UFC Fight Night 146- Preliminary Predictions

UFC Fight Night 146- Preliminary Predictions

170lbs- Anthony Martin (14-4-0) vs Sergio Moraes (13-4-1)

Undercard main event features the reborn Anthony Rocco Martin taking on Brazilian grappling ace Sergio “Panther” Moraes in the Welterweight division. Martin has won 3 in a row, all since moving up from Lightweight- he is coming off a submission of Jake Matthews. Moraes earned a submission win over Ben Saunders for his 2nd straight win, the Brazilian has just a single loss (to the current champion) over his last 10 fights.

Both men are 6’0″ while Martin will have a 1″ reach advantage. Her is 7-years younger than Sergio.

The curious case of Sergio Moraes saw him go roughly 5-years between submission wins. The elite BJJ Black belt has recorded just 3 wins by sub in 11 UFC contests,

The total number of the American’s UFC submission wins aren’t overwhelming either. Martin has 9 career victories by sub, but just 3 of his 7 UFC wins have come via tap out.

The one considerable difference lies in Martin’s 2 submission losses while Sergio has never lost via sub.

Moraes is the first to submit Saunders, utilizing a smothering top game leading to the finish. Previously, Moraes had focussed heavily on his striking attack. He is erratic, but aggressive on the feet which is frustrating considering how good he is on the mat.

Martin’s win over Matthews saw him capitalize on a tired fighter in the final round, jumping on a sub as Jake faded. Martin has previously had issues with cardio, often fading after the first frame- but has since improved that aspect of his game.

If Martin can keep Sergio on the outside, he could jab his way to win. Conversely, the wild nature of Moraes will lend itself to both edging Martin out with volume and creating some scramble opportunities. Sergio would be best served to grapple early and make Martin work. Even if Martin survives the early grappling exchange, it will tire him out and make him less aggressive on the feet. Either way, Moraes is too good to overlook on the mat- my prediction is Sergio Moraes to defeat Tony Martin by decision.

135lbs- #6 Marion Reneau (9-4-1) vs #9 Yana Kunitskaya (11-4-0 1NC)

Former Featherweight title challenger and Invicta Bantamweight Champion Yana Kunitskaya looks to continue her momentum when she battles the also tough Mario Reneau. Reneau is coming off a decision loss to Cat Zingano, closing the book on a 4 fight undefeated stretch (3-0-1). Kunitskaya dropped her debut to Cris Cyborg, but returned to 135 to best Lina Lansberg on the scorecards.

Both girls are 5’6″ and share a 68″ reach. Kunitskaya is 12-years younger than Reneau.

The Russian comes from a striking background but has utilized her grappling attack in recent action. Yana recorded 5 takedowns against Lansberg- utilizing a well-executed throw from the clinch.

Reneau has struggled with takedown oriented fighters. She has been taken down in each of her last 7 fights, losing the takedown battle 17-2.

Despite her struggles on the mat, Marion has showcased her ability to rally with multiple stoppage wins after getting off to a slow start. She owns a 3-pack of submission wins- 2 in the UFC.

Kunitskaya has finished 7 opponents by knockout with just a trio of decision wins. Offering an extended attack, she showcased a consistent offensive flow against Lansberg that carried her to a wide decision win.

Conversely, Reneau has struggled on the cards at 1-4-1, failing to outwork her adversaries in close fights.

If Yana can pile up the takedowns and/or Marion pulls guard too often, Reneau will struggle to overcome that deficit with her striking output. Even if the fight is contested on the feet, Kunitskaya has power and decent striking technique capable of leading her to a win. While Reneau could catch her off her back, Yana has more consistent weapons to work with- my prediction is Yana Kunitskaya to defeat Marion Reneau by decision.

145lbs- Julian Erosa (22-6-0) vs Grant Dawson (12-1-0)

In search of his first UFC win since 2015, Julian Erosa will welcome the debuting Grant Dawson in the Featherweight division. Erosa suffered a 46-second knockout loss to Devonte Smith- he had won 3 in a row and 7 of 9 on the regional scene. Dawson has won a trio of fights since suffering his first career loss, he was last seen scoring a submission win on the Tuesday Night Contenders Series.

At 6’1″, Erosa is 3 inches taller than Dawson to go along with a 3″ reach advantage. Dawson is the younger man by 5-years, but he has been out of action for 19-months.

Dawson, a Team Alpha Male product, carries a submission heavy record- ending 9 of 12 wins by tap out. He has fought beyond the 3-minute mark of the 2nd frame just once.

While Dawson will be looking for a takedown from the opening bell, Erosa’s struggles in the UFC have come largely on the feet. Julian has been knocked out in both of his Octagon defeats and 3-times overall.

He has recorded 10 wins by knockout and 9 by sub.

Erosa has an awkward style; he hangs his hands low while moving in and out of range looking to trade.

His low hands and lacklustre striking defence have resulted in the multiple knockout defeats, but that might not be a concern against Dawson grappling-heavy attack. That being said, Grant can do some damage with his top position striking attack.

It is hard to overlook the deficiency’s of a fighter with a questionable chin, below average defence, and poor utilization of his physical advantages. That being said, If Erosa can keep this fight standing, he could work his way to a victory. Dawson’s consistent takedowns and solid top game are overwhelming and Erosa has some shaky TDD. Dawson gets in a single leg dumps, Julian to the mat, and works his way to his back- my prediction is Grant Dawson to defeat Julian Erosa by submission.

265lbs- Maurice Greene (6-2-0) vs Jeff Hughes (10-1-0)

Originally slated to feature Jeff “Lights Out” Hughes debuting against Daniel Spitz, Maurice Greene steps up on short notice to rematch Hughes from their 2018 LFA 38 title fight. After his run on TUF 28, Greene made a successful UFC debut with a submission victory over Michel Batista to rebound from his loss to Hughes. Hughes has won 4 consecutive fights; beating Greene and then Josh Appelt on the Contenders Series.

