UFC Fight Night 139: Jung vs Rodriguez Preliminary Predictions

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115lbs- Ashley Yoder (5-4-0) vs Amanda Cooper (4-4-0)

In the headlining act of the undercard, TUF 23 graduates Ashley “Spider Monkey” Yoder and Amanda “ABC” Cooper go head to head in the Women’s Strawweight division. Cooper is coming off a submission loss to Mackenzie Dern and is just 2-3 in the UFC. Yoder has yet to earn a UFC nod, including a split decision loss to Dern in her most recent outing.

Yoder is 4 inches taller than Cooper and will have a 5″ reach advantage. Cooper is the younger fighter by 4-years.

The majority of Cooper’s fight, win or lose, are decided on the mat. She stopped Angela Magana from back mount and secured a pair of takedowns in her earlier UFC triumph. Conversely, she has been submitted in all 4 of her pro losses.

Yoder has yet to showcase her submission skills in the Octagon, but she has won 4 of her 5 wins by tap out- all bar armbar. She completed 4 takedowns over her first 2 UFC outings before utilizing her defence to stop all but 1 of Dern’s 6 TDAs.

On the Ultimate Fighter, Cooper advanced to the finals while Yoder was bounced in the quarter-finals.

While Cooper seems insistent on taking her opponent to the mat, her best path to victory against Yoder is most likely her striking. That being said, Yoder can hold her own on the feet and still should find success taking Cooper down and overwhelming her- my prediction is Ashley Yoder to defeat Amanda Cooper by decision.

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145lbs- Chas Skelly (17-2-0) vs Bobby Moffett (12-3-0)

Chas “The Scrapper” Skelly returns to action when he welcomes “The Wolfman” Bobby Moffett to the UFC Featherweight division. Skelly is coming off a knockout loss to Jason Knight, he had won back to back bouts prior to the defeat- Chas is 6-3 inside the Octagon. Moffett was successful on the Contenders Series to extend his winning streak to 3 in a row- this will be his 5th fight in 2018.

Skelly has not fought in nearly 18 months. He is the taller man by an inch, but he will give up 2 inches of reach. Moffett is 5-years younger.

A takedown centric offence has led to 8 career wins by submission for Moffett. In his last fight, he scored an early takedown and quickly cut through his opponent’ s guard. The majority of his wins have come by choke.

Certainly no slouch on the mat, Skelly offers a combination of strong wrestling and a capable submission arsenal. During his UFC tenure, he has submitted 4 opponents while completing 10 takedowns.

Skelly packs some pop in his hands, but he has also been hurt and/or finished on a couple of occasions. “The Wolfman” tends to use his striking to set up his takedown game- attacking and countering his opponent’s offence with a level change.

Over his 3 UFC defeats, Skelly has been taken down 11 times.

With similar styles, this bout might come down to a few key x-factors. Skelly’s lack of activity could and create ring rust and compromise his already questionable cardio. Conversely, Moffett has shown he can fight deep in a contest and he has fought 5 times since Skelly’s last bout. Chas has had issues with fighters that look to wrestle him and if he can’t get off to a good start or fades Moffett will pull away- my prediction is Chas Skelly to defeat Bobby Moffett by decision.

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155lbs- Beneil Dariush (14-4-1) vs Thiago Moises (10-2-0)

In a bout that got the push to the main card, former top 10 ranked Lightweight Beneil Dariush meets the short notice debutant Thiago Moises. Dariush enters this bout winless in 3 with a pair of losses to Edson Barboza and Alexander Hernandez. Moises has picked up back to back wins, including a Contenders bout- he has won 6 of his last 7.

Moises is stepping in on roughly 3 weeks notice, replacing Chris Gruetzemacher. Dariush is an inch taller and will have a 2″ reach advantage. Moises is the younger man by 6-years.

Dariush is a very capable grappler with a fast-improving striking attack. Unfortunately, his chin appears to be his greatest point of vulnerability. He has been brutally knocked out in each of his last 2 defeats and 3-times overall.

The former RFA Lightweight champion, Moises scored a head kick finish that capped off a rather uneventful Contenders bout. He has a solid striking attack and does good work on the mat as well.

This will be Dariush’s second consecutive shot notice and debuting opponent.

Moises has skills, but he is facing an uphill battle against a talented fighter like Dariush. Thiago struggled with the pressure of his opponent in his 2017 title fight defeat and that is what Dariush does well. Look for Beneil to meld together a consistent striking attack with well-timed takedowns. Dariush needs to avoid that one big shot that has been turning his lights out, but my prediction is Beneil Dariush to defeat Thiago Moises by decision.

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155lbs- Davi Ramos (8-2-0) vs John Gunther (7-1-0)

Elite BJJ talent Davi “The Tasmanian Devil” Ramos takes on TUF 27 graduate John “The Machine” Gunther in the Lightweight division. Ramos has won back to back fights, most recently submitting Nick Heins by rear-naked choke. Gunther made his first UFC appearance in on the TUF 27 Finale, besting Allan Zuniga by decision.

The American is the taller man by 3 inches to go along with a 2″ reach advantage. Ramos is 1 year younger.

