Bader vs. St. Preux: A Complete Guide to Full UFC Fight Night 47 Card

Scott Harris@ScottHarrisMMAMMA Lead WriterAugust 9, 2014

Bader vs. St. Preux: A Complete Guide to Full UFC Fight Night 47 Card

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    Ovince St. Preux
    Ovince St. PreuxGregory Payan/Associated Press

    If you've never found yourself dying of thirst in the desert before, let me fill you in on something: It's a bit of a beggars-can't-choose environment. If you crawl past a puddle, you're not going to think "I wish that had more ice cubes in it" or "that may not be water." You're going to drink and drink deeply, interrupted only to make, you know, heaving sounds.

    And with that, I give you UFC Fight Night 47: A Tepid Drink in the Desert.

    I'm kidding, to a point. But as with all great comedy, there is some basis in fact. UFC fans have been without a card for nearly three weeks now (thanks a lot, UFC 176 cancellation). When you're used to approximately 700 fight cards every week, three weeks is a long drought.

    (One could argue that fewer cards is a good thing and that the disbursement of the UFC 176 fights to other cards is a demonstration of that, given how much it strengthened the remaining cards, but I'm going to ignore that argument because it messes up my desert metaphor.)

    The second main fact is that this card, well, it's not the strongest. In your main event, you have Ovince St. Preux vs. Ryan Bader in a battle of two talented light heavyweights who might possibly maybe someday potentially get a title shot with a win.

    So it's a slightly unsexy card. And yet, it's still the UFC, and the UFC has the best fighters. And it's on free cable to boot, so if you're in front of a TV on Saturday, August 16, what do you have to lose? 

    Plus, it's the UFC's first event in Maine. So be a living part of history, why don't you, and join in for the fun. Here are information capsules, predictions and viewing coordinates for all 10 bouts on the Fight Night 47 slate. Drink up.

Nolan Ticman vs. Frankie Saenz

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    Division: Bantamweight
    Records: Nolan Ticman (4-1), Frankie Saenz (8-2)
    See it on: Fox Sports 2

    This bout was tacked onto the card two weeks before fight night. Plus, it's the UFC debut for both men. No pressure, though.

    Ticman is a pretty pyrotechnic fighter, always seeking the finish and a place on the highlight reel, even if doing so means absorbing damage or putting himself in a tough spot. He also seems to prefer to keep the fight standing.

    His opponent has some decent power numbers (three of eight wins by knockout), but he's mainly a wrestler. He actually spent some time at Arizona State, the Harvard of MMA wrestling, but more importantly he's the son of Frank Saenz Sr., the coach who nurtured Henry Cejudo and others.

    In a situation like this, I always bet on wrestling. Throw in that Saenz has four straight wins, and it's a virtual no-brainer to my mind.

    Prediction: Saenz, unanimous decision

Tom Watson vs. Sam Alvey

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    Tom Watson
    Tom WatsonUSA TODAY Sports

    Division: Middleweight
    Records: Tom Watson (16-7), Sam Alvey (23-5)
    See it on: Fox Sports 2

    Watson is living on a thin line, having lost his last two and three of his last four. While the longtime BAMMA champ has always had great knockout acumen, he has struggled to find his way when faced with any situation that required him to stop a takedown.

    Good thing, then, that Alvey poses no threat on that front. Or does he?

    Alvey took the scenic route to his UFC debut proper after his time on The Ultimate Fighter. He competed on that show as a welterweight and was desiccated and inconsistent as a result. At 185 pounds, he found plenty of success on the minor league circuit, and now here he is.

    Alvey would probably be the first to admit he's a brawler type. But he also is based at Team Quest—that little camp featuring Dan Henderson, Chael Sonnen and a few others known for the ground game. You think he picked up a thing or two while he was there? I'm thinking "Smilin'" Sam does whatever it takes to win this one.

    Prediction: Alvey, unanimous decision

Sara McMann vs. Lauren Murphy

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    Sara McMann
    Sara McMannUSA TODAY Sports

    Division: Women's bantamweight
    Records: Sara McMann (7-1), Lauren Murphy (8-0)
    See it on: Fox Sports 2

    After the Rousey/Tate black hole, McMann might have some of the biggest marketing power in her division. Why, then, is this bout spiked deep down on the undercard?

    I don't know, Jimmy. I really don't. But it should be another chance for McMann to display her skills. Murphy is a nice fighter in her own right, but her control grappling won't be enough against an Olympian with essentially the same game.

    Prediction: McMann, unanimous decision

Jussier Formiga vs. Zach Makovsky

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    Zach Makovsky
    Zach MakovskyUSA TODAY Sports

    Division: Flyweight
    Records: Jussier Formiga (16-3), Zach Makovsky (18-4)
    See it on: Fox Sports 2

    People seem to keep waiting on the other shoe to drop for Formiga. A super-elite jiu-jitsu player, he has struggled to find his footing against larger and more well-rounded UFC flyweights.

    Makovsky has had no such issue since moving over from Bellator and other promotions. He should be able to keep it rolling against Formiga with power doubles and good submission defense. The win might be a touch dull, but it will be another good one for Fun Size.

    Prediction: Makovsky, unanimous decision 

Thiago Tavares vs. Robbie Peralta

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    Thiago Tavares
    Thiago TavaresFelipe Dana/Associated Press

    Division: Featherweight
    Records: Thiago Tavares (18-5-1), Robbie Peralta (18-4)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    Can you believe Thiago Tavares has been in the UFC for seven years? And he's still only 29? I feel all kinds of old.