At 6’7″, Greene is 5 inches taller than Hughes to go along with a 4″ reach advantage. Hughes is the younger man by 2-years and will most likely weigh-in 5-10 pounds lighter.

Hughes carries a solid pace and in both his Contenders’ win and his title fight against Greene, he was able to push his opponent at a rate that they were unable to match.

He is 5-0 in decisions and including a pair of 5 round Champion wins.

Greene’s MMA career has been little bit of an enigma. He is coming off a submission win over a former Olympic wrestler- the 4th of his career compared to just a single knockout.

The big man comes from a kickboxing background but has invested time into developing his BJJ.

In there first meeting Greene had his moments, utilizing clinch based strikes while Hughes won key rounds with takedowns and top control.

Hughes is a self-admitted slow starter, but he overcame that last time out and will need to do so here as well. Greene has added some decent experience with his time on TUF, but the short notice scenario is not ideal against an opponent that is going to push him hard bell to bell. Hughes needs to be mindful of the guard game of Green if he relies on his TDs, but he should be able to replicate his prior success- my prediction is Jeff Hughes to defeat Maurice Greene by decision.

135lbs- Louis Smolka (15-5-0) vs Matt Schnell (12-4-0)

Former Flyweights Louis “Da Last Samurai” Smolka and “Danger” Matt Schnell meet in the Bantamweight division. Smolka made his return to the promotion at 135-pounds and earned a dominant submission victory over the debuting Su Mudaerji- he is 6-5 in UFC. Schnell has won back to back fights after dropping the first 2 fights of his UFC tenure.

Smolka is an inch taller, but Schnell will have a 2″ reach advantage. Smolka is the older man by a year.

“Danger” is coming off a striking-based victory, landing his personal UFC-best 71 significant strikes. Despite his 5 wins by submission and first 2 UFC defeats came via opening round TKO, he will most likely look to keep this fight standing.

Smolka has turned his pace and transition grappling attack into a dangerous weapon. “Da Last Samurai” will drag his adversary into a grappling exchange and work until he gets the finish.

Conversely, he is a “suicide grappler”, relinquishing takedowns and position in an attempt to drag his foe into a grappling match.

He lost 4 consecutive fights; 1 by submission and trio of decisions with a combined 19 takedowns given up.

If Schnell can stay standing, that could be his key to victory. It also opens him up to another knockout loss. Smolka is going to dive on a single leg and look to pull Matt to the floor, but if he gives up position “Danger” could submit him. Ultimately, Smolka is more durable and should find success capitalizing on Schnell’s questionable TDD- my prediction is Louis Smolka to defeat Matt Schnell by submission.

170lbs- Alex Morono (15-5-0)vs Zak Ottow (17-6-0)

The second fight of the night features a pair of Welterweights looking to gain a foothold in the division as “The Great White” Alex Morono battles Zak “The Barbarian” Ottow. Morono is coming off a victory over Kenan Song to improve his UFC mark to 4-2-0 with 1 No Contest. Ottow defeated Dwight Grant and is now 4-3 inside the Octagon.

Both men are 5’11” and share a 72″ reach. Morono is the younger man by 4-years.

Beyond a TKO win over Mike Pyle, the majority of Ottow’s UFC performances have been underwhelming. “The Barbarian” is 3-1 in UFC decisions with all 4 fights ending in a split.

Morono has had similar results, going the distance 5-times and winning 3. Over his career, Alex is 1-3 in split decisions.

Ottow does his best work on the mat and will most likely look to take Morono to the floor. Despite recording 6 wins by submission, Alex has suffered through a pair of defeats where he relinquished multiple takedowns.

Conversely, Ottow has landed more than a single completion just once in his UFC career.

The vertical output of Morono will be his key to success. He should have a noteworthy edge in striking skill and volume compared to his foe.

Unless Ottow finds more consistency with his wrestling, he won’t be able to ground Morono long enough to grind out a decision. Alex’s aggression will keep Zak on his back foot and his volume will simply be too much for Ottow to match- my prediction is Alex Morono to defeat Zak Ottow by decision.

155lbs- Alex White (12-5-0) vs Dan Moret (13-4-0)

The first fight of the night transpires int he Lightweight division between “The Spartan” Alex White and promotional sophomore Dan “The Hitman” Moret. White is coming off of a submission loss to Jim Miller and has struggled through a 3-5 tenure inside the Octagon. Moret lost to Gilbert Burns in his debut appearance, snapping a 2-fight winning streak.

Both men are 6’0″, but Moret will have a slight 2″ reach advantage. White is the younger fighter by 2-years.

Moret suffered the 2nd knockout loss of his career against Burns. Ideally, he does his best work on the mat with 8 wins by submission and will most likely try to take White to the floor.

White’s loss to Miller was his first by submission.

Despite splitting his 10 finishes evenly between submissions and knockouts, White has primarily focussed on his striking in the UFC. He has picked up 2 of 3 Octagon wins by knockout.

White will want to keep this fight standing to both capitalize on his superior striking skills and avoid the grappling offence of White. Alex has been taken down in each of his last 4 defeats; 9 takedowns in total.

This contest will come down to whether or not Moret can find success taking White to the mat. Moret will engage on the feet, but lacks power and is defensively vulnerable. White hits pretty hard and he offers a more diverse offence. White is the better athlete and appears to be the larger man as well. Alex might have to fend off some early TDAs, but he will eventually force Moret into trading- my prediction is Alex White to defeat Dan Moret by TKO.

%d bloggers like this: