UFC Fight Night 145- Preliminary Predictions

UFC Fight Night 145- Preliminary Predictions

170lbs- Dwight Grant (7-1-0) vs Carlo Pedersoli (11-1-0)

In the headlining bout of the undercard, Dwight Grant makes his second UFC walk across the cage from Carlo Pedersoli in the Welterweight division. Grant dropped a debut split decision loss to Zak Ottow, the first defeat of his pro career. Pedersoli is 1-1 in the UFC, edging out a split decision over Bradley Scott before suffering a crush 39-second knockout to Alex Oliveira.

Grant is the taller fighter by 2 inches to go along with a 3″ reach advantage. Pedersoli is 9-years younger than his foe.

A striker by trade, Grant has finished 6 opponents by knockout including stopping his Tuesday Night Contenders’ opponent. In his UFC debut, he failed to offer a consistent striking attack, landing just 25 significant strikes.

Pedersoli offers both a more diverse record and attack which is key to his success in this fight. In his debut victory, he utilized his takedowns to effectively grind score points in a close fight.

Both of Carlo’s Octagon bouts have been taken on short notice.

Grant has a tendency to allow his opponent to dictate the pace of the action but often makes up for it with his power and ability to counter strike. In addition to the Oliveria knockout, Pedersoli was dropped early by Scott and could be vulnerable to Grant’s stopping power.

With a full camp to prepare, Pedersoli should put forth his best UFC performance to date. His kicking arsenal is a serviceable foil to the punching power of Grant, but it might only take one shot to turn the fight in Dwight’s favour. Look for Pedersoli to offer the busier output, utilizing kicks to maintain distance and then closing for timely takedowns- my prediction is Carlo Pedersoli to defeat Dwight Grant by decision.

145lbs- Daniel Teymur (6-2-0) vs Chris Fishgold (17-2-1)

A pair of European-based fighters square off as Sweden’s Daniel “Kid Dynamite” Teymur meets UK competitor Chris Fishgold in the Featherweight division. Teymur is 0-2 in the UFC, most recently suffering a 3rd round submission loss to Julio Arce. Fishgold came into the UFC against Kalvin Kattar, starting strong but going down via TKO before the first bell- he had won 7 in a row.

Fishgold is 3 inches taller, but Teymur will have a 1″ reach advantage. The Brit is the older fighter by 4-years.

Teymur has finished all 6 of his pro wins, split evenly between submissions and knockout- all in round 1. In both of UFC fights, his defeats were connected to the length of the fight. He slowed in both bouts.

While Fishgold does have a lot of finishes on his record, he is the more experienced and successful fighter in longer fights. If he can draw upon that experience against Teymur, he could find a sizeable advantage in a longer fight.

Building the majority of his attack around his striking, Teymur needs to keep this fight standing. He has had issues on the mat and Fishgold has won the majority of his fights on the mat.

Fishgold did have some early success against Kattar, backing him up on the feet. That being said, he also took some damage on the feet before getting dropped and finished.

Teymur is dangerous early and if he can hurt his adversary, he could smash his way to victory. Fishgold’s keys to victory are his diversity and pace. Look for him to push forward and blend together his grappling and striking attack. Teymur can be taken down and once on the mat, his questionable gas tank will start drain- my prediction is Chris Fishgold to defeat Daniel Teymur by submission.

125lbs- Veronica Macedo (5-2-1) vs Gillian Robertson (5-3-0)

Canadian Gillian “The Savage” Robertson makes her 4th Octagon walk when she takes on Venezuela-born Veronic Macedo in the Flyweight division. Robertson started her UFC run with a pair of stoppage victories, including a debut submission of Emily Whitmire. Macedo is winless in 2 UFC bouts, falling via TKO to Ashlee Evans-Smith and dropping a decision to Andrea Lee last time out.

Macedo will have an inch reach advantage, but the Canadian is the taller fighter by an inch.

Robertson has put together a pair of ground-oriented victories. She put both of her opponents on the floor and worked them over prior to securing submission wins #3 and 4 of her career.

The grappling attack of Robertson is definitely a concern for Macedo who gave up a combined 5 takedown in her first 2 UFC fights and was finished on the floor by AES.

Veronica comes from a Taekwondo background and offers a decent kicking attack. She does her best work at range, but she has a tendency to move forward into the clinch which in turn sets up takedown opportunities for her adversary.

Robertson is coming off a submission loss, failing to capitalize on her early success and getting tapped with just 5-seconds left in the opening round.

If Macedo can keep this fight at distance, she could strike her way to a decision win. Unfortunately, Robertson has good timing on her takedowns and is an aggressive guard passer once she hits the mat. Macedo has yet to show she can handle a ground-oriented fighter and Robertson should find success exploiting the gaps in her defense- my prediction is Gillian Robertson to defeat Veronic Macedo by decision.

155lbs- Damir Hadzovic (12-4-0) vs Marco Polo Reyes (7-5-0)

A pair of Performance of the Night winners square off as Mexico’s Marco Polo Reyes takes on “The Bosnian Bomber” Damir Hadzovic in the Lightweight division. Reyes is coming off of a 60-second knockout of Matt Frevola to improve his UFC record to 4-1. Hadzovic scored a split decision win over Nick Hein last July to even his record at 2-2.

Reyes is 2 inches taller and will have a 1″ reach advantage. Hadzovic is the younger fighter by 2-year. Marco hasn’t seen action in 13-months.

Hadzovic and Reyes both carry knockout heavy records, each finishing 6 opponents by knockout.

