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Lawler vs. Brown: A Complete Guide to UFC on Fox 12

Scott HarrisFeatured ColumnistJuly 21, 2014

Lawler vs. Brown: A Complete Guide to UFC on Fox 12

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    Matt Brown
    Matt BrownUSA TODAY Sports

    Have you ever heard the phrase "give the people what they want"?

    That should be the name of this event. UFC on Fox: Giving the People What They Want.

    When Matt Brown last fought, a star was born. He had plenty of knockouts and notoriety before then, but when he recovered from early adversity to smear Erick Silva in his hometown of Cincinnati, things went to another level.

    All Robbie Lawler has done in 2014 is come up just short in a scintillating bid for Johny Hendricks' welterweight title, then hammer fellow hard hitter Jake Ellenberger in his first bout after.

    Between them, these two men are 9-1 in their last 10. Number of knockouts in those 10? Eight.

    We can wax on about how much we appreciate a great guard pass or dominant positional wrestling, but everyone loves a good knockout. That's in the guts of any combat-sports fan. And take it to the bank: If Matt Brown vs. Robbie Lawler doesn't end in a knockout in this main event, it will be the kind of bell-to-bell slugfest that only comes along about once per year. And it's on free TV to boot.

    The main event is outshining the rest of this card, which is understandable, given not only the tastiness of that matchup but the serious lack of stakes or sizzle that characterizes much of the rest of the card. But there are still gems to be unearthed. The co-main event pits the resurging Anthony Johnson against decidedly de-surging Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. The mega-talented Josh Thomson returns to the Octagon for the first time since his loss to ex-champ Benson Henderson in January.

    Here's a full guide to the action and the storylines to watch, including information capsules, predictions and viewing coordinates for each and every contest. Time to give the people what they want.

Juliana Lima vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk

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    Division: Women's strawweight

    Records: Juliana Lima (6-1), Joanna Jedrzejczyk (6-0)

    See it on: UFC Fight Pass (subscription required)

    Every card, there's a surname that defies any spelling logic. But "Jedrzejczyk" might set a new record. Of its 11 letters, eight are consonants (and that's if you let the "y" get away with being a vowel). Good luck pronouncing that one, Jon Anik or (gulp) Mike Goldberg or whoever draws the straw. Good luck.

    I'm inclined to pick Lima just to make life easier on myself. It's a good thing, then, that her record bears it out. The Gracie Barra fighter from Belo Horizonte has the lone blemish between these two, but she has dominated those she's beaten, including a 68-second TKO in her last bout. Though her Polish opponent has a sparkly win over UFC vet Rosi Sexton, it was pretty clear Sexton was rather diminished by the time that fight happened (and she retired soon afterward).

    I'll go with Lima and her surprisingly heavy ground-and-pound game. 

    Prediction: Lima, unanimous decision

Andreas Stahl vs. Gilbert Burns

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    Division: Welterweight

    Records: Andreas Stahl (9-0), Gilbert Burns (7-0)

    See it on: UFC Fight Pass (subscription required)

    It's the UFC debut for both men, who (especially Burns) are considered top prospects. Though there are admittedly few direct implications to the bout, it will be interesting to see how they do under the bright lights.

    "Real Steel" Stahl is Swedish and trains alongside Alexander Gustafsson and a few other UFC notables at Allstars Training Center in Stockholm. He's mainly a submission grappler but can knock you out, too.

    Out of the Blackzilians camp, Burns is a jiu-jitsu standout with wins over luminaries like Kron Gracie. All seven of his pro MMA wins came by stoppage. Though he debuts here at welterweight, he mainly made his bones at lightweight, though that weight cut was often difficult.

    He has displayed real knockout power as a 155er. Will that power travel with him to the higher weight class?

    Stahl will make it interesting and is too savvy to be submitted but should nevertheless fall under the sword of the more-ballyhooed prospect.

    Prediction: Burns, TKO, Round 2

Steven Siler vs. Noad Lahat

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    Steven Siler
    Steven SilerGregory Payan/Associated Press

    Division: Featherweight

    Records: Steven Siler (23-12), Noad Lahat (7-1)

    See it on: UFC Fight Pass (subscription required)

    Lahat is known for two things: being the UFC's first Israeli fighter in the Zuffa era and being a standout grappler. He also lost his UFC debut by first-round flying knee. OK, three things.

    Siler is coming off a bad knockout loss of his own, at the hand of Rony Jason. It was his second defeat in a row, so the alum from The Ultimate Fighter 14 may be in a win-or-go-home situation in San Jose, California. 

