UFC 190: Johnson vs Dodson 2- Prelim Predictions
155lbs- Ross Pearson (19-9-0 1NC) vs Paul Felder (10-1-0)
In the headlining bout of the undercard, the UK’s own Ross ‘The Real Deal’ Pearson returns to action against the ‘Irish Dragon’ Paul Felder. Pearson has alternated wins and losses over his last 5, most recently getting smothered by Evan Dunham in Scotland. Felder is coming off a tough loss to Edson Barboza after earning back to back wins over Danny Castillo and Jason Saggo to start his UFC career.
Pearson is 5 months younger than Felder, but has a sizeable experience advantage with 27 pro bouts to just 11. He is also making his 17th UFC appearance. Felder is 3″ taller and will have a slight 1″ reach advantage.
A BJJ Blue belt and Black belt in Karate, Felder has won 7 times by knockout including his brutal stoppage of Danny Castillo at UFC 182. He averages 3.53 SLpM, implementing a strong kicking game at range and looking to counter as his opponent comes forward.
Of the 47 strikes he landed against Barboza, 16 were leg strikes.
With each of his last 4 wins coming by knockout, Pearson has shown continued improvement in his striking. He is a capable counter striker, but also found success in his fight with Edson Barboza pushing the pace and being the aggressor. He has a solid boxing game, highlighted by a hard leaping left hook. His chin is an area of vulnerability with 3 official losses by knockout, he was also knocked out by Melvin Guillard with an illegal knee, and has been hurt on a couple of other occasions.
While Pearson’s TDD currently sits at a respectable 76%, he was badly outwrestled by Dunham, giving up 5 takedowns.
Felder is coming off an impressive performance where he held his own with one of the best strikers in the division. It was also the first loss of his career, which can serve as a rallying point for a young fighter and often lead to a very good follow-up performance. Pearson is a good striker, but his reliance on countering won’t hold up against a more diverse striker and his chin is too unreliable for him to consistently push the action against Felder’s power. Despite Pearson’s veteran savvy he will eventually get tagged during an exchange, so my prediction is Paul Felder to defeat Ross Pearson by knockout.
135lbs- #12 Francisco Rivera (11-4-0 1NC) vs John Lineker (25-7-0)
In the Bantamweight division, Francisco ‘Cisco’ Rivera battles fellow knockout artist and former Flyweight John ‘Hands of Stone’ Lineker. Rivera is coming off an abrupt knockout of Alex Caceres after suffering back to back losses to Urijah Faber and Takeya Mizugaki. Lineker has won back to back fights, most recently defeating Ian McCall- he has only lost once in his last 7 fights.
Lineker failed to make weight in 4 of his 8 UFC appearances and has been forced to move up to Bantamweight. He will be a marked 5″ shorter than Rivera along with a having a 3″ reach deficit. Lineker is 9 years younger.
Rivera comes in with knockouts accounting for 8 of his 11 wins, including 3 in the UFC. He averages 3.95 SLpM while giving up 2.88. He tosses a brutal right hand, hard uppercut, and mixes in stiff low kicks. He has been knocked out once while fighting at Featherweight. He did get hurt by both Mizugaki and Edwin Figueroa during early exchanges.
Rivera is 0-2 in fights ended by submission, but has used his wrestling at times- landing a trio of takedowns against Mizugaki.
With equally as dangerous knockout power, the Brazilian has iced 12 opponents- knocking out 4 in the Octagon. He is a high volume striker at 5.43 connections per minute, but gives up just over 4 strikes per minute. Lineker throws primarily hard hooks and will change levels with vicious body shots. Against McCall he was having trouble early reacting to Ian’s fake, but eventually started sitting down on his punches and countering as he came forward.
McCall was out pointing him early on, but Lineker started to pull away based on the impact of his strikes. His counter-wrestling has cost him at times with 8 takedowns given up over his last 3 fights.
Lineker is significantly undersized, which is concerning considering his size was an advantage at Flyweight. Moving up division will be less draining on his body and should afford him a speed advantage. His power should still translate to 135 and his chin is solid, but his lack of variety in his striking and the distance he will need to cover will limit his striking success. Rivera has looked sharp of late and his long range weapons should serve to keep Lineker on the outside. He should also clinch and attempt to wrestle with Lineker to wear him down. Lineker is too predictable and too hittable, which is a major concern against bigger opponents- so my prediction is Francisco Rivera to defeat John Lineker by decision.
