UFC Fight Night 44 Undercard Preview for ‘Swanson vs Stephens’ Prelims on Fox Sports 1

Colton SmithFOX Sports 1 is hosting the second part of a double-header full of UFC action tonight (June 28, 2014), with New Zealand and Fight Pass starting at 2:30 AM, then FOX Sports 1 broadcasting from San Antonio. This is the first time Zuffa has had an event in San Antonio since the WEC visited in 2009. Let’s hop right into these prelims. There’s a few names you’ll know, and a couple you won’t. That’s the norm lately, isn’t it? In the prelim main event on FOX Sports 1, we have TUF 16 winner Colton Smith (3-3) who has gone on a 2-fight losing streak since defeating Mike Ricci in the TUF 16 finale back at the end of 2012. Smith’s opponent is Carlos Diego Ferreira (9-0) a promotional newcomer with five submissions to his name. Ferreira has some decent wins in Legacy Fighting Championships, but he’s never met a grinder quite like Smith. The TUF winner comes from the Tim Kennedy school of fighting – go for the takedowns, punch people in the face when they try to get up, rinse, repeat. While he’s not as fun to watch as his elder statesman, you can’t deny Smith’s stifling abilities. On paper, Ferreira holds the edge in the grappling department with his BJJ blackbelt, but this is MMA, not BJJ, and I’ve seen far too many jiu jitsu players fall to wrestlers that grind forward with no end in sight. On the feet, the Brazilian holds the advantage, but Smith won’t want to keep it there for long. At bantamweight, we have TUF 14 alum Johnny Bedford (19-10-1) making his first return to the Octagon since he clashed heads in Abu Dhabi with Rani Yahya in April. The scrappy striker will face Cody Gibson (11-4), a man who lost his UFC debut against top prospect Aljamain Sterling. Gibson, in fact, is replacing Yahya on four weeks’ notice after the Brazilian pulled out of the fight with an injury. Gibson is coming into a potential whirlwind of pain here, as Bedford is a scrapper to the utmost degree. He favors body shots, especially knees in the clinch and Gibson really doesn’t have anything to combat Bedford’s strengths. He doesn’t have great takedowns, and his stand up is still evolving. On top of that, Bedford has a big advantage on the feet and that comes from his incredible length for a bantamweight. This will be yet another tough fight for Gibson. That said, Bedford is seemingly always susceptible to the sub, and if Gibson can sink in a solid guillotine, it could be over before it starts. Middleweights are next, as we have Marcelo Guimaraes (8-1-1) fighting Andy Enz (7-1). Guimaraes is 1-1 in the UFC, with an underwhelming split-decision win over Dan Stittgen at Munoz vs. Weidman (that’s how long ago his debut was) and then a knockout loss to Lim Hyun-Gyu when the UFC visited Japan last march for Silva vs. Stann. In general this is an underwhelming affair. Andy Enz has a remarkable chin and a heart that keeps him moving forward. This was on display during his fight against Clint Hester at UFC 169, but let’s face it, a good chin does not make a great fighter. Guimaraes will likely look to make this a violent fight and will probably want to keep the fight on the feet, but Enz is better than Guimaraes in all phases of the game. Guimaraes has trouble finishing, while Enz will push forward trying to sink in a submission however he can. This may be a sloppy, but fun fight. Opening the card on FOX Sports 1 is Ray Borg (6-1) a flyweight who lost his UFC debut by split-decision to Dustin Ortiz just two weeks after a fight in Legacy Fighting Championship. His opponent is KOTC and Bellator vet Shane Howell (13-7). Howell is on a six-fight winning streak, with five stoppages. He has seven submission wins and replaces Ryan Benoit on just two weeks of notice. Whether that will affect his performance is the question, especially considering he hasn’t fought in over two years. This could very well be an easy Borg win.

Written by Jason Nawara

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