Damien Brown (15-8) vs Alan Patrick (12-1)
Damien Brown: Local Aussie vet Damien Brown will step in as a late replacement on about a weeks notice. Brown will be filling in for Chad Laprise who was moved up the card to take on Ross Pearson, whose original opponent Abel Trujillo was forced off of the card due to visa issues. Currently on a four fight win streak, Brown is a tough vet well versed in all aspects of the game, but the step up in competition will be massive. Needless to say, Brown will have his hands full Saturday night.
Alan Patrick: Jacare protégé Alan Patrick has shown wild and powerful striking in his two wins in the cage. 2-1 in the UFC, Patrick is coming off of a devastating head kick TKO loss to Chechen prospect Mairbek Taisumov in June of last year. He does hold a decision win over John Makdessi, however it was widely considered a blown call by many fans. His only impressive win was over Garett Whitley, an Indiana based fighter who was cut after going 0-3 in the cage. In a fight that he is expected to win, Patrick will need to do so impressively for anyone to take notice.
The Fight: The best Brown can hope for here is a good showing in hopes of getting a second chance, the UFC has a track record of giving guys that help out future opportunities. Patrick has fought on a much higher level and will have the benefit of a full camp. Patrick will win this one late in the second stopping Brown with strikes. MY PICK: Patrick TKO 2nd
Ross Pearson (18-10) vs Chad Laprise (10-1)
Ross Pearson: The always entertaining, hardnosed Ross “The Real Deal” Pearson has had difficulty stringing wins together in the UFC. At 10-7 he has had his fair share of ups and downs in the octagon. At 31 Pearson’s window of opportunity is dwindling with each loss. Ross has found himself in a gate keepers position and he desperately needs this win if he wants another meaningful fight.
Chad Laprise: “The Disciple” is looking to rebound from his first professional loss at the hands of Francisco “Massaranduba” Trinaldo. Laprise is still very much a rising prospect in the lightweight division, a win over a big name like Pearson would give him a strong case for a top 15 opponent in his next fight.
The Fight: This battle of TUF winners will almost certainly be played out entirely on the feet. Ross has the tighter, crisper Boxing and will have a significant technical advantage when it comes to the hands. Laprise will have more weapons, his kicks can change a fight in a heartbeat and he has shown devastating knockout power in both hands. Ross will win this one on the cards. His boxing will be too much, and his chin is strong enough to withstand everything Laprise will throw his way. MY PICK: Pearson Unanimous decision
Richard Walsh (9-4) vs Viscardi Andrade (18-7)
Richard Walsh: “Filthy” Rich is 2-2 in the UFC, most recently earning a unanimous decision victory over his countrymen Steve Kennedy. Walsh will look to separate himself from his fellow TUF: Nations cast members with a win on his home turf.
Viscardi Andrade: TUF: Brazil 2 semi-finalist Viscardi Andrade has gone 2-1 since his stint on the reality show. With only three fights in the last three years Andrade has been relatively inactive due to injuries. With a full camp and a clean bill of health Andrade will look to make his case as a contender in the Welterweight division.
The Fight: Walsh will possess a slight edge on the feet, while Andrade will enjoy a notable advantage if the fight hits the ground. Unfortunately for the Aussie fans Walsh doesn’t own the kind of power that will be able to end this fight. Andrade will catch a sub mid-way through the second round. MY PICK: Andrade RNC 2nd
Rin Nakai (16-1-1) vs Leslie Smith (7-6-1)
Rin Nakai: You might think that a fighter that does bizarre photo shoots dressed as a bunny, would do so in place of talent. In the case of Rin Nakai you would be wrong, the quirky Queen of Pancrase was given the herculean task of debuting in the UFC against reining Bantamweight champ Miesha Tate. Nakai lost a hard-fought decision when she couldn’t manage to get Tate to the ground. The 5’1″ Judo player is definitely undersized for the Bantamweight division, but what she lacks in height she makes up for in strength. Nakai will be looking for her first victory in the octagon and a shot at future marquee matchups in a very shallow Women’s Bantamweight division.
