Featuring Phil Davis vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Dan Hardy vs. Anthony Johnson, the main card airs on Spike TV beginning at 10pm ET, while five preliminary bouts stream on Facebook starting at 7pm ET.
Check out MMAFrenzy.com’s UFC Fight Night 24 predictions below, and stop back tomorrow starting at 7:30pm ET for UFC Fight Night 24 results and a live chat with the MMAFrenzy.com community.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (19-4 MMA, 2-1 UFC) vs. Phil Davis (8-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC)
Kris Karkoski: Davis by decision — Davis will need improved standup if he hopes to challenge the likes of Jon Jones down the road, but Nogueira has struggled in back-to-back fights and Davis’ wrestling should be more than enough to continue his climb with a decision win.
Dustin Zuch: Davis by decision — It’s no secret that this bout showcases a highly esteemed veteran in Nogueira, as well as a young, promising, and freakish physical specimen in Phil Davis. Nogueira possesses an iron jaw and a true fighting spirit. His submission skills off his back are just about as dangerous as they come. As a counter-striker, he looks to capitalize on mistakes and does well in doing so.
Former NCAA wrestling champion Davis will undoubtedly have the edge on the ground with his elite-level wrestling and in addition, he has superb conditioning. While his striking is not quite at the level of Nogueira, it is developing at a rapid pace and we see Davis add new elements to his game with each fight
The key factor in this fight will be Davis’ grappling. If Davis can avoid the creative counter-striking of Nogueira early on and pace himself, he should be able to score a takedown and use his dominant top control to grind out Nogueira. As long as Davis can bide his time, be cautious with the standup game, and gain dominant position on the ground while avoiding the slick submissions of Nogueira, he should be able to pull out a close decision.
Chris Leslie: Davis — His style plays well to the judges
JT King: Davis by decision — Davis brings a significant amount of hype and potential in to this fight with him and he will need it as Rogerio will be by-far the most experienced fighter the former Penn State wrestler has faced. Davis is still very much growing in this sport but he has excellent enough wrestling credentials that he could likely grind out a win against just about every fighter right now, aside from the top few. Lil Nog has struggled in his last two bouts with the wrestling bases of Ryan Bader and Jason Brilz. He squeaked out a controversial decision against Brilz but wasn’t so lucky against Bader, and I expect much the same against Davis.
bsbiz: This is a style matchup more than anything. Nogueira will have a massive advantage on the feet (South American and two time Brazilian national amateur boxing champion and 3rd place at a Pan Am Games) and a Nogueira jiu jitsu game. Phil Davis, though, has a better hybrid of wrestling and ground game, but probably should not look to immediately take the fight there. If the fight ends up being a technical, slow paced fight and in the middle of the cage, it will be much to Nogueira’s advantage. If it is a fight of controlled chaos and up against the cage where athleticism and clinchwork comes in to play heavily, Davis will stand a better chance.
Dan Hardy (23-8 MMA, 4-2 UFC) vs. Anthony Johnson (8-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC)
Kris Karkoski: Hardy by decision — Hardy and Johnson should deliver an exciting brawl as both welterweights look to return to the win column, but Johnson’s 16-month layoff and massive weight cut give Hardy the opportunity to outpoint his way to a decision win.
Dustin Zuch: Hardy by decision — England’s own Dan Hardy looks to redeem himself after losing his past two fights, including a one-sided decision loss to Georges St. Pierre and a vicious first-round knockout from the hands of Carlos Condit. Hardy likes to keep fights on the feet where he excels as a hybrid of a boxer and brawler.
Anthony Johnson has been sidelined over a year with a critical knee injury. Ring rust may very well be a factor in this fight. Johnson is the faster, stronger, and the better-rounded fighter, but the question is whether or not he will be in top shape for the fight. He has been known for his issues with cutting down to 170 and that could seriously affect his cardio during the fight.
I see this fight going much in the way of Dan Hardy vs. Mike Swick. Hardy was able to stifle the quickness of Swick and use his superior boxing to a unanimous decision. I don’t see this bout going any differently, as Hardy will look to frustrate Johnson early on the feet and stuff his takedown attempts en route to a decision.
Chris Leslie: Hardy — If he survives the early onslaught, it’s his fight to lose
JT King: Johnson by KO — I normally wouldn’t bet on any fighter that has been out of the cage for as long as Johnson has. He hasn’t competed for almost a year and a half and that’s the type of ring rust that will crush even the most elite fighters. But this fight is bound to turn into an all out brawl and that poses a big problem for Hardy, who will face very big disadvantages in the weight and reach departments. Expect a slugfest but the heavy hands of “Rumble” will cause Hardy’s second straight disappointing knockout loss.
bsbiz: I fear for Anthony Johnson. That may seem odd to say considering his size, speed, and athleticism, but I do. I worry that his ego will push him to get into a striking war with a man who has shown a very powerful standup game and prevent him from using his wrestling base to put the fight where he has the best chance of winning. Dan Hardy has been training his takedown defense, but he’s still a novice at it. He’s been training his ground game, but how good could it be if he’s only been taking it seriously for a few months? Anthony Johnson needs to get the fight on the ground as quickly as he possibly can and do work and do it quickly. Word from ESPN’s Josh Gross was that Johnson weighed about 230 eight weeks ago. That does not speak well for his gas tank. Hardy on the other hand, ought to make Johnson work and work hard. Get in, tag, get out, jab, kick and make this fight last as long as possible. If it makes it to a decision, I don’t like Johnson’s chances. And then he should go to middleweight and be done with it already.
