UFC 138 Preview

There has been little to no focus on UFC 138 with a lot of media concentrated on the UFC on Fox fight for the Heavyweight Title. With the first UFC on FOX taking the concentration many people might not even think about this fight. That would be a big mistake as UFC 138 in England looks to be an explosive card. With a host of English fighters filling out the card and the main event featuring two fighters known for their KOs this fight card looks very good. The Main event will feature two middleweight fighters who got into UFC through a wrestling pedigree. Chris Leben and Mark Munoz were both NCAA wrestlers who took their talents to the UFC. Leben did it through The Ultimate Fighter show where he became the bad boy of MMA while Munoz came through the more traditional route moving through the promotions and finding his way to the UFC. With both fighters being of a wrestling background the assumption would be that both fighters love to go to the ground. These fighters are the new breed however as they take their wrestling background to be effective on the ground if they are taken down but prefer to stand. Both fighters are known for their knockout power with multiple Knockouts of the night and fight of the night bonuses under their belts. Chris “The Crippler” Leben has quickly become a fan favorite with his ability to put on some of the best fights every time he steps into the octagon. With a record of 22-7 Leben has become a mainstay in the Middleweight division and always a threat for a knockout with 7 of his wins coming off of a KO. Leben has also been working on his ground game in an attempt to make his game well-rounded and it was shown when he submitted Yoshihiro Akiyama. While Leben has been working on his ground game Munoz has taken a more direct path from his wrestling days being very comfortable on the ground. Munoz does not have to work on his ground game much as his career has been highlighted by his ground and pound game. Much the opposite of Leben Munoz has begun to work on his standing game rather than on the ground. Now Munoz loves to stand and trade and has the power to KO anyone with 4 of his 11 wins by KO. Munoz will not have an easy time knocking out Leben though as the Crippler has one of the best chins in the MMA. The common factor in almost all of Leben’s fights has been that he comes alive just as he seems to be finished. In one of his best knockouts Leben was hit many times by big strikes and looked about one second away from falling to the mat. Instead, almost like a zombie, he kept coming and threw a strong right hand that dropped his opponent for the KO win. Munoz will have that chin to deal with and could be better served talking Leben to the ground and fight him there, hoping that Leben’s ground game is not good enough to overcome his attack yet. Munoz has been working on his standup and has become a great standup fighter but Leben has been doing it for a lot longer than Munoz and could be at a disadvantage standing up. With the matchup of two strikers the fight will definitely see some fireworks with both fighters never willing to back up. I would expect the experience and determination of Leben will win out however and he will take the victory with a round 2 knockout.

Before the main event the crowd at Birmingham will get to see some of their hometown heroes with many English fighters facing off. One of these fighters will be Brad Pickett who is making his long-awaited debut in the UFC. Pickett hails from East London and comes to the UFC through the WEC merger. Pickett will take on Renan Barao who is a fast rising star in the Bantamweight division. Barao has already had his taste of the UFC with one win over Cole Escovedo at UFC 130. Meanwhile Pickett has not yet entered the octagon in the UFC with his last fight almost a year ago at WEC 53 in December 2010. A back injury has kept Pickett out of fights while the rest of his WEC brethren have already displayed their talents and have begun to line themselves up for the Bantamweight Title. Pickett will now get his shot with a very promising fighter in Renan Barao who trains in the same camp as current Featherweight champion Jose Aldo, who is widely considered one of the best pound for pound fighters. Barao is a very good well-rounded fighter who is looking to make his mark and move into the race for the title. Pickett on the other hand is a stand up fighter with a great chin who would prefer not to wrestle but instead stand and trade. Pickett will try to take home the win for his first fight in the UFC and for his home crowd who will be cheering loudly for him throughout the fight. He is not the only fighter from England on the main card with Terry Etim taking on Edward Faaloloto in what promises to be an explosive battle. UFC 138 has lost a lot of focus due to the UFC on FOX promotion but it would be a bad move to miss it with many great fights on the card that promise a hard decision for the bonuses.

 

Full Fight Card:

Main Event:

Chris “The Crippler” Leben vs. Mark “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Munoz (Sportsnet/Spike)

 

Main Card:

Brad “One Punch” Pickett vs. Renan Barao (Sportsnet/Spike)

 

Thiago “Pit Bull” Alves vs. Papy “Makambo” Abedi (Sportsnet/Spike)

 

Terry Etim vs. Edward “Falo” Faaloloto (Sportsnet/Spike)

 

Cyrille “The Snake” Diabate vs. Anthony “The Hippo” Perosh (Sportsnet/Spike)

 

Undercard:

John Maguire vs. Justin “Fast Eddy” Edwards (Facebook)

 

Michihiro Omigawa vs. Jason “Shotgun” Young (Facebook)

 

Rob “The Bear” Broughton vs. Phil De Fries (Facebook)

 

Chris “C-Murder” Cope vs. “Beautiful” Che Mills (Facebook)

 

Chris “Kamikaze” Cariaso vs. Vaughan Lee (Facebook)

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