UFC Fight Night 155: de Randamie vs Ladd | Prelim Predictions

UFC Fight Night 155: de Randamie vs Ladd | Prelim Predictions

205lbs- John Allan (13-5-0) vs Mike Rodriguez (10-3-0)

The final fight of the prelims was scheduled to feature Mike Rodriguez taking on Gian Villante, but with Villante out John Allan gets the short notice debut. Rodriguez dropped his debut to Devin Clark, but rebounded with a knockout win over Adam Milstead. Allan lost his Brazil Contenders fights to Vinicius Moreira to end a 4-fight winning streak- returned to the regional scene and secured a TKO win.

Rodriguez is an inch taller, but will have a sizeable 7″ reach advantage. Allan is the younger man by 5-years, but he will have just over a week to prepare.

The Brazilian has finished 12 of his 13 wins- 9 by knockout and 8 in the first round. All but 1 of his 5 defeats have come by submission. His last 3 wins have come over a trio of adversaries with a combined 51-36 record.

Rodriguez looked good against Milstead, battering him on the feet prior to scoring the finish. Against Clark, he struggled to let his hands good enough to counteract the impact of 7 completed takedowns.

On the feet, Allan throws with power and will mix up his offense by going to the body. He does have a tendency to sit directly in front of his opponent and leaves his head on the center line when engaging.

This fight could devolve into a pretty fun brawl for as long as it lasts. Both fighters are willing to throw hands, but Rodriguez appears to have the superior tools. With Allan deploying his offense with minimal head or lateral movement, Rodriguez’s reach and more varied offense should come into play. Mike will also utilize his kicks to keep the Brazilian off-balance when stuck on the outside- my prediction is Mike Rodriguez to defeat John Allan by decision.

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145lbs- Andre Fili (19-6-0) vs Sheymon Moraes (11-3-0)

In a potential Fight of the Night candidate, Team Alpha Males’ Andre “Touchy” Fili fights fellow California-based fighter Sheymon Moraes in the Featherweight division. Fili is coming off an impressive win over Myles Jury to secure his 3rd win in 4 outings. Moraes fell via decision to Sodiq Yusuff to snap his 2-fight winning streak- he is 2-2 in the UFC.

Fili is the taller man by 3 inches to go along with a 2″ reach advantage. They are roughly the same age.

A dangerous striker, Moraes packs considerable power in his offense. He badly hurt Arce on route to a split decision win, but struggled with the volume of Yusuff in his last fight.

Sheymon does hit hard, but he often finds himself willing to sacrifice volume for power. Additionally, he tends to slow in the second half of the fight, often losing the final round.

Fili put together his best overall striking performance, landing just short of 100 significant strikes and busting up jury with a sharp jab. “Touchy” improved activity has been the key to his recent success.

He has also found success blending in his wrestling, completing 11 takedowns over his 3 fights prior to the Jury victory.

Fili has been finished before with strikes and that is a concern against Moraes. The development of Andre’s jab and improved volume is the key here. Look for Fili to be more active on the feet, utilizing his reach to score against Moraes as he focuses on less frequent power strikes. In the second half of the fight, Fili should look to add in his wrestling to score points and further tire his foe- my prediction is Andre Fili to defeat Sheymon Moraes by decision.

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135lbs- Julianna Pena (9-3-0) vs Nico Montano (4-2-0)

A pair of fighters return after a prolonged hiatus meet in the Women’s Bantamweight division as TUF 18 winner Julianna Pena battles former Flyweight champion and TUF 26 winner Nico Montano.

Montano last fought 19-months ago while Pena hasn’t competed in almost 30-months. Pena is an inch taller and will have a 4″ reach advantage.

Montano was stripped of her title after a failed weight cut and has moved up a division to avoid future. Issues, she also ran afoul of USADA which cost her some additional time on the sidelines.

The returning Julianna is replacing the injured Sara McMann with roughly 3 weeks to prep for this fight.

Pena was on the cusp of title contention with 4-straight wins, but suffered a momentum-halting submission loss to now 125-pound champion Valentina Shevchenko.

Both girls have relied on their takedowns games to build their offense around. Pena has a trio of pre-UFC submission wins, but has opted to focus more on her GNP once on the floor.

There are benefits to moving up a division for Montano, but losing the size advantage that allowed her to control her foes on the mat is concerning. Pena is the better ground fighter and should be able to utilize her size advantage along with her technique to put Nico on the floor with regularity. The experience factor both in quality and quantity also favours Pena if the layoff doesn’t hamper her performance- my prediction is Julianna Pena to defeat Nico Montano by TKO.

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145lbs- #15 Darren Elkins (24-7-0) vs Ryan Hall (7-1-0)

Hanging on to his spot in the rankings, Darren “The Damage” Elkins will battle grappling ace Ryan “The Wizard” Hall in the Featherweight division. Elkins is coming off a brutal stoppage loss to Ricardo Lamas and has now lost back to back fights after a 6-fight winning streak. Hall dropped his pro debut but has won 7 straight fights since, including a submission win over BJ Penn in his last fight.

Both men are 5’10”, but Elkins will have a slight 1″ reach advantage. Hall is the younger man by a year.

Hall has submitted his foe in just 3 of his 7 pro wins and has secured just 1 takedown over his 3 UFC outings. Additionally, he has struggled to remain active fighting just once in 2015, 2016, and 2018 while missing all of 2017.

Hall did compete on TUF in 2015 and secured a pair of heel hook submission wins.

