The Prediction Panel – UFC Fight Night 108

Welcome to the Kamikaze Overdrive Prediction Panel- Home to Ryan Poli, Mitchell Davies, Ryan Windsor, Ryan Underwood, and Tyler Matlock who are some of the best minds the MMA prediction game. Check back every week for their latest prediction.

Records

FPWL%Last ShowStatus
Ben Heller1931246964%FOX 24: 7-3Active
Ryan Underwood62038723362%UFN 103: 10-2Active
Mitchell Davies85353431963%UFC 200: 7-5Inactive
Ryan Poli92458533963%UFN 82: 8-4Inactive
Tyler Matlock123814266%UFC 201: 0-2Inactive
Ryan Windsor65142622565%UFN 90: 8-4Inactive
Josh Harper85554630364%UFC FN 40: 8-6-0Inactive
Martin Pedersen27317010362%UFN 48 & 49: 12-6-0Inactive
Dillon Collins106763072%UFC on FOX 8: 8-4-0Inactive
Joe Caporale152747949%UFC 157: 4-7-0Inactive
Joel Richer81463557%UFC on Fox 5: 7-3-0Inactive
Ezz Fadel80433754%UFC 159: 8-3-0Inactive
Garth Beks34241071%UFC 170: 9-0-0Inactive
Chris Fuhrmann34211362%UFC on FOX 10: 6-5-0Inactive
Ben Heller
UFC FN 108

155lbs Bryan Barbarena 12-4-0 vs Joe Proctor 11-4-0

Bam Bam is tough as nails. It will take a guy that is vastly superior in multiple areas to beat him and proctor is not that guy.

My prediction is Bryan Barbarena to defeat Joe Proctor by Unanimous Decision

W115lbs #14 Jessica Penne 12-5-0 vs Danielle Taylor 8-2-0

I've never been impressed with Penne. She has some solid ground skills but has terrible defensive wrestling and below average striking skills. Taylor is a bull dog that should be able to impose her will in this fight.

My prediction is Danielle Taylor to defeat Jessica Penne by Unanimous Decision

185lbs #11 Thales Leites 26-7-0 vs #13 Sam Alvey 30-8-0 1NC

My prediction is Thales Leites to defeat Sam Alvey by Unanimous Decision

170lbs #13 Jake Ellenberger 31-12-0 vs Mike Perry 9-1-0

Perry rebounds off his first loss in impressive fashion with Ellenberger's glass jaw delivering a performance of the night bonus.

My prediction is Mike Perry to defeat Jake Ellenberger by TKO/KO

135lbs #7 John Dodson 19-8-0 vs #10 Eddie Wineland 23-11-1

My prediction is John Dodson to defeat Eddie Wineland by Unanimous Decision

205lbs #8 Ovince Saint Preux 19-10-0 vs Marcos Rogerio de Lima 15-5-1

My prediction is Marcos Rogerio de Lima to defeat Ovince Saint Preux by Submission (RNC)

155lbs #14 Al Iaquinta 12-3-1 vs Diego Sanchez 29-9-0

From a skills perspective Iaquinta is likely the better wrestler. He may have more of a technical striking approach compared to Diego's aggressive and less technical style, but I favor Diego on the feet.

I'm not sure what to think of Iaquinta and how much his head is in the fight game. He retired abruptly prior to UFC 205 because he said MMA was unsafe and was not getting paid enough to fight anymore, claiming he could make more money in real estate. Less than 6 months later...likely in need of money, I question if he is here simply for a pay check. That concern along with Diego's overall aggression, high activity and likely superior cardio makes me lean toward the upset in this match up. Lastly Diego's long history of winning close match ups bc of the above mentioned fighting style makes me even more confident in this pick of a fight that is almost certain to go to a decision.

My prediction is Diego Sanchez to defeat Al Iaquinta by Unanimous Decision

145lbs #4 Cub Swanson 12-4-0 vs Artem Lobov 14-12-1, 1NC

This is a gross mismatch and Cub should outclass Lobov in every way. He should try to get the fight to the floor where he is vastly superior and sub Lobov quickly. If he is unable to get a TD or keep Lobov down once there then he could also outclass him with his distance striking and superior hand speed and footwork. I suspect he will soften Lobov on the feet with a high striking output before catching him in a scramble for a quick tap.

My prediction is Cub Swanson to defeat Artem Lobov by submission (RNC)
Underwood
Follow me on Twitter @ryanRJU

UFC Fight Night 103

FightPass Prelims @ 6:15ET

265lbs- Dmitri Smoliakov (8-1-0) vs Cyril Asker (7-2-0)
Asker by KO/TKO

205lbs- Joachim Christensen (13-4-0) vs Bojan Mihajlovic (10-4-0)
Christensen by decision

155lbs- Devin Powell (8-1-0) vs Drakkar Klose (6-0-1)
Klose by KO/TKO

115lbs- Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger (6-3-0) vs Nina Ansaroff (6-5-0)
Ansaroff by decision

FS1 Prelims @8ET

265lbs- Walt Harris (8-5-0) vs Chase Sherman (9-2-0)
Harris by KO/TKO

155lbs- Tony Martin (10-3-0) vs Alex White (11-2-0)
Martin by decision

265lbs- Alexey Oleynik (50-10-1) vs Viktor Pesta (10-3-0)
Oleynik to defeat Pesta by KO/TKO

135lbs- Frankie Saenz (11-4-0) vs Augusto Mendes (6-1-0) [/Body_1]
In the bantamweight division, Frankie Saenz looks to shake off two straight losses as he takes on Augusto Mendes. ‘Tanquinho’ debuted in early 2016 on six days-notice to take on, now crowned UFC Bantamweight champion, Cody Garbrandt.

