That’s right boys and girls, Danny Boy back for the hottest thing on the internet since Gagnam Style -- the Downes Side. Its accompanying dance hasn’t been invented yet, but whatever it is I’m sure it’ll be great 60% of the time.
Speaking of dancing, the UFC waltzes into Minneapolis, Minnesota for UFC on FX 5 live from the Target Center. The main event features a heavyweight contest between Travis “Hapa” Brown and Antonio “Bigfoot” SIlva. The co-main event of the evening features a rematch six years in the making as UFC 151 refugees Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger and Jay “Thoroughbred” Hieron finally meet again.
Justin Edwards (7-2) vs Josh Neer (33-11-1)
The main card begins in the welterweight division with an experience gap more noticeable than Mighty Mouse at a Men's Big & Tall. Forty-five-fight veteran Josh “The Dentist” Neer looks to rebound from a loss after riding a late resurgence that’s made his current UFC stint the most successful stretch of his career so far. His opponent is TUF alum and uncreative nickname holder Justin “Fast Eddy” Edwards. Coming off a loss to John Maguire November, he’s looking for the biggest win of his resume. Capable all around, his strength is the submission game, where he holds the majority of his wins.
Despite his 1-2 record in the Octagon, Edwards has never been in a boring fight. Unfortunately, that won’t help him against The Dentist. He’s simply overmatched here. Neer has only been submitted twice since 2006 and his striking ability far exceeds his opponent’s. Edwards’ huge heart and tenacity has helped him in previous fights, but all it’ll help him here is to take damage. Neer will beat him up on the feet, do some of his patented dental work, and finally put him away in the 2nd round.
John Dodson (13-5) vs Jussier “Formiga” da Silva (14-1)
We drop down to the flyweights for Jussier da Silva and John “The Magician” Dodson. The top 125-lb. prospect from Brazil, da Silva makes his UFC debut with seven wins via submission, five of those coming in the opening frame. After winning the TUF 14 finale with a huge TKO over T.J. Dillashaw, John Dodson decided to drop down a division and won his debut there as well.
Formiga may be a hot prospect, but one always has to take these records with a level of skepticism. His opponents have been some high-level guys (like Ian McCall) but he’s also fought his share of cans. While he does have top-level BJJ, he won’t be able to get Dodson to the ground to use it. “The Magician” has the ability to keep this fight on the feet and that’s where he’ll take control. He’ll stall da Silva’s grappling game en route to the decision victory and find himself next in line to fight Demetrious Johnson for the flyweight title.
Jake Ellenberger (27-6) vs Jay Hieron (23-5)
The next match is the early favorite for Fight of the Night as Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger takes on Jay “Thoroughbred” Hieron. After winning six in a row, Ellenberger had his title shot hopes dashed with a well placed knee from Martin Kampmann in June. Hieron may be returning to the UFC for the first time in 7 years, but he’s 9-1 in his last ten fights and no stranger to high-level competition. Strong all around, he does possess Division I wrestling experience and an underrated submission game. He also handed Ellenberger his first career defeat when the two originally met in 2006.
It’s an obvious point to make, but Jake Ellenberger is not the same fighter he was in 2006. With a right hand that’s one of the most devastating in the division, he’s refined his entire game. Hieron needs to fight conservatively in the opening frame and not over-engage. He has to bring Ellenberger into the later rounds, where he’s shown a propensity of gassing. Despite that, my money (metaphorical, of course) is on Ellenberger. Hieron’s striking defense leaves holes and Ellenberger has the power to end a fight with a single strike. He gets the TKO in the 2nd.
Travis Browne (13-0-1) vs Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva (16-4)
That brings us to the main event of the evening. With the heavyweight division up for grabs, whoever wins this fight could jump to the front of the line with an impressive win. Undefeated in the UFC, Browne recently rolled through Chad Griggs with a first-round arm triangle. On a two-fight losing streak, Bigfoot has had a rough go, most recently losing in the first round against Cain Velasquez.
The real question here is Silva’s mental state of mind. The fight takes place on the 11th anniversary of a life-altering event in his personal life. Confidence and sasquatch jokes aside, speed will be the deciding factor here. Bigfoot has the clear grappling advantage, but he won’t be able to get his hands on Browne to make it happen. Brown will tag Silva with a couple shots, then move away to avoid the tie-up. Furthermore, the Velasquez fight showed us that when Silva gets put on his back, he should change his nickname to Turtle. This happens in the third round and Travis Browne earns the TKO victory.
That wraps up another edition of the world-renowned Downes Side. Be sure to check me out on Twitter @dannyboydownes and leave comments, predictions or choreography tips on the page as well. Just don’t suggest the Achy Breaky Heart line dance. I already perfected that in the 90s.
The Downes Side: UFC on FX 5 Predictions
UFC/WEC veteran Dan Downes talks strategy and predictions for UFC on FX 5, taking place Friday, October 5