Yes, the rumors are true. There is a UFC this weekend — UFC 150 to be exact. And though it seems as if a ton of promotional "umph" went into making everyone aware that there was a UFC on FOX last Saturday, this Saturday's offering is flying under the radar like a Stealth Blackhawk through Pakistani airspace. Which is a shame, as UFC lightweight champ Benson Henderson and former champ Frankie Edgar are destined to have another prolonged war, and fan-favorites Don Cerrone, Melvin Guillard and Jake Shields will be around to shock and awe. Oh well. Anyway, here's a breakdown of the undercard that will air on FX and Facebook, which is my effort towards making y'all aware. You can thank me later.
Dennis Bermudez vs. Tommy Hayden — On the fourteenth season of "The Ultimate Fighter", Bermudez was a human Monster truck, driving over and crushing everyone on his way to the finals. Diego Brandao armbarred him at the finale, making Bermudez the official TUF 14 number two man, but that loss hasn't done much to slow the Long Island, N.Y.-based fighter down in terms of using his giant tires (i.e., wrestling, durability and punishing top game) to his advantage, and at UFC on FOX 3 he beat Pablo Garza all across the driveway. UFC 150 opponent Hayden will fare no better than Garza. Lacking the jiu-jitsu ability that Brandao used to stave off a complete and total beatdown, Hayden is simply going to get flattened, and in a week's time we'll find him crumpled in a junkyard somewhere, a sad testament to the fact that Volkswagen Beetles should never take on Monster trucks.
Jared Hamman vs. Michael Kuiper — California native Hamman is a scrappy stand-up fighter unafraid to eat punches. Since he pretty much only wins every other fight he has in the Octagon, and his last outing at UFC 140 had him falling to Costa Philippou, then the pattern has Hamman emerging victorious against Dutch judoka Kuiper. Kuiper didn't look impressive in his UFC debut against Rafael Natal; watch for him to try to clinch with Hamman and get TKO'd for his efforts.
Ken Stone vs. Erik Perez — Wrestler-turned-MMAer Stone got thrown into the deep end of the pool in his first two trips into the Zuffa-owned cage, and as a result he got put to sleep by top dogs Eddie Wineland and Scott Jorgensen. But I guess the UFC matchmaking department took pity on him, because his next two opponents weren't among the world's elite, and now Stone has balanced out those earlier losses with a pair of wins. Opponent Perez won in his UFC debut, tapping out a TUFer in impressive fashion, but he's far from being a Wineland or Jorgensen, so this bout should be pretty competitive. I have Stone taking the decision after three rounds of jockeying for dominance against the cage.
Dustin Pague vs. Chico Camus — TUF 14 exponent Pague is tall, lanky, effective on the ground, and so religious that in a recent post-fight screening he tested positive for Jesus. Which is cool. I mean, whatever works, right? Since joining the UFC proper, Pague has lost to John Albert and the aforementioned Ken Stone, but put away Jared Papazian. Camus is a decent puncher, but this is his Octagon debut, so factor that into the Wisconsin-based fighter's chances. I certainly am, which is why I have Pague pounding him out on the ground for the TKO win.
Nik Lentz vs. Eiji Mitsuoka — Japanese stalwart Mitsuoka has been in the fight game so long, he can call old timers like Randy Couture and Tito Ortiz "whippersnappers". Okay, not really, but I did see Mitsuoka fight at a King of the Cage out in California back in 2001, and man, that was a long time ago. Earlier this year he gave Takanori Gomi a run for his money before getting smashed, but don't expect him to do much against ace "wall and stall" expert Lentz, who had an exciting fight against Evan Dunham back in January but whose UFC career has otherwise been an exercise in "Ugh, why did I watch that?" Lentz is taking the uneventful decision, and there's nothing Mitsuoka — or any of us — can do about it.