UFC 74 is full of fighters that most MMA fans know well. But there are a few “who’s he?” guys on the card. Gabriel Gonzaga was fairly unknown to the average MMA fan until he set the world on fire by knocking out CroCop, now he’s the favorite to win the UFC Heavyweight Title. Will there be anyone like that on Aug. 25th?
Alberto Crane (8-0) (sherdog record): It seems like every UFC event Roger Huerta gets matched up with a complete unknown. Crane has not had an official MMA bout recently, which makes you wonder how he gets this fight with all the talented guys at 155 waiting in the wings. There’s a good reason somewhere and could be that Crane was very successful in the smaller shows, similar to both Doug Evans and Leonard Garcia. Both guys showed up and gave Huerta all he wanted before losing to him. Crane is a grappler with no KO’s on his record, his most significant win came against Javi Vasquez in 2003. Since his win against Vasquez, Crane’s level of competition dropped off until he stopped competing in 2005. He returns in a tough spot against Huerta who is a talented fighter on top of his game and shooting for a title shot. Huerta has not shown enough power to keep his previous opponents off him and that could allow Crane to get into this match. Crane looks similar to Garcia, who is an excellent submission fighter that took Huerta the distance but never really threatened to end the contest. In the end Huerta is too talent and he will be focused after Evans nearly took him out last time.
Ryan Jensen (11-1) (sherdog record): Jensen is the MW champion of Victory Fighting Championships, which has seen some good fighters roll through. He’s very good on the ground and might even hold the advantage standing against Leites. Jensen has defeated every opponent in the first round with the exception of Brock Larson in his only loss. This will be a step up in competition for him, but it looks like a reasonable challenge for him to take hold of. Jensen likes to fight on a regular basis and with Leites taking Lutter’s spot his game plan should be about the same. I think Jensen puts on a solid performance and don’t be surprised if he pulls the upset, his game is capable of beating a somewhat one dimensional opponent like Leites. Jensen has earned this opportunity, much like Doug Evans.