Frankie Saenz debuted on a great note with a three-fight win streak over the names of Nolan Ticman, Iuri Alcantara, and Sirwan Kakai, making it known he is a division one NCAA wrestler. In his short run in the UFC, he’s already faced tough veteran names of Urijah Faber and Eddie Wineland, which boosted his experience attributes through the roof.

We don’t know much about Augusto Mendes in the octagon as he wasn’t able to last the full first round with Garbrandt. He looked a tad-bit timid against Cody, yet his UFC debut came with no preparation. Mendes seemed to keep his stance lowered in his debut, though it seems he’s made it a habit in his short career so far. In his Legacy contest before being signed to the company, he faced Donald Williams and caught a triangle choke in the 2nd round. In the opening five minutes, Mendes was caught often and actually dropped by Williams due to a poor movement plan and overall stance. He relies hard on his BJJ even though he is more than willing to stand with anyone.

Saenz didn’t get his reputation as a hard-hitting knockout artist yet he is a straight shooter whose movement is underrated. He was hammered by a perfectly timed right hand by Wineland and eventually finished, yet I expect Frankie to keep his defense on par against Mendes on the feet. Saenz cannot let Mendes into his guard on the mat as his submissions are legit. Frankie is a powerful wrestler, so I will not predict an easy submission from Augusto here.

It will not totally shock me if Mendes is able to out-grapple Saenz as this may turn into a jiu-jitsu match, and the line is very close to represent it with Saenz resting at -150 currently. Augusto’s stance really throws me off in his past fights, and if he baits Frankie, he will eat a bundle of shots with no hesitation. To be safe, I will take Saenz lasting the distance, possibly dropping a round to Mendes, yet coming out with a unanimous decision victory. My prediction is Frankie Saenz to defeat Augusto Mendes by decision.


FS1 Main Card @10ET

125lbs- #8 John Moraga (16-5-0) vs #15 Sergio Pettis (14-2-0)
We have a fun fight set in the flyweight division as #8 John Moraga takes on #15 Sergio Pettis in a fight that should mean a whole lot for Moraga. In July, Moraga dropped his second straight loss as he saw a split decision defeat to the hands of Mattheus Nicolau, which before that came a unanimous decision loss to #1 ranked Joseph Benavidez. Unlike his opponent, Sergio Pettis is on a two-fight win streak over the names of Chris Cariaso and Chris Kelades.

Moraga struggled in his last fight trying to read the timing of Mattheus Nicolau and ate fight-winning shots in the latter half of the 2nd and the majority of the 3rd round. It seems that John thrives better in quicker-pace contests as he’s able to attempt counters more often than a slower bout like against Nicolau. Moraga really looked off his game-plan, though I’m not sure what his actual strategy was. We’ve seen the best out of John Moraga when he has opponents up against the cage and eventually on the mat searching for a submission. His past two wins came via submission over Justin Scoggins and Willie Gates, and that was not the Moraga we saw in 2016. John was inactive for a minute through the bottom half of 2015 and up until his match in July of last year, and Pettis is one hell of a guy to face when the wheels need some turning.

Sergio Pettis has been consistently improving inside the octagon with every contest. He’s seen a 5-2 run so far, seeing the biggest win of his career over veteran Chris Cariaso in late-2015. Sergio, the younger brother of former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, comes into the cage with a bit more conservative, and I’ll even say smarter game-plan than his brother. We’ve seen Pettis fall a bit in the past couple years while Sergio continues to rise in the flyweight division. Sergio’s performance against Chris Kelades was one of the best of his career as he controlled the fight wherever it went. Pettis had a leg up on Kelades in most grappling, clinching, and striking exchanges which led him to a 30-27x3 unanimous decision victory. His speed was too hard for Kelades to time and stay aggressive with as Sergio’s cardio only improves with every fight. When analyzing Moraga’s past performances on the feet, I will expect Sergio to be the more active guy as long as he rolls with his punches and keeps his striking tool belt unpredictable.

This biggest factor in this fight will be the grappling. John Moraga’s name was made by his submission ability and dominant wrestling which led him to a title shot with only two appearances in the octagon. In the Nicolau fight, we did not see the aggressive wrestler we’re used to watching. Moraga was 100% focused on trying to read Nicolau’s striking which led to an easy loss for him. Though he lost in a fight with not much activity back and forth, I feel Moraga will do much better here than against Nicolau as the pace will keep him far more active. If John wants to take control of this fight, he will put Sergio against the cage and attempt to bring this fight into an offensive position on the mat. The one thing is, Pettis is getting a lot of experience in the cage with grapplers. Pettis was able to defend very well against Chris Kelades on the mat, slapping up a rubber guard very quick in his guard and even reversing position. We do consider Moraga one of the best grapplers in this division, but do not be surprised if Pettis is able to flip positioning into his favor.