Amir Sadollah (4-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) vs. DaMarques Johnson (12-8 MMA, 3-2 UFC)
Kris Karkoski: Sadollah by decision — Despite both Ultimate Fighter veterans winning 3 of their last 4, Sadollah and Johnson each seem in need of a win over notable competition. I expect a close bout, but believe Sadollah will have a slight edge over the late-replacement Johnson and does enough to escape with a close win.
Dustin Zuch: Sadollah by (T)KO — Ultimate Fighter 9 runner-up DaMarques Johnson and Ultimate Fighter 7 winner Amir Sadollah are colliding in a battle of TUF alums well known to the SpikeTV TUF audience (more than likely an attempt to pull some extra ratings!)
Sadollah hasn’t seen much of a spotlight since winning the TUF 7 crown. He has gone 3-2 and shows little signs thus far of becoming a serious contender. However, he possesses more technical superiority and tools to win than Johnson. His Muay Thai is all-encompassing and can be much attributed toward his technical striking ability. Sadollah also possesses dangerous submission ability from his back.
Johnson has very few options to obtain success and I believe he is completely outmatched in all aspects of the bout. Sadollah should be able to win this fight in any fashion he wants, but I’ll lean toward his forte.
Chris Leslie: Sadollah — He’s looked better with each fight and should grind out a decision.
JT King: Johnson by decision — Neither of these men have been very impressive since entering the UFC after stints on The Ultimate Fighter. But between the two, Johnson has shown the most promise recently. His win over Mike Guymon was impressive and I expect this to be a story of two guys struggling to find their place in the UFC.
bsbiz: At first glance, this looks to be a Fight of the Night candidate: two excellent technical strikers with quick hands and mean legs. Which means this will likely end up turning into a three round wrestlefest. Both entered the UFC hot on the heels of impressive showings on TUF, but haven’t gained much (if any) traction and really could use a win to improve their standing in a crowded welterweight division and possibly (depending on outcome) to save their job. Amir needs to keep the fight on his feet and work a beastly Muay Thai game for points in the first two rounds then survive the third. A (T)KO would be nice, but I just don’t see him having that kind of game. He has not yet showed the power in his hands to get a knockout, but has overwhelming technique and an excellent gas tank. DeMarques, though, has knockout power and should use it (along with a significant reach advantage) to the best of his abilities. If worst comes to worst, I would trust his takedowns more than Amir’s and think he could grind out a win, but this might not be a bad time to go on a beverage or bathroom run.
Leonard Garcia (15-6-1 MMA, 2-2 UFC) vs. Chan Sung Jung (10-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC)
Kris Karkoski: Jung by decision — Garcia and Jung delivered a “Fight of the Year” contender in their first meeting last year, and I expect another close, but more conservative battle this time around. I see “The Korean Zombie” snapping his two-fight losing streak and outpointing Garcia in another close one.
Dustin Zuch: Garcia by decision — This seems to be one of the most anticipated rematches in recent memory. Garcia and Jung originally fought under the WEC banner in mid-2010 with Garcia getting the nod by way of a VERY controversial decision. The fight has stayed in fan’s minds as being one of the best fights to come out of this decade. It took home the gold as 2010′s World MMA Awards Fight of the Year. For fifteen minutes we saw looping punches, uppercuts, iron jaws, and bloody faces.
Many will be pulling for Jung in this fight so he can avenge the controversial decision. Jung is an incredibly tough brawler with a knack for becoming more aggressive the more he gets tagged with punches. In the same aspect, his open aggressive stance leaves him vulnerable for a fight ending blow to the head, as we saw in his last fight with George Roop when he succumbed to a head kick KO.
My inclination is that Garcia has learned his lesson from his various controversial decision wins. I expect to see a newly motivated Garcia get the better of the exchanges, land the cleaner shots, and push the action in this fight… and actually win a close but convincing decision for a change.
Chris Leslie: The fans — All the talk about personal changes for these two likely goes out the window after the first punch is landed.
JT King: Jung by decision — Whenever you have a rematch of a fight that was so spectacularly entertaining, the sequel is never likely to live up to the original. But I expect these two to at least try. Their first bout was a sloppy mess but it was an outstanding sloppy mess and as exciting as a bout as you will see in modern MMA. I don’t expect either man to display any more technique than they did in their first bout but Jung has at least been putting some time in with the ultra-talented Team Alpha Male camp.
bsbiz: Word out of both fighters’ camps is that they are working on shedding their old skins and working on new styles. For Leonard Garcia, this means becoming more refined in the striking department and maybe holding a little back in the first five minutes so there is something left in the tank for the last ten minutes and not having to rely on “aggression and Octagon control” to pick up possibly dodgy (or questionable) decisions. Chan Sung Jung has been working with Urijah Faber and Team Alpha Male to stop becoming so brain-hungry and become a little more tactical than “When in doubt, shamble forward. When not in doubt, shamble forward.” However, I will believe it when I see it. After all, a snake will shed its skin at least once a year, but the new skin looks remarkably like the old one. It is easy to say you’re becoming a technical and/or more refined striker in training camp, but these are not habits that both men picked up in the last year and should be relatively easy ones to break. This is how these guys have fought for a long time, and it will take a long time to break the habit. This should be one of the best fights of the night, but going into the viewing with expectations of them re-enacting their epic first fight will only lead to disappointment.