UFC Fight Night 15 takes place live tomorrow night, September 17th at the Omaha Civic Center in Omaha, Nebraska. The main event features a showdown between Ultimate Fighter 5 winner Nate Diaz and veteran Josh Neer. In the co-main event Ultimate Fighter 6 winner Mac Danzig steps in the cage with the explosive Clay Guida. It looks to be a great night of fights.
Alessio Sakara v. Joe Vedepo
-After getting TKO'ed by Chris Leben at UFC 82, Alessio Sakara looks to have regrouped himself and is going to take on Jose Vedepo who has been making his name in local promotions with his victories over Brian Green and Todd Carney. Sakara has a history of losing to fighters that are rising in the UFC, Houston Alexander and Chris Leben just to name a couple. However, he does train with the famous American Top Team, and I never count anyone out that trains over there. He will have to execute his boxing and jiu-jitsu very well because Vadepo is a very balanced fighter that could end the fight standing up or on the ground. I think Sakara will fall yet again to a young fighter, and also fall his way on out of the UFC.
Jason Brilz vs. Brad Morris
Nebraska native Jason Brilz is making his UFC debut in his home town of Omaha, Nebraska. Brilz holds notable victories over Jason "The Athlete" MacDonald and Michael Patt. His opponent Brad Morris is coming off of a loss to the rising star in Cain Velasquez at UFC 83. Both fighters are going to take the fight and look for the submission win, but I think Brilz has the advantage in that department because of his win over the former Middleweight title contender. Also keep in mind that Brad Morris is dropping to 205 for this fight, which could be a factor if he gets dehydrated.
Drew McFedries vs. Mike Massenzio
- Coming off a TKO victory over Marvin "The Beastman" Eastman at The Ultimate Fighter 7 Finale, Drew McFedries competes on yet another preliminary card. His opponent Mike Massenzio is no joke though as he holds victories over Dan Miller and TUF alumni Dante Rivera. Stylistically this looks to be a great match up with McFedries looking for the knockout victory and Massenzio looking to take it to the mat and submit Drew. I think Drew's power will prevail in this one though.
Rob Kimmons vs. Dan Miller
Kimmons has been on a four fight win streak since being defeated by Marvin "The Beastman" Eastman at an IFO event. In his last fight he took on Rob Yundt at The Ultimate Fighter 7 Finale and won by a guillotine choke in the first round. The IFL Middleweight champion Dan Miller is making his UFC debut in this fight. In his last fight, Miller submitted Ryan McGivern who holds two victories over Matt Horwich. This will be another ground battle with Miller having the advantage, but Kimmons holds more submission victories then Miller and he may know how to get in a position better so its any ones game, but I'm going with the IFL champ.
Joe Lauzon v, Kyle Bradley
-In the best preliminary fight on the card, TUF alumni Joe Lauzon will take on Kyle Bradley. Lauzon is coming off of a devastating TKO loss to Kenny Florian in the main event of Fight Night 13. However, Bradley is also coming off a loss to Chris "Lights Out" Lytle in a preliminary bout at UFC 81. Lauzon has already beaten two of the top featherweights in the world in Jens Pulver and Mike Brown, while Bradley has yet to beat a dominant fighter as he has lost fights to both Jamie Varner and Melvin Guillard. If Lauzon takes this fight to the ground expect a submission victory in his favor, but if it stays standing up watch out for Bradley to catch Joe with a shot. Lauzon's Jiu-Jitsu should be the main factor in this one so look out for the submission win for "J-Lau"
Wilson Gouveia v. Ryan Jensen
- Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and American Top Team trainee Wilson Gouveia takes on the well rounded Ryan Jensen to round out the prelims. Goeveia is coming off a fight of the night loss to Goran Reljic at UFC 84 in May, while Ryan Jensen defeated Aaron Praschak at a VFC event. Jensen lost to Thales Leites, Demian Maia, and Joey Villasenor back to back to back, in order to regroup himself he took two fights in smaller promotions and won them both in the first round and is now ready to take on Gouveia at Fight Night 15. Gouveia was on a four fight win streak going into his fight at UFC 84 after losing to Keith Jardine at the TUF 3 Finale. If Gouveia would of beaten Goran Reljic he cold of very well been put in the mix of an Anderson Silva title shot discussion, which gives him even more reason to look dominant in this fight. Also keep in mind Gouveia holds notable victories over Jason "The Punisher" Lambert, Carmelo Marrero, Seth Pretruzelli, and Jon Fitch. I have to give this fight to Gouveia just because his experience by beating fighters like Lambert and Fitch, while Jensen's biggest win was against Rob Kimmons. Gouveia takes this fight early by submission.