Moraga needs a win here far more than Pettis does, so consider that before heading to the sportsbook in Sergio’s favor. Though I hate to predict a top ranked fighter to lose three contests in a row, I expect Pettis to be the more active man in the cage with diverse strikes that will show far more aggression than Moraga on Sunday night. My prediction is Sergio Pettis to defeat John Moraga by decision.

170lbs- Court McGee (18-5-0) vs Ben Saunders (20-7-2)
In the welterweight division, Court McGee takes on the returning Ben Saunders in a fight in which both men need to further stride in this packed list of 170. This features Saunders returning to the octagon after a one-bout stint in a small organization where he tapped out UFC veteran Jacob Volkmann in 17 seconds with a solid armbar. McGee made his return after a two-year hiatus in December of 2015 as he picked up a decision win over Marcio Alexandre and has gone 1-1 since.

McGee has seen an interesting return as his win over Alexandre saw a tad-bit slower Court we were used to seeing, yet was acceptable due to a long time away from the cage. McGee was amped up for his bout with Santiago Ponzinnibio and put the aggression to Santiago right off the bat. He was able to land heavy shots that put Santiago in a pressuring position yet caught a big shot in the middle of the round that left him rocked. McGee was able to combat the daze that Santiago created, yet was finished in the latter part of the round after a powerful right floored McGee coming up from a scramble. Court showed perseverance to finish his 2016 when he picked up a unanimous decision victory over Dominique Steele in another contest where his aggression in the first round proved to work, this time bringing him to a win. McGee rocked Steele in the first six seconds of the bout with a stiff right hand which was followed by a slam to a back-take. McGee excels in fast paced situations where his opponent is hurt by strikes, yet he needs to focus on moving well in scrambles when facing a guy like Saunders.

Ben Saunders left the UFC last year for a brief period (which I believe was due to a contract dispute) after a TKO loss to Patrick Cote in January. His last victory came via split decision against Kenny Robertson which turned out to be slightly controversial as many thought Robertson should have walked away with a unanimous decision victory. In those bouts, Ben’s main flaws came on the feet where he left openings in which his opponents capitalized on quickly. Robertson was able to step in and land shots plenty of times while Cote was also able to land with a flurry of shots in a spacious muay-thai clinch. Saunders made a huge mistake in that fight by giving Cote that huge amount of space whilst attempting to land knees, yet Cote took the opportunity to land flush uppercuts that dropped Saunders and led to the finish.

The most interesting part of this contest will be if this fight hits the mat. McGee favors the clinch game against the cage and attempting takedowns, yet Saunders will give him trouble with his BJJ skills. Saunders holds a black belt under Ricardo Liborio and racked the first ever win via omoplata submission in the UFC back in 2014. McGee doesn’t want to test his guard—especially not early in this fight. McGee showed great cardio against Steele going the full 15 minutes, and he was rocked a couple times in the 2nd round as well. Saunders will accept the invitation to stand and trade like he did against Robertson, and I believe that McGee will have the advantage when exchanging blows.

This is a very tight contest. Both men do have the ability to catch the other in an exchange that will end the fight quickly. If this heads to a grappling exchange, Saunders will have a platform to showcase his excellent submission ability, yet I see his opponent taking the win here. I expect Court to catch Saunders on the feet multiple times and get the better of the striking exchanges which will most likely last the full duration. My prediction is Court McGee to defeat Ben Saunders by decision.


155lbs- Joe Lauzon (26-12-0) vs Marcin Held (22-5-0)

In the co-main event, UFC veteran Joe Lauzon takes on UFC sophomore Marcin Held as both men are looking to rally back after their respective decision losses in the latter half of 2016. Held made his name in Bellator as he won Season 10 Lightweight tournament and eventually went on to face Will Brooks for the Bellator lightweight championship. Though his debut may have been filled with UFC jitters, he’s looking to rack up his first win and move into the rankings soon. Joe Lauzon is inevitably reaching the point of his career where he needs to put up-or step down. Though his recent decision loss to Jim Miller was controversial, it’s unknown how he’ll fare against young competition such as Marcin Held.

The Bellator veteran Held made his UFC debut against Diego Sanchez and lost a unanimous decision where Sanchez showed more aggression and was able to keep Held controlled and grounded on the mat. There’s a handful of ways that you can observe Held’s performance against Sanchez. Many people have analyzed and concluded that there is a major talent difference between Bellator and the UFC and maybe the veteran skills of Sanchez completely rode over the youth of Held. Another huge factor from the Sanchez fight was the altitude in Mexico and however long Held prepared for that environment. Sanchez’s cardio is never to question, and he simply could have had a larger tank in that contest which lead him to prevail. Either way, Lauzon is another hearty veteran that won’t go down without a dogfight.

Lauzon’s biggest mistake in his last Miller fight was letting him tee off while hoping to counter and or wait for Jim to gas out. After a while, the strike count rose and left a margin for Lauzon to catch up. Marcin Held met Diego’s aggression very quick in the first round, and like Sanchez, Lauzon doesn’t waste any time to throw shots right out of the gate. Held is the type of fighter to feel out for a minute and Lauzon will not wait around as long.

