This column highlights five past bouts from fighters competing on this weekend’s UFC 184. These fights represent some of the highest moments in the careers of their respective participants, and should serve to pique your interest heading into the event. 1. Cat Zingano vs. Miesha Tate – TUF 17 Finale Upcoming Bout: Cat Zingano vs. Ronda Rousey
After watching this bout, I just don’t see how Zingano beats Rousey, no matter where this fight takes place. Zingano has poor defense on the feet in addition to being a slow striker, and Rousey has improved that part of her game immensely. The champion may soon be the best striker in the division to go along with her other skills (I would venture to say that she is already the most dangerous). Where Zingano will really suffer in this bout however is with her inability to keep range, much like she was able to do against Tate. Zingano’s takedown defense usually consists of hunting for a guillotine, and against Rousey, not controlling underhooks will end with her getting tossed. On the ground, Zingano has some solid skills, but Rousey is just in another league when grappling with her opponents. As much as some people may like to think Zingano can replicate her comeback performances against Tate and Nunes, it just doesn’t seem to be in the cards.
2. Alan Jouban vs. Ricky Legere Jr. – RFA 15 Upcoming Bout: Alan Jouban vs. Richard Walsh
Alan Jouban is a fun fighter to watch, no question. But this fight — his last before moving to the UFC — shows why I think it was crazy for Jouban to ever be a -400 favorite over Richard Walsh. Jouban’s striking is very good offensively, with a particularly nice kicking game, however he can let his kicks hang out there too long, which can end in him getting taken down. His wrestling from the clinch also leaves a bit to be desired, and that is one of Walsh’s stronger areas. Overall, Jouban is the more skilled fighter, and his ability to get off of his back (also shown multiple times against Legere) should allow him to win this fight, but I’m still of the opinion that the line is too high.
3. Richard Walsh vs. Callan Potter – GCF Series 2 Upcoming Bout: Richard Walsh vs. Alan Jouban
After watching the previous fight with Jouban, and Walsh’s ability to close the distance and stick to his opponent in this contest, you may be able to see why I believe Walsh/Jouban will be closer than most. Richard Walsh knows that he’s outmatched from a technical striking perspective in this bout, but if he can make this a dirty, grinding fight in the clinch, he can erase that particular skill disparity, and let his best attributes shine through. I do worry that he leaves his neck out when shooting from the outside, but Jouban is yet to score a true submission in his MMA career, so that shouldn’t be too big an issue here. The biggest key for Walsh, as it was in this fight, will be to not give Jouban space to work. If he can do that, he could win, but if this fight stays at distance, he will struggle.
4. Kid Yamamoto vs. Royler Gracie – K-1 Hero’s 3 Upcoming Bout: Kid Yamamoto vs. Roman Salazar
There aren’t going to be too many more chances for Kid Yamamoto to be included in an article like this. For that reason, I’ll include a bonus video in his entry here (spoiler alert: you’ve seen him knock out Kazuyuki Miyata with a flying knee about a billion times, so prepare for one more). I’ll also preface this by saying that these fights in no way reflect what Kid will look like on Saturday night, and I’m betting against him in this fight. That all said, there was a time where I may have picked Kid to win the proverbial ‘Shrink Ray Grand Prix’ (where somehow we have the technology to make all fighters the same size, but able to retain all of their natural characteristics). He was an explosive wrestler, and an even harder puncher, who often took out lightweights with single shots despite being a 135er (or below) by today’s standards. As much as I wanted to include his K-1 Grand Prix win in the final over Genki Sudo in here, the Royler KO was too nice to pass up.
Also, we’ll always have this to remember Kid by:
5. Valmir Lazaro vs. Chris Wilson – Shooto Brazil 42 Upcoming Bout: Valmir Lazaro vs. James Krause
UFC jitters must be a real thing, as the Valmir Lazaro who showed up to take on James Vick in his debut was not the same one who looked very solid in his stand up throughout his career in Brazil. Chris Wilson is a very capable fighter who has skills in all areas, and presents some of the same size issues as both Vick and Krause, and Lazaro dealt with him fine in this Shooto Brazil contest. Perhaps we’ll see a more composed Lazaro in his sophmore appearance, or maybe the jump in competition is simply too much for him to overcome. Either way, his bout with Krause should prove to be an entertaining striking affair.