UFC Fight Night 166: Blaydes vs Dos Santos | Preliminary Predictions

UFC Fight Night 166: Blaydes vs Dos Santos | Preliminary Predictions
185lbs- Bevon Lewis vs Dequan Townsend

A late notice call to the UFC saw Dequan Townsend (21-9-0) get finished in his Light Heavyweight debut, but he will make the move down to 185-pound for his sophomore appearance. It was his first loss by knockout loss of his career. He is 4-7-0 in decisions.

He struggled to mount much offense in his debut, spending the majority of the fight on his back.

Dequan has won the majority of his fights by knockout (12). When vertical, he utilized a jab followed by a power right but struggled to attack with enough frequency to make it count.

Bevon Lewis (6-2-0) has found success in portions of his UFC run, but at 0-2 he is on the cusp of an early exit. In his debut, he started strong against Uriah Hall and arguably had 2 rounds in his favour before gassing and getting finished in the final 2 frames.

Lewis’s fighting posture and overall style bears a noteworthy resemblance to his training partner- the UFC Light Heavyweight champion.

Unable to land a takedown against Stewart (0 for 5), Lewis might be keen to return to that approach against Townsend. That being said, if he expends too much energy attempting to get the fight to the floor he could suffer another late fight collapse.

Townsend is replacing Alen Amedowki on just over a month’s notice.

After back to back troubling performances, Lewis needs to put something on the table here against a journeyman opponent. Townsend has had enough success knocking out opponents to make him a threat, but those wins were far from this level. The step back in competition will help Lewis to find his footing, as he melds together decent recent striking, clinch-based offense, and some well-timed takedowns- my prediction is Bevon Lewis to defeat Dequan Townsend by decision.

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145lbs- Arnold Allen vs Nik Lentz

Inching closer to the next level of competition, the 26-Year Brit “Almighty” Arnold Allen (15-1-0) has battled his way to a 6-0 start in the UFC, most recently besting former Strikeforce champion and now Bellator competitor Gilbert Melendez.

Against Melendez, Allen put on a striking clinic landing at will and nearly tripling his previous UFC-best striking stats. He varies his techniques between head and body strikes and will mix a nice sequence of kicks to augment his boxing.

Nik Lentz (30-10-1 2NC) returns to Featherweight after a 4-2 run in the division between 2012 and 2015.

Predominantly known for his wrestling, Lentz returns to a division that saw him compile some impressive takedowns stats. Over his 4 wins at FW, he completed 22 of 58 TDAs.

In more recent action, Lentz has focused on a more striking based assault. While his wrestling has remained an ever-present aspect of his offense (average 3 TDs over last 5 wins), he has shown a greater willingness to step into the pocket and trade.

Lentz may look to his wrestling against Allen, as the Brit was taken down in 3 of his first 4 UFC fights (12 TDs). He has defended all 5 TDAs over his last 2 wins.

This bout was cobbled together after each man’s original opponent withdrew.

Allen is the more gifted fighter and will have a speed advantage. None of that will matter if he can’t stay vertical long enough to employ it. Lentz showed his willingness to commit to his wrestling to overcome a capable striker in Scott Holtzman and he will need a similar approach here. The Brit has struggled against ground-oriented fighters and Lentz’s persistent wrestling will test that once again. The move back to Featherweight will help Nik bring his physicality to bear- my prediction is Nik Lentz to defeat Arnold Allen by decision.

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125lbs- Justine Kish vs Lucie Pudilova

Back to back UFC wins at Strawweight were undone by a loss to Felice Herrig and move to Flyweight where Justine Kish (6-2-0) dropped a split decision to Ji Yeon Kim. She has not seen action in almost 2-years.

Kish’s UFC tenure included a failed weight cut at Strawweight. As a result, she eventually moved to 125-pounds. In this contest, she will need to overcome the 3″ reach and height advantage held by her opponent.

The move up in weight class appears to have taken away the physical edge possessed by Kish. Additionally, she has struggled with offering a consistent striking attack and is prone to getting outworked.

The Czech Republic’s Lucie Pudilova (8-5-0) enters this contest on a 3-fight losing skid- she is just 2-4 in the promotion. That being said, even in defeat, she has put forth a strong effort.

Pudilova’s fan-friendly striking based style has made her fun to watch, but also defensively vulnerable. She tends to wear her damage, especially in more demanding fights.

Her inability to remain vertical has also been a noticeable aspect of her fights- Pudilova struggled early with the grappling of Sarah Moras and gave up a trio of takedowns against Liz Carmouche.

The layoff for Kish could impact her performance. Considering Pudilova’s aggressive style, if Kish is at all compromised look for her to start slowing down around the middle of the bout. Pudilova’s jab is solid and will be magnified by her length advantage. Kish will most likely struggle to match Lucie’s output which will force her to look for takedowns. Pudilova’s TDD will be tested early, but as the fight advances the threat will dissipate- my prediction is Lucie Pudilova to defeat Justine Kish by decision.

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135lbs- Felipe Colares vs Montel Jackson

An unsuccessful debut did not dissuade Montel Jackson (8-1-0) rallying for back to back victories including the first submission win of his pro career. He has won 5-times by knockout- 3 in the first frame.

