For the fight fans feeling disenfranchised about UFC 180, I get it. This card has taken a few hits due to injury. Heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez had to pull out due to a knee injury. You also had Norman Parke pull out of a bout with Diego Sanchez due to injury, so Joe Lauzon vs. Sanchez was on the books. Then they both had to pull out due to injury.

This card has a bit of a cursed feel, but when you step back and look at what the UFC has been able to put together, it’s pretty impressive. First off, with Velasquez out, the UFC got Mark Hunt to step in on short notice to face Fabricio Werdum for the interim heavyweight title. Then you have a co-main event between established veteran Jake Ellenberger and undefeated TUF winner Kelvin Gastelum. In addition to those two stellar bouts, you have a featherweight bout between Ricardo Lamas and Dennis Bermudez.

While this card wasn’t what the fans in Mexico City were expecting when the event sold out in just eight hours, the UFC has done wonders to make sure their first trip to Mexico is a memorable one.

Ricardo Lamas vs. Dennis Bermudez

One of my biggest issues with casual MMA fans is their total lack of interest in fights below lightweight; I understand that there is something special about watching big men go at it, but of all the divisions in MMA, featherweight just might be the most intriguing of them all.

First off, it is loaded with talent and not just in the UFC; every major promotion out there has at least a handful of amazingly talented featherweights. With all that talent comes great fights — fans may not see finishes on a consistent basis, but they will see elite technical MMA.

Enough of me ranting, Lamas and Bermudez is a tremendous stylistic fight with title implications. Lamas came up short in his title bid against Jose Aldo and he is looking to work his way back up the ladder. Bermudez, on the other hand, has won seven straight in the UFC octagon…seven straight! Its mind blowing to me that Bermudez still has not been granted a shot at the title but that just goes to show how much depth this division has.

Lamas and Bermudez are really similar; both have 14 wins with four TKOs and three submissions to go along with seven decision victories. They are mirror images of each other in a lot of ways, but I think the difference maker in this fight is going to be Bermudez’s wrestling. Lamas is a solid wrestler but Bermudez is just a little better — that will allow him to really control the action.

Prediction – Bermudez via Unanimous Decision

Jake Ellenberger vs. Kelvin Gastelum

Now the Georges St. Pierre has stepped away from the sport, the UFC welterweight division has become really interesting. The division has always been loaded with talent, but GSP was so good at taking fighters out of their game the division was getting stale. With Johny Hendricks as the champion and Robbie Lawler knocking everyone out and Rory MacDonld looking like GSP 2.0, the UFC welterweight division has new life.

This bout between Ellenberger and Gastelum is a tremendous co-main event. It might not be a bout between flashy name fighters, but it will be a great matchup none the less. Gastelum has been impressive since winning TUF and the 23-year-old looks like he could be the future of the division. Ellenberger, on the other hand, has looked out of sorts in his last two bouts, losing to both MacDonald and Lawler. At 29, Ellenberger is in his prime but many think that he has peaked and is now on the downslide…I am not one of those people.

There is a lot to like about Gastelum and he very well could be the future of the UFC welterweight division, but don’t sleep on Ellenberger. Remember, this is the same fighter that rattled off six straight wins in arguably the toughest division in MMA. He is also the first and only fighter to truly KO Jake Shields; something Dan Henderson couldn’t even do.

Ellenberger has hit of a rough patch, but losing to Lawler and MacDonld is nothing to be ashamed of. He may not be a true title contender but he is still an elite talent and his power is vicious. Between his power and his wrestling, Ellenberger will have the advantage

Prediction – Ellenberger via second round TKO

Fabricio Werdum vs. Mark Hunt

While it is a little upsetting that we won’t get a chance to see Velasquez defend his title against Werdum, if I’m being totally honest I’m more excited about the Werdum-Hunt matchup. Velasquez would have beaten Werdum handily; not taking anything away for Werdum, its just that Velasquez is a horrible matchup for him.

Now, though, fans get an intriguing stylistic matchup between elite grappler Werdum and devastating striker Hunt. Not to mention the fact that Hunt has become a folk hero in MMA today. The guy came to the UFC from Pride with a losing record and after an abysmal debut, he has been incredible. Hunt doesn’t fight pretty, but that’s okay because he fights with guts and he has insane knockout power.

Werdum did show an evolved striking game against Travis Browne but make no mistake, if he attempts to outduel Hunt on the feet he is going to find himself face down on the mat. Werdum does have a huge advantage in the grappling department and if he gets Hunt to the ground it will only be a matter of time before he submits the Super Samoan.

I have gone back and forth with myself on this one; my head is telling me to take Werdum because he is the more complete fighter and he has had a full camp, but my heart is telling me to take Hunt. During The MMA Corner Predication Show last night, I took Werdum but I am officially changing my pick. I just love Hunt too much not to go with him.

Prediction – Hunt via first round KO

Follow The Madman on Twitter: @themadman68

About The Author

RJ Gardner
Content Coordinator

RJ Gardner is a rabid sports fan and a long time MMA enthusiast. After watching UFC 1 at ripe old age of 11 RJ was hooked and his passion for the sport has continued to blossom over the years. RJ has been covering MMA since 2007 and has had work featured on Bleacher Report, SI.com, CBSSports.com and UFC.com. RJ is also a Petroleum Transportation Operations Manager during the day.

  • jonny last

    sorry buddy ,you`re wrong on both co-main and the main event,Gastelum will take the fight via dec,and Mark will gas out