135lbs- #13 Jessica Andrade (13-4-0) vs Raquel Pennington (5-6-0)
In the Women’s Bantamweight division, Jessica Andrade steps in to rematch Raquel ‘Rocky’ Pennington. Pennington is coming off a split decision loss to recently announced title challenger Holly Holm- she is 2-2 inside the Octagon. Andrade most recently earned a clear decision victory over Sarah Moras, picking up her 4th win in her last 5 fights.
Pennington was initially scheduled to face Leslie Smith, than Liz Carmouche, and after both pulled out Andrade stepped to battle ‘Rocky’ for a second time. She defeating Raquel by split decision at UFC 171 just over a year ago.
The Brazilian is taking this fight on just over 2 week’s notice.
‘Rocky’ is 6″ taller and will have a 5″ reach advantage. Andrade is 3 years younger.
In their first meeting, Andrade started extremely strong landing a couple of judo based takedowns and bull rushing Pennington with high volume striking barrages. ‘Rocky’ turned the action in her favour in the second half, stuffing TDA’s and implementing a more technically sound striking attack. She finished very strong with a couple of her own takedowns and blasting Andrade along the cage.
It is interesting to note that Pennington attempted a couple of tight but unsuccessful subs. In bouts after their first meeting, Raquel pulled off an impressive bulldog choke of Ashlee Evans-Smith and Andrade got tapped by Marion Reneau.
Andrade dominated her last opponent, but slowed down late- similar to the end of the Pennington fight. With a shorter camp her endurance may be an issue even earlier this time.
Raquel appeared to find a lot of success in the second half shutting down TDAs and ultimately out-landed Andrade 82-66. She will use what she learned in the first fight to better defend against her opponent’s attack and counter with her own. Andrade will start out strong, but fade making it harder to deal with the size and reach of her opponent. Look for Pennington to use footwork at range and the clinch with knees in close to diffuse Andrade’s aggression. As the fight progresses, the American will find more success on the mat as well, beating up her exhausted opponent. Contrary to my prediction for the first fight, my prediction is Raquel Pennington to defeat Jessica Andrade by TKO.
145lbs- Clay Collard (14-6-0 1NC) vs Tiago Trator (19-5-2 1NC)
In the Featherweight division, Clay ‘Cassius’ Collard meets Brazil’s Tiago Trator. Collard is 1-2 in the UFC with a win over Alex White bookended by losses to Max Holloway and Gabriel Benitez. Trator failed to follow up on a successful UFC debut, lasting just 3 minutes with Mike de la Torre before getting knocked out.
Andre Fili was originally paired with Collard, but shortly after the fight was booked he pulled out and was replaced by Trator.
The American will have a 2″ height advantage along with a 3″ longer reach. He is 6 years younger than Trator who made his Featherweight debut in his last appearance.
Collard is a boxing based fighter with 8 wins by knockout. He earned the win over White by edging him out in significant strikes landed at 60-58. He does have one-punch power, relying more on volume to do his damage. He’s aggressive, but at times his attack is a bit disjointed. His kicking game is a secondary aspect of his striking, but he will finish his combos with a quick and often ineffectual low kick.
Despite his reliance on his striking, Clay’s defensive game is suspect. He has only been knocked out once, by Holloway, but he frequently holds his hands low and his chin high while giving up an average of 5.53 SLpM.
Coming off the first knockout loss of his career it will be interesting to see how Trator responds. He has a nice variety of wins, with 7 knockouts, 6 subs, and a 6-1 record on the scorecards. He has a +1.28 striking exchange rate, offering a nice variety of kicks. A hard low kick and range determining front kick highlight his attack. Against Arreola, he kept the pressure on for the duration of the fight and had success with hard combos and clinch work.
The former Jungle Fights champion will load up on strikes and can let his defense slide which ultimately lead to his downfall last time out. He has been submitted 3 times.
Collard is aggressive and will look to employ a high output in your face approach. His connection rate is a little below where it needs to be for that style and he takes too much damage to be really effective. Trator is more diverse and his power kicking game will be an key aspect of his attack. It will both slow down Collard and keep him out of boxing range. Trator could find success on the mat, but his clinch work will be a more useful secondary aspect of his offense. Look for Trator to blast Collard with hard body kicks and be the more active and impactful striker- my prediction is Tiago Trator to defeat Clay Collard by decision.[/Body]
185lbs- Joe Riggs (40-15-0 1NC) vs Ron Stallings (13-7-0 1NC)
In the Middleweight division, Joe ‘Diesel’ Riggs takes on fellow Strikeforce alumni Ron ‘the Choir Boy’ Stallings. Riggs is 0-2 since returning to the UFC, falling to Ben Saunders and Patrick Cote. Stallings took home a decision win over Justin Jones in his last fight after falling to Uriah Hall in a short notice debut.
