UFC Fight Night 168: Felder vs Hooker | Prelim Predictions

UFC Fight Night 168: Felder vs Hooker | Prelim Predictions
155lbs- Josh Culibao vs Jalin Turner

An upset loss to Matt Frevola slowed the momentum of talented striker Jalin Turner (8-5-0). He will need to overcome an opponent alteration as James Mullarkey withdrew from there bout with roughly 3 weeks to go.

Turner decimated fellow undercarder Callen Potter after a rough short notice Welterweight debut against Vicente Luque. Turner has recorded 7 wins by knockout, but he has also been knocked out 3 times.

In his loss to Frevola, Jalin struggled to match the pace and worth ethic of his foe. He slowed as the fight went and he gave up multiple takedowns.

A natural Featherweight, Josh Culibao (8-0-0) answered the call on short notice. He has fought just once in each of his last 2 years as a pro. He has some championship fight experience with a trio of fights going into the 4th and 5th rounds.

Of his 8 wins, 5 have come by knockout. Culibao has a decent handle on his technical striking skills and throws with power. With  2 late fight knockouts in rounds 4 and 5, he has demonstrated the ability to carry his power deep into contests.

Turner has a length advantage over most Lightweights and while Culibao is far from undersized, he is better suited for the 145 pound division. If he can routinely get on the inside of Turner’s reach, he could test his questionable chin that has led to a trio of knockout defeats. Instead, look for Turner to find success land offense at distance, using speed and distance to augment his power- my prediction is Jaline Turner to defeat Josh Culibao by knockout.

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170lbs- Jake Matthews vs Emil Meek

TUF Nations alumni Jake Matthews (15-4-0) returns to New Zealand for the first time since his UFC debut. His 2017 return to Welterweight has offer good results with 4 wins in 5 outings.

“The Celtic Kid” has built a larger portion of his offense around his takedowns. While he has improved his striking, his ability to put his opponent on the mat is key to his success.

He has completed takedowns in 6 of his 8 wins.

The takedown defense of Norway’s Emil Meek (9-4-0 1NC) has been at the heart of his struggles inside the Octagon. He has relinquished 17 takedowns over 3-fights, including 14 over his last 2 outings.

It is worth noting that 8 of those takedowns came against the current Welterweight champion.

Meek has not competed in nearly 2-years.

The Norweigan has power, but his ability to deploy it will be limited by his inability to stay vertical. Matthews is coming off a fight where he focussed more on his striking, but this pairing calls for a return to his greatest strength. The Aussie will repeatedly take Meek to the mat, work his top control game, and look for an opening to finish. There should be potential for Jake to set up his patented rear-naked choke, my prediction is Jake Matthews to defeat Emil Meek by submission.

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170lbs- Song Kenan vs Callan Potter

A violent 53-second debut defeat for Australia’s Callan Potter (18-8-0) gave way to a hard-fought victory over Maki Pitolo in his second outing.

The 35-year old Potter turned pro in 2011, and finally got the call to the UFC as a short-notice replacement. Potter has finished 16 of his 18 wins- 10 by submission. Despite his reputation as a grappling-first fighter, Potter put forth a strong striking performance at Pitolo. He mixed in some grappling, but did a decent job engaging him on the feet.

Potter has been finished in all 8 of his pro fights- split evenly between knockouts and submissions.

Chinese fighter Song Kenan (15-5-0) came into the UFC having lost back to back pro bouts, but promptly righted the ship with a pair of Octagon wins. A loss to Alex Morono and win over Derrick Krantz sees him at 3-1 in the promotion.

Song has finished 13 opponents, 7 by knockout, and 2 in the UFC. He has fought 17 of his 20 pro bouts in China.

Offering a nice mix of boxing and kicks, Song utilized a technically sound attack against Krantz- winning the majority of the exchanges.

Song’s only UFC loss came against a striking based fighter that was able to outwork him, Potter is not that. Callan did look decent on the feet against Pitolo, but it had a lot to do with a lack of defense and poor gas tank. Song should win the majority of the vertical exchanges. Potter might opt to try and take Song off his feet as Kenan has had a few issues on the mat. The durability of Potter is very concerning, especially considering Song’s finishing rate. Song will force Potter to stay vertical, eventually hurting him during an exchange- my prediction is Kenan Song to defeat Callan Potter by TKO

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125lbs- Kai Kara-France vs Tyson Nam

New Zealand Flyweight contender and TUF alumni Kai Kara-France (20-8-0 1NC) was unable to finish 2019 on a winning-not dropping a decision to Brandon Moreno. The loss ended his 8-fight winning streak.

Kara-France started his Octagon occupation with a trio of wins. During his strong UFC start, the New Zealander showcased a solid striking repertoire mixing together good volume with some respectable pop. He has finished 9 opponents by knockout.

While his volume has been good, he has also relinquished nearly 4 significant strikes per minute which is a concern.

