UFC Fight Night 161: Jedrzejczyk vs Waterson | Prelim Predictions

UFC Fight Night 161: Jedrzejczyk vs Waterson | Prelim Predictions

170lbs- Niko Price (13-2-0 1NC) vs James Vick (13-3-0)

Now promoted to the main card, Niko “The Hybrid” Price battles former Welterweight James “The Texicutioner” Vick in a potential FOTN Welterweight contest. Price suffered a brutal round 2 knockout against Geoff Neal, previously winning 3 of his last 4 fights including a devastating stoppage of Tim Means. Vick started his UFC pushed 9-1, but he has since lost a trio of fights, most recently suffering a knockout loss to Dan Hooker.

A towering 6’3″, Vick is finally making the long-expected move to Welterweight. He is 3-inches taller than Price, but they share the same 76″ reach. Price is the younger man by 2-years.

The cut was getting difficult for Vick and potentially compromising his durability. That being said, he was utilizing his size advantage effectively over other Lightweights. At Welterweight, that advantage will be diminished or non-existent.

Price is a smart fighter. When faced with a grappling vulnerable opponent, he grapples. When faced with a fighter he can outwork on the feet, he focusses his attention there. His willingness to step into the pocket and trade has led him to victory, but it has also cost him matchups. He has been finished in each of his last 3 defeats- twice by knockout.

With 12 of 13 wins coming inside the distance (9 by knockout), Price has demonstrated his finishing ability with regularity in the UFC.

Vick works a decent volume game, with an average output of over 4 significant strikes per minute. His movement and flow of offense improved significantly during his winning streak. Conversely, Vick’s chin is a growing concern. He has been violently knocked out on a trio of occassions, including twice over his last 3 fights. If he can get the action to the floor, the Texas-native has a decent submission game.

Vick has recorded 5 wins by submission, accounting for 3 of his first 6 UFC wins. He has completed just 2 takedowns over his 13 UFC fights.

If Vick’s durability improves at 170, the move is worth giving up the edge in size. He is also coming off of 3 consecutive defeats which should result in an increased level of desperation. Price opens himself up to taking damage and can be stopped, but he should still be the more durable fighter with greater pop in his punches. Vick will struggle with the lack of reach and physicality of heavier opposition. Price walks him down and eventually catches him during an exchange- my prediction is Niko Price to defeat James Vick by knockout.

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205lbs- Ryan Spann (15-5-0) vs Devin Clark (9-3-0)

In the newly promoted undercard main event, Ryan “Superman” Spann makes his 3rd UFC walk as he faces Devin “Brown Bear” Clark in the Light Heavyweight division. Spann has won back to back fights to start his UFC run and extend his overall winning streak to 6 consecutive fights. Clark bested Darko Stosic by decision and has alternated wins and losses over his last 5 fights.

At 6’5″, Spann stands 5-inches taller than Clark to go along with a 4″ reach advantage. “Superman” is the younger man by a year.

Clark is undersized for the division, but the cut to 185 is too draining. He wrestles well, completing at least 1 takedown in each of his 4 wins and he is 3-0 when he can land 2 or more. Packing up his wrestling he has power in his hands. Despite having zero knockouts in the UFC he hurt and nearly finished Alexandar Rakic.

Clark has been finished twice and submitted once, accounting for all of his defeats. He is undefeated in 6 trips to the scoreboard.

Despite an impressive KO of Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, knockouts have accounted for just 4 of 16 wins. That being said he has finished 3 of his last 5 wins via strikes. An area of concern for “Superman” has been his conditioning. Prior to his successful debut. had lost his last 3 bouts to go beyond the opening 5 minutes.

Spann has a solid grappling game that has accounted for 10 submission wins, but he did give up 4 takedowns in his debut.

Both fighters have less than stellar chins which could lead to a stoppage win on either side. With Clark holding the wrestling edge and Spann’s questionable TDD, “Brown Bear” can dictate where he wants this bout to take place. Look for him to grind early, drag Spann to the floor and control him. Clark should be able to set a pace with his clinch pressure and top control that troubles Spann, especially as the fight advances- my prediction is Devin Clark to defeat Ryan Spann by decision.

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170lbs- Max Griffin (15-6-0) vs Alex Morono (16-5-0 1NC)

In the Welterweight division, Max “Pain” Griffin meets Houston-native Alex “The Great White” Morono. Morono is coming off of back to back wins over Song Kenan and Zak Ottow, rebounding from a 4-fight stretch that saw him win just once. Griffin took a majority win over Zelim Imadaev after back to back defeats to Curtis Millener and Thiago Alves.

Both men are 5’11”, but Max will have a 4″ reach advantage. Morono is the younger man by 5-years.

Morono is a capable BJJ practitioner but rarely opts to take his opponent to the floor. Instead, “The Great White” utilizes an aggressive striking based attack. His stance is unorthodox and he authors wide looping punches. He has finished 2 of his last 3 wins, returning to the finishing skills that he showcased on the regional scene.

Despite his jiu-jitsu skills, Morono has been vulnerable to takedown heavy attacks. He is 0-2 when his opponent completes 2 or more takedowns.