Gunther is an aggressive brawler, but his willingness to push forward resulted in a first-round submission loss in the TUF quarter-finals. He returned to the tournament as an injury replacement and lost a decision in the semis.

A BJJ Black belt, Ramos has secured 6 of his 8 wins by submission- the last 3 by RNC. He is willing to trade on the feet, but he is lethal on the mat.

Ramos required just a single takedown to submit Hein but completed 5 before submitting his foe in his other UFC win. Gunther secured 8 takedowns in his debut win.

Gunther needs to make this fight ugly. Push Ramos, drag him into a slugfest and wear him out. Ramos BJJ game is just too strong and once he hits the floor, he will have a sizeable gap in skill over “The Machine”. Look for Davi to entertain a few early striking exchanges before eventually changing levels to counter the forward pressure of Gunther- my prediction is Davi Ramos to defeat John Gunther by submission.

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155lbs- Devonte Smith (8-1-0) vs Julian Erosa (22-6-0)

The returning Julian Erosa looks to make good on his second UFC opportunity when he takes on the debuting Devonte “King Kage” Smith in the Lightweight division. Erosa went 1-1 in the big show after his TUF run, he has since compiled an impressive 7-2 mark with multiple championship fights. Smith is coming off of a “Tuesday Night Contenders” win and also holds a recent victory over Justin Edward while his only career loss came against fellow undercarder John Gunther.

At 6’1″, Erosa will stand 4 inches taller than Smith, but Devonte will have an unexpected 1″ reach advantage. Smith is the younger man by 4-years.

Showcasing the type of power that has led him to 7 knockout wins, Smith stopped his favoured Contenders with brutal elbows while in defence of a TDA. He has 5 first round finishes, but he has also fought into the 3rd frame or beyond on 3occasions.

Sporting his own finish-heavy record, the more experienced Erosa has stopped 19 opponents- 10 by knockout. Julian brawled his way to victory, scoring a head kick knockdown.

Despite the win, Erosa was dropped in the opening round. His durability has been an issue- he has been knocked out twice and was stopped by Artem Lobov on the show. In Smith’s only career loss, he started strong but couldn’t defend his opponent’s takedowns.

Erosa has put together a nice post-UFC run, but all indications are that his shortcomings are still present. Smith should have a sizeable speed advantage and he hits extremely hard. Julian doesn’t use his reach well and leaves his chin exposed. Look for Smith to work behind his jab before landing his power strikes- my prediction is Devonte Smith to defeat Julian Erosa by knockout.

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125lbs- Joseph Morales (9-1-0) vs Eric Shelton (11-5-0)

With the curtain falling on the Flyweight division, Joseph “Bopo” Morales and “Showtime” Eric Shelton will do their best to maintain their hold on a roster spot. Team Alpha Males’ Morales is coming off a loss to Deiveson Figueiredo by TKO, he is 1-1 in the promotion. Shelton has a just a single win in the UFC, currently carrying a 1-3 record that includes a pair of split decision losses.

Both men are 5’6″, but Morales will have a 1″ reach advantage. He is the younger fighter by 3-years.

A gifted Athlete, Shelton has struggled to convert his talent into UFC wins. Over his 3 UFC defeats, “Showtime” has struggled to stay off his back. He has given up 11 takedowns and despite edging Alexandre Pantoja in the wrestling, he routinely lost position.

Submitting his foe in 5 of his 9 career wins, Morales does his best work on the floor. That being said, he has spent some time on his back in both of his UFC outings.

Despite his record, Shelton has landed more strikes than his opponent in all but 1 of his UFC bouts.

Benjamin is the more well rounded and athletic fighter, but Morales has a path to victory here. Morales needs to utilize his grappling game and put “Showtime” on his back with regularity. Unfortunately, Perez doesn’t offer the type of wrestling that has troubled Eric and Shelton should find success as the busier striker- my prediction is Eric Shelton to defeat Joseph Morales by Decision.

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135lbs- Mark De La Rosa (10-1-0) vs Joby Sanchez (11-3-0)

The first of 2 cursed Flyweight fights on the card, Mark “Bumblebee” De La Rosa takes on Joby Sanchez. Sanchez fell to 1-3 over his combined UFC tenures after losing via submission to Roberto Sanchez. De La Rosa surprised many with a 2nd round submission win over Elias Garcia, rebounding from the first loss of his pro career.

Both men are 5’6″, but Sanchez will have a 3″ reach advantage. De La Rosa is the younger man by 3-years. Sanchez took this fight with roughly a week to prep.

A pension for being a slow starter, Sanchez never got out of the gates in his last out- submitting in just 110-seconds. Joby has been finished in 2 of his 3 UFC defeats.

De La Rosa showcased his strong grappling attack, earning his 6th career win by submission.

While De La Rosa can hold his own on the feet, he will most likely focus his attack on the mat. Sanchez has given up a combined 13 takedowns over his 3 UFC defeats.

Sanchez is better than his Octagon record suggests, but he is still an incredibly flawed fighter. To go along with being a bit of a slow starter and some questionable TDD, he has also been hurt on the feet on multiple occasions. De La Rosa is good on the mat and has the striking skills to both attack and position himself to put Joby on the floor- my prediction is Mark De La Rosa to defeat Joby Sanchez by submission.

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