UFC Fight Night 31: Fight for the Troops 3 Preliminary Card Preview

rfa-6I’m not going to try and take away anything from my respected cohorts that will be covering the main card of UFC Fight Night 31: Fight for the Troops 3, but I just want to put it out on the line here and say that this undercard is better than the main card. Hell, to some pay-per-view main cards! Seriously. In honor of this, I’m going to cover a few more fights on the Facebook prelims, which, in my opinion, are really solid contests. First, in the main event of the FOX Sports 1 prelims, the ever-exciting James Krause (20-4) will take on former Strikeforce fighter Bobby Green (20-5). Both of these men paid their dues on the fringe of the big leagues for years. Bobby Green in Affliction, then Strikeforce, somewhat successfully. Green made his UFC debut in February against the annoyingly tough Jacob Volkmann and submitted him with nothing but pure hustle and perfectly-timed reversals. Green has grown a lot in the last 2-3 years, as he’s now a complete fighter with a hell of a gas tank, rather than just the tough kid who fought Dan Lauzon at Affliction back in 2009. James Krause has fought just about everywhere, including an unsuccessful WEC stint in which he went 0-2 in the promotion with losses to Donald Cerrone and Ricardo Lamas. While those two fighters are at or near the top of their divisions now in the UFC, Krause simply wasn’t the same fighter back then. His heart and determination have always been there, as he made a 30 pound weight cut to enter the Bellator season 2 lightweight tournament back in 2010 in under a week. Granted, he lost in Bellator as well to Toby Imada, but he avenged that loss en route to his stint in the UFC, with eight wins in a row and counting. This is all without mentioning the fact that Krause was a contestant on TUF: Live, but was eliminated in the first round by Justin Lawrence. It should be noted that Krause clashed heads which led to a TKO in that bout. So all in all, both of these fighters are young, up and coming fighters with a solid history of fighting good competition. Krause holds the advantage in the Brazilian jiu-jitsu department, and can use his length to really back up Green, like he did in his Fight of the Night and Submission of the Night-earning performance in his UFC debut against Sam Stout this past June. But Green has an extremely deep gas tank, and will likely use it to close the distance fast and put Krause against the cage or on the ground. This could also likely be Fight of the Night, and I’m personally really looking forward to it. In the next fight, we have long-time UFC and WEC fighter George Roop (14-9-1) taking on WEC and UFC vet Francisco Rivera (9-2-1). Rivera would be on a five-fight winning streak had he not been popped for a banned substance after knocking out Roland Delorme at UFC 149. Roop at 6 foot 1 and 135 pounds is a nightmare match-up for certain fighters, but he has questionable takedown defense and sometimes just doesn’t use his jab like you would think he should. Roop’s greatest win was his head kick knockout of the Korean Zombie back in the WEC, and since then has had an up and down career. He’s gone 3-3 in the last 2.5 years, with losses to Hatsu Hioki and Cub Swanson, but wins over Brian Bowles and Reuben Duran in his return to bantamweight. He’s now on a two-fight winning streak and looking somewhat revitalized. Roop has good power at bantamweight, but so does Rivera. Rivera has 6 knockouts and 3 decisions, and he’s constantly swinging with bad intentions. It will be a chess match to see if he can get inside of Roop’s reach. At featherweight, Dennis Bermudez (11-3) hopes to extend his winning streak to to five with a win over Steven Siler (23-10), who is on a winning streak of his own at two. Both of these 145-ers are extremely violent, with Siler boasting 13 submissions and Bermudez already hanging TUF 14’s Submission of the Season as well as two Fight of the Nights on his mantle despite his short tenure in the Octagon. Both of these 26-year-olds are kind of the new breed of MMA fighter – tough, and with few glaring holes in their overall game. Bermudez does have NCAA Division I wrestling, which he can always fall back on in a pinch, but he gets goaded into crazy fights. Sure, that’s really fun to watch, but just be warned. Siler has far more experience obviously, and he has 13 first-round submissions, but his win this past August over Mike Brown was by far one of the biggest of his career. He struggled against upper-level competition earlier in his career. Has he turned a corner? This is a good test for both of these fighters, who seems fairly evenly-matched. Finally, to open the FOX Sports 1 prelims, we have a women’s bout in the bantamweight division between Germaine de Randamie (4-2) and Amanda Nunes (8-3). Like almost any female fight in the UFC, this has the potential to steal the show. Randamie stole a split-decision from Julie Kedzie back at UFC on FOX: Johnson vs. Moraga, and this Dutch kickboxer showed that her ground game has improved immensely. Nunes is an Invicta vet, and has gotten in some wars with the likes of Sarah D’Alelio, and had a big win in Strikeforce over Julia Budd while losing to Alexis Davis. Nunes is a good, fun fighter who is well-rounded. Randamie was a standout kickboxer in the toughest place on earth to compete in that sport, and she came out most of the time. Both of these ladies are experienced in combat, and while Randamie’s ground game is still rudimentary compared to Nunes, this could be a close fight. Nunes has good power, but she won’t want to stand up with Randamie.

Written by Jason Nawara

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