UFC/WEC veteran Dan Downes talks strategy and predictions for UFC on FUEL TV 3
Does somebody have a case of the Tuesdays? Well, don’t worry, Danny Boy Downes is here to chase those blues away with another edition of the Downes Side. Normally, I don’t like having fights during the week because I’m so busy doing important things you wouldn’t get. This week, though, I have to attend an Engaged Enrichment and Marriage Preparation retreat so it looks like I lucked out. I’m sure I’ll learn things about religion and stuff, but I’m betting there will be some dirty talk, so that’s a plus.
Jason MacDonald vs Tom Lawlor
The night kicks off inside Fairfax, Virginia’s Patriot Center with a middleweight contest between “Filthy” Tom Lawlor and Jason “The Athlete” MacDonald. Both are looking to rebound after first round losses in their last fights. MacDonald is an accomplished grappler with 19 of his 25 wins coming via submission. Ultimate Fighter season 8 alumnus Tom Lawlor has strong wrestling and boxing, but will forever be remembered for being this guy.
MacDonald is an excellent submission artist, but he’s struggled when opponents get top position on him. His last loss to Alan Belcher illustrates this perfectly. I don’t see him taking Lawlor down and expect the majority of this fight to be spent on the feet. This means “Filthy” Tom will be able to utilize his boxing advantage to pick apart “The Athlete” and eventually TKO him in the 3rd.
Igor Pokrajac vs Fabio Maldonado
Next up is a light heavyweight match between Igor Pokrajac and Fabio Maldonado. Pokrajac is riding a lot of momentum after knocking out Krzysztof Soszynski in 35 seconds last December. Team Noguiera’s Maldonado wants to get back in the winner’s circle after seeing his 11-fight winning streak end in June.
Sometimes, you’re just outmatched. I learned this lesson when I challenged Joseph Benavidez to see who could pick up more phone numbers at the local retirement home (seniors just love that guy). Pokrajac has an advantage with regards to clinching and wrestling, but not enough to make it a factor. Maldonado is a former pro boxer and he’ll make that readily apparent in this fight. He’s shown a proclivity for throwing body punches and will drop Pokrajac with one and ground and pound his way to a 2nd round TKO.
Yves Jabouin vs Jeff Hougland
The next fight pits a couple of bantamweights as Jeff “Hellbound” Houghland takes on Yves “Tiger” Jabouin. Just like I did with my future father-in-law, Jeff Hougland made a poor first impression in MMA, losing four of his first five. Things picked up for the Washington product, who hasn’t lost since 2005, and gives me hope for my situation. Undefeated since dropping down from featherweight, Jabouin is looking for a signature win after two straight split decisions.
I liked Hougland’s chances until I saw his comments in the pre-fight videos (skip to 1:35 mark). “Control the range” is basically code for, “try to survive as long as possible.” Now, I can respect this philosophy because I use the same one every time I go to a dance club. Unfortunately, though, Hougland’s chances surviving the stand up are about as good as me getting on America’s Best Dance Crew. Jabouin gets the TKO in the first, but I’m sure Hougland and I can find a niche somewhere.
Jeremy Stephens vs Donald Cerrone
We stay on the lower end of the scale with a lightweight bout between Jeremy “Lil’ Heathen” Stephens and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. Looking to climb a few rungs on the crowded 155 lb ladder, Stephens makes his 14th appearance in the UFC. With a record of 7-6 in those previous 13 fights, I think we can all say the highlight of his career was a UD victory over a man once called (by his mother) “the handsomest boy in the UFC,” a Mr. Daniel Downes. Cerrone experienced his first UFC defeat at the hands of Nate Diaz at UFC 141 and has no plans on repeating the experience any time soon.
Neither fighter has ever been knocked out and that streak continues. The volume punching of Diaz may have given Cerrone problems in his last fight, but that won’t be a problem against Stephens. “Lil Heathen” does have 14 TKO/KO victories, but he throws single, power shots. I see Cerrone using his range advantage to tag Stephens on the outside with straight punches and coast to a unanimous decision victory. It’ll be a tough loss for Stephens to take, but at least he’ll always have that win at the Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale to tell his grandkids about.
Amir Sadollah vs Jorge Lopez
Originally scheduled to take place at UFC 143, injuries forced both men to withdraw. Now, a few months later Ultimate Fighter 7 winner Amir Sadollah takes on Wanderlei Silva-trained Jorge Lopez in what should be an exciting welterweight contest. While well-rounded, both fighters are predominantly strikers. Sadollah has a more classic Muay Thai style that favors clinching, while Lopez is more of a counter striker.
I’ve learned a few things writing this column. 1) People assume Dana White actually reads this and plead for him to fire me. 2) Much like Nietzsche, John Keats and James Joyce, I’m a misunderstood author whose true brilliance is often under-appreciated. 3) Never bet against guys trained by Brazilians because the majority of the times I’ve done so, it’s turned out poorly. So, unlike all those times I got sick eating Play-Doh as a kid, I have learned from my mistakes and take Lopez as he counter strikes his way to a unanimous decision.
Chan Sung Jung vs Dustin Poirier
That brings us to the main event of the evening as Chan Sung Jung (that’s right, Korean Zombie isn’t his birth name) squares off against Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier. Best known for his slugfest debut against Leonard Garcia at WEC 48, the Korean Zombie is undefeated in the UFC and carrying high expectations after knocking out former number one contender Mark Hominick in 7 seconds at UFC 140. The twenty-three year old Poirier is also undefeated in his UFC career and recently submitted Max Holloway in the first round.
I won’t deny the impressiveness of the Korean Zombie’s knockout in his last fight. Despite its impressiveness, though, it was an aberration. It’s just like the time I ate Taco Bell and didn’t spend the next 5 hours on the toilet. Sure, you want to enjoy the moment, but don’t expect it to happen every time -- especially when you have a long car ride planned (literary....genius). While the Zombie does have the advantage standing, Poirier is capable enough to survive the onslaught. Jung will tire himself out and “The Diamond” will take advantage of this in the later rounds en route to a decision victory, thus ensuring Dustin “The Diamond” a longer career than Dustin Diamond.