Over the past couple of years, the UFC has ramped up the number of events they are doing and while it makes sense from a global expansion standpoint, it’s also hurt the overall quality of their fight cards. More often than not, there are only one or two fights on a card that casual fans want to see; before entire main cards with stacked with name fighters.

UFC on Fox: Machida vs. Rockhold is a return back to better days from a fans perspective. Even with an injury to one of the co-main event participants UFC on Fox 15 is loaded from top to bottom with stellar bouts. It’s the perfect mix of name fights, up and comers and exciting stylistic matchups.

It’s not a perfect card by any means, but it’s a vast improvement over some of the events that are being forced down the throats of the fans. This is the kind of card the UFC needs to get back to doing on a more consistent basis. Understandably that will take some time – you can’t just build a roster of name fighters overnight – but this is what the UFC needs to get back to.

Enough ranting let’s just get to the picks.

Felice Herrig vs. Paige VanZant

Kicking off the main card is a women’s strawweight bout between Herrig and VanZant that will go a long way towards identifying true pecking order in the newly minted division. Herrig will have a decided experience advantage and that could prove to be a major factor in this bout. VanZant just recently turned 21 and she only has five professional bouts, although she looked great in her UFC debut, it was clear that she still has a lot of work to do.

Herrig is a tough fighter who has been in the cage with some of women’s MMA’s best, but she’s not what I would consider truly elite. Herrig will prove to be the gatekeeper of the strawweight division and that’s exactly why she is matched up with VanZant here.

Even though VanZant still has a lot of work to do skill and technique wise, her ferocity and pace will be enough to throw Herrig off of her game.

Pick: VanZant via Unanimous Decision

Cub Swanson vs. Max Holloway

This bout could have easily headlined any UFC Fight Night card and it would have been perfectly acceptable. Swanson and Holloway are two of the best featherweights in the world and they bring a high level of excitement to the cage with them every time out.

The top of the featherweight division is pretty crowded right now, but this bout will help to identify the division’s wildcard contender. Swanson was close to contention a few months ago, but the loss to Frankie Edgar pushed him out of the picture. A win here would put him right back into the mix.

Swanson is one of the most explosive fighters in the game and he can end a bout in the blink of an eye
but Holloway looks like a different fighter since losing to Conor McGegor. The young Hawaiian has won five in a row and he has looked better than ever in every outing. His technical prowess and that momentum will carry him past Swanson.

Pick: Holloway via Unanimous Decision

Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza vs. Chris Camozzi

Originally, Jacare was expected to face former Olympic silver medalist Yoel Romero, but Romero suffered a knee injury in training and so Camozzi has stepped up to fill the void.

You have to applaud Camozzi for taking this fight on a week’s notice, but he doesn’t belong in the cage with Jacare. We’ve already seen what happens when Camozzi takes on Jacare; Jacare submitted Camozzi in the first round back at UFC on FX 8 in May of 2013. Considering that Jacare just keeps getting more dangerous on the feet and things don’t look good at all for Camozzi heading into Saturday.

Pick: Jacare via first round Submission

Lyoto Machida vs. Luke Rockhold

I have really high expectations for this bout. Machida and Rockhold are two of the very best in the world and between the two of them they have earned post-fight bonuses in seven straight bouts. Stylistically, they are a great matchup as well, so that sets the table for an epic bout.

On paper, you have to give the nod to Machida in just about every category. Machida is the superior technical striker, he’s an underrated wrestler and he’s a solid BJJ black belt. But it’s not like Machida is head and shoulders better than Rockhold at any one thing, this is an extremely close fight skill wise.

Where things tend to tip the scale in Rockhold’s favor is in size, physicality, and athleticism. Even though Machida is the former UFC light heavyweight champion, he will be the smaller man against Rockhold. On top of that, Rockhold is the much more fluid and dynamic natural athlete.

People like to say that technique will always trump size, but while that’s true in the general sense when two fighters are of a comparable skill set the fighter who is bigger, faster, and stronger tends to be the victor. That will be the case on Saturday night.

Pick: Rockhold via Unanimous Decision

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.