Riggs was forced to withdraw from a bout in early August with Hall due to an injury, before getting tabbed for this fight. Stallings is 2″ taller and will have a 5″ reach advantage.
Riggs is moving up to Middleweight after competing at Welterweight in his 2 return bouts.
Stallings is a BJJ Brown belt and prior to his last fight he had spit his 12 wins evenly between submissions and knockouts. He comes from a striking background and showcased a dangerous left leg kick- hurting Jones to the body and targeting his head a couple of times. His combinations are smooth and as long he was able to maintain separation he was getting the better of the action. He has been stopped 3 times via knockout along with 1 sub.
His defensive wrestling is suspect. Jones took him down twice and routinely pinned him on the cage.
A battled tested veteran, Riggs has 57 pro bouts- ending 20 by knockout and 16 more by submission. He is a BJJ Brown belt and comes from a wrestling background. His boxing is decent, but against Cote he used it primarily to set up his grappling attack. Riggs would land a quick 1-2 and change levels for a takedown. He also had success holding Cote on the cage and dropping for a TDA from the clinch. On the mat he is a capable grappler and has a strong back mount.
The durability of Riggs is concerning with 13 losses coming inside the distance- 6 by knockout and 7 by sub. Although, moving up to Middleweight and not having to drain his body as much may help him deal with that factor.
If Stallings can keep Riggs on the outside he will out point him and potentially stop him. Conversely, he had a considerable amount of trouble maintaining separation against Jones who was fighting for just the 4th time as a pro. Jones routinely clamped Stallings on the cage and took him down, where Ron waited for the ref to help get him vertical again. Riggs is pretty crafty on the mat and if he gets Stallings’s back he is more than capable of taking the round or submitting him. Once Riggs gets on the inside of Stallings’s striking he should be able to utilize his wrestling in dominant fashion. The lack of a big weight cut should help rejuvenate ‘Diesel’ and give him a slight speed advantage- my prediction is Joe Riggs to defeat Ron Stallings by submission.
155lbs- Joaquim Silva (7-0-0) vs Nazareno Malegarie (28-3-0)
In the Lightweight division, a pair of TUF Brazil 4 combatants collide as Joaquim ‘Netto BJJ’ Silva fights Nazareno ‘El Tigre’ Malegarie of Argentina. Silva has yet to taste defeat in his professional career finishing all of his opponents. Malegarie is riding a 6 fight winning streak, his last loss coming against Rad Martinez in his final of 4 Bellator bouts.
This bout is an unofficial bronze medal fight for the Lightweight bracket of TUF Brazil 4 as both men fell in the semi-finals. Silva lost to the eventual tournament winner Glaico Franca.
The Argentinian has a sizeable experience advantage in both quantity and quality. He has a 31 pro bouts compared to just 7 for Silva. Malegarie went 1-3 in Bellator going the distance with Daniel Strauss, Marlon Sandro, and the aforementioned Martinez. Silva’s last 3 opponents have a combined 16-19 record with 12 of these wins attributed to one fighter.
Malegarie is a 2nd degree BJJ Black belt and comes from a Judo background as well. He has won 17 times by submission including multiple wins by guillotine and arm triangle choke. He also has 8 wins by knockout and 18 total first round finishes.
It is worth noting that while Nazareno competed as a Lightweight on the show, he has also competed as low as Bantamweight.
As a professional, Silva has never gone beyond the opening round. He has record a quartet of wins by knockout and 3 more by submission. His most recent bout lasted just 6 seconds and his 2 most recent subs came by armbar. ‘Netto BJJ’ won by 3rd round TKO and decision in his first 2 TUF bouts, but dropped from the tournament with a first round submission loss.
This is a bit of a difficult fight to handicap. Malegarie has a significant edge in experience and appears to be the more accomplished fighter. At 29 years of age and this far into his career he is for the most part a finished product. Silva is little younger, but is still quite early in his career and could show a sizeable leap in capabilities since his last appearance. Conversely, having finished all of his opponents in quick fights and now facing an adversary that has never been finished in 31 career bouts is a scenario that does not favour him. Malegarie should find success dragging Silva to the mat, wearing him down and chaining submissions together until something sticks- my prediction is Nazareno Malegarie to defeat Joaquim Silva by submission.