UFN 114: Moreno vs Pettis- Preliminary Predictions



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185lbs- Bradley Scott (12-4-0) vs Jack Hermansson (15-3-0)

Capping off the undercard, England’s Brad “Bear” Scott takes on Jack “The Joker” Hermansson in the Middleweight division. Hermansson scored an abrupted TKO stoppage of Alex Nicholson in his last outing to improve his UFC record to 2-1. Scott bested Scott Askham in his most recent appearance and has won 2 of his last 3 fights.

Both fighters are 6’1″, but Hermansson will have a slight 1″ reach advantage and is a year older than Scott.

The Swede made his way to the UFC on the strength of his striking, working a solid volume attack with good movement and decent power. He has recently shown a greater willingness to wrestle, landing an early takedown in his last fight and scoring the finish from back mount. Scott has given up at least a single takedown in all but 1 of his UFC bouts. Scott is aggressive when engaging which both opens up opportunities for his opponent to open up with takedowns and counter strikes. He has some pop in his hands, but he has struggled to match the output of his opponents when they start to open up.

Scott is coming off the first win on the cards of his career, by split decision. His style of fighting makes it difficult for him to win with the judges as he gets hit a lot. Hermansson’s volume and movement will create issues for the Brit and if Jack opts to mix in a takedown or 2 it will only further cement his advantage- my prediction is Jack Hermansson to defeat Bradley Scott by decision.

 

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125lbs- #12 Dustin Ortiz (16-7-0) vs Hector Sandoval (14-3-0)

In the Flyweight division, Top 15 ranked Dustin Ortiz attempts to get back in the win column when he takes on Hector “Kid Alex” Sandoval. Ortiz has just 2 wins in his last 6 fights, most recently falling to Brandon Moreno via submission- the first time he has been submitted in his career. Sandoval dropped his debut to Wilson Reis, but has since picked up a pair of wins over Freddy Serrano and Matt Schnell.

Ortiz is 3 inches taller than “Kid Alex” and he will have a slight 1″ reach advantage. Dustin is also the younger man by 2 years.

Sandoval is quick, with power in his hands and the ability to set up takedowns with his strikes. He will need to offer a diversified front against Ortiz to keep him from getting his timing down. Hector relies on a lot of movement and throws everything with power, which could be a problem at altitude. Ortiz is a good wrestler and arguably a better scrambler. His pace and transition game simply wears opponents out. At distance, he has decent striking, but more often than not he opts to close the gap and grind.

Ortiz is coming off of a knockdown and then the first finish of his career- but he is still an incredibly durable fighter. Dustin needs to avoid getting drawn into a fire fight and do what he does best- grind. Even if Sandoval is able to avoid the early takedowns, Ortiz will make him work and eventually wear him down- my prediction is Dustin Ortiz to defeat Hector Sandoval by decision.

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135lbs- Henry Briones (19-6-1) vs Rani Yahya (23-9-0 1NC)

In the Bantamweight division, Henry “Bure” Briones looks to snap a 2-fight losing streak when he takes on Brazilian grappling ace Rani Yahya. Yahya had won 4 consecutive fights prior to dropping a difficult decision to Joe Soto. Briones is coming off a knockout defeat to Douglas de Andrade, one fight prior he dropped a decision defeat to the now champion Cody Garbrandt.

Mexico’s Briones is 2 inches taller and will have a 2″ reach advantage. Yahya is the younger man by 4-years.

The outcome of this fight, as is usually the case, comes down to Rani’s grappling and his cardio. Can he score enough points over the opening 2 rounds or grab a finish before his cardio gives out? This issues could be further magnified by the altitude of Mexico City. Briones is a decent striker and can hold his own on the mat, but he has given up 5 takedowns over 3 fights against lesser ground fighters.

“Bure” has some power, but he is going to struggle to keep Yahya from closing the distance and dragging him to the mat. If Briones can force him to work hard for his early takedowns, he could take over the fight in the 2nd half- but my prediction is Rani Yahya to defeat Henry Briones by decision.

