Joseph Benavidez is looking for a breakout performance in the Octagon. | Photo: Jeff Sherwood
Those who desire variety need look no further than the preliminary lineup at UFC Live 5 on Sunday at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee. It features a onetime WEC champion, a former WEC title contender, two finalists from “The Ultimate Fighter,” prospects galore and the oldest active fighter on the UFC roster.
In short, it has a little bit of everything. All eight undercard matchup will stream live on the UFC’s Facebook page, beginning at 5:45 p.m ET/2:45 p.m. PT.
Here is a closer look at the UFC Live 5 prelims, with analysis and picks.
Joseph Benavidez (14-2, 1-0 UFC) vs. Eddie Wineland (18-7-1, 0-1 UFC)
The Matchup: Rarely is it this easy to envision how a fight might go down. Outside of a couple of minor differences, Benavidez’s style mimics that of teammate Urijah Faber so closely that one could watch them both work in silhouette and probably not be able to tell them apart. Faber is physically stronger, but Benavidez is even faster. Wineland’s decision loss to “The California Kid” was a credible showing for him, as he gave Faber a decent test at UFC 128. Wineland has good power in his hands, especially his right, and, as a former powerlifter, displayed excellent upper-body strength in fighting off Faber’s early takedowns.
For Benavidez to crack the puzzle, he has to rely more on creating scrambles -- especially off of striking exchanges -- and turning the corner. In wrestling parlance, essentially, that involves getting around the edge and working takedowns from the side of the leg or back. It is hard to envision Wineland trying for takedowns, because Benavidez is absolutely impossible to keep on his back. Though he has dropped two decisions to champion Dominick Cruz, Benavidez remains one of the world’s top bantamweights, and his confidence in his striking has grown with each fight.
This is an interesting fight, especially in a comparative sense between Faber and Benavidez. Wineland gave Faber a much tougher bout than most thought he would, and if he is to spring the upset here, he will have to stuff takedowns and land a consistent power right hand -- something of a little guy’s impression of vintage Chuck Liddell.
The Pick: Benavidez is too dynamic and variable to lose this fight. He can bang on the feet, kick, feint, switch directions and stances and just throw too much at an opponent. He also has an insane gas tank, which he may need in battling the bigger, stronger Wineland. Benavidez will outhustle him to a clear-cut decision win.
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