UFC 166 Preliminary Card Preview on Fox Sports 1 Tonight (Oct. 19)

tim-boetsch-c-b-dollaway-ufc-166-posterHouston plays host to one of the biggest UFC events in months, as Cain and JDS look to complete their trilogy, and the UFC has stacked the card from top to bottom with great fights. The prelims are featured on FOX Sports 1, and I promise you that somewhere in this breakdown, I will use the phrase: “Houston, we have a problem.” The FOX Sports 1 prelims are headlined by Tim Boetsch (16-6) and The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season seven finalist CB Dollaway (13-4). The Kevin Bacon factor that brings these two together is a walloping from Mark Munoz, and other than that, both men fight quite differently. Dollaway is a wrestler, training in Arizona with Ryan Bader and hasn’t really evolved much over the years. He’s still a strong, stifling wrestler with suspect stand up and good submissions in the first round. If he doesn’t sub you in the first, he has all the ability in the world to ride someone to a decision. Boetsch, however, could be the strongest and biggest man Dollaway has ever faced, and Boetsch is coming off back-to-back losses for the first time in his career, which likely has ignited a fire in the former light heavyweight. Boetsch is notoriously durable, and the real question here is whether Dollaway can do anything to stop the bull that is Boetsch from stomping on him and make it a knock-down drag-out brawl. Both men have great gas tanks, but for the record, Dollaway can take far less damage than Boetsch. With Dollaway on a two fight winning streak, defeating Jason Miller by decision and Daniel Sarafian via split-decision, we may see him shooting for a takedown with his stellar NCAA wrestling right away. This should be an interesting fight. Next up is a fight that would make us be very confused in 2010, Nate Marquardt (32-12-2) taking on Hector Lombard (32-4-1) at welterweight, of all weights. Marquardt has proven that he can make 170, and do it well, but this is Lombard’s first time at welterweight, after fighting most of his career as a stocky middleweight. He looked like a dehydrated bodybuilder at the weigh-ins yesterday, and even though he made weight, I have to wonder how this will affect him and his already shallow gas tank. If Lombard gasses early: Houston, we have a problem. That said, there are few people you’d rather not face in the first round more than Lombard. The man has massive amounts of power in his fists, and he throws knockout blows with every punch in the combination. Marquardt is also a bit chinny to say the least. This is a fight where Marquardt needs to wear down Lombard immediately by sticking him against the cage and frustrating him, however Lombard does have that nasty judo background… This will be a cool and interesting fight to watch, as both of these vets have loads of experience, but the X-factor and experience against upper echelon talent has to go to Marquardt. Then again, X-factor can’t take a combination from Hector Lombard on the chin. This next fight, in my opinion, could very likely steal the show. The trailblazing female bantamweight Sarah Kaufman (16-2) will fight Bellator veteran Jessica Eye (10-1). Eye is currently on a 7-fight win streak, which includes a brilliant standing arm triangle against Zoila Gurgel at Bellator 83. Eye usually fights at 125 pounds, but she’s moving up for this battle against the former Strikeforce champion, Kaufman. Eye needs to make this a gritty contest and put Kaufman on her back right away, or the fight will likely devolve into Kaufman sticking Eye over and over again with her superior jab. Kaufman is extremely well-rounded, and even if Eye gets her against the cage early, she has the power and savvy to create distance or even take Eye down if she feels threatened. This will be a tough fight for Eye, but she has the type of moxie to upset a fighter like Kaufman, who is downright methodical in her combat. Kaufman is renowned for her knockouts, but she hasn’t finished a fighter since Megami Yabushita in April of 2011. Finally, to open the the FOX Sports 1 prelims, we have two lightweights who could receive a pink slip if they lose. George Sotiropoulos (14-5) despite coaching TUF: The Smashes, could lose his job is he loses to KJ Noons (11-7). The 36-year-old Australian fighter, Sotiropoulos, is a BJJ fighter first, and everything else third. He’s lost his last two fights via knockout to Ross Pearson and Rafael dos Anjos respectively. If he can’t get you down on the ground where his 10th Planet BJJ can expose a limb to submit, he’s lost. This is the standard striker vs. grappler matchup, as Noons, the former Elite XC lightweight champion and wunderkind who defeated Nick Diaz and Yves Edwards in short order, is a striker to the nth degree. He’s fantastically talented on the feat, and while not completely lost on the ground, he’s been smothered of late by Donald Cerrone, Ryan Couture and Josh Thomson. He’s lost his last three and five out of his last six (even though many felt he beat Couture). Without a nice win here, he could be saying goodbye to the Octagon. If he performs well and can stay on his feet, you will see some very pretty kickboxing out of Noons, while G-Sots looks to close the distance and bring him down.

Written by Jason Nawara

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