    He's still kicking along, though, most recently dispatching Justin Salas. Tavares' base is jiu-jitsu, though he has decent stand-up and knows how to string a combination together.

    Peralta likes to get into full-length slugfests that end in close decisions. I don't think that will be enough against Tavares, especially if Peralta forgets to stay on the outside and keeps loading up for the home run bomb. I expect Tavares to get ahold of him, get him down and finish him.

    Prediction: Tavares, submission, Rd. 2

Shawn Jordan vs. Jack May

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    Shawn Jordan
    Shawn JordanNam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Division: Heavyweight
    Records: Shawn Jordan (15-6), Jack May (7-1)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    If your name is Jack May, how can you be anything other than a pub brawler? Can't be too many logisticians named Jack May out there.

    Actually, though, it's Jordan who has the more rough-hewn style here. The former football player mauls opponents with the clinch and clubs them with this right hand in hopes they will go down.

    It works sometimes, but May might be the wrong opponent for Jordan. The former pro kickboxer can get busy with his hands or his feet and trains alongside Josh Barnett, so he has to know something about grappling. May's cardio is a concern, but it won't matter this time. Sound the upset alarms.

    Prediction: May, TKO, Rd. 1

Seth Baczynski vs. Alan Jouban

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    Seth Baczynski
    Seth BaczynskiReinhold Matay/Associated Press

    Division: Welterweight
    Records: Seth Baczynski (19-11), Alan Jouban (9-2)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    This one should be entertaining. Jouban makes his Octagon debut after a successful run with Resurrection Fighting Alliance. (He's also a professional model, if that sort of information interests you.)

    Jouban is a surgical muay thai striker. That part is sharp, but the rest of his game is a little lacking. Baczynski is a scrapper's scrapper, and as a result, the two should put on a good show. But here's guessing Baczynski's more advanced submission game and Octagon experience make the difference over a game fighter in Jouban.

    Prediction: Baczynski, unanimous decision

Tim Boetsch vs. Brad Tavares

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    Brad Tavares
    Brad TavaresUSA TODAY Sports

    Division: Middleweight
    Records: Tim Boetsch (17-7), Brad Tavares (12-2)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    Luke Rockhold thoroughly dominated Boetsch in his last fight. I mean, that thing was pure smearage.

    Now, the bear of a man has lost three of four. Perhaps it's not must-win territory, but a win would be of good benefit. He has a tough matchup, though, in Tavares, who seems to get better all the time.

    That's especially true in the stand-up. If Tavares fights the smart fight that he can definitely fight, he'll stick to his combinations, keep his defense up and stay clear of Boetsch's big paws, which could mean a judo toss to the ground or an extended stay along the fence. 

    Tavares should outwork and outsmart Boetsch for the W.

    Prediction: Tavares, unanimous decision

Gray Maynard vs. Ross Pearson

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    Ross Pearson
    Ross PearsonMatt Roberts/Getty Images

    Division: Lightweight
    Records: Gray Maynard (11-3-1), Ross Pearson (15-7)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    These two men have had strange runs of late. Maynard, once a contender, has lost two straight by first-round knockout. Just two months ago, Pearson lost perhaps the worst decision in recent memory when judges awarded a win to Diego Sanchez.

    Once upon a time, fans would have assumed Maynard and his wrestling would carry the day against the British striker. But the benefit of the doubt has eroded over time, especially given that this will only be the 35-year-old's fourth fight in the past three years.

    Add in that Pearson's boxing game was tighter than ever against Sanchez (whom he unequivocally beat), and it's Pearson who appears to be riding the hot hand into this match. He'll ride it out, finding Maynard's chin just like Nate Diaz and T.J. Grant did.

    Prediction: Pearson, TKO, Rd. 2

Ryan Bader vs. Ovince St. Preux

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    Ovince St. Preux
    Ovince St. PreuxMatt Strasen/Associated Press

    Division: Light heavyweight
    Records: Ryan Bader (17-4), Ovince St. Preux (16-5)
    See it on: Fox Sports 1

    You wouldn't think by reading their press clippings that both these men are 31 years old.

    St. Preux is the hot prospect, mowing down his first four UFC opponents to advance a promising MMA career that blossomed after his time as a football player at the University of Tennessee.

    Bader is 14-fight UFC veteran—the steady wrestle-boxer looking to grind down another rung of the ladder so it appears he's a little higher than he was.

    Bader is the less exciting but more reliable of the two. You might even say he's the "keeper" of the "gate" at light heavyweight. The former Arizona State wrestler is strong, skilled and heavy-handed. He doesn't often cause fireworks but doesn't often beat himself, either (though he has done both at one time).

    He would seem the perfect man to expose St. Preux's weaknesses. OSP throws with incredibly high volume, bordering on wildness. He has good top control and submissions but has more difficulty off his back, where a wrestler like Bader can and should place him.

    But you know what? Screw it. I'm going with OSP. I think he passes through the gate with something wild. The UFC is surely hoping for fireworks in this main event. OSP will deliver them.

    Prediction: St. Preux, TKO, Rd. 1

    Scott Harris covers the serious and less-serious aspects of MMA for Bleacher Report. For more of this kind of thing, follow Scott on Twitter