UFN 118: Cerrone vs Till- Preliminary Predictions



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155lbs- Marcin Held (22-7-0) vs Nasrat Haqparast (8-1-0)

In the headlining fight of the under, former Bellator title challenger Marcin Held continues his search for his first UFC win when he takes on short notice replacement Nasrat Haqparast in the Lightweight division. Held is 0-3 inside the Octagon with losses to Diego Sanchez, Joe Lauzon and most recently a KO defeat to Damir Hadzovic. Haqparast has gone undefeated over his last 8 fights after losing the first pro fight of his career.

Haqparast is 1″ taller and will have a 1″ reach advantage. He is the younger man by 3-years, but he is also replacing an injured Teemu Packalen  on less than 2 weeks’ notice.

Held is a submission specialist, but he is roughly 2-years away from his last victory by tap out. Over his last 2 fights, he has shown a solid takedown game, securing 9 completions- but losing both matches. The Polish fighter is still working to round out his striking attack, but does a decent job when closing the distance to set up his grappling attack. Haqparast has power, ending all 8 of his victories by knockout- 6 in the opening round. His level of competition is a bit of a question mark as the majority of is early wins came against inexpereined opposition. Over his last 2 fights, while he has still been victorious, he has experienced longer fights against better competition.

Held is desperate for a win and fighting at home against a late noticed replacement who is taking a major step up in competition. Held’s takedowns and submission attack will serve a solid counter to the aggressive striking attack of Haqparast. If Nasrat can land his big left, he could pull off the upset, but my prediction is Marcin Held to defeat Nasrat Haqparast by submission.

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265lbs- Anthony Hamilton (15-8-0) vs Adam Wieczorek (8-1-0)

Ending a brief retirement, Anthony “Freight Train” Hamilton returns to action when he meets the debuting Adam “Siwy” Wieczorek in the Heavyweight division. Hamilton has lost 3 in a row and 4 of 5 with his only win during that span coming by 14-second knockout over Damian Grabowski. Wieczorek has rattled off 7 straight wins since dropping a 2011 decision to the streaking Marcin Tybura in just his second pro fight.

Hamilton is stepping in on a couple weeks notice, just over a month removed from his last knockout defeat. Conversely, Wieczorek hasn’t fought in just over a year. Both men are 6’5″, but “Freight Train” should tip the scales 5-10 pounds heavier. Wieczorek is the younger man by 12-years.

As already mentioned, Hamilton has knocked out just a month ago and promptly retired. That should raise some questions about his current mindset and how could he possibly be clear to compete again. Either way, his chin is gone and that trumps whatever asset he does have to offer. Wieczorek is pretty green and relies heavily on his mat game to secure victories. That being said, he has shown enough on the feet to at least consider him a threat to add to Anthony’s mounting finishes.

There are avenues to victory here for Hamilton, but its hard to see past his diminishing durability. Wieczorek is young and aggressive which should be enough to put him in position to challenge Hamilton and eventually land something on his chin- my prediction is Adam Wieczorek to defeat Anthony Hamilton by TKO.

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135lbs- Brian Kelleher (17-8-0) vs Damian Stasiak (10-4-0)

In the Bantamweight division, Brian “Boom” Kelleher prepares to take on Poland’s own Damian Stasiak. Stasiak went the distance in defeat against Pedro Munhoz after picking up back to back wins in his first 2 fights at 135-pounds. Kelleher upset Iuri Alcantara in his debut via sub, but then suffered his own upset loss by submission when he took on Marlon Vera last July.

The American is an inch taller, but Stasiak will have a 4″ reach advantage and is the younger man by 4-years.

Stasiak has had some issues with his defensive wrestling, giving up at least 2 takedowns in all but 1 of his UFC fights. That being said, he is quite capable on the mat and is a decent submission fighter. In addition to being tapped by Vera, Kelleher had been submitted 4-times prior to entering the Octagon. For a wrestler that relies on takedowns and top control, that is concerning. On the feet, Stasiak comes from a karate background and relies on his kicking attack which when coupled with his reach could give the American trouble.

Fighting at home will certainly help Stasiak in this fight, especially if it comes down to a close decision. Damian held his own on the feet with Munhoz and if Kelleher opts to change levels for a takedown, look for Stasiak to go offensive with his submission game- my prediction is Damian Stasiak to defeat Brian Kelleher via submission.

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185lbs- Sam Alvey (31-9-0 1NC) vs Ramazan Emeev (15-3-0)

In the Middleweight division, “Smile’n” Sam Alvey returns to action replacing Trevor Smith on short notice to take on Russia’s Ramazan Emeev. Alvey is coming off a narrow split decision win over Rashad Evans to secure his 5th win over his last 6 outings. The M-1 Global Middleweight champ, Ramazan Emeev has won 4 straight fights dating back to his only loss over his last 13-appearances.

At 6’2″, Alvey is 4 inches taller than his opponent and he will have a 2″ reach advantage. Emeev is the younger man by a year and Alvey is stepping in on less than 2-weeks notice.

Alvey is dealing with short notice and a sizeable weight cut while Emeev hasn’t fought in roughly 10-months and his making his debut. Alvey can be a frustrating fighter to watch. While he has big power, his tendency to sit back and counter can result in a deficit on the scorecards. Emeev is aggressive in his forward push looking to land power strikes and set up his takedown game. Once on the mat, Emeev has a decent submission game and isn’t afraid to go for the finish.

If Alvey fades, he is going to struggle to overcome the constant forward pressure of Emeev. Conversely, Alvey’s defensive wrestling and counter striking will be his keys to success. Emeev is too dependent on pushing forward and he is hittable when he does so- my prediction is Sam Alvey to defeat Ramazan Emeev by knockout.

