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UFC 136 Preliminary Card Preview: Maia-Santiago, Pettis-Stephens, Facebook Prelims

Demian kicks off our preview of Saturday’s UFC 136 event with a look at the six-fight preliminary card, including Demian Maia vs. Jorge Santiago and Anthony Pettis vs. Jeremy Stephens on Spike along with four prelims on Facebook.

Check out the UFC 136 preliminary card preview below and stay tuned for more UFC 136 pre-fight coverage, including head-to-head previews, predictions, and the MMAFrenzy Podcast before live UFC 136 results on Saturday.

Demian Maia vs. Jorge Santiago

Ever wonder what the difference between a black belt and third degree black belt looks like? Well you are about to find out in this fight. Do not let his performance against Stann fool you; Santiago is the far better striker than Maia. If Santiago plays it smart and keeps range, he could eventually set up a knock out attempt. Do not expect many kicks if Santiago is smart. While Maia has worked on his striking with Wand Fight Team, it is still his weakness; it stands out even more with his grappling skill. Expect Maia to box until he can use that unreal all-round grappling game. While he may not get the submission, Maia will likely be attacking the entire time.

Anthony Pettis vs. Jeremy Stephens

This fight should be a high-paced kickboxing battle. Stephens is a bit less technical but is more experienced and is never going to be afraid to stand and trade. Pettis is a bit more technical in all aspects and also uses angles very well to open up attacks of all kinds. If either fighter gets in trouble and feels the need to get it to the ground, Pettis will have the edge.

Other things to watch:

  • Stipe Miocic is making his UFC debut this Saturday. Stipe is an incredible all-round athlete (played baseball collegiately) who, while being a strong wrestler, is known for some vicious kickboxing. Stipe’s fights have often resembled another Croatian fighter, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filopovic. Stipe does have one submission, but it was to leg kicks. Stipe will need his wrestling against Joey Beltran, otherwise Beltran will try to pin him to the cage as he did Pat Barry.
  • With the UFC’s intent on moving into Asia, Zhang Tie Quan’s fight with Darren Elkins has even more riding on it than just being a FOTN candidate. Zhang’s submission game provides problems for anyone and since he’s facing a wrestler in Elkins, this fight is almost guaranteed to hit the ground.
  • In another wrestler versus grappler match up, Aaron Simpson will try to extend his current win streak to three against Eric Schafer. Schafer is stepping in on short notice after a one-fight stint outside the UFC.
  • Former WEC light-heavyweight champion Steve Cantwell will try to end a three-fight losing streak against another fighter in need of a win Mike Massenzio. Cantwell needs to keep this fight standing as long as possible as Massenzio’s best skills are on the ground. This fight is likely a “loser goes home” scenario where the loser gets his walking papers.

For complete coverage of UFC 136, stay tuned to MMAFrenzy.

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