    This is actually a very interesting fight, with both men being very competent on the mat. The nod here goes to the veteran, who may be more motivated to get the win and stay alive in the UFC. However, it wouldn't surprise me to see Lahat, who trains at American Kickboxing Academy and will be competing in his backyard, get the win.

    But no, I'll stick with Siler. Siler is the pick. Siler.

    Prediction: Siler, split decision

Akbarh Arreola vs. Tiago Dos Santos

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    Division: Lightweight

    Records: Akbarh Arreola (22-7), Tiago dos Santos (18-4-2)

    See it on: UFC Fight Pass (subscription required)

    Seriously, though. Who is kidding me with these names?

    The finale of this four-fight Fight Pass segment pits two more UFC debutants against each other. Arreola, hailing from Mexico, may be new to the UFC, but he's plenty seasoned: The 31-year-old has faced big leaguers like Mac Danzig, Ronys Torres and Toby Imada during the span of his 12-year career.

    Thing is, he has lost to most of those guys whenever he's faced them. Meanwhile, the 27-year-old "Trator" dos Santos' record is not as luminescent but is helped along by a nine-fight win streak in Brazil's respected Jungle Fight operation. The Nogueira fighter also has four stoppage wins in his last five contests, and he can do it with submissions or strikes.

    This one should go to the younger, fresher, non-journeyman fighter.

    Prediction: Dos Santos, unanimous decision

Michael De La Torre vs. Brian Ortega

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    Division: Featherweight

    Records: Michael De La Torre (12-4), Brian Ortega (8-0)

    See it on: Fox

    For programming reasons, the second portion of the undercard is on Fox this time. And it kicks off with De La Torre vs. Ortega, yet another bout featuring UFC neophytes. 

    At least one of these fighters (De La Torre) has a UFC fight. Never mind that it was a loss. Never mind that!

    Ortega staked his claim to the big stage when he narrowly edged Keoni Koch in a terrific fight at Resurrection Fighting Alliance 12 in January. Both men are pretty well-rounded, but the Black House gym's Ortega might have the edge and the momentum.

    Prediction: Ortega, unanimous decision

Kyle Kingsbury vs. Patrick Cummins

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    Patrick Cummins
    Patrick CumminsUSA TODAY Sports

    Division: Light heavyweight 

    Records: Kyle Kingsbury (11-5), Patrick Cummins (5-1)

    See it on: Fox

    Cummins, the guy who lost his barista job when he took The Call from the UFC, redeemed himself after that merking at the hands of Daniel Cormier with a TKO of Roger Narvaez. That was just a month ago, and he's doing the UFC a good turn by stepping in to face a fellow bruiser in Kingsbury. 

    This one is pretty close to watch, as they seem fairly evenly matched, physically and skills-wise. But Cummins, a D-I college wrestler, should have an advantage over Kingsbury on the ground. That may tell the tale, despite Cummins' late-replacement status.

    Prediction: Cummins, unanimous decision

Hernani Perpetuo vs. Tim Means

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    Tim Means
    Tim MeansUSA TODAY Sports

    Division: Welterweight

    Records: Hernani Perpetuo (17-4), Tim Means (20-6-1)

    See it on: Fox

    Two short years ago, Means was considered one to reckon with in the welterweight division. But two losses (and that infamous sauna slip) sent him out of the UFC. Two first-round knockouts in the minor leagues later and he was back in the UFC. Then he lost to Neil Magny.

    Perpetuo trains with Nova Uniao and dropped a close one to Jordan Mein in his UFC debut in April. But he still has serious potential as a fighter. He has more of a brawler's instinct than some of his more polished teammates, but he's still a dangerous striker and a submission artist. It's a well-rounded game that landed him the Shooto welterweight title. At UFC on Fox, it will land him his first UFC victory.

    Prediction: Perpetuo, unanimous decision

Jorge Masvidal vs. Daron Cruickshank

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    Daron Cruickshank
    Daron CruickshankUSA TODAY Sports

    Division: Lightweight

    Records: Daron Cruickshank (15-4), Jorge Masvidal (26-8)

    See it on: Fox

    He did it to Mike Rio, then he did it to Erik Koch. After that display, it's hard to believe there isn't anybody Cruickshank can't finish with that high kick. Or anything.

    Cruickshank against, say, a Subaru? Cruickshank by high kick.

    Masvidal is an accomplished fighter with solid chops in grappling and kickboxing. He'll probably be favored over Cruickshank, but honestly I think Cruickshank is underrated. He's not what you'd call complete, but he is dynamic. He should be able to fend off Masvidal's takedowns and punish Masvidal from range with power. I'm taking a flier on The Detroit Superstar.

