UFC Fight Night 151 Preliminary Predictions

UFC Fight Night 151 Preliminary Predictions

135lbs- #14 Macy Chiasson (4-0-0) vs Sarah Moras (5-4-0)

The headlining fight of the undercard features recent TUF winner Macy Chiasson taking on Canadian Sarah “Cheesecake” Moras in the Bantamweight division. After defeating Pannie Kianzad in the TUF final, Chiasson finished Gina Mazany via first-round TKO at UFC 235. Mora has dropped back to back fights to Lucie Pudilova and Talita Bernardo- both by decision.

Chiasson formerly competed at Featherweight but made the move to 135 for her last fight. She is 4-inches taller than her foe to go along with a 5″ reach advantage. Moras is the older fighter by 3-years.

The recent TUF victor is early in her UFC career, but Macy is certainly making waves in a division badly in need of new faces. Conversely, Moras is a veteran that turned pro in 2010- but has struggled to remain active.

To be successful, the Canadian needs this fight on the floor. Moras has secured a pair of submission wins and is dangerous both from top and bottom position.

Conversely, Chiasson has demonstrated the ability to defend TDAs and turn the position in her favour. She offers a good sprawls and will utilize her long limbs to set up submissions and land ground and pound.

On the feet, the advantage swings entirely in the American’s favour. Macy hits very hard and can carry a steady pace. Moras has never been finished, but Chiasson’s offensive onslaught can be a lot to withstand.

With a short divisional debut, concerns still exist regarding Macy’s ability to handle a more demanding bout. That being said, Moras’s cardio concerns are well-establish. She is a dismal 1-4 in decisions and on multiple occasions she has tired in the early stages of a fight.

The window for Sarah’s success is limited, but she does have an avenue to victory. If Moras can get Chiasson down or catch her in a scramble, she could secure a submission win. She also risks exposing herself to vicious ground and pound of her foe. On the feet, look for Chiasson to blast Moras with brutal punching combinations. Whether standing or on the mat, Moras won’t be able to withstand’s Macy’s power- my prediction is Macy Chiasson to defeat Sarah Moras by TKO.

135lbs- Vince Morales (8-3-0) vs Aiemann Zahabi (7-1-0)

In the Bantamweight division, Tristar member Aiemann Zahabi takes on promotional sophomore Vince “Vandetta” Morales. Zahabi is 1-1 in the UFC, debuting with a victory but falling via knockout to Ricardo Ramos in his next bout. Morales lost via submission in his Contenders bout, earned a victory in Bellator, and was finally called to the UFC where he dropped a decision loss to Yadong Song.

The Canadian has not fought in over 17-months. Zahabi is 3-years older than his opponent. Morales will have a 2″ reach advantage despite being the shorter man by an inch.

Morales offers a decent striking attack. He will throw in combination and landed almost on par with his foe despite giving up a couple of takedowns.

Zahabi is coming off his first career loss which can spark a fighter to put forth an improved effort in his next fight.

Over his 2 performances, Aiemann has offered a lower than expected offensive output. He is patient and will look or opening, but is passivity creates openings for his adversary to outwork him. Prior to coming to the UFC, he had never fought beyond the first frame.

It is worth noting that he gave up 5 takedowns in just under 6-rounds of action.

In both his UFC and Contenders Series fights, Morales struggled with his opponent’s forward pressure. He routinely allows his foe to dictate the pace and will fight with his back to the cage- limiting his space for movement.

There is concern over the layoff and impact of the knockout loss suffered by Zahabi. He needs to get off to a better start, but the combination of his grappling attack and the questionable striking defense of Morales will be key here. Morales could outwork him on the feet, but look for the Canadian to take him to the floor if the vertical exchanges start to go poorly- my prediction is Aiemann Zahabi to defeat Vince Morales by submission.

170lbs- Nordine Taleb (14-6-0) vs Kyle Prepolec (12-5-0)

In a contest recently altered by injury, 10-fight UFC veteran Nordine Taleb takes on the debuting Kyle Prepolec in the Welterweight division. Taleb has dropped back to back fights and 3 of his last 5 with wins over Danny Roberts and Oliver Enkamp. Prepolec scored a decision victory over UFC castoff Cody Pfister for his 4th win over his last 5 contests.

Prepolec traditionally fights at Lightweight which will help him with the short notice. He is replacing Siyar Bahadurzada with less than 2 weeks to prep. Taleb is 2 inches taller and will have a 4″ reach advantage. Kyle is 8-years younger than Nordine.

The UFC newcomer has some power in his hands winning 7-times by knockout. He hurt Pfister on multiple occasions, including a devastating hook to the body, but he was unable to finish him.

Taleb’s best work has come on the mat as he has completed takedowns in 5 of his 6 UFC wins- 15 in total. By comparison, he has completed just a single takedown over his 4 UFC wins.

The recent success of the native of France has come via his power, stomping 2 of his last 3 wins by knockout. He has 7 wins by some form of knockout. His kicking game is solid and he works a decent overall counter striking offense.

Prepolec should have a speed advantage in this bout to go along with his power. With the recent knockout loss by Taleb, Kyle could find a finish if he can find a home for his power strikes.