Houston Alexander v. Eric Schafer
- In the first main card bout Omaha native and former Light Heavyweight contender Houston Alexander is taking on submission specialist Eric Schafer. Alexander was on his way up the rankings to possibly get a shot at former Light Heavyweight champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson until he ran into Thiago Silva at UFC 78 where he was defeated half way through the first round via TKO. After that fight, Houston had regrouped himself and tried to take out James Irvin at Fight Night 13 in April, but was a victim of one of the most brutal knockout in UFC delivered by James Irvin eight seconds into round number one. Eric Schafer has also been regrouping since his two losses to Michael Bisping and Stephan Bonnar at UFC events, In his last to fight he managed to take out both of his opponents, Ryan Antle and William Hill in under four minutes combined. Eric Schafer could win this fight if he takes it to the ground, but if he stands up with Houston look out for the highlight reel finish Houston loves to give the fans, especially in his home town of Omaha, Nebraska.
Ed Herman v. Alan Belcher
In my pick for fight of the night, Team Quest member Ed Herman looks to take out Alan "The Talent" Belcher with the winner keeping their main card status. Herman is coming off a big loss to Damian Maia at UFC 83 which could of put him back on PPV main card status, but don't let that take away from the fact that he defeated two EliteXC title contenders in Scott Smith and Nick Thompson. Belcher on the other hand was supposed to be featured on the main card of UFC 83 in a fight with Patrick "The Predator" Cote, but Cote had to withdraw due to injury, but instead he took on Jason Day who was a late replacement and surprisingly lost four minutes into the first round via TKO. The fight was a big factor in naming Day as the opponent for Michael Bisping in the co main event of UFC 85. The styles in this fight are very different as Ed Herman is going to look to take the fight to the ground and use his aggressive ground and pound learned from Dan Henderson and Matt Lindland, while Belcher is going to wait and look to rock Herman and work from their, Belcher also has great conditioning and won't look tired if the fight goes to the third round. However, I think Ed Herman's top notch training will prevail in this one and he'll keep his spot on the main card.
Mac Danzig v. Clay Guida
In a lightweight showdown, Ultimate Fighter 6 winner Mac Danzig takes on the explosive Clay Guida. Danzig is coming off his first UFC Pay-Per-View win against Team Quest member Mark Bocek, while Guida defeated Cage Rage veteran Samy Schiavo at Fight Night 13. Guida also holds a win over Strikeforce Lightweight champion Josh Thomson and he was the former Lightweight champion of Strikeforce until he lost to Gilbert Melendez three months after, Mac Danzig is also pretty familiar with titles as he has held the King of the Cage Lightweight title on five occasions. Mac Danzig needs to win this fight in the first or second round because Guida loves to turn it up in that final round and he has great endurance. Expect a majority of this fight to be taken place on the ground because both men are great at submissions. As much as I want Mac Danzig to win, I don't think he'll be able to get it done due to Clay Guida's experience against great Lightweights, but hopefully he proves me wrong and pulls off the upset.
Nate Diaz v. Josh Neer
In the main event of the evening, Ultimate Fighter 5 winner Nate Diaz looks to win his 5th straight fight in the UFC as he takes on veteran Josh Neer. Nate Diaz has yet to be on a Pay-Per-View main card, but maybe this could be the fight to do it as he has already won his past 4 fights on Spike TV cards against Manvel Gamburyan, Junior Assuncao, Alvin Robinson, and Kurt Pellegrino. Josh Neer recently defeated Din Thomas at Fight Night 13 in March, Neer holds a notable victory over Lightweight title contender Joe "Daddy" Stevenson, but Neer has also lost to the brother of Nate, Nick Diaz via Submission at UFC 62. If Neer keeps this fight on its feet I see it creating trouble for Diaz and could lead into a TKO victory, but Diaz has won 6/7 of his last fights, and all six of those wins were by submission. I think Cesar Gracie has Diaz ready for this fight and he'll go in there and walk out with the submission win and finally get his shot on a UFC Pay-Per-View.