people don’t know is that after coming back from the dead, he died about 2.5 months later. Varner will suffer a similar fate -- I see J-Laz getting subbed by J-Lau in the 3rd.
Lyoto Machida (17-3) vs Ryan Bader (14-2)
That brings us the first potential number-one contender fight of the evening. Main event 1A features Lyoto Machida and Ryan Bader. It's “The Dragon's” first return to the Octagon since losing to Jon Jones in December. While Joe Rogan may have proclaimed the “Machida era" in 2009 it’s been about as successful as the New Coke era. On the other side, the “Darth” era has gotten off to a better start with wins over Jason Brilz and Rampage over the last year. I suppose makes him more like the flavored water of the early 90s
Machida may be a BJJ black belt, but there’s no way he gets the submission. Bader’s wrestling is far too superior and he’s just plain stronger than Machida. Having said that, he’s totally outgunned on the feet. If they had a bench press competition, Bader would win hands down, but that doesn’t mean as much as you’d think in a fight. Danny LaRusso had about as much upper body strength as a young Danny Downes, but he still won the All Valley tournament. Why? BECAUSE KARATE’S BACK! Machida KOs him in the 3rd.
Mauricio Rua (20-6) vs Brandon Vera (12-5)
That brings us to main event 1B as Mauricio “Shogun” Rua returns to the Octagon for the first time since his November Fight of the Year loss to current title challenger Dan Henderson. His opponent, Brandon “The Truth” Vera, looks to earn a shot at the belt after narrowly beating Eliot Marshall at UFC 137. In my opinion, I think they should change the name of the card to The Bachelor: 205-lb Edition. Not only would it be ratings gold, but we’d get to see Dana White and Joe Silva talk about their feelings in a hot tub.
Much like Brandon Vera, I long for the days of 2006. It was a simpler time. Cropped jackets were fashionable, The Departed was released and this song was cruising up the charts. It was also the year Brandon Vera finished all three of his opponents in the UFC. Since then, he’s only finished one opponent in ten matches. Unfortunately for Vera and Doc Brown, there is no time machine. Shogun will get the better end of the striking exchange and this will force Vera to try to use his clinch to control him. Rua is more than capable of dealing with it, he’ll be able to break the lock, return it to the center of the cage and continue to wear Vera out. As his fight with Thiago SIlva showed us, Brandon Vera does not finish easily and Rua will batter “The Truth” for 25 minutes en route to a UD victory.
Well, that wraps up the last pre-nuptial edition of the Downes Side. Be sure to follow my on Twitter @dannyboydownes and check out my reviews here. Also, make sure to leave your thought, comments, and tips for consummation on the page as well. I’ll even try to get a couple comments in, too. You can’t be a neglectful husband your whole marriage unless you start on day one.
The Downes Side: UFC on FOX 4 Predictions
UFC/WEC veteran Dan Downes talks strategy and predictions for UFC on FOX 4, taking place Saturday, August 4