This contest will get interesting when it hits the mat as both men are submission specialists. Combined, these men have 30 submission wins, with Held only losing to submission once and Lauzon tapping 3 times. With seeing how Sanchez controlled Held, I don’t see Lauzon having much struggle, yet again everything in that fight could have been due to lack of training in Mexico altitude. Held didn’t fare well with veteran strength and I wasn’t particularly impressed with the speed of his strikes in the Sanchez fight. Lauzon, though losing again to Miller, pushed to the final second with strikes and grappling scrambles that nearly ended in an armbar victory.

I really want to be able to pick Held here as he’s incredibly young and may have a promising future but I cannot solidify a victory prediction for him against Joe Lauzon. Held was not too impressive against Diego Sanchez, another veteran is a good test for him, and you never know how he’s trained for this. This is razor close in the end, yet I will take Joe for the fact of how aggressive he has been until the final horn unlike Held in his UFC debut. My prediction is Joe Lauzon to defeat Marcin Held by decision.

145lbs- BJ Penn (16-10-2) vs #10 Yair Rodriguez (9-1-0)

In the main event, UFC legend and former lightweight and welterweight champion, BJ Penn makes his return to the octagon for his second experience at featherweight as he takes on fast-rising #10 ranked Yair Rodriguez. Heading into this contest, we have no idea what to expect as we haven’t seen the former two-division champion compete since July of 2014 and he’s been pulled from two expected bouts in the past year. Penn was once expected to face Cole Miller in June and Ricardo Lamas in the fall of 2016 and is now slated to compete against, possibly, one of the most dangerous men in the division. Yair Rodriguez has seen an undefeated run in the UFC since winning TUF in late-2014 with notable wins over Alex Caceres and #15 ranked Andre Fili.

“El Pantera” will bring a style in the octagon that BJ Penn has not been accustomed to; a high-flying and flashy knockout-capable skillset. Penn has faced Lyoto Machida back in 2005 in a catchweight bout in K-1 in which he weighed in at 191lbs and lost a unanimous decision. Rodriguez has unique persistence that Penn has never seen in a five-round fight. He’s faced Rory MacDonald in the past and was able to last three tough rounds, and that was at a weight where Penn didn’t have to focus on much cardio to cut weight and meet a deadline. I imagine the cut to 145 is still tough for the UFC legend, especially for someone who’s fought at middleweight before.

The biggest factor in this contest is age and hunger. Yair Rodriguez is 14 years younger than Penn, and is on a mission I believe Penn has passed in his career. I don’t think many of the MMA community is expecting a title run from the 38-year-old competitor. The UFC is really testing Penn here just like they did with the Ricardo Lamas matchup- they want to see if he still has it, and if not, his career will most likely be finished.

We all remember Penn with the gritty and scrappy style that pressured opponents to move away from their game plans. BJ was always great at frustrating his enemy by staying in their face, taking their backs, and not eating punches without counters. Rodriguez will enter the first round testing Penn’s distance and reaction time, and if he is even slightly slow to start, he will capitalize right away. It’s hard to predict how Penn will move in the first round, since he did so terribly in the third Edgar fight. It was hard to watch for many fans and fellow fighters in the MMA community. Unless Yair gets too cocky and doesn’t respect the veteran experience of Penn, I expect a start to the first round that will test BJ right away, and eventually finish him with a flurry of strikes. My prediction is Yair Rodriguez to defeat BJ Penn by KO/TKO.



Davies
155lbs – Takanori Gomi (35-11-0) vs Jim Miller (25-8-0)
Both guys are seriously in desperate need of a win here. In most cases the loser would likely be cut, but unless someone retires, I think they have the name value for the UFC to keep them around. Miller had such a quick rise up the division, only to be a shell of his former self in the last few years, likely due to the big jump in competition. He had a close fight with Sanchez, and certainly doesn’t look like he’s too far behind the pack. Gomi has been put away in pretty devastating fashion in his last two fights and it seems like the years are catching up to him. I don’t know if Gomi can take a punch as well anymore, and Miller’s likely going to be able to wrestle him to the ground and rain down shots from there. I think this gets ugly for Gomi, as Miller can usually handle guys who don’t have wrestling on his level. My prediction is Jim Miller to defeat Takanori Gomi by TKO

185lbs – Gegard Mousasi (38-6-2) vs Thiago Santos (13-3-0)
A good short notice replacement for Mousasi here, as Santos is a dangerous up and comer. Mousasi is lacking those big exciting wins people expected out of him when he first came in. He’s coasted in his wins over Latifi, Philippou, and Leites, despite having a big skill advantage in certain areas. His TKO loss to Uriah Hall was concerning as Santos has big power. Thiago has steadily improved throughout his UFC tenure, and is coming into his own recently. His kickboxing and clinch game are vicious. If you can’t take him down, you better be quicker than him and have good defense. Fortunately for Mousasi, he has that. He fights smart at all times and definitely has the ability to shut down what Santos throws at him, which I believe he will. My prediction is Gegard Mousasi to defeat Thiago Santos by decision

