Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
Tonight, August 16th, the UFC will enter Bangor, Maine for the first time. Featured on the card are multiple local MMA veterans, all of which are looking to make the area proud.
Never known as a fight capital, Maine has produced athletes like Jack May and Tim Boetsch, who are on their way to better things inside the Octagon. If these fighters put on impressive performances, it wouldn’t be farfetched to expect the UFC to make Bangor an annual stop.
Fightland takes a look at the main card of this historic first card in The Pine Tree State.
Robbie Peralta vs. Thiago Tavares
Robbie Peralta is a young fighter in the same mold as so many other young strikers. Not particularly technical, he has the kind of power that can equalize any fight with a single blow.
His opponent is the always dangerous Thiago Tavares, a well-rounded submission specialist with knockout power. Wins over Yaoyuki Kotani, Jason Black and Michihiro Omigawa established Tavares as a prospect to watch in the late 2000s, which was further confirmed with his wins over Manny Gamburyan and Sam Stout.
If Tavares has a glaring hole in his game, it’s that his chin is suspect. Knockouts courtesy of Shane Roller and Khabib Nurmagomedov, as well as a positive drug test have dampened the hype that once existed around him.
Despite both being 29, Tavares is the much more battle-tested veteran. Whether or not that proves to be to his detriment will be determined tonight.
Shawn Jordan vs. Jack May
The UFC is in dire need of heavyweight contenders, and this bout will put two of them on display.
Shawn Jordan is a proven commodity who has yet to break through to that next level. For every impressive performance he’s put on, there’s been an equally miserable one. Wins over Mike Russow and Pat Barry broke Shawn Jordan through into the division’s top 15, but KO losses to Gabriel Gonzaga (not known for his striking) and Matt Mitrione have halted the hype train, at least temporarily.
Jack May is a relative unknown. Already 33, his lone loss was in his UFC debut against Derrick Lewis. Both fighters have that relentless athleticism, but we’ll find out who can take the better punch. As is often the case with heavyweights, the first person to land a big punch walks away with the victory.
Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
Seth Baczynski vs. Alan Jouban
It seems like only yesterday that Seth Baczynski was being discussed as a developing talent in the welterweight division. Upon returning to the UFC in 2011, Baczynski put together an impressive string of wins, which included a submission victory over top contender Matt Brown.
For a short period of time, he was on the rise and talked about as a potential title challenger of the future. But losing three of his last four bouts has put Baczynski in a difficult position, desperate for a win.
Jouban comes from UFC feeder promotion, RFA, where he has won three of his last four bouts. At 9-2, he’s knocked out six opponents. Training out of Black House, Jouban’s submission skills should be developing at a quick pace.
He’ll need all of those skills and then some to defeat the veteran fighter in Baczynski, who will do anything in his power to get the win and keep his employment.
Brad Tavares vs. Tim Boetsch
And now we’re on to the money portion of the card.
When discussing fighters who are in desperate need of a victory, there are few higher on the list than Tim Boetsch. He has lost three of his last five bouts, and many consider his split decision victories over Hector Lombard and C.B. Dollaway to be controversial.
At 33, Boetsch’s time to make a move in the middleweight division has to be now.
Brad Tavares comes into this fight as one of the brightest young talents in the division. He’s 5-1 in his last six bouts, but wasn’t able to finish any of those opponents. The Hawaii native is as tough as they come, and he’ll be looking to make his name off of the back of Boetsch. He knows he needs to finish fights to progress up the ladder. If he can stop the always durable Boetsch, he’ll be staring at a spot in the top 15 rankings.
Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
Gray Maynard vs. Ross Pearson
When you think of top 15 lightweight fighters who have gone unrecognized and underappreciated, Gray Maynard and Ross Pearson have to come to mind.
After a draw with Frankie Edgar, Maynard’s career has gone downwards. Three knockout losses in his last four bouts have many concerned about Maynard’s future as a world-class fighter. He took this fight on only two weeks notice and will need to look impressive to keep his spot in the rankings.
Ross Pearson’s career however is on the upswing. Not considering the abomination of a scorecard he received against Diego Sanchez, Pearson has recent wins over George Sotiropoulos and Ryan Couture and is at the most dominant point in his career. His striking has been powerful and on-point as of late.
This is as close to a wrestler vs. striker matchup as we’ll get in the modern age of mixed martial arts. Maynard needs the takedown. Pearson needs the striking from distance. Simple as that.
Ryan Bader vs. Ovince St. Preux
There seems to be an idea floating around that Ovince St. Preux is going to walk over Ryan Bader in the main event of UFC Fight Night 47.
It’s not that St. Preux hasn’t been impressive. His five fight winning streak, four of which have taken place in the UFC, is an accomplishment in itself. St. Preux’s quiet confidence may not make him the most popular fighter in the promotion, but it has lent itself well to him progressing as a fighter.
But Ryan Bader is simply not a walkover. Outside of a fluke loss to Tito Ortiz, he’s only lost to the most elite light-heavyweight in the promotion. His two most recent bouts against Anthony Perosh and Rafael Cavalcante were the types of one-sided bouts that can make fighters think about retirement.
When Bader is on, he’s one of the most dominant and crushing fighters in the light-heavyweight division. St. Preux needs this win if he’s going to take that next step.
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