Jackson will look to utilize a 2″ height advantage and more impressive 6-inches of reach. He is coming off his most complete performance- melding together a strong striking output with a trio of takedowns and subsequent top control.

Montel battled his way to multiple dominant positions on the floor and he may utilize a similar approach against Colares who has been taken down frequently over his pair of Octagon outings.

Similarly, Felipe Colares (9-1-0) stumbled in his debut, only to return to form with a split decision win in his next performance. He is just 2-1 on the cards compared to 5 submission wins a pair of knockouts- 5 in the opening round.

The Brazilian has recently seen a substantial increase in fight time from the early portion of his career. After ending his first 6 fights before the 10-minute mark, he has fought into the 3rd round in each of his last 4 contests.

Colares is going to struggle with the superior power and striking skills of Jackson. Montel’s wrestling should allow the American to dictate where this fight plays out; forcing Colares to either work off his back or stand and trade. Felipe needs to catch lightning in a bottle with either a sudden knockout our submission- he won’t, my prediction is Montel Jackson to defeat Felipe Colares by knockout.

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135lbs- Lina Lansberg vs Sara McMann

An undefeated start to career ended in a title fight defeat and since the loss, Sara McMann (11-5-0) has struggled to a .500 record over her last 8 fights.

A top-level wrestler, the former title challenger’s success has been based on her ability to land takedowns. Over her UFC tenure, she has completed at least 2 takedowns in each of her UFC victories. Conversely, she has landed 1 or fewer completion in 4 of her 5 UFC losses.

McMann hasn’t seen action in nearly 2-years- giving birth and suffering an injury-related setback.

Coming off an impressive upset victory, Sweden’s Lina Lansberg (10-4-0) will look to extend her current winning streak to 3 in a row. Most likely, Lansberg will want to author a primarily striking based bout against the ground-oriented McMann.

Known for her clinch-based elbow strikes, Lina finished multiple opponents on the regional scene, but she has yet to do so inside the Octagon.

That being said, her upset of Macy Chiasson came largely on the strength of a couple of key takedowns and top control over the final 2 rounds.

Even when getting off to a good start, McMann has had issues maintaining her performance when her opponent pushes back. Lansberg’s TDD has been a major issue, giving up completions in all but 2 of her fights. The layoff could create an issue for McMann, but look for her to return to form with a strong takedown/ top control based performance. Lansberg will struggle to maintain separation and spend the majority of the fight on her back- my prediction is Sara McMann to defeat Lina Lansberg by decision.

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135lbs- Brett Johns vs Tony Gravely

Back to back losses brought the undefeated run of Brett “The Pikey” Johns (15-2-0) to an end. Prior to his losses against top competition, he showcased an effective mixed of grappling and striking leading to a pair decision wins and a surprising calf slicer.

Prior to his debut, he won 4 of 5 fights on the scorecards- 2 by split decision. He has not seen action in roughly 16-months.

In Johns’ recent defeats, he was unable to gain an edge on the mat and couldn’t do enough solely with his striking attack.

The majority of Tony Gravely’s (19-5-0) Contender’s win was spent on the mat. He comes from a strong wrestling background. Both fighters were put in some bad positions, but eventually, Gravely got a solid back mount and finished the fight via GNP.

Overall, he is 3-4 in fights ending by submission- accounting for all but 1 of his career losses. He has power, finishing 8 opponents by knockout including a 36-second slam knockout to win the CES Bantamweight title.

The quality of competition required to overcome Gravely has been impressive, including the likes of Manny Bermudez and Merab Dvalishvili.

This could be a close fight and it will most likely come down to which fighter can find an edge on the mat. Gravely is the better overall wrestler and his ability to transition out of bad spots will be key. Johns doesn’t offer enough volume to win this fight on his feet if he can’t augment it with takedowns and top control. Gravely edges him in positional control time- my prediction is Tony Gravely to defeat Brett Johns by decision.

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145lbs- Herbert Burns vs Nate Landwehr

Contenders Series graduate Hebert “The Blaze” Burns (9-2-0) (and younger brother of Gilbert) has finished each of his last 3 opponents by submission with 7 of his 9 pro wins coming by tap out.

Prior to his Contender bout, Burns fought under both the Titan FC and ONE Championship banners.

Not surprisingly, Burns’ focus will be on forcing a grappling battle. He will pull guard or jump to back mount from the clinch and start attacking. RNCs have accounted for 4 of his 7 sub wins.

The similarly debuting Nate “The Train” Landwehr (13-2-) has spent time under the M-1 banner, winning all 5 of his fights. He captured the M-1 Featherweight title and successfully defended it twice.

“The Train” will most likely want to drag Burns into a brawl. Force him to slug it out on the feet and either finish him or exhaust him and work his way to a volume/ damage based decision.

He has finished 8 opponents by knockout- only 2 in the first frame.

Burns is dangerous off his back, but he will give up position and was eating shots in his last fight prior to catching a triangle.

The American’s willingness to press forward could lead him to victory or abrupt defeat. Burns may only need 1 opportunity on the floor and the lack of defense in Landwehr’s game will provide him with ample opportunities to do so. Landwehr needs to fight letter-perfect; do damage and avoid hitting the floor in the process. He won’t be able to. Burns will trade and then clinch and generate the grappling match he desires- my prediction is Herbert Burns to defeat Nate Landwehr by submission.

 

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