Prior to stopping Marcin Held, “The Bosnian Bomber” struggled with the mat game of Held and relinquished 9 takedowns in his loss to Alan Patrick. Reyes has yet to showcase his ground skills in the UFC and had similar defensive issues early in his UFC run.

Both men have also suffered knockouts in the UFC, Reyes stopped my James Vick and Hadzovic going down in his debut to Mairbek Taisumov.

Hadzovic narrowly got by Hein, but that level of output won’t cut it against the more aggressive Reyes. Marco can crack and works at a greater rate of output than his Bosnian counterpart. Reyes also could have a slight edge in power and durability. Look for Reyes to land both the more impactful and frequent strikes, backing Hadzovic up in a firefight- my prediction is Marco Polo Reyes to defeat  Damir Hadzovic by TKO.

170lbs- Michel Prazeres (25-2-0) vs Ismail Naurdiev (17-2-0)

An early February injury forced Ramazan Emeev to withdraw from competition, creating the opportunity for Austria’s Ismail Naurdiev to make his debut against the hulking Brazilian Michel Prazeres. Naurdiev has strung together an impressive 13-1 run including a knockout win over UFC vet Benny Alloway. Prazeres has won 8 in a row, including a vicious stoppage of Bartosz Fabinski.

Prazeres’s struggles with making the Lightweight limit forced him to 170 where he will give up 4 inches of height and a sizeable 7 inches of reach. Naurdiev is also the younger fighter by 15-years.

The Brazilian has built his UFC run around a strong ground game and heavy hands. He has taken down all of his UFC opponents, completing 26 takedowns over his current winning streak.

Ismail is stepping in with less than 3-weeks to prep, but he fought just 3 weeks prior to the Prague event- scoring a 39-second knockout.

Naurdiev has finished 13 opponents in the first frame, 11 by knockout. He throws a variety of techniques, including a recent stoppage via spinning wheel kick.

There are some concerns here for the Brazilian; the travel factor, opponent change, and facing a much taller man could impact his performance. If Naurdiev is able to maintain distance, he could land a fight-altering strike. Unfortunately, the Austrian’s most recent defeat came largely in response to a grappling-based attack. Prazeres grounds him early and eventually works to the finish- my prediction is Michel Prazeres to defeat Ismail Naurdiev by submission.

155lbs- Rustam Khabilov (23-3-0) vs Diego Ferreira (13-2-0)

In a demonstration of the depth of the Lightweight division, formerly ranked Rustam “Tiger” Khabilov takes on Brazil’s Carlos Ferreira. Khabilov has secured 6 consecutive wins, including a split decision over Kajan Johnson in his most recent fight. Ferreira returned to activity to stop Kyle Nelson for his 3rd straight win and 5th UFC triumph.

The Brazilian is an inch taller and will have a 1″ reach advantage. Khabilov is the younger man by a year.

Both fighters come from grappling based backgrounds but have employed their skills in different ways.

Khabilov has completed at least 1 takedowns in all of his UFC fights; 38 completions over 11 fights.

A BJJ Black belt, Ferreira has just a single submission in the UFC, using the threat of his grappling skills to force his foe to stand and trade. Diego did opt for a takedown based attack against Nelson after the early exchanges.

“Tiger” is coming off of a contestable decision that saw him struggle to find his striking range, landing just 17 significant strikes while relying on his wrestling to make up the difference.

While Khabilov has been inconsistent on the feet, Diego has picked up a pair of vertical finishes, including an impressive stoppage of Jared Gordon.

Khabilov has been able to cover up his lack of striking volume with his wrestling. Against Ferreira, that might not be an option. Diego’s forward aggression and punching power will give him the edge on the feet and his BJJ will make it difficult for Rustam to keep him on the mat. This fight could be scored close, but my prediction is Diego Ferreira to defeat Rustam Khabilov by decision.

155lbs- Damir Ismagulov (16-2-0) vs Joel Alvarez (15-14-0)

To open the event, promotional sophomore Damir Ismagulov takes on the debuting Spanish submission artist Joel Alvares in the Lightweight division. Ismagulov earned a decision win over Alex Gorgees in his debut to extend his current winning streak to 12 straight wins. Alvarez enters the Octagon on an impressive 10-fight winning streak, including 4 victories in 2018.

A towering Lightweight, Alvarez is 6’3″ and will stand 5 inches taller than his opponent. He is the younger fighter by 3-years.

The Spaniard carries a submission heavy record, finishing 14 of his 15 wins by tap out. Alvarez has stopped 10 opponents in the first frame and 7 of his submission wins have come by triangle choke.

In his debut, Ismagulov completed 5 takedowns on route to a decision victory. With just a single submission win, Damir will need to be mindful of his opponent’s offensive ground game if they hit the mat.

Alvarez has faced reasonably experienced regional competition with his last 3 opponents holding a combined record of 39-18. He submitted all 3 opponents, accounting for the only submission loss for 2 of the fighters.

The most effective aspect of Ismagulov’s gameplan against Gorgees was his ability to blend his attack together; landing hard strikes before changing levels for a takedown.

Joel’s TDD is far from ironclad, but his willingness to go to his back has a lot to do with his aggressive guard. Ismagulov will need to be mindful of Alvarez’s ability to snap on a sub from a variety of positions.

Alvarez’s offensive guard is a threat, but won’t be enough to get the job done here. Ismagulov will hold a wide advantage on the feet, with a more varied and consistent offensive attack. At the top level, a willingness to give up takedowns is a dangerous proposition, especially for a debuting fighter. Ismagulov dictates where the fight plays out, outworking Alvarez on the feet for the duration of the bout- my prediction is Damir Ismagulov to defeat Joel Alvarez by decision.

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