Leslie Smith: Don’t be fooled by Leslie Smith’s mediocre record, her skills are that of a top 15 fighter. She has been on the wrong side of some tough losses including a decision to Sarah Kaufman, in a fight she took on five days notice and a very Sakuraba like doctor stoppage where she almost lost her ear in a battle with Jessica Eye. The Cesar Gracie, Skrap Pack member does have some impressive wins to her credit including “Rocky” Pennington and Jennifer Maia. A win against Nakai would most likely get her back in the top 15.
The Fight: Nakai will need to get this fight to the ground quickly, Smith’s 8 inch height advantage will give her the upper hand in striking. Even if Nakai can get it down, Smith is no slouch on the mat, training with partners like Gilbert Melendez, Jake Shields and Nick Diaz means she will be able to work well form the bottom. However Nakai’s grappling is on another level and her compact, stout frame is one that is tough to mimic in training. Nakai will be able to get this one down and ride out the decision.
MY PICK: Nakai Unanimous decision
Dan Hooker ( 13-6) vs Mark Eddiva (6-2)
Dan Hooker: This 6″ Kiwi is enormous for a Featherweight and uses his length extremely well, utilizing a very solid jab and powerful head kicks. He moves forward continually, putting non-stop pressure on his opponents. Hooker’s 2-2 record in the UFC isn’t very exciting but all of his fights have been action packed. He pounded out English leg lock specialist Ian Entwistle with slashing elbows from inside the 50/50 position, lost a Griffin/Bonnar like decision to Maxi Blanco, knocked out Japanese vet Hatsu Hioki with a head kick and dropped a decision to TUF Latin America winner Jair Rodriguez.26 year old Hooker has the toughness and skill to be a contender for a very long time in the UFC.
Mark Eddiva: Filipino Wushu practitioner Mark Eddiva has better than average standup, excellent cardio and an iron chin. Eddiva dominated Chinese prospect Jumabieke Tuerxun, stuffing all of his takedown attempts and lighting him up on the feet. Next Eddiva lost a back and forth brawl to Brazilian Kevin Souza, Herb Dean stepped in with 8 seconds left in the 2nd round to put an end to Eddiva’s unbeaten streak. In his last fight Eddiva was smothered by Georgian wrestler Levan Makashvilli and lost a split decision. Eddiva has improved with every octagon performance, but might need to leave the Philippines to train abroad to find success at this level.
The Fight: This one has all the makings of a fight of the night. Both have shown they will not shy away from a slugfest and neither appear to be huge fans of defense. Hooker will enjoy a huge reach advantage as usual, however Eddiva has had success against a taller fighter rocking the 6″ Souza multiple times. Hooker will not have an easy night, he will take quite a bit of damage, but his reach and technique will be too much for Eddiva who will succumb to strikes in the 3rd.
MY PICK: Hooker TKO 3rd
Brendan O’Reilly (6-1-1) vs Alan Jouban (12-4)
Brendan O’Reilly: A TUF: Nations Alum O’Reilly has gone 1-1 since the show. He suffered a one-sided decision loss to TUF: China winner Zhang Lipeng in his first outing and won a back and forth slugfest against his Aussie teammate Vik Grujic. O’Reilly’s willingness to stand and trade have earned him another shot in front of his hometown crowd. He will look to make the best of this huge opportunity on Saturday night.
Alan Jouban: Eddie Bravo trained Jouban has displayed very effective striking in his victories over Seth Baczynski, Richard Walsh and Matt Dwyer. Jouban hasn’t spent too much of his time in the octagon on the ground, but if he trains at 10th Planet I’m sure he is proficient on the mat. Jouban will be looking to bounce back from a knockout loss to Albert Tumenov and get his name back on the main card.
The Fight: Unless matchmaker Joe Silva knows something we don’t know this one is not going to last too long. Jouban has fought much tougher competition and came away victorious. Jouban will end this one early in the first with strikes, much to the Australian crowd’s dismay. MY PICK: Jouban KO 1st