155lbs – Joe Lauzon (25-11-0) vs Diego Sanchez (26-8-0)
This could actually be much closer than anticipated. Sanchez looked stellar in his last win over Jim Miller, a lot better than we’ve seen him in a while. Lauzon is definitely on the decline in his career, but still puts on exciting fights and can win when he needs to. Even though Lauzon has a similar style to Miller, I see him being able to bust Sanchez open and get the better of the striking exchanges by being more accurate. I think this could be a fight Sanchez looks great in, but I also think his emotions will get the better of him and he’ll get a little too wild. I see Joe capitalizing on some openings and getting the narrow victory. My prediction is Joe Lauzon to defeat Diego Sanchez by decision

155lbs – Sage Northcutt (7-1-0) vs Enrique Marin (8-3-0)
Northcutt really proved he has some holes to fix in his last fight, and even the one before that. His ground game seems to be lacking behind his striking and athleticism. He’s so young though, and already has a few fights under his belt in the spotlight in the UFC. The pressure has been on, and I believe he can only go up from here. Marin has nearly all his wins by submission, so if he can get Northcutt down it’ll get interesting. I’ve got to go with Sage though. His striking should be enough to get him through here. I bet he comes in looking his best as well. We should see some solid improvement from him since January. My prediction is Sage Northcutt to defeat Enrique Marin by decision

135lbs – T.J. Dillashaw (12-3-0) vs Raphael Assuncao (23-4-0)
If I was in TJ’s position, I would be pretty choked. He had some incredibly entertaining wins and defended his title a couple times before a razor thin decision loss to Dominick Cruz, and now he’s so far down the card no one can remember he’s fighting. Assuncao isn’t an easy out either. This is most likely the number 1 contender fight. The first fight between these two was very close, and TJ’s evolved since then. His footwork, speed, boxing, are all right up to the level his wrestling has always been. Assuncao has an excellent ground game himself and is an explosive striker. He’s technical everywhere so I expect a fight just as close as the last one. I see Dillashaw’s championship level experience and pace as the difference maker here. Even in light of the loss, he’s still on another level of confidence than he was 3 years ago, and I see him taking a close win here. My prediction is TJ Dillashaw to defeat Raphael Assuncao by decision

170lbs – Johny Hendricks (17-4-0) vs Kelvin Gastelum (11-2-0)
Hendricks really needs this win. He missed weight albeit only by a quarter of a pound, but still, it doesn’t look good on him since he’s struggled so much with his weight in the past. He got outclassed in his last fight and if he loses here he goes right out of the title picture window. Gastelum has had his ups and downs as well, but is still growing into his own. He lost a close decision to a very tough opponent in Neil Magny in his last fight, but is looking better. His cardio has been a big knock on him and against Hendricks he can’t let his guard down. I think everything that Kelvin can do, Hendricks can do a little better, and if Johny shows up motivated to win here, he should be able to outwrestle and grind a decision win. My prediction is Johny Hendricks to defeat Kelvin Gastelum by decision

W135lbs – Cat Zingano (9-1-0) vs Juliana Pena (7-2-0)
After a long and understandable layoff, it’s good to see Zingano back in action. She’s one of the most exciting fighters in the division and is fighting a surging prospect in Pena. She made a critical mistake in rushing Rousey, and I’m sure she’s learned from that and will come back strong. Her gutsy and impressive wins over the two girls in the main event is really what put her on the map. She’s got a well-rounded skillset and is explosive and durable on top of that. Pena is a bright, young up and comer right now, and this will be the fight to put her right in contention for a potential title shot. Her ground game is her best weapon, she gets on top of girls and smothers them. Once she gets mount it’s pretty hard to get her off. Zingano is a big step up in competition though, and will test her. There’s no real big holes in Cat’s game and she’s tough to put away. She’s proven that she’s ready for a big test, and I think she’s capable of holding her own. I feel Zingano has more ways to win here though. If she can stuff the takedown, I think she’ll beat up Pena in the clinch and on the feet. I don’t think Pena will do well with such a high level fighter who can match her everywhere. My prediction is Cat Zingano to defeat Juliana Pena by decision

265lbs – Cain Velasquez (13-2-0) vs Travis Browne (18-3-1)
Here’s an important fight for both guys. Browne has always been that guy right at the top of the division, but loses the fights he needs to win. If he wins this, it’ll be the biggest of his career. Cain is still one of the toughest outs in the whole division. He puts on an incredible pace, tight boxing, and relentless wrestling. The only question is how his body can handle it at this point in his career. He’s had so many surgeries and injuries. This fight could be a measuring stick to where he’s heading. Skill wise, you have to take Cain all day. Browne is a great fighter in his own right, but his defense needs work, and he struggles against guys who are more technical than him. Cain needs to avoid the big shot, but I think once he starts putting his pace on Browne will struggle and succumb to the damage. My prediction is Cain Velasquez to defeat Travis Browne by TKO