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135lbs- Jose Quinonez (6-2-0) vs Diego Rivas (7-0-0)

The first of 3 Bantamweight bouts on the card, TUF Latin America 1 Bantamweight finalist Jose “El Teco” Quinonez takes on TUF Latin America 1 Featherweight competitor Deigo “Pitbull” Rivas. Rivas last saw action in early 2016 when he knocked out Noad Lahat. Quinonez has won back to back fights after dropping the TUF tournament finals to Alejandro Perez.

Both men are 5’8″ and share a 69″ reach. Rivas is a year younger, but he has not seen action in over 17-months.

Rivas is still developing as a fighter which makes it difficult to gauge how much progress he has made since his last fight. Quinonez is also a fighter that is still in single digits when it comes to pro experience and is working to round out his game. The stats indicate that this fight could be decided on the mat. Rivas struggled on the mat versus Lahat prior to the finish. Conversely, Quinonez has completed 9-takedowns over his 3 UFC fights.

Rivas has had problems with fighters that can take him down and hold top position. Quinonez’s wrestling is a key aspect of his attack and Rivas lacks the striking volume to overcome too much time spent on his back- my prediction is Jose Quinonez to defeat Diego Rivas by decision/

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125lbs- Joseph Morales (8-0-0) vs Roberto Sanchez (7-0-0)

A pair of debuting Flyweights collide as Team Alpha Male’s Joseph Morales takes on LFA Champion Roberto Sanchez in the 2nd fight of the night. Morales is undefeated including a win earlier this year via TKO. Sanchez is 2-0 in 2017 with a pair of victories under the LFA banner.

Both men are 5’6″, but Morales will have a 2″ reach advantage. Morales is the younger man by 8-years.

Sanchez carries a submission heavy record having tapped out 6 of his 7 opponents- 4 of 6 by rear-naked choke. Just 3 in the opening round. Morales has a solid finishing percentage as well, finishing 75% of his opponents- 2 by knockout and 4 by submission. Both fighters can wrestle and are dangerous on the mat, but considering where Morales trains out of- it is hard to pick against him.

This is a tough fight to predict considering both men are debuting and relatively limited in their overall fight experience. While both men are capable on the mat, Morales appears to have the better guard game which will make it difficult for Sanchez to feel comfortable if he does manage to score takedowns. This should be a close fight with both men having their moments, but my prediction is Joseph Morales to defeat Roberto Sanchez by submission.

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155lbs- Alvaro Herrera (9-4-0) vs Jordan Rinaldi (12-5-0)

To open the show, Alvaro Herrera takes on Jordan “All Day” Rinaldi in the Lightweight division. Herrera made a successful debut before running into Vicente Luque and a middle round submission loss. Rinaldi stepped up on short notice to make his debut, dropping a competitive decision to Abel Trujillo.

Herrera is making his Lightweight debut. He is 2 inches taller than Rinaldi and will have a 2″ reach advantage. Herrera, the younger man by 3-years, has been on the shelf for 13-months.

Finishing all of his wins inside the opening 2¬†rounds and getting stopped in all 4 of his defeats, Alvaro lacks any long fight experience. Coincidentally, Herrera’s cardio is a major concern. Cutting to Lightweight could help him to clean up that issue or it could further magnify his problems. Conversely, Rinaldi has fought into the 3rd round or beyond 9-times, winning 5. He has 7 wins by submission and relies on a takedown heavy approach which should serve to replicate Herrara’s struggles in the Luque fight.

The TUF Latin America 2 alumni has¬†power, but if he can’t land something big early- he is in trouble. Cutting down a weightclass in the unforgiving conditions of Mexico City won’t be a positive for Herrera. He will struggle to defend the takedowns of Rinaldi and he will fall behind as the fight moves beyond round 1- my prediction is Jordan Rinaldi to defeat Alvarao Herrera by submission.

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