After turning pro in 2006, Tyson Nam (18-10-1) finally got the call to the UFC on short notice. Nam was unable to get the better of now Bellator-fighter Sergio Pettis, dropping a unanimous decision.

Nam has power, stopping 10 opponents by knockout. Tyson is the taller man by 3-inches, by KKF will have a 1″ reach advantage.

The issue surrounding Nam is his lack of urgency. He has power but often allows his opponent to dictate the striking exchanges. His 7-7 record in decisions and 96-40 striking stats against Pettis are indicative of this style.

This is a bad stylistic matchup for Nam. That doesn’t mean he can’t win, but he will most likely need a knockout. Kara-France offers too much volume and could potentially augment his striking with a well-placed takedown. Nam’s power is solid, but Kai has proven durable and more vulnerable to fighters that can match his pace. Fighting at home will push Kai to his best performance yet, my prediction is Kai Kara-France to defeat Tyson Nam by decision.[/Body]

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115lbs- Angela Hill vs Loma Lookboonmee

With Hannah Goldy injured, Angela “Overkill” Hill (11-7-0) continues her high frequency of activity, taking her 6th fight in under a 12-month span- she has won 3 of 5.

Hill began her 2nd UFC tenure with 7 of 8 fights going to the scorecards, but more recently she has found her finishing touch with back to back TKO stoppage wins.

A striking based-fighter, “Overkill” utilizes a lot of movement in her attack, bouncing in and out while deploying a high volume striking arsenal. She averages just shy of 6 significant strikes per minute.

Coming from a strong Muay Thai background, Loma Lookboonmee (4-1-0) will most likely oblige Hill on the feet. She is coming off of an impressive debut performance that saw her total 99 significant strikes, including a series of hard low kicks.

In addition to her range attack, she landed a number of hard knees to the body from the clinch position.

Loma is the smaller fighter and will need to overcome a slight length advantage for Hill. If Hill can keep her at range, that will help her to outpoint the Thai fighter. While Lookboonmee is a striker, she has showcased a capable wrestling attack which could serve to augment her striking and throw off Hill’s timing. Angela will struggle with the speed of her foe and the clinch strikes to the body will impact her gas tank. This stands to be a close fight, but Loma will put together a stronger sophomore appearance- my prediction is Loma Lookboonme to defeat Angela Hill by decision.

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170lbs- Maki Pitolo vs Takashi Sato

Promotional sophomore Maki Pitolo (12-5-0) came up short in his debut, dropping a decision in Australia to Callan Potter. He had previously won a trio of bouts all inside the distance.

“Coconut Bombs” has recorded 6 wins by knockout and 9 finishes overall. That being said, it is concerning that Potter has been finished in all 8 of his pro defeats and Maki was unable to get him out of there.

Pitolo’s boxing looked decent, but he was eating far too many punches and clearly tired as a result of the pace and damage.

With 10-wins by knockout Takashi Sato (15-3-0) showcased his stopping skills in his debut, putting down Ben Saunders early in round 2.

Similar to Pitolo, he is coming off a fight where he slowed in the latter stages contributing to his defeat.

For a fighter that bases their attack around their striking, Takashi doesn’t throw with a lot of volume. Equally as concerning, he was hurt in his final pre-UFC fight, in his debut, and Belal Muhammad was able to wobble him last time out.

Pitolo’s debut raises some red flags, but it could also be attributed to Octagon jitters. The Hawaiian is the more active striker, but he needs to be mindful of his opponents’ power. Sato has been knocked out once, but if Pitolo is able to land flush he could add to that total. Takashi’s lack of volume will allow Maki to push the pace and fight his style- mixing his punches to the head and body- my prediction is Maki Pitolo to defeat Takashi Sato by TKO.

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125lbs- Priscila Cachoeira vs Shana Dobson

The first fight of the night features TUF 26 alumni Shana Dobson (3-3-0) attempting to even her UFC record a 2-2. After a successful UFC debut, Dobson has struggled to remain active, fighting just twice since the start of 2018- losing both.

In Dobson’s most recent outing she got tagged to the body early and hurt, but she was able to survive until the bell- dropping a wide decision.

Stepping up on short notice, Priscila Cachoeira (8-3-0) is still in search of her first UFC win. At 0-3 inside the Octagon, she could be fighting for her spot on the roster. She drew a difficult debut, getting mauled by pre-championship Valentina Shevchenko.

She is an aggressive, wading forward and tossing out heavy leather. Conversely, her willingness to move forward and throw wide striking techniques opens her up for taking damage.

On the regional scene, the Brazilian found success overwhelming her for on the feet leading to 4 knockout wins.

Cachoeira’s all offense mentality coupled with short notice and the travel factor could further compromise her already questionable durability. Dobson is the better striker and will punish her foe for moving forward too frequently with her hands down. The first round will be a back and forth scrap, but look for Dobson to find increasing success as the bout advances and her foe tires- my prediction is Shana Dobson to defeat Priscila Cachoeira by decision.

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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