Griffin is a dog, willing to put forth maximum effort in pursuit of the finish. He has gone the distance in 5-straight fights, winning just 2. He was robbed in the Alves decision and started strong against Millender before faltering in rounds 2 and 3. Griffing is a more diversified fighter than his foe, working a boxing attack on the feet and mixing in his wrestling where appropriate.

Over his last 3 fights, he has completed 9 takedowns on 17 attempts- including 6 in his last fight.

Max’s has a tendency to fade and Morono has shown he can push a strong pace deep into a fight. But, Griffin is the more skilled striker and has a little more power behind his techniques. He was able to avoid Mike Perry’s power and should find success here as well. Further, look for Griffin to continue to utilize his wrestling in the face of Morono’s leaky defensive work. Griffin sticks to the outside with technical striking volume and catches Alex with solid level changes for top control- my prediction is Max Griffin to defeat Alex Morono by decision.

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125lbs- #3 Deiveson Figueiredo (15-1-0) vs #6 Tim Elliott (15-8-1)

Former title challenger Tim Elliott squares off with Brazils Deiveson Figueiredo in the Flyweight division. Figueiredo lost to Jussier Formiga, the first defeat of his career, but rallied to beat Alexandre Pantoja on the scorecards. Elliott is returning after a prolonged layoff- he is 2-2 over his last 4 with a win over Mark De La Rossa last time out.

Elliott hasn’t fought in nearly 2-years after an ACL injury. He is the taller man by 2-inches, but he will give up 2-inches of reach to the Brazilian.

Despite working his way to a title shot, Elliott is just 4-6 inside the Octagon. Over his 4 wins, he has recorded 26 total takedowns, including his UFC-best 12 against Louis Smolka. Elliott utilizes a lot of unorthodox movement in his offense, moving around the cage and looking to set up takedown opportunities.

He has struggled against opponents that he is unable to bully to the floor with regularity- he averages well under 2 completions per defeat.

Figueiredo throws absolute hammers. He has finished 9 opponents by knockout, 3 in the UFC. He showcased excellent head movement against Pantoja, slipping out of range and landing devastating elbows and punches- hurting his foe on multiple occasions. He does a decent job of picking his moments to engage and when to sit back and counter.

Deiveson has a serviceable submission attack that could catch Elliott if he gets careless, but the Brazilian has had some issues with his TDD.

If Tim is going to get a win, he needs to weaponize his pace effectively without opening himself up. His willingness to allow his defense to lapse while attacking will give Figueiredo plenty of opportunities to inflict damage of the course of the fight. Elliott simply lacks the striking skills to compete on the feet and he will struggle to find success with his takedowns- my prediction is Deiveson Figueiredo to defeat Tim Elliott by TKO.

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135lbs- Marlon Vera (13-5-1) vs Andre Ewell (14-5-0)

With 4-straight wins, Marlon “Chito” Vera attempts to continue his momentum when he takes on “Mr. Highlight” Andre Ewell in the Bantamweight division. Vera holds recent wins over Frankie Saenz and Nohelin Hernandez. Ewell is 2-1 in the UFC, upsetting former champion Renan Barao in his debut, falling to Ethan Woods by sub, and overcoming Anderson dos Santos last time out.

Both fighters are tall for the division at 5’8″, but Ewell will have a sizable 5″ reach advantage. Vera is the younger fighter by 4-years.

With both men traditionally holding a length advantage over their opponent, it will be interesting to see who can make the needed adjustments. With Ewell still holding a reaching advantage and doing his best work on the feet, he may have the edge in this scenario.

“Mr. Highlight” has power (7 knockouts) and offers a solid striking arsenal. Ewell will want to keep this fight standing and pressure Vera on the feet. Vera has traditionally been a slow starter and can be backed up by an aggressive opponent.

While Marlon can hold his own on the feet, but his advantage on the mat should be his central focus. Vera has secured 8 wins by submission and has secured takedowns in 3 of his last 4 fights. He is a lot to handle on the mat, offering a nice variety of submission offense.

Ewell has struggled on the floor, suffering through a trio of submission losses and giving up 7 takedowns over 3 fights.

Vera could win this fight with a steadily flow of striking pressure. That being said, the American is more than capable of hurting Vera and utilizing his reach to keep Marlon out of effective range. Ultimately, the defensive grappling issues that Ewell has experienced plays directly into Vera’s strength. Look for Marlon to take Ewell to the floor setting up either a wide decision or submission win- my prediction is Marlon Vera to defeat Andre Ewell by submission.

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170lbs- Miguel Baeza (6-0-0) vs Hector Aldana (4-2-0)

An 0-2 start to his UFC tenure has Hector Aldana facing the cutting block when he meets the debuting Miguel Baeza in the Welterweight division. Aldana dropped his debut to Kenan Song by TKO and lost his sophomore outing to Laureano Staropoli by decision. Baeza is undefeated, including a 2019 Tuesday Night Contender’s Series victory on the scorecards- he turned pro in 2016.

Baeza is 3 inches taller than Aldana to go along with a 2″ reach advantage. Baeza is the younger fighter by 4-years.

