In our latest Celebrity Head to Head fight card breakdown, two proud Chicagoans take run down the three biggest fights on this Saturday’s UFC on Fox 10 card taking place in Chicago’s United Center. Cagewriter Elias Cepeda and UFC featherweight Clay Guida lock horns and take sides.
Let us know who you got in the comments section!
Benson Henderson vs. Josh Thomson
Cagewriter: Clay you’re the perfect celebrity analyst for this Head to Head not just because you’re from the Chicago area but because you’ve fought both guys in the main event. This card isn’t huge on star power but its full of great match ups.
None are better, on paper, than the night’s main event between former lightweight champion Benson Henderson and Josh Thomson. You fought both guys back in your previous life as a lightweight, beating Thomson in 2008 and losing a close decision to Henderson in 2011.
So, you know exactly what these guys bring to the cage better than most. Before we get to your qualified take on the fight, let me bloviate a bit.
I know Thomson is the under dog fighter, older and supposedly coming out of his worst training camp ever but I like “The Punk” in this match up. Thomson has the wrestling ability to give himself a chance to stay on his feet long enough over five rounds to give himself a chance to touch up Henderson a bit on the feet.
When Henderson is able to dictate pace, he does very well. But he’s stumbled slightly when someone challenges his takedowns effectively and is capable of hitting him on their feet.
Thomson has looked sharp in all of his most recent fights and fared much better, in my opinion, against the common opponents he and Henderson have faced in Nate Diaz and Gilbert Melendez. Yeah, I know, Henderson got the decision nod over Melendez and Thomson lost his last fight to “El Nino.”
I personally scored the Henderson/Melendez fight for Gilbert, however, and thought his last fight with Thomson was as close as it gets. Henderson may very well come back from his loss last August to Pettis with a vengeance and prove too fast, too big, too strong and too young for Thomson, but I think Josh has a title run left in him.
What say you, Carpenter?
Clay Guida: Just like I did before his last fight, I’ve got to go with the wrestler Benson Henderson on this one. Sometimes in sports one guy just has the other guy’s number and maybe that is the case with Anthony Pettis and Benson Henderson.
I still think Henderson is an excellent fighter, though, and I think he can beat Thomson. The way Benson can do that is if he closes the distance, uses his athleticism well and his top notch ground and pound.
Henderson might not always be the most skilled guy in the fight but he doesn’t tire and he’s always motivated.
You’re right that Thomson has pinpoint striking on his feet and if he can set the pace against Henderson he might be able to offset all of the above from Ben, however. This fight could come down to who is more technical or who is better able to grind it out.
I love this fight and am looking forward to watching it because it can potentially end in many different ways. But I’m picking Henderson to win by five-round decision.
Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Stipe Miocic
Cagewriter: If I had spare money to bet on a fight this weekend, I sure wouldn’t put it on either guy in this matchup, Clay. Every time I think of this heavyweight scrap playing out, I see it ending in a different way.
Stipe has good foot work, technical and precise striking, good conditioning and good wrestling. Could he tag Gonzaga and win on the strength of his striking like he did against Roy Nelson?
Could Gonzaga use his willingness to trade, combined with KO power to stun and stop Miocic? Yup. Could Gonzaga also submit Miocic?
Well, yeah, if he gets him to the ground. And that’s why I’m picking the fireman Miocic in this one.
Gonzaga has power in his hands and legs but I think a patient Stipe can stay away from him using his footwork and then start to find his own range with his solid boxing. From there, the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu ace will need to get Miocic to the ground.
I think the former college wrestler has the grappling chops to at least defend the takedown or get up in time to thwart Gabriel’s submission attempts. I’m picking Miocic to win a hard-fought three round decision.
How do you see it going down, Clay?
Clay Guida: I haven’t seen too much of Stipie Miocic but I know he’s an amazing athlete, highly skilled and young. Gonzaga, on the other hand is a veteran we’ve all seen a lot from and a highly touted BJJ expert who can also put anybody to sleep with his striking.
I think you’re right, Elias, that Stipe has very good striking on the feet and so I believe Gonzaga’s chin will be tested in this fight. So, if Gonzaga wants to win, he’ll have to survive that and show that he can take more than a few good punches.
But, if Gonzaga can stick to a smart game plan, get Stipe on his back, advance position and work for a submission or work out of half guard with ground strikes, I pick him to win.
I think Gonzaga is capable of doing just that and will win with a 2nd round stoppage.
Donald Cerrone vs. Adriano Martins
Cagewriter: Clay, you train with Donald Cerrone so I know you’re not betting against your boy. So, I’ll go ahead and pick the unknown underdog in this one, Martins.
He hasn’t been on the big stage for long, but there’s still reason to be impressed with the Brazilian. He’s beaten Daron Cruickshank, Jorge Gurgel and Ronys Torres already, who are all UFC-level guys.
Also, I’m a sucker for a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt who isn’t afraid to mix it up and has KO power, which Martins does indeed have. His striking most certainly will not be as crisp or pretty as Cerrone’s, but if “Cowboy” sleeps on him, Martins could catch him with a big shot or put him in danger on his back.
Clay Guida: I don’t know much about Martins or even how to pronounce his name but I do know “Cowboy” and what he brings to the table so I have to pick him for the win. I know how intense Cerrone is, what a high talent level he has and how good he is at putting it all together.
To be honest, it’s hard to pick against Cerrone in just about any match up because when he’s at his best, he is so good. He seems hungry and motivated now so I’m going with “Cowboy” to win this fight and have a big year.