Thursday, May 22, 2008

Eric Schafer to Fight Houston Alexander at Fight Night 14 in September

Fresh off his rematch and TKO win on Saturday night over William Hill via TKO; Eric “Ravishing Red” Schafer’s next fight will be against Houston “The Assassin” Alexander. The fight is a must win for both fighters who are riding back-to-back losses in the Octagon. The UFC has recently begun trimming it’s roster of fighters including TUF 4 winner Travis Lutter, TUF 6 runner up Tommy Speer, Joe Doerksen, and Jake O’Brien and it is expected that more are on the way so the loser of this bout can expect to say goodbye to the biggest show in MMA. Fight Night 14 is expected to air prior to the debut episode of the Ultimate Fighter Season 8.

Eric Schafer

Eric Schafer most recently defeated William Hill at Gladiators: Thunderdome via TKO at 2:52 in the first round. The loss marked the sixth straight defeat for the journeyman fighter in Hill and the second straight win for Schafer. Prior to the Hill fight, Schafer most recently saw action in February at Gladiators: Warriors against Ryan Antle of Iowa. A right body kick from Red, sent Antle in for the takedown at which point, Schafer sunk in the fight winning guillotine choke at 0:41 in round one.

In October of 2007, Schafer would fight TUF Season 1 runner up, Stephan “The American Psycho” Bonnar in Cincinnati, Ohio at UFC 77. Schafer came close to finishing the bout and clearly won the first round almost sinking in a rear naked choke on Bonnar, but showed cardio problems and a flawed strategy that included pulling guard, not only in the first round, but then doing it again in the second round. Bonnar took advantage of the mistake the second time around and pounded his way to a TKO victory at 2:47 in round two.

Houston Alexander

Houston Alexander burst on the UFC scene at UFC 71 against Keith Jardine in May of 2007. He shocked the world and knocked out “The Dean of Mean” in 48 seconds but not before being dropped himself in the bout. Alexander’s second bout would last a little longer when at UFC 75 in September he locked horns with Italian slugger Alessio Sakara. He would win via TKO at 1:01 in round one.

Alexander’s fan base quickly grew as well as his hype. His first two bouts would last under two minutes and the mainstream fans had never even seen his ground game yet. Two months later in November, the world would watch as Houston Alexander faced off against undefeated Thiago Silva of Brazil. Needless, to say his ground game was atrocious. He secured a momentary takedown by grabbing the throat of Silva, picking him up off the ground and slamming him to the canvas. In addition, he tried to feverishly attempt a guillotine choke when Silva had him in side control. Thiago Silva immediately got full mount and Houston was as helpless as a fish out of water. Silva pounded his way to a TKO victory from full mount at 3:25 in round one.

At Fight Night 13 last month, Houston Alexander was given a standup fighter as an opponent in James “The Sandman” Irvin. In addition, to showing the world what a one dimensional fighter he was against Silva, Houston Alexander this time got to showcase his stellar jaw. James Irvin would tie the fastest knockout in UFC history at 8 seconds with a well-placed superman punch.

Match up

This fight is certainly an interesting match up from a style point of view. To keep it as simple as possible, Schafer is light years ahead of Alexander on the ground and will be looking to take the fight there to set up a submission or TKO from mount. Alexander on the other hand is very explosive especially from the clinch but lacks good footwork or striking technique, his power is dangerous enough to make up for it though. What’s interesting is that the clinch is where Schafer’s takedowns and limited striking usually occur. Schafer is going to have to look for the outside takedown shot and or be willing to use his better footwork to keep the stout Alexander at bay. Schafer’s weaknesses in the Octagon have been his cardio and inability to take a decent punch to the face without turtling up and giving up on the fight. While his striking and ground and pound may be getting better under the tutelage of Roufus, Roufus is not going to be able to teach him the fighter mentality or psyche he’s going to need to take it to the next level and win fights in the UFC, that’s something that he’s going to have to dig deep down inside for.


Ravishing Red by TKO via ground and pound round one

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