145lbs – Jose Aldo (25-2-0) vs Frankie Edgar (20-4-1)
Maybe the toughest match up to pick on the card is right here. Two guys battling for the right to challenge McGregor. They both need to win this fight and have a lot to prove. Aldo is coming off that quick, devastating loss, so we don’t know what to expect going in. Edgar is on fire, the best he’s ever looked for sure. So as far as momentum going in, Edgar’s got the advantage. Interesting to note, their last fight was the opposite, Edgar coming off two loses and Aldo still on his crazy streak.
Their first fight was close, and they’ve both gotten better since then. Aldo is still quick and going to look to tear up Frankie’s leg again. Frankie has settled into featherweight, and is getting even better as he’s going. His wrestling, clinch and boxing are excellent, and up against Aldo’s muay thai, BJJ, and TDD, it’s an incredibly tough one to decide on. All I know is that it’ll be close, and every round will count. I think Frankie’s pace will give Aldo problems, especially if Jose comes in a little more tentative because of the clean KO. I think its Frankie’s time and he proves that here. My prediction is Frankie Edgar to defeat Jose Aldo by decision

205lbs – Daniel Cormier (17-1-0) vs Anderson Silva (33-7-0)
I’m glad that Cormer still gets to fight through all this madness, and it’s still a fun fight, but I think it’ll get ugly. Silva still has the ‘you never know what could happen’ factor, especially since Cormier has only had 2 days to plan for his style. Cormier is still going to be the bigger fighter, and most significantly, the better wrestler. His grinding, wrestling style is just going to overwhelm Silva. Obviously Daniel has to be careful of a crafty submission or a counter coming in, but I think if he fights smart, he’ll get it done handily. My prediction is Daniel Cormier to defeat Anderson Silva by TKO

265lbs – Brock Lesnar (5-3-0) vs Mark Hunt (12-10-1)
This is an extremely fun fight, I’ll admit. It’s fun because it’s tough to say what will happen for sure, and there’s plenty of ways it could end, all seemingly consist of devastating fashion. Lesnar coming back after 4.5 years off is not good. Or maybe it is. For all we know Brock could come back a much healthier, conservative, smart fighter. I think Hunt’s improved a lot more in that time than Brock could have though. It’s the well-rounded and technical fighters that seems to beat Hunt though, which Lesnar has shown to not be so much of. He is pretty wild, rushes in often, and doesn’t set up his shot particularly well. That plays right into Hunt’s strengths. It’s possible he gets it to the ground and beats Hunt up, but I don’t think it’ll take too many shots to put Lesnar away here. My prediction is Mark Hunt to defeat Brock Lesnar by TKO

W135lbs – Miesha Tate (18-5-0) vs Amanda Nunes (12-4-0)
Now the only champ defending her belt on this card, Tate gets the headlining spot. This isn’t an easy match up for her by any means. Nunes has big power, great BJJ, and a solid all-around game. Her knock has always been her cardio though. She tends to slow down significantly later in the fight. Tate also has a very well rounded game. I think the difference is that Tate does everything a little bit better, and can maintain a pressuring pace throughout the fight. Tate is also so tough, that if she does get tagged early, I don’t see her going down. It usually takes an accumulation of damage to take her out. I think Meisha is as motivated as ever, and comes in and fights smart, wearing down Nunes for an eventual TKO finish. My prediction is Meisha Tate to defeat Amanda Nunes by TKO
Windsor
UFC on Fox 19
Fight Pass Prelims
170lbs – Omari Akhmedov (15-3-0) vs Elizeu Zaleski (14-5-0)
This fight is a pretty solid one to start off the card. Both of them are hulking bruisers who have ground skills, but prefer to throw hands with their opponent. Akhmedov is a well-rounded fighter, but seems to lack any big standout skill that separates him from the top tier. He starts a furious pace and has fight changing power, but struggles to keep a consistent pace and I feel that could be a big detriment to him in this one. Zaleski impressed me in his debut despite being on the wrong side of a close decision loss. He has big knockout power in all of his limbs and the majority of his wins have been by knockout. His grappling is good, but his wrestling defense is still a question mark as he consistently outlanded his opponent in his debut but struggled to stay on the feet and keep his back off the cage.

Zaleski has solid cardio and I think his ability to carry his power late will pay off big against Akhmedov. As the fight progresses, I don’t see Akhmedov having the same success with his wrestling and he doesn’t have the cardio to maintain a consistent attack for all three rounds. Plus, Zaleski has shown to be very durable in the past while Akhmedov was hurt badly in his debut before coming back, got dropped by Nelson before getting submitted, and got knocked out by a fighter who specializes on the mat last time out.

Akhmedov should look good early, but he’ll struggle to finish Zaleski early and the later this fight goes the more it favors Zaleski. I think he’ll either take the later rounds or land something big on Ahkmedov once his starts to tire. Prediction: Zaleski via TKO

185lbs – Cezar Ferreira (8-5-0) vs Oluwale Bamgbose (6-1-0)
Skill-wise, Ferreira is a pretty consistent and well rounded fighter. He has Capoeira background where he can be a solid range kickboxer, along with a dangerous and opportunistic submission game. However, I’m still expecting him to get starched here.

Why?

Ferreira has zero sense of defense on the feet to go along with one of the worst chins I’ve seen in a long time. Not something you want especially when facing a brickhouse like Bamgbose. I like Bamgbose a lot and he’s someone I expect to improve rapidly from fight to fight. His awkward but extremely powerful striking acumen should give Ferreira big problems here.

