Sometimes you need to separate the wheat from the chaff. UFC on Fox 28, going down Saturday from Orlando, Florida, might need a particularly conscientious eye if we’re ever going to have enough raw materials for a decent loaf of bread.
Josh Emmett and Jeremy Stephens are two reputable action fighters, but it will take more than that main event for this card to break free of the downward pull of last month’s UFC on Fox 27. That event broke a series record for television ratings—in a bad way.
But enough about that. Let’s be positive now. Let’s get stoked for the greatest sport on Earth. Are you with me? Here are three fights you definitely, absolutely can’t miss this Saturday.
Jessica Andrade (17-6) vs. Tecia Torres (10-1)
Odds (per OddsShark): Andrade -320, Torres +260
Airs on: Fox
This could be a wild affair, with both women notorious for blistering, volume-based attacks backed by gavel-to-gavel endurance.
Lest you doubt is, Andrade is fifth among active fighters with 6.45 strikes landed per minute, according to UFC stat keeper FightMetric. Torres isn’t terribly far behind with 4.77.
Torres uses her punches to set up takedown entries. Ditto Andrade to an extent. Andrade showed strength in last fall’s win over Claudia Gadelha, during which she landed multiple slam takedowns, but she loves to be aggressive on the feet. Torres likes to use volume striking to outpoint opponents, but this is one of the few opponents where, on paper, that doesn’t seem like a sound strategy.
Keep in mind also that the 5’2″ Andrade used to compete at 135 pounds. She’s only one inch taller than Torres but should have a substantial size advantage when they step in the cage.
Bottom line: This will be an exciting fight between two fighters with similar games. Andrade would seem to have an advantage in each of their strong suits. She’ll get a win in another violent contest, even if she can’t get the finish.
Andrade, unanimous decision
Mike Perry (11-2) vs. Max Griffin (13-4)
Odds: Perry -340, Griffin +280
Airs on: Fox
Mike Perry is a firebrand. He engenders feelings, the positive kind and the other kind, whether he’s wildly seeking skulls inside the cage or kicking up his feet during interviews.
Perry is a headhunter, but he’s got more skill than he gets credit for. He has great athletic talent to complement his pure power, using good movement and instincts both in and out of the pocket.
Griffin is the clear underdog in this one, but Max Pain has been around the block. He held gold in both Tachi Palace Fights and West Coast Fighting Championships before getting The Call in 2016. He has razor-sharp kickboxing, and the ground skill he lacks will not be a factor here. If Perry intentionally drags this fight to the mat at any point, I’ll eat a sock.
With a 1-2 UFC record, Griffin is probably fighting for his UFC roster spot. He’ll need to keep Perry at bay with kicks and long-range boxing. Perry is a bulldog at getting inside, though, and after losing his last contest has some recovering of his own to do. Platinum Mike prevails but not before Griffin makes it interesting.
Perry, TKO, Rd. 3
Alan Jouban (15-6) vs. Ben Saunders (21-8-2)
Odds: Jouban -240, Saunders +200
Airs on: Fox
Nothing not to love in this matchup. Why it’s buried in the middle of this undercard I’ll never know.
(Especially since Jouban beat Perry in December 2016, but hey, it’s none of my business.)
Both of these men use muay thai to rough up opponents. Saunders’ knee strikes are legendary, and he knows how to use every bit of that rangy 6’2″ frame and 77″ reach (Jouban, by comparison, is 6’0″ with a 73″ reach). Jouban, however, is a more complete striker who can control range and score without relying on brawls or scrambles.
This will probably play out on the feet, but each man has some jiu-jitsu in his pocket as well. In fact, they train together at 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu in Los Angeles, leading Saunders to admit that neither man really wanted this matchup.
“It’s just an unfortunate situation, but it is what it is,” Saunders told MMAjunkie Radio (h/t John Morgan of MMAjunkie). “We’re both fighters. We’re both professional, so we’re going to accept that.”
Saunders also acknowledged the tantalizing matchup. With 26 finishes between them (including nine knockouts for each man), this one’s pretty much a lock to be entertaining.
“As far as stylistic matchup, man, it’s fireworks,” Saunders said. “I don’t think you can get much better.”
The killer instinct may not be out in full force given the friendship involved, but there’s no question they’ll put on a show.
Jouban, unanimous decision
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