Elkins has made a career out of defying expectations. He is a grinder that has showcased his ability to be effective both on the mat and the feet. He averages just over 2.5 takedowns per fight, but he has also had his struggle with fighters that utilize a ground-centric offense.

He was submitted by Charles Oliveira in 2010 for his only submission loss.

The striking of Hall is fairly basic and meant entirely to keep his opponent at a distance while Hall preps his grappling attack. Look for him to use a lot of kicks before diving on an opponents leg or clinching and looking for a standing back take.

If Elkins can survive or avoid the early exchanges on the mat, he has the skills to grind out a decision win with a more active striking offense. Hall’s lack of strong competition is concerning, especially when ranked against who Elkins has faced. That being said, Hall’s unorthodox leg attacks will pose a problem, especially for an opponent will constantly be looking to close the gap- my prediction is Ryan Hall to defeat Darren Elkins by submission.

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115lbs- #10 Livinha Souza (13-1-0) vs Brianna Van Buren (8-2-0)

A pair of former Invicta FC Strawweight Champions battle it out as Livinha Souza takes on the most recent fighter to hold the title- Brianna Van Buren. Souza has won 4 in a row and is undefeated in the UFC with wins over Alex Chambers and Sarah Frota. Van Buren lost her Invicta debut, but won her next 5 fights including a trio of fights during a 1-night tournament to capture the Invicta strap.

Souza is the taller girl by 3-inches to go along with a slight 1″ reach advantage. Van Buren is the younger girl by 2 years.

BVB is making her debut with a month to prep as she replaces Cynthia Calvillo. She is fighting at home and holds several wins over UFC experienced opposition.

A BJJ Black belt, Souza has secured 8 of her 13 wins by sub- 6 in the first round. She is coming off of a 4-takedown decision win. Against Frota, Souza utilized a nice judo-style throw to score an early takedown, but she lost position when she looked for a submission.

Van Buren showcased her power wrestling game in her Invicta tournament win. After blasting her opponents with well-timed power double leg, her top game was strong and she showed she can finish once on the floor.

Souza is active off her back, but if she can’t secure a sub or counter out of the position- Van Buren is dangerous on top and can take over a fight.

Souza’s height advantage will work against her here. She will struggle to effectively change levels or control the shorter Van Buren in the clinch. Conversely, BVB will be able to make quickl level changes on Souza as she comes forward. Livia had issues with the power punching of Frota and Van Buren has shown she can throw good volume with power. Look for BVB to push Souza early and take control of the fight once she slows in rounds 2 and 3- my prediction is Brianna Van Buren to defeat Livia Souza by decision.

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135lbs- Pingyuan Liu (13-5-0) vs Jonathan Martinez (10-2-0)

The second of a 4-pack of Bantamweight bouts on the night sees China’s Pingyuan Liu take on Texas-native Jonathan Martinez. Liu has won 9 in a row including a pair of Octagon battles against Damian Stasiak and Martin Day. Martinez lost his short-notice debut to Andre Soukhamthath, but rebounded with a victory over Wuliji Buren in February.

Martinez is the taller man by 2-inches, but Liu will have a 2″ reach advantage. Jonathan is the younger man by a year.

While Liu is originally from China, he is a member of Team Alpha Male which makes this a home game for him.

Statistically, Pingyuan was badly outpointed in his last fight- losing the striking battle 100-55. He countered the volume wuth pressure, clinch fighting, and more impactful offense.

Martinez has given up 6 takedowns over his 2 UFC fights, defending just 3 of the combined 9 TDAs. Liu has shown a willingness to wrestle, but with limited success.

If Martinez can stay on the feet, he could find success with his length and volume. He also showcased some stopping power with 5 straight knockouts to start his career. None since.

Last time out, Martinez benefited from an opponent that didn’t throw a lot on the feet. This allowed him to overcome the multiple takedowns he gave up. Coming out of TAM, Liu will build an attack around exploiting this in conjunction with his striking. Pingyuan will close the gap and keep Martinez on the cage while looking to complete takedowns and land striking offense. This fight stands to be close, but Liu has more weapons- my prediction is Pingyuan Liu to defeat Jonathan Martinez by decision.

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135lbs- Benito Lopez (9-1-0) vs Vince Morales (9-3-0)

The opening fight of the card features Benito “Golden Boy” Lopez battling fellow Contenders Series graduate Vince “Vandetta” Morales in the Bantamweight division. Lopez won his debut, but suffered the first loss of his career against Manny Bermudez. Morales lost for the first time in his UFC debut, but rebounded with a victory over Aiemann Zahabi in his sophomore appearance.

Lopez is the taller man by 3 inches and will have a similar reach advantage. Benito is the younger man by 4-years.

With both fighters recently suffering their first career losses, that becomes a relevant scenario. Morales got back in the win column in his last fight- taking some pressure off. Conversely, Lopez is coming off his first-ever defeat. This should motivate him to put on a strong performance.

Morales took this fight on 2-weeks notice, replacing Martin Day.

“Vandetta” has shown he can strike and has some decent power. Against Zahabi, he had some issues closing the distance and his striking was a little predictable at times.

All 5 of Lopez’s finishes have occurred in the first round.

This fight should be contested primarily on the feet and will most likely devolve into a brawl once both fighters open up. Lopez could find a slight edge on the mat if they hit the ground. On the feet, look for Lopez to utilize his reach advantage, forcing Morales to cover more distance. Benito is the more varied striker and is fighting at home which will provide further motivation- my prediction is Benito Lopez to defeat Vince Morales by decision.

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