If this fight can get out of the first, things could get interesting. But I can’t see it. Bamgbose gets another highlight reel finish early in the fight and gives the Brazilian his 4th loss by knockout in his last 5 fights. Prediction: Bamgbose via TKO

170lbs – Randy Brown (7-0-0) vs Mike Graves (5-0-0)
This matchup makes a lot of sense from match making perspective. It’s between two skilled but inexperienced fights with different skill sets. Brown is massive for the division and is as dangerous of a finisher in the clinch as he is on the feet. Graves is only 25 and trains at ATT, so im expecting improvements from fight to fight. He can strike, but his main point of attack will likely be his wrestling here against Brown.

Brown showed that he can hold his own on the ground in his debut, but that was against Dwyer, someone who you will definitely not mistake for a dominating wrestler. Graves is very durable on the feet and competed very close with the wrestling powerhouse who was Kamuru Usman on the show. This will be the first solid wrester Brown has faced in his career.

The reach of Brown is a big advantage, but it will be nulled if he can’t stay on the feet. Graves snags a late finish in a scramble late in the fight, but it will be very competitive. Prediction: Graves via Submission

135lbs – John Dodson (17-7-0) vs Manny Gamburyan (15-8-0)
It’s pretty obvious Dodson is the choice here. He’s faster, a more powerful striker, and Manny simply doesn’t have a dynamic enough wrestling game to stifle Dodson. The only thing I’ll get to far into is to where Dodson is now as a fighter. Fighters start to decline earlier as the weight classes get smaller and Dodson has been fighting for 14 years. Dodson drastically depends on his athleticism and on being the more dynamic fighter. I have a feeling that Dodson is at that point where we will begin to see a drop off both of those.

However, this is not a fight that im concerned about it happening in this one. I don’t think Dodson will melt Manny in the first like I’ve heard from some, but it will still be a clear victory. Prediction: Dodson via Decision

FOX Prelims
170lbs – Court McGee (17-4-0) vs Santiago Ponzinibbio (21-3-0)
Heres a very difficult fight to both analyze and pick a winner here. On one hand, you have a high output low power boxer-wrestler with fantastic cardio in McGee. On the other, you have an aggressive striker with fight ending power in both of his hands.

It will be interesting to see who can dictate the pace and control the center of the octagon. While Santiago doesn’t tire easily, the fact that he throws a hundred percent into almost every one of his strikes and McGee is stupidly durable gives me pause about taking him. McGees wrestling isn’t dominating but his offense is proactive enough to where it doesn’t necessarily have to be.

I expect some scary moments early for McGee, but I think he’ll stick around and his offense won’t let Santiago pressure him against the fence where he’s most dangerous. It will be a close, possibly split decision either way, but ill side with McGee. Prediction: McGee via Decision

W135lbs – Bethe Correia (9-1-0) vs Raquel Pennington (6-5-0)
In short, I think Correia is overrated and had an incredibly easy run to the title against Duke and Baszler (lol). Pennington isn’t a marvel of consistency or perfect technique, but she’s a improved her striking and has turned into a very good opportunistic submission grappler. If Correia can make this a primarily boxing matchup she can win, but Pennington has too many avenues for victory here. Predcition: Pennington via Submission

155lbs – Mike Chiesa (13-2-0) vs Beneil Dariush (12-1-0)
The prelim headliner is one of my favorite fights on the card. Chiesa looked great last time out in choking out black belt ace Jim Miller and Dariush held his own on the feet against Johnson, one of the division’s best pure boxers.

The more I look at this fight, I see Dariush edge Chiesa in almost every category. He’s the better striker, his ground game is positionally and defensively superior to Chiesa’s, and Dariush’s takedown defense is incredibly solid. The one advantage I’d have to give Chiesa is his durability and his aggression. If he’s able to pressure Dariush and either make him uncomfortable or hit him with something fight changing, it could put the fight in his favor.

However, that will be much easier said than done. Chiesas’s very physically strong, but Chiesa gets most of his takedwons in the clinch where Dariush is very strong and Dariush’s shorter stature will make it even harder for him to take him down. Chiesa will be game, but I expect Dariush to barely edge him everywhere. Prediction: Dariush via Decision

Main Card
145lbs – Cub Swanson (21-7-0) vs Hacran Dias (23-3-1)
Prediction: Swanson via Decision

160lbs – Khabib Nurmagomedov (22-0-0) vs Darrell Horcher (12-1-0)
Prediction: Nurmagomedov via Submission

115lbs – Tecia Torres (7-0-0) vs Rose Namajunas (4-2-0)
This fight has now be promoted to the co-main event, where it’s probably belonged this whole time. Torre’s won the first fight, but both of the two have grown tremendously since their last fight. The winner of this fight could likely face the winner of Joanna/Gadelha, so this is a very important fight for each fighter.

Both of them are very different fighters. Namajunas is dangerous and a finisher everywhere. Her grappling is arguably the most dangerous in her division and she overcomes some of her technical flaws with overwhelming aggression. Torres on the other hand, is a very competent kickboxer with a functional wrestling game. She’ll struggles to finish fights though, as all of her wins have come by decision.

