The 14th UFC event to air on Fox takes place in Phoenix, Arizona’s US Airways Center on December 13th, 2014. The main event features Junior dos Santos vs. Stipe Miocic, and this is our preview.
We start our preview with Arizona’s own, Jamie Varner vs. Drew Dober as they face off in a lightweight bout.
The former WEC lightweight champion, Jamie Varner is making his return from perhaps the gutsiest performance ever seen in in the UFC when he tried in vain (losing via TKO) to fight through a broken ankle in his fight against James Krause in May 2014 at UFC 173. They always game Varner is currently on a 3 fight skid in the UFC.
Drew Doberis currently 0-3 in his current UFC run, losing to Sean Spencer (TUF 18 Finale) and Nick Hein (UFC Fight Night: Mousasi vs. Munoz), he is currently 14-6 in his MMA career.
Next in the welterweight division we have Joe Riggs vs. Ben Saunders.
The winner of Bellator’s season one of Fight Master, makes his return to the UFC for the first time since 2006. He was scheduled to face Paulo Thiago at UFC Fight Night 51, but an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound. In an amazing 55 career MMA fights, Riggs has fought his way to a record of 40 wins 14 losses and 1 no contest.
Ben Saunders is also trying to further cement his place in his second run with the UFC; his first fight back with the promotion saw him defeat Chris Heatherly by submission (omoplata) at UFC Fight Night: Henderson vs. dos Anjos. Saunders is currently 17-6 with 2 draws in his MMA career.
At flyweight we have former title challenger John Moraga vs. Willie Gates.
Moraga is looking to build on his submission win (guillotine choke) over Justin Scoggins at UFC Fight Night: Jacare vs. Mousasi in September of 2014. The former challenger to Demetrious Johnson’s flyweight title is 2-1 since losing his bid for the title. A TKO loss to John Dodson (UFC Fight Night: Henderson vs. Khabilov) is sandwiched between wins over Dustin Ortiz (UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Philippou) and the aforementioned victory over Scoggins. He is currently 4-2 in the UFC (18-3 overall).
Willie Gates is making his UFC debut against John Moraga and is currently 11-4 in his MMA career.
Kicking off the main card on Fox is the heavyweight battle between Gabriel Gonzaga and Matt Mitrione.
Former UFC heavyweight title challenger and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu champion Gabriel Gonzaga is looking to bounce back after a decision loss to Stipe Miocic in January of 2014 at UFC on Fox Henderson vs. Thompson. Gonzaga is currently tied with Frank Mir with the most finishes in the history of the heavyweight division and tied for third overall with 11. Gonzaga is 16-8 in his MMA career.
Matt Mitrione is a rare fighter, in that every one of his fights in MMA has been under the UFC banner. The former contestant on The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights has 8 wins in his MMA career 7 of which via TKO or KO. His 3 losses were to Cheick Kongo, Roy Nelson and Brendan Schaub.
The second heavyweight fight of the evening has Alistair Overeem facing off against Stefan Struve.
Former Strikeforce, DREAM and K-1 champion has had quite a fall from grace since entering the UFC. After earning a shot at Junior dos Santos’s UFC heavyweight title with his first round destruction of former champion Brock Lesnar, and the subsequent suspension for elevated testosterone cost him his shot at dos Santos’s title. Overeem has been on a rollercoaster ride since them, unfortunately more downs than ups for the Dutchman. Knockout losses to Antonio Silva, Travis Browne and Ben Rothwell with the only bright spot coming with a decision win over former multi-time champion Frank Mir. It doesn’t take an expert in the fight game to realize the Overeem needs to turn things around fast and in a big way in order to salvage his UFC career. He is currently 2-3 in under the UFC banner (37 and 14 and 1 no contest overall), but the brutality that came with those 3 is what is troubling.