Taleb needs to go back to his strength; wrestling. Prepolec showed good takedown defense against Pfister, but still found himself struggling to maintain the distance. If Nordine gets in on his hips, he should be able to take him down. Taleb’s size will show up on the mat and as long as he can account for the speed edge of his foe, the impact of his striking will also be greater- my prediction is Nordine Taleb to defeat Kyle Prepolec by decision.

145lbs- Kyle Nelson (12-2-0) vs Matt Sayles (7-2-0)

Huntsville product Kyle “The Monster” Nelson gets his first full camp for a UFC bout when he takes on Matt “Robo” Sayles in the Featherweight division. Nelson started strong but fell via TKO to Carlos Diego Ferreira in his short notice debut. Sayles also came up short in his first UFC showing, dropping a decision to Sheymon Moraes.

Nelson debuted at Lightweight but is moving down to 145-pounds. He is the taller man by 4 inches to go along with a 3″ reach advantage. Sayles is the younger fighter by 3-years.

The Canadian put on a show early against Ferreira, landing multiple combinations and hurting him with a stiff push kick to the lower abdomen. Nelson has split his 8 finishes evenly between knockouts and submissions.

While Nelson faded in his debut, Sayles did his best work in the later stages of his fight. “Robo” landed 36 of his 77-significant strikes in the final frame.

A member of Alliance MMA and training partner of Dominick Cruz, Sayles utilizes a lot of footwork and movement to both setup both his offense and defense. He has some decent power, finishing 6 of his 7 wins by knockout.

He has fought beyond the first round just 4-times, with a 2-2 record.

While Nelson’s performance was most likely impacted by a couple of outside factors, Sayle’s style seems more suited to find success later in the fight. That being said, both fighters are finishers and capable of ending the fight early. Look for Nelson to come out aggressive with Sayles avoiding his early onslaught and potentially mixing in his wrestling. Sayles will avoid Nelson’s early offense before turning the fight in his favour- my prediction is Matt Sayles to defeat Kyle Nelson by TKO.

265lbs- Juan Adams (5-0-0) vs Arjan Singh Bhullar (8-1-0)

In the Heavyweight division, mountainous Juan “The Krakken” Adams takes on Canadian-born Arjan Bhullar. Most recently, Bhullar scored a decision win over Marcelo Golm to improve his UFC record to 2-1. Adams made a successful debut with a 3rd round TKO win over Chris de la Rocha to remain undefeated.

At 6’5″, Adams is a full 4 inches taller than Arjan to go along with a 5″ reach advantage. Juan should tip the scales 15 to 20 pounds heavier than his foe and he is the younger man by 6-years.

A former Collegiate wrestler, Adams has shown his willingness to take his opponent down. He has yet to record a win by submission, but his GNP has finished multiple foes.

Prior to his UFC debut, Adams had never fought beyond the opening frame. He noticeably slowed in round 2 against de la Rocha.

In stark contrast, Bhullar has had just a single fight end in the first frame. He is 5-0 in decisions and has gone 5-rounds once in his career.

Despite his high-level wrestling background, Bhullar has completed just 4 takedowns over 3 fights. In fact, his only multi-takedown performance came in defeat.

Where he does a decent job is striking before closing the gap to clinch and control his opponent on the cage. His ability to maintain a consistent output can be an effective weapon at the Heavyweight level.

Adams has the ability to end this fight early and Bhullar’s struggles to score takedowns is concerning. The size factor could help Juan in the opening round, but his lack of long fight experience could make his size a liability later in the contest. Bhullar has had a lot of success in longer fights and will be in his element grinding down Adams in rounds 2 and 3. Look for Bhullar to work at close range to nullify the power of his foe and control the action once he begins to slow- my prediction is Arjan Singh Bhullar to defeat Juan Adams by decision.

135lbs- Mitch Gagnon (12-4-0) vs Cole Smith (6-0-0)

The first fight of the night features the returning Canadian Mitch Gagnon battling short notice debutant Cole Smith in the Bantamweight division. Gagnon has dropped back to back fights, losing to Matthew Lopez and Renan Barao. Smith is undefeated with including a submission victory to start his 2019 run.

Smith took this fight with roughly 3-weeks to prep. He is the taller man by 6-inches to go along with a 2″ reach advantage. Gagnon is the older man by 5-years and hasn’t fought in 28-months and just once since 2014.

Smith has recorded 5-finishes, ending 4 in the first round, 1 in the 4th round to go along with a 5 round decision win. His last 3 opponents are a combined 9-7.

The UFC veteran put together a solid 4-fight winning streak, but his back to back losses and prolong layoff and slowed his rise significantly.

Gagnon has ended 11 of his 12 victories by submission- 10 in the first round. He is 2-4 beyond the initial 5-minutes.

Smith recently focussed on improving his striking and focussed on his Muay Thai training, but in recent action, he has shown a willingness to look for takedowns and grind his opponent on the wall.

The focus for Mitch will be to close the distance, drag Smith to the floor and set up his submission game. The prolong layoff and his already questionable cardio limit his window for that opportunity. Look for the length of Smith to help him to keep Gagnon out of range early. Gagnon will work hard for takedowns and that will show up in rounds 2 and 3 as Smith’s relentless pressure capitalizes on a tired opponent- my prediction is Cole Smith to defeat Mitch Gagnon by submission.

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