This weekend in Chicago, UFC on FOX 10 takes to the airwaves with a card that features eleven fights and as headed by a lightweight contenders bout, between Benson Henderson and Josh Thomson.
Ahead of their match and holding down the co-main spot, is a contest between two heavyweights and a bout that will have some impact on the UFC’s biggest class; Stipe Miocic vs. Gabriel Gonzaga.
The pair is ranked numbers eight and twelve in the division, respectively and a win for either will go a long way in terms of improving the winner’s title shot aspirations.
For his part, Miocic is 4 & 1 in the UFC, coming off of a unanimous decision win over Roy Nelson at UFC 161, and has 50% finishing rate in the senior promotion. He has an overall record of 10 & 1, with seven T/KOs’ and one submission, giving him an overall finishing rate of 80%. The lone loss of Stipe’s career was a September 2012 TKO defeat at the hands of Stefan Struve; UFC on Fuel TV 5; a card the pair headlined. Other than that, the 6’4” 245 pound American hasn’t lost or been stopped.
The general book and record on Miocic is that he’s a fighter that likes to stand and trade. He is a former gold gloves boxer and NCAA Division One wrestler, and as such, he poses both a formidable threat while standing and is a tough opponent to move off of his feet.
However and that said, his opposite for the evening, Gabriel Gonzaga, is no slouch on the feet either and certainly not an easy fight on the ground.
Gonzaga is 11 & 6 lifetime in the UFC and is currently 4 & 1 in the promotion, while on his second run with the promotion; Gonzaga returned to the brand in January of 2012, after having been cut by franchise in October of 2010.
‘Napao’ has had an up and down career, and where he has shown flashes of brilliance from fight to fight, he’s also demonstrated himself susceptible to being T/KO’d. Where Gonzaga has never been submitted in his seven career losses, he has, however, been stopped six times. More importantly, four of those stoppages have come at the hands of Travis Browne, Junior Dos Santos and Fabricio Werdum (2); three fighters that are currently active and ahead of Napao in the heavyweight standings.
However and that said, the 6’2” 265 pound Brazilian has a serious counter to his questionable chin and that’s his finishing rate; 100%. Napao is an astonishing 16 for 16 finishes in his victories count, with not a single fighter surviving to a decision; seven T/KOs’ and nine submissions. In short, Gabe Gonzaga is a finisher; even in loss. With only one decision defeat to his credit (Brendan Schaub, UFC 121), win or lose, Gonzaga shows up, fights and takes risks.
In terms of this weekend’s match, fans should expect an all-out war and one that doesn’t go the distance. In all likelihood one of these two fighters is going to put the other one to sleep on the mat, and fans shouldn’t be surprised if the bout doesn’t make it past the first or second round. As both fighters have heavy hands and are finishers, a decisive stoppage in this match is a high probabily consideration.
Miocic probably gets the nod for having the better technical boxing skills and wrestling, but in turn, Napao probably has the greater KO power and certainly the more dominant submissions game on the ground.
In all, this should be a great fight and one that could easily walk away with the evening’s knock-out-of-the-night honor, by the time it’s done.
Here’s the UFC’s preview promo for Saturday’s Miocic vs. Gonzaga fight.