Torres is likely still the better wrestler, but Namajunas grappling is on a level to where that will probably nullify that advantage. On the feet its very close, but I think the aggression will eventually overwhelm Torres. Namajunas has just seemed to grow more as a fighter ever since their first fight and get revenge from the first fight.
Prediction: Namajunas via Submission

205lbs – Glover Teixeira (24-4-0) vs Rashad Evans (19-4-1)
When I first saw the announcement of this fight, I thought Texeira would win easily. Evans just simply looked noticeably weaker in his last fight against Bader and Teixeira is starting to look to regain the form he has win he was on his lengthy winning streak.

Now? Not so sure.

Evans last fight was his first one back in 2 years. Its hard to know where he’s at. If the Evans shows up that dominated Phil Davis and finished Chael Sonnen, then I think he could definitely beat up Glover on the mat and score a convincing win. But if the same fighter who fought Bader shows up here, I think Rashads in for a long night.

Glover has scored two straight wins over the likes of OSP and Cummings after getting dominated by both Jones and Davis. His striking will definitely be a point of focus here against Evans, but that will depend on where his wrestling defense is.

This has been a very difficult fight to pick. Evans has the wrestling to stifle Glover and has a pretty specific gameplan laid out to him by Glover’s previous opponents. I think that Evans will show up looking noticeably better than when he fought Bader. His inactivity as of late makes this an even fight, but I expect Rashad to use his wrestling to take this fight on the scorecards. Prediction: Evans via Decision



Matlock
Eddie Alvarez vs Conor McGregor


Personally, I'm picking Conor to win via first round TKO. I feel like there may be similarities to the Chad Mendes fight. Yet, I have to assume Conor has only grown in his ability to defend takedowns over the years. He has fought styles similar to Eddie Alvarez but Eddie presents a different style of footwork and toughness, so I think Conor will have to overcome some adversity. This is a style of grappling Conor will need to get used to because Eddie is the prototype boxer/wrestler. If Conor can't handle Eddie's grappling, he may need to consider going back down to featherweight.

If this fight goes beyond 2 or 3 rounds, I think it heavily begins to favor Eddie. I do hope Eddie stands and trades with Conor because I'm curious to see how his footwork stacks against Conor's style. I think Eddie's pure boxing mechanics are great and he may be able to land bombs on Conor. I'm not sure why people are discounting Eddie so much in the striking. There is no guarantee Conor's left hand will KO him.

I think Conor will pressure Eddie Alvarez and land precise right hooks, left uppercuts and straight lefts. When Eddie strikes back, Conor will find a home for his devastating counters. Eddie generally gets rocked but recovers well. I do think Eddie will shoot in but I think Conor should be able to defend, at least early. The pressure will continue until Conor puts Eddie Alvarez away. People talk of Conor's power but it's a combination of speed, precision, timing and movement. I think Conor will revert back to the style he used at featherweight. Light on his feet with a bladed and wide stance. This boxing-karate hybrid style is quite different than what most fighters are used to seeing. Conor is quick and he has the reach advantage. There may not be enough time for Eddie to adjust to this - that may be a little too late. That's why I'm picking Conor to win.

This isn't a knock on Eddie because he definitely can win this fight. He has proven time and time again he can work his way back from being rocked, he has proven successful against southpaws, and he has shown the championship mindset to take a fight where he needs to win. He is a tough veteran, a smart guy and I like that he's training under Mark Henry. This is a different time for Alvarez and we're seeing development so I do hope he goes out there and shows it. I think Eddie can win by KO, I think Eddie can submit Conor and he definitely can grind him out to a decision.

No bet placed for this fight but I'm excited to see these styles match up. Again, sometimes looking too deeply into a fight bites me in the ass when the outcome turns out to be quite basic. Reach advantage, first round pressure, power, precision and timing for Conor. If it goes beyond that - congratulations Eddie Alvarez.
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Woodley vs Wonderboy

I think this fight either goes the distance or ends early. It could go to either guy early, too. Wonderboy may have great "distance management" and "phenomenal striking" but this guy can be pressured and he can be hit. Wonderboy gets tagged with the right hand in every fight, he doesn't keep his guard up. It bit him in the ass against Ellenberger and it could bite him in the ass here. All it will take is Woodley to level change a few times to get Wonderboy to take the bait, and it's over. If you are looking for are a reason to bet on Woodley, look no further.

For myself, I can't pick him here either, also I couldn't muster the courage to bet on this fight at all, too many variables. In my head, I'm picking a highly focused game plan of using kicks on all levels to freeze Woodley and pick him apart from there. I'm not going to react to level changes but keep my guard high, if I get taken down - so be it. Wonderboy should have full confidence in his BJJ with the training he's received over the years. He has a purple belt, been training with Weidman and even Ryan Hall this camp. Whatever I can do to threaten Woodley with submissions off my back, I'm doing it - that way he works. Wonderboy can get this fight finished by the third round - no doubt. Hopefully he welcomes Woodley into his guard, too.

Going to go for the crazy pills on this fight and say Wonderboy picks up a submission win. Regardless, I see Wonderboy getting a victory here.

JJ vs KK




Gastelum vs Cerrone

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Ryan Poli
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