Struve is facing his own saga as he returns to the Octagon; it’s just that his woes are potentially more of a tragic nature. In August 2013, it was discovered that Struve was suffering from a bicuspid aortic valve, after treatment for the disorder through medication Struve resumed training and was scheduled to face Matt Mitrione in July of 2014 at UFC 175. During the event Struve’s heartrate became elevated and he fainted. As a precautionary measure UFC officials cancelled the fight and Struve was taken to the hospital. The 26 year old “Skyscraper” has shown lots of promise and a very crowd pleasing style of fighting hopefully his medical issues are behind him and he can resume his career at no risk to his personal health. Struve is 9-4 in his UFC career (25-6 overall).
The co-main event is a tussle in the lightweight division as Rafael dos Anjos will be facing off with Nate Diaz.
Rafael dos Anjos is a longtime UFC veteran and currently #3 in their lightweight ranking. dos Anjos did some major shaking up in the 155lb. division when he knocked out former UFC and WEC lightweight champion Benson Henderson in August ’14 at the event their fight headlined. Huge career wins over Evan Dunham and Donald Cerrone also gleam off of Rafael’s resume, which he is looking to build on with another potential high profile win over Nate Diaz. dos Anjos has been with the UFC since 2008 and has had 16 fights with the promotion, battling his way to a an 11-5 record (22-7 overall).
There is nothing boring about either of the Diaz brothers, that’s for sure, whether we’re talking about their actions in the cage or out of it, they draw, eyes, crowds and comments, both for and against. Since winning the fifth season of The Ultimate Fighter, Nate Diaz has been a constant favorite inside the Octagon. Nate simply does not know how to be boring in there, win or lose. Fighting mostly at lightweight (Diaz did have 4 fights at welterweight going 2-2), picking up huge wins over the likes of Donald Cerrone, Takanori Gomi, Melvin Guillard and Jim Miller. The submission win over Jim Miller did earn him a title shot at then champion Benson Henderson, which he lost by unanimous decision. Diaz’s fight with dos Anjos will be his first since defeating Gray Maynard by TKO in November 2013 at the TUF 18 finale. Diaz is 12-7 with the UFC (17-9 overall).
The heavyweight main event for UFC on Fox 13 will feature Junior dos Santos vs. Stipe Miocic.
The former UFC heavyweight champion and consensus #2 heavyweight in the world, Junior dos Santos makes his return to the Octagon for the first time in over a year. His last fight was a brutal loss as he was trying to unseat the man who took the title from him, current UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez. Miocic and dos Santos were scheduled to face off earlier this year, first at UFC 173 in May, and then the fight was moved to TUF Brazil 3 Finale a week later, but then the fight was cancelled due to Junior suffering a hand injury. Junior dos Santos is currently 10-2 in his UFC career (16-3 overall).
Stipe Miocic is looking to further his own case for a potential title shot with a win over former champ and crowd pleaser, Junior dos Santos. Despite Miocic not breaking into the sport until the age of 28, he has made quite a name for himself with wins over names like, Joey Beltran, Roy Nelson and Gabriel Gonzaga and the only blemish on his record coming at the hands of Stefan Struve. Miocic is 7-1 with the UFC (13-1 overall).
UFC on Fox 13: dos Santos vs. Miocic Full Card
Main Card (Fox)
Heavyweight: Junios dos Santos vs. Stipe Miocic
Lightweight: Rafael dos Anjos vs. Nate Diaz
Heavyweight: Alistair Overeem vs. Stefan Struve
Heavyweight: Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Matt Mitrione
Preliminary card (Fox Sports 1)
Flyweight: John Moraga vs. Willie Gates
Women’s Strawweight: Claudia Gadelha vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Welterweight: Joe Riggs vs. Ben Saunders
Lightweight: Jamie Varner vs. Drew Dober
Middleweight: Derek Brunson vs. Ed Herman
Lightweight: Joe Ellenberger vs. Bryan Barberena
Preliminary card (UFC Fight Pass)
Lightweight: David Michaud vs. Garret Whiteley
Bantamweight: Henry Cejudo vs. Dustin Kimura
Bantamweight: Anthony Birchak vs. Ian Enswistle
BY: Tim Mutohfan