This Friday, June 8th, marks the UFC’s 3rd iteration on the FX channel, as UFC on FX 3: Johnson vs. McCall takes place from the Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. The card is trisected with a pair of matches streaming on Facebook (analyzed below) to lead off the evening, a half-dozen preliminary fights on Fuel TV at 6:00 p.m. ET and then the main offering on the FX channel at 9:00 p.m. ET. Here’s how the entire card shakes out:
FX Main Card (9:00 p.m. ET)
Demetrious Johnson vs Ian McCall (Flyweight Tournament Semifinals)
Charlie Brenneman vs Erick Silva
Josh Neer vs Mike Pyle
Scott Jorgensen vs Eddie Wineland
FUEL TV Prelims (6:00 p.m. ET)
Mike Pierce vs Carlos Eduardo Rocha
Seth Baczynski vs Lance Benoist
Leonard Garcia vs Matt Grice
Dustin Pague vs Jared Papazian
Tim Means vs Justin Salas
Caio Magalhaes vs Buddy Roberts
Facebook Stream (time TBA)
Bernardo Magalhaes vs. Henry Martinez
Jake Hecht vs. Sean Pierson
Lightweights Magalhaes and Martinez are fresh off unsuccessful Octagon debuts in February; Magalhaes against Tim Means (unanimous decision loss) on the UFC on Fuel TV: Sanchez vs. Ellenberger card and Martinez in a late-notice welterweight bout against Matt Riddle (split decision loss) at UFC 143: Diaz vs. Condit.
More UFC on FX 3 Dissections
“Trekko” is a Pan-Pacific BJJ champion (both gi and no-gi) as well as the reigning lightweight champion of Australia’s CFC (Cage Fighting Championships) promotion. He was faced with a steep disadvantage in height and length in his UFC premiere against Means, who dotted him up on the feet while staving off takedowns. The high-level ground prowess of Magalhaes was plainly evident in the few grappling sequences that occurred, as he immediately swept Means from half-guard and forced him to disengage.
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Martinez, a Team Jackson/Winklejohn rep, rolled out the technical striking of an experienced veteran in his split decision with Riddle, which could have easily have gone his way. He dominated Riddle in the opening frame with uncanny timing and precise counter punching — his grasp of footwork, head movement, angles and his overall helmsmanship was thoroughly impressive for a first-time UFCer.
While “Trekko” is a beast on the mat, his striking and wrestling is average, so Martinez’ BJJ black belt should be the great equalizer. I see him out-classing Magalhaes on the feet, stuffing his fair share of takedowns and holding his own if he is forced to the floor. It should be noted, however, that Martinez has a loss to 5’3″ Wilson Reis, who has a style similar to 5’9″ Magalhaes but with better striking and wrestling — so this is still a winnable fight for Magalhaes.
Additionally, Riddle, despite being a welterweight with a considerable size advantage, was an ideal opponent for Martinez. His unpolished striking and the noticeable deficit in speed might have given Martinez’ performance some extra luster but, regardless, Martinez looked phenomenal in his debut.
My Prediction: Henry Martinez by TKO.
Jake “Hitman” Hecht (11-3) vs. Sean Pierson (11-6)
Hecht, now with Marc Fiore’s MMA team, once managed the St. Louis branch of American Top Team and trained alongside Ben Askren and Tyron Woodley. He made a statement in his Octagon debut by battering Rich Attonito with short elbows while defending a takedown for a 2nd-round TKO, but couldn’t react quickly enough to a clever armbar (in an unorthodox position) from T.J. Waldburger in his sophomore effort.
Hecht started with wrestling at age 14 and boxing at age 16; he went on to wrestle at Lindenwood University and secure a Golden Gloves championship. His wrestle-boxing style is augmented by black-belt level grappling under Ricardo Liborio. Barring Waldburger and the defeat in his first pro outing, Hecht’s only other loss is a 2010 decision to current UFC welterweight Che Mills.
Pierson started old school with a 4-3 run from 1999-2003 in the Vale Tudo and NHB era. He re-emerged in 2007 and registered a 6-1 record to earn a UFC shot, with former Octagon member Jesse Bongfeldt accounting for his sole flaw in that stretch. He also debuted strong by unhinging Matt Riddle with crisp boxing for a unanimous decision at UFC 124 but has since fallen to stiff competition in Jake Ellenberger (1st-round KO) and Dong Hyun Kim (unanimous decision).
Pierson is a southpaw with legit boxing and Greco Roman skills. He’s billed as a BJJ brown belt as well, giving him a mix of attributes quite similar to Hecht. Pierson will have an inch in height (6’1″ vs. 6’0″) and a few more in reach (76″ vs. 73″) and, overall, these two match up pretty evenly. Pierson is a gamer on the feet — he has good balance, footwork and timing but his defense is penetrable, mostly on account of predictable head movement and his offense-first mentality.
Hecht has cracking low kicks from outside, tighter stance and form and returns his straight punches directly back to his chin. Pierson puts a little more heat on his punches and gets more travel due to his length and speed, especially on his straight left, which is his best weapon. They’re both capable on the mat — Pierson has a good defensive guard with nice sweeps and Hecht’s wrestling usually keeps him on top, but they both typically prefer to keep the fight standing.
I’m leaning toward Hecht in this match up but Pierson has the veteran savvy and punching prowess to cause him trouble. Hecht should be just a tad cleaner and more precise on the feet yet Pierson’s power could easily compensate. Hecht should have the slight edge in wrestling and grappling as well, but the margin is tight enough to make this a close call in what should be an entertaining duel.
My Prediction: Jake Hecht by TKO.
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