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145lbs- Artem Lobov (14-13-1) vs Andre Fili (16-5-0)

In the Featherweight division, Artem “The Russian Hammer” Lobov looks for his 3rd win in his last 4 fights when he takes on Team Alpha Male’s Andre “Touchy” Fili. Lobov dropped a decision to Cub Swanson after securing back to back wins over Teruto Ishihara and Chris Avila. Fili has alternated wins and losses over his 8-fight UFC career- he suffered a sizeable upset loss to Calvin Kattar just one fight removed from upsetting Hacran Dias.

Fili is just 2 inches taller than Lobov, but he will have a massive 9″reach advantage. Fili is the younger man by 4-years.

Lobov’s UFC career looked to be a short one, but he has since put together a decent run to keep his career afloat. Artem thrives on pressuring his opponent and forcing them to fight off their back foot. His early struggles were tied to a lack of striking output, but more recently he has let his hands go and is coming off a 123-strike effort against Cub. Fili will be more than willing to oblige Artem on the feet, throwing hard power strikes and utilizing his sizeable reach advantage. The key to this fight could very well be the wrestling of both men. Fili has used his offensive wrestling with mixed success, but the lack of a takedown threat from Lobov should allow the TAM fighter to settle in and let his hands go.

Fili’s has struggled with consistency since joining the UFC. He needs to punish Lobov’s willingness to move forward, but at the same time remain aware of Artem’s ability to counter strike. Fili’s workrate and reach will be the difference here as he lands more strikes and avoids giving up the takedowns that have cost him in the past- my prediction is Andre Fili to defeat Artem Lobov by decision.

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170lbs- Salim Touhari (10-1-0) vs Warlley Alves (11-2-0)

With Jim Wallhead out due to injury, Polish-born Salim “Grizzly” Touhari takes his shot against TUF Brazil 3 tournament winner Warlley Alves. Touhari has picked up 5 consecutive defeats since suffering the first and only defeat of his career back in late 2013. Alves has lost back to back fights to Kamaru Usman and Bryan Barberena after winning the first 11 fights of his career- 4 in the UFC.

Salim is stepping in with just a week to prepare for his UFC debut. Alves is the taller man by an inch and is 2-years younger.

The Brazilian is a dangerous fighter in all areas, but he has had some cardio issues of late. Touhari isn’t known for making long runs into fights, fighting beyond the opening round on just 3 occasions. Alves has a submission-heavy record and is known for his ability to lock up a tight guillotine at a moment’s notice. Finishing 6 opponents by knockout, Touhari will almost certainly want to keep this fight on the feet to avoid the ground game of his opponent.

Touhari is taking a major step up in competition and doing so on very short notice. Alves has to be careful not to look for the finish early and then fade late if unsuccessful. Touhari will eventually find himself on the ground and overmatched by the slick BJJ of his counterpart- my prediction is Warlley Alves to defeat Salim Touhari by submission.

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135lbs- Lina Lansberg (7-2-0) vs Aspen Ladd (5-0-0)

In the first of 2 Women’s fights on the card, Lina “Elbow Princess” Lansberg welcomes UFC newcomer and Invicta veteran Aspen Ladd to the Octagon. After losing her debut to Cyborg, Lansberg went on to win her second UFC bout over Lucie Pudilova via decision. Ladd was scheduled to fight Jessica Eye but pulled out of the fight on fight day- he has fought her entire career under the Invicta banner.

Lansberg is an inch taller than Ladd, but Aspen will have a slight 1″ reach advantage. Ladd is 13-years younger.

As her nickname would indicate, Lansberg has a pension for closing the distance and landing short elbows on the inside. She is at her best in close, working over her opponent on the wall. She doesn’t offer much of a range striking attack and her wrestling leaves a lot to be desired. Ladd carries a much steadier pace and will look to exploit what appears to be Lina’s questionable gas tank. Ladd has finished all but 1 of her opponents- 3 by TKO. She should have the advantage of taking the fight to the mat if the vertical exchanges are not going in her favour.

This fight should come down to the activity and cardio of Ladd. If Lansberg is unable to get ahead early, she is going to struggle to match the American later in the fight. Ladd comes out strong, pushes her Swedish counterpart and widens the gap as Lansberg begins to slow down- my prediction is Aspen Ladd to defeat Lina Lansberg by decision.

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145lbs- Felipe Arantes (18-7-1 2NC) vs Josh Emmett (11-1-0)

The opening fight of the night will feature a couple of divisional changes as Felipe Arantes moves back up a division to face Josh Emmett who is cutting down from Lightweight to 145-pounds. Arantes dropped a split decision to Erik Perez to snap a 2-fight winning streak in his last fight. Emmett is coming off the first loss of his career, coming up short also via split decision at UFC 210 against Des Green- he is 2-1 in the UFC.

The Brazilian is 2 inches taller than his opponent and will have a 3″ reach advantage. Arantes is also the younger man by 3 years.

There are a variety of scenarios to consider in this fight. Arantes is moving back up a division and hasn’t fought in nearly a year. For Emmett, he is making his inaugural attempt to cut to Featherweight and is coming off the first defeat of his career. In the cage, Arantes is a good kicker but is far from an overwhelming volume striker. His guard game is sound, but he has had some issues with his TDD over his career. In his victory over Scott Holtzman, Emmett completed 8 takedowns to go along with a solid counter-striking game.

Emmett’s gas tank let him down against Green and its hard to determine how the weight cut will impact him. In previous bouts, Arantes has relied too much on his BJJ to overcome his opponent’s wrestling and he lacks the striking volume to make up for any time spent on his back. Emmett will come out strong on the heels of his first career loss and secure some key takedowns later in the fight- my prediction is Josh Emmett to defeat Felipe Arantes by decision.

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