    Prediction: Cruickshank, TKO, Round 2

Josh Thomson vs. Bobby Green

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    Josh Thomson
    Josh ThomsonUSA TODAY Sports

    Division: Lightweight

    Records: Josh Thomson (20-6), Bobby Green (22-5)

    See it on: Fox

    Despite losing to Henderson in his last contest, Thomson, at age 35, may finally be putting it all together.

    Hardcore fans have seen the skill set for some time. Strength, knockout power, aggression, submissions, wrestling and conditioning. The guy has a little bit of everything.

    The only question has been his history of injuries. If he's over that, he could make a run and very well steamroll Bobby Green on Saturday night.

    Green is dangerous anywhere and a particular force in the clinch. Like Thomson, he's an excellent athlete with a strong wrestling foundation. Also like Thomson, he has a chip on his shoulder.

    This is a fun matchup for fans and a terrific way to start the main card. Thomson should emerge in a back-and-forth fight that should see Thomson punish Green's head and body with kicks while avoiding extended damage along the fence.

    Prediction: Thomson, unanimous decision 

Clay Guida vs. Dennis Bermudez

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    Dennis Bermudez
    Dennis BermudezGregory Payan/Associated Press

    Division: Featherweight

    Records: Clay Guida (31-14), Dennis Bermudez (13-3)

    See it on: Fox

    Guida's game is predicated entirely on being the stronger, more dogged guy, burying the weaker-willed mortal in the chain link and riding that mortal to a decision win.

    That's not going to happen against Bermudez. A huge featherweight, he has improved by leaps and bounds since his time in the TUF house, particularly in the striking department. He now has six straight wins over guys like Max Holloway and Jimy Hettes. He'll get another one over Guida and take another step up the ladder.

    Prediction: Bermudez, TKO, Round 1

Anthony Johnson vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

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    Anthony Johnson
    Anthony JohnsonUSA TODAY Sports

    Division: Light heavyweight

    Records: Anthony Johnson (17-4), Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (21-5)

    See it on: Fox

    Johnson may be one of the UFC's best stories of 2014, no matter how he feels about it.

    Though he's reluctant to embrace a role in the narrative, it's still plain for everyone to see. Despite a world of talent and fearsome knockout power, Johnson just couldn't make weight at either welterweight or middleweight. It eventually cost him his job in the UFC.

    Once in the minor leagues, Johnson eventually made the move everyone else had long wanted him to make, moving up to light heavyweight. Now at a comfortable size, Johnson ripped off five straight, four by knockout. 

    The UFC couldn't help but ask him back, but the company gave him a tough test in his return against national wrestling champion Phil Davis. In April at UFC 172, Rumble passed the test, easily outstriking Davis to take the stirring upset decision.

    This fight against Nogueira would seem to be a step down in competition. Though he's a big name, Lil Nog is perpetually injured these days; the 38-year-old has fought only three times in the last three years. Like his twin brother Antonio Rodrigo but maybe even worse, he hasn't had his fastball for years. 

    I'm envisioning an easy-reading chapter in the Anthony Johnson story in San Jose.

    Prediction: Johnson, KO, Round 2

Matt Brown vs. Robbie Lawler

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    Robbie Lawler
    Robbie LawlerUSA TODAY Sports

    Division: Welterweight

    Records: Robbie Lawler (23-10), Matt Brown (19-11)

    See it on: Fox

    It's hard not to respect Brown's recent body of work. But the spit-n-railroad-ties approach isn't going to fly with a striker as good as Lawler. It will, however, lead to one heck of an excellent scrap.

    Don't expect this one to hit the ground. Brown is all Midwestern muay thai, and Lawler is all heavy, one-punch-knockout boxing. But whereas Brown simply wades forward in a Lisa Simpson-style windmill, the more experienced Lawler is a little more calculating, working a jab, keeping his defense up and waiting for his opportunity.

    Brown will surely give him that opportunity. Brown's defense essentially just relies on his chin to carry him through. Maybe it will against Lawler's head-cracking power, maybe it won't. I'm guessing it will, though it won't be pretty.

    Either way, Lawler will score more points with smart combinations, while avoiding the kind of protracted knee-poundings that Brown uses to stun and destroy lesser strikers.

    Lawler will win, but Brown's star will continue to rise as he goes out on his shield and promises a better Brown on his return. Who knows? It might even happen. If it can happen to Robbie Lawler, it can happen to anyone.

    Prediction: Lawler, TKO, Round 4

     

    Scott Harris writes about MMA and other things for Bleacher Report and other places. Follow him on Twitter if you feel so inclined. 

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