The UFC newcomer has finished 4 of his 6 wins by knockout- 3 in the opening round. Baez has power in his right and scored an early knockdown in his Contenders bout. He will mix in some hard leg and body kicks and hurt his foe with some well-timed knee strikes. He has a tendency to get predictable and needs to vary his offense up to be effective.

Baez has zero wins by submission, but he went for a late sub but was unable to secure it and ended up on his back.

Mexico’s Aldana showed his willingness to sit down and trade at close range. He will throw multi-punch combos which cost him in his debut, leading to a knockout and he suffered some serious facial damage in his next fight. Prior to making his debut, Aldana had a decent run on the Latin American TUF, but sat out nearly 5-years between pro fights.

Hector earned a Fight of the Night bonus in a losing effort against Staropoli.

Aldana has stayed in the UFC because he is willing to throw caution to the wind and scrap. That style has not equated to victories at this level, but it is sure entertaining. Baeza is the more diversified fighter, but he will also willingly engage in a firefight. Miguel stands to have more power, superior durability, and a length advantage; that is too much for Aldana- my prediction is Miguel Baeza to defeat Hector Aldana by knockout.

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185lbs- Marvin Vettori (13-4-1) vs Andrew Sanchez (12-4-0)

The first of 2 Middleweight scraps on the card will feature Italy’s Marvin Vettori battling TUF Champion Andrew “El Dirte” Sanchez. Vettori secured a decision win over Cezar Ferreira to rebound from his split decision loss over the newly crowned Middleweight champion- he is 3-2-1 in the UFC. Sanchez is coming off back to back wins after suffering through a pair of defeats- he is 4-2 inside the Octagon.

This fight was originally booked to play out in early September, but Sanchez was forced to pull out.

Vettori is the younger man by 5-years, with Sanchez standing an inch taller and sharing the same 74″ reach.

Sanchez’s success has largely come on the strength of his takedowns. He has completed 15 takedowns over 6 fights, but in his 2 UFC defeats he has landed 7 compared to 8 over his 4 victories.

The glaring concern for “El Dirte” has been his cardio- he has a tendency to slow down in fights and did so in both his round 3 knockout defeats.

Vettori is a grinder. He does a good job of staying active with function offense, forcing his opponent to work and unleashing a steady flow of damage. At his best, he lands in the 65 to 75 significant strike range and is coming off his UFC best 78 strikes landed.

At 79% his TDD is solid and he has 8 wins by submission. While his first UFC loss did come due to a 4-pack of takedowns secured by Antonio Carlos Junior, Vettori successfully stuffed all 5 TDAs offered against Ferreira.

Sanchez has shown recent improvement in his pacing, but Vettori is going to test him. If Andrew can secure multiple takedowns over the first 2 frames he could work his way to a decision. That approach has cost him twice in previous fights and while Vettori is far from a knockout machine, he is still dangerous on the feet. Look for Marvin to battle through a few early TDAs, land decent volume and keep pushing as Sanchez becomes far less effective- my prediction is Marvin Vettori to defeat Andrew Sanchez by decision.

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125lbs- JJ Aldrich (7-3-0) vs Lauren Mueller (5-1-0)

The opening contest of the night goes down in the Women’s Flyweight division as JJ Aldrich takes on Lauren “Princess Tiger” Mueller. Aldrich is coming off a comeback loss to Maycee Barber that saw her finished in round 2 after a strong start- she had won 3 straight fights. Mueller is coming off of back to back losses- after a successful debut win over Shana Dobson.

Both girls are an identical 5’5″ with a 67″ reach, but Mueller formerly fought at 135 pounds and JJ at 115 pounds. Aldrich is the younger fighter by a year.

Mueller’s pre-UFC run took place under the Gladiator Challenge banner against a trio of foes with a combined 0-7 record. Her first UFC opponent was just 3-1 at the time and is now 3-3. These numbers suggest a potential answer for her recent struggles.

Offering a striking heavy approach in each of her last 2 fights, Mueller may look to take Aldrich down- an area that JJ has struggled with.

Aldrich has found success with a consistent striking offense, working a technical boxing game backed by sound footwork and linear combinations. Against Baber, JJ stunned her with a hard left hand early and utilized counters as Maycee came forward.

She landed her UFC-best 98 strikes against Chan-Mi Jeon in 2017.

Aldrich was finished by Baber- it will be interesting to see how she rebounds. Mueller is going to struggle to match Aldrich on the feet, with JJ holding notable edges in volume, footwork, and overall technical skill. If Mueller can bully her along the cage and score some takedowns, that is her best avenue to victory. Aldrich will rebound with a more active boxing attack, both initiating exchanges and countering Lauren as she comes forward- my prediction is JJ Aldrich to defeat Lauren Mueller by decision.

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Scott Johnson

scott

Starting in 2010, Scott began posting UFC and NFL predictions videos on youtube under the name Kamikaze Overdrive MMA Predictions. Eventually, MMA became his main focus and as the channel's popularity grew Kamikaze Overdrive eventually expanded to include a website. Scott has worked for various MMA and Sports betting information sites and now posts UFC Predictions, Betting Breakdowns, and Content along with other sports-related betting information.

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