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UFC on FOX 19 Observer Panel Picks : Teixeira vs Evans

After our panel took a beating at UFC 196, we’ve taken a month and a bit to regroup and we’re back for the UFC’s return to big FOX. This card looks a lot different than it did when it was originally scheduled and really may be the weakest overall card in FOX history in terms of star power. But it’s UFC and with a sporadic schedule the last six weeks, I know that I at least am jonesing for some UFC action.

At least two  fights on the card should have title implications in the next year or so with the Tecia Torres-Rose Namajunas fight probably determining the next strawweight contender and the Beneil Dariush and Mike Chiesa fight sending one of them into the top 5. The main event is two men on the downsides of their careers but still top contenders. A title fight for either of Rashad Evans or Glover Teixeira would be a tough sell but an impressive performance from one of them, particularly Evans, could spark some interest in a title program, should they need a challenger on short notice. The remaining two fights we’ll be picking from are between top 15 contenders in both the featherweight and women’s bantamweight divisions.

Here’s our panel with the 2016 records in parenthesis. We’ve also added a running tally of the records of the favorites going into the fights and the panel consensus picks 

  • John Pollock (20-10; .667) – Fight Network analyst, Live Audio Wrestling co-host, MMA Report co-host
  • Mike Sawyer (18-12; .600) – Tough Talk MMA
  • Josh Nason (18-12; .600) – Host of Josh Nason’s Punch Out; writer/editor , WON Twitter guy
  • Mike Sempervive (17-13; .567) – Wrestling Observer Live and Big Audio Nightmare co-host
  • David Bixenspan (17-13; .567) – Figure Four Weekly writer, podcast host
  • Consensus picks (15-13; .536)
  • Ryan Frederick (16-14; .533) – UFC reporter, WON Twitter guy
  • Favorites (16-14; .533)
  • Dave Meltzer (15-15; .500)– Wrestling Observer founder
  • Steve Juon (15-15; .500) – MMA Mania/Wrestling Observer writer. Angry Marks founder
  • Front Row Brian (13-17; .433) – MMA newsbreaker, Beloved internet personality, Podcast host
  • Paul Fontaine (12-18; .400) – founder, writer

Main Event – Light Heavyweights Rashad Evans (19-4-1) vs Glover Teixeira (21-4)

Evans has only been stopped one time in his long career, having been knocked out in a title loss versus Lyoto Machida in 2009. He’s coming off a decision loss against Ryan Bader which snapped a two fight win streak for the former champion and TUF Season 2 winner. Glover Teixeira took this fight on just a couple week’s notice and agreed to a five round stipulation. He’s hoping it won’t go that long as 11 of his last 12 wins have been by stoppage. It seems likely that Evans will ether outpoint his way to a decision win or Glover will hand Rashad the second stoppage loss of his career.

Evans – FRB, Sempervive

Teixeira (moderate favorite)  – Juon, Frederick, Fontaine, Sawyer, Pollock, Nason, Bix, Meltzer

Strawweights Tecia Torres (7-0) vs Rose Namajunas (4-2)

This is a rematch of a 2013 fight in Invicta that Torres won by decision. Despite that and also despite Torres still being unbeaten in her career, Namajunas comes in as the higher ranked fighter. Torres did have two losses in the TUF 20 strawweight tournament but those were not considered official fights and are not counted against her record. It’s interesting to note that all of her career fights have gone the distance. By contrast, “Thug” Rose has submissions in every one of her pro wins. She had a star-making performance last time out against Paige VanZant in the main event of a Fight Pass  show in December. This fight was bumped to the co-main position after Lyoto Machida was pulled from his fight with Dan Henderson after a violation of the UFC’s drug policy.

Namajunas (moderate favorite) – Juon, Fontaine, FRB, Pollock, Nason, Bix, Meltzer

Torres –   Frederick, Sawyer, Sempervive

Featherweights Cub Swanson (21-7) vs Hacran Dias (23-3-1)

Since a 2011 loss to Ricardo Lamas, Swanson has only lost twice and both were to top 5 fighters Frankie Edgar and Max Holloway. Along the way, he’s beaten the likes of Charles Oliveira, Dennis Siver, Ross Pearson and Dustin Poirier, among others. But he did take a beating at the hands of Edgar and how he fares in this fight could show just how much that took out of him. Against lesser competition than Swanson has face, Dias is just 3-2 in UFC but he is on a two fight win streak. He scored a split decision win over Levan Makashvili in his last fight, which followed a dreadfully boring decision win over Darren Elkins.

Swanson (slight favorite) – Fontaine, FRB, Frederick, Sawyer, Nason, Sempervive, Bix, Meltzer

Dias  – Juon, Pollock

Lightweights Mike Chiesa (13-2) vs Beneil Dariush (12-1)

This might be the most interesting fight on the card. Both are rising contenders just under the elite in the stacked 155 lb division. Both have recent wins over veteran Jim Miller, a tough out for anyone. Chiesa has a little more UFC experience and is a former TUF winner but Dariush has faced a higher level of competition in his 7 UFC fights. He most recently beat top 5 contender (at the time) Michael Johnson. The winner here should move into the top 5 or at the very least get a top 5 opponent next time out. Dariush is a training partner of the lightweight Champion Rafael Dos Anjos and is on record as saying he won’t fight him.

Dariush (moderate favorite) – Fontaine, Sawyer, Sempervive, Bix, Meltzer

Cheisa – Juon, Frederick, FRB, Pollock, Nason

Women’s Bantamweights Bethe Correia (9-1) vs Raquel Pennington (6-5)

Just looking at the records here, you’d almost think this was a mismatch and it might be…just in the other direction. Correia worked her way through Ronda Rousey’s 4 Horsewomen and talked her way into a title shot but was dismantled by the former champion in vicious fashion. Pennington, meanwhile, took Holly Holm to the limit in a fight many feel she actually won. That loss looks a lot better with hindsight. She followed that up with a submission victory over Jessica Andrade last September to cement her top 10 status in the division. This is an important fight for both as they are just outside the fringe of title contention.

Correia – FRB

Pennington (moderate favorite) – Juon, Frederick, Fontaine, Sawyer, Pollock, Nason, Sempervive, Bix, Meltzer

We’ll have coverage of the entire show on the site starting at 4:30 pm eastern with the Fight Pass prelims with action moving over to FOX for 8 fights starting at 6 pm. In the meantime, check out the UFC on FOX 19 Draft Kings Playbook. If you missed the weigh-ins yesterday, we’ve got you covered there as well.