UFC Fight Night 149 Preliminary Predictions

UFC Fight Night 149 Preliminary Predictions

145lbs- Movsar Evloev (10-0-0) vs Sung Woo Choi (7-1-0)

The headlining fight of the undercard features a pair of debuting fighters as Movsar Evloev meets Sung Woo Choi in the Featherweight division. Evloev is undefeated, fighting his entire career under the M-1 banner which included winning the promotions 135-pound title in 2017. Choi has secured a pair of wins since suffering his first pro loss which he avenged in his most recent fight.

Choi stands 5’11”, 3 inches taller than his opponent, but he will have just a 2″ reach. Evloev is the younger man by 2-years, but is moving up from his normal Bantamweight home. Choi hasn’t competed in 16-months while Evloev has been out of action for 9-months.

With a pair of debuting fighters, there is a lot to figure out. Choi’s last 3 opponents are a combined 23-11 compared to 44-13 for Evloev, so neither man is fighting low-level opposition. The edge goes to Evloev based on the experience of his opponents, but both men have recent title fight experience.

Choi is also fighting with just 3-weeks to prepare.

Evloev’s greatest edge in this fight is on the mat with a strong wrestling attack and submission skills. If Choi can force him to remain vertical, he has some pop in his hands and decent striking skills to rely on. Ultimately, the Russian is capable of holding his own on the feet long enough to close and get the fight to the floor. Look for Movsar to work to Choi’s back to set up his submission of choice- my prediction is Movsar Evloev to defeat Sung Woo Choi by submission.

170lbs- Sultan Aliev (14-3-0) vs Keita Nakamura (34-8-1 1NC)

In the Welterweight division, Bellator alumni Sultan Aliev returns to Russia for the first time in 5-years to take on the talented Japanese veteran Keita “K-Taro” Nakamura. Aliev is 1-2 in the UFC with a split decision win over Bojan Velickovic sandwiched between knockout losses. Nakamura’s second run with the promotion has seen him win 4 of 7, alternating wins and losses including a pair of split decision wins.

Aliev has fought in 11-months and has just a single fight since late 2016. He has an inch reach advantage over “K-Taro”, but they are the same age and height.

Nakamura’s durability has been an impressive feature of his 46-fight career. Aliev has won 10-times by knockout, the last coming back in 2014.

Despite his 10-wins by knockout, Sultan’s striking leaves a lot to be desired. Conversely, Nakamura offers a better than expected striking attack with more power than his stats would suggest. Unless Aliev can take Keita down and pin him to the floor for large durations of the fight, he will struggle to keep up offensively. Nakamura defends the TDAs or utilizes his submission skills to gain the edge on the mat- my prediction is Keita Nakamura to defeat Sultan Aliev by decision.

155lbs- Alexander Yakovlev (23-8-1) vs Alex Da Silva (20-1-0)

In the Lightweight division, Alexander Yakovlev takes on the debuting Alex Da Silva of Brazil. Yakovlev is 2-4 in the promotion, most recently he lost fights to Zak Cummings and the now Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman. Da Silva has picked up back to back wins since suffering the first loss of his pro career back in 2017.

A former Welterweight, Yakolev is massive at Lightweight, standing 7-inches taller than Da Silva, but only hold a slight 1″ reach advantage. Da Silva is coming in on 3-weeks notice and is the younger man by 12-years while Yakolev hasn’t fought in nearly 29-months.

Finishing all 20 of his opponents, 13 by knockout- Da Silva has put together an impressive run that has included 17 first round finishes. Yakolev scored a number of finishes early in his career, but has just 1 over his last 11-fights.

It is a battle between a debuting short-notice fighter and one coming off a huge layoff, but fighting at home. Yakovlev is massive, but that could work against him if the fight goes poorly The Brazilian is the faster man but that won’t matter if Alexander can ground him. Yakolev’s losses have come against decent competition and that isn’t the case for Da Silva who has limited experience beyond round 1. Yakolev drags the Brazilian beyond the opening frame, where his size and experience play a significant role- my prediction is Alexander Yakolev by decision.

265lbs- #10 Marcin Tybura (17-4-0) vs #13 Shamil Abdurakhimov (19-4-0)

In one of the few fights to feature ranked fighters, #10 Heavyweight Marcin Tybura of Poland takes on Russia’s Shamil Abdurakhimov. Tybura secured a decision win over Stefan Struve to end a 2 fight losing skid. Abdurakhimov has won back to back fights over Chase Sherman and Andrei Arlovski.

Both fighters are 6’3″, but Tybura will have a 2″ reach advantage. The younger man by 4-years, Marcin should be the heavier man by 15-pounds.

Neither man is known for the high offensive outputs. Instead, both have proven themselves capable of grinding their way to a win.

Tybura offers a decent kicking attack at distance and his clinch game will serve him well on the inside. Abdurakhimov is simply not busy enough on the feet and with Tybura’s ability to mix in a couple of well-timed takedowns- he will control this fight. my prediction is Marcin Tybura to defeat Shamil Abdurakhimov by decision.

205lbs- Gadzhimurad Antigulov (20-5-0) vs Michal Oleksiejczuk (13-2-0)

The second fight of the night features a quick turnaround for Polish fighter Michal Oleksiejczuk as steps in on short notice to face Gadzhimurad Antigulov in the Light Heavyweight division. Oleksiejczuk is undefeated in 11 with a TKO win over Gian Villante and a win turned NC against Khalil Rountree. Antigulov scored quick back to back submission to start in the UFC, but suffered an opening round TKO loss to Ion Cutelaba last time out.

Oleksiejczuk is the taller man by an inch, but he will have a 4″ reach advantage. The Pole is the younger man by 8-years.

The Polish fighter likes to push a torrid pace and look for his foe to falter. He is also willing to absorb damage in the process. Antigulov focusses his attack on takedowns. Timing his foe, putting them on their back, and working towards a submission finish.

If Antigulov can score the early takedown, he could wrap this fight up before Oleksiejczuk can deploy the skills that make him most effective. Conversely, if the aggressive start of Antigulov doesn’t pay dividends, we will fade and get put down by the unrelenting onslaught of Michal. The speed and movement of the Pole will make it difficult for the Russian to close on him and his struggle to secure control on the floor will cost him as it did in his last fight- my prediction is Michal Oleksiejczuk to defeat Gadzhimurad Antigulov by TKO.

155lbs- Magomed Mustafaev (13-2-0) vs Rafael Fiziev (6-0-0)

The first of a couple of long lost Russians on the card, Magomed Mustafaev returns to action to meet the debuting Rafael Fiziev in the Lightweight division. Mustafaev started his UFC run with a pair of wins to extend his winning streak to 13 before running into the future contender Kevin Lee. Fiziev is coming off a successful debut in Titan FC in late 2018, his first fight a year.

Mustafaev has not competed since November 2016, 29-months ago. Physically, they are identical with Fiziev the younger man by 5-years.

Building on his extensive Muay Thai background, Fiziev has parlayed his skills to 5 knockouts- 4 in the first round. In a similar fashion, Mustafaev has hammered his way to 10 knockout wins.

Neither man has ever seen the scorecards and most likely won’t here either. Mustafaev does some decent bodywork, but he tends to be a little wild with his techniques. Fiziev is the technically superior striker and Mustafaev’s layoff could lead to a bit of a slow start. Mustafaev does have the option to go to the floor in this fight and has a sizeable edge in experience. Look for the Russian to get the home crowd popping early, my prediction is Magomed Mustafaev to defeat Rafael Fiziev by TKO.

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