The latest episode of Kamikaze Overdrive MMA Predictions features two predictions for UFC on Fuel TV: Gustafsson vs Silva. Dana White, Lorenzo Fertita and the whole crew head to Sweden to make their Scandinavia debut with an event headlined by Swedish born Light Heavyweight Alexander ‘The Mauler’ Gustafsson as he battles Thiago Silva in a match-up that will move the victor into the upper level of the already stacked 205 pound division.
UFC on Fuel TV or UFC Sweden takes place on April 14th 2012 and concludes a suprisingly long layoff between events. The card is littered with talented European born fighters including the co-main event which will feature Italian born Alessio ‘Legionarius’ Sakara taking on Brian ‘All-American’ Stann. This middleweight match-up has Fight of the Night potential as neither man knows how to put on a boring fight.
Also in the episode I talk about the relevancy of Women’s MMA discussing whether or not it will have a home inside the Octagon and the importance of the recent bouts between Rond Rousey and Miesha Tate, and Sarah Kaufman and Alexis Davis.
For the rest of my predictions check back in the days and weeks leading up to the event as I update my online picks for UFC on Fuel TV: Gustafsson vs Silva.
Make sure to check out our newly expanded MMA betting packs which will now include a confidence ranking for each individual match-up along with a quick betting breakdown for each fight, in addition to the Statistics Star Parlay. Finally make sure to browse through the site and and look at all of the new addition including Clouble’s MMA Prediction Packs, our NHL predictions and weekly Bellator picks here at Kamikazeoverdrive.net
In the UFC’s Welterweight division 14-3-0 Brazilian Paulo Thiago welcomes UFC newcomer Siyar Bahadurzada 20-4-1 to the cage. Thiago snapped a two fight losing streak with a win over David Mitchell at UFC 134 while Siyar is unbeaten in his last six appearances with his last defeat back in 2008 against Jorge Santiago.
Bahadurzada is making is Octagon debut which most comes with its fair share of first fight jitters, he was originally scheduled to face Erik Silva at UFC 134 but pulled out due to injury. If debuting in the biggest promotion in the world isn’t already enough for Siyar, he has also been out of action for almost a year last competing in May 2011 so ring rust could also play a factor.
Paulo Thiago is also returning from an injury that forced him to pull out of a January 2012 matchup. He is veteran of the Octagon, with 7 UFC appearances, having fought some of the best in the division including a shocking upset victory in his debut when he knocked out Josh Koscheck.
Thiago’s win over Koscheck is the only true knockout he has scored in his career, but that isn’t to suggest his stand-up isn’t dangerous. He has significant power in his hands; prior to submitting Mike Swick he dropped him with a heavy counter left hook. He will also mix in head kicks and sets up his low and body kicks by faking with his hands in order to force his opponent to react. He has shown decent counter striking, timing his opponent as they come forward but his overall technique still needs improvement. He has a tendency to swing wild with big looping punches which will create openings down the middle and when combined with Paulo periodically leaving his chin exposed it could be disastrous against a power puncher.
Bahadurzada trains out of the famed kickboxing camp Golden Glory and brings with him an impressive 10-0 record in fights ending via knockout or TKO. He has a devastating right hand; he landed quick straight right on Kazuo Misaki which seemed to hurt Misaki. He will use his left jab as a lead, often doubling it up before throwing an overhand right. He will kick and use knee strikes, and has shown the ability to counter strike. He is a durable fighter and is willing stand in the pocket and exchange with his opponent, which can results in Siyar becoming a little too stationary.
On the mat, Thiago is a BJJ Black belt with 8 wins by a variety of submissions. He has good takedown skills, doing the majority of his work from the clinch either using a body lock or underhooks in combination with a trip. Against David Mitchell he did an excellent job timing the larger fighter as he came forward, ducking under his punches to initiate the clinch and takedown.
Siyar has been submitted twice in his career, by Misaki and Jorge Santiago while fighting at Middleweight. He has shown a willingness to take the fight to the ground, but he is still vulnerable against a skilled ground fighter.
Bahadurzada has competed at Welterweight before, but in some of the footage I have seen his aggressive style can create cardio issues in longer fights. Likewise, Thiago isn’t known for his conditioning either, but he showed significant improvements in the Mitchell fight.
The Golden Glory product should have the edge with his striking, but Thiago has made strides to improve and should be able to remain competitive if the fighters remain vertical. In the end the deciding factor will be how long can Siyar keep it standing to exploit his advantage? He has had issues before with grapplers and I expect something similar here. Look for Thiago to take advantage of Siyar’s aggressive striking, ducking under has he moves forward to clinch and set his body lock takedowns to put his opponent on the mat. From this point the Brazilian should be able to maintain control while looking for the submission, so my prediction is Paulo Thiago to defeat Siyar Bahadurzada by submission.
In the UFC’s Featherweight division Diego ‘The Gun’ Nunes 17-2-0 goes head to head with former Lightweight 19-8-0 Dennis Siver. Nunes defeated Manny Gamburyan in his last outing while Siver’s four fight winning streak was stopped with a submission defeat to Donald Cerrone.
Dennis Siver is making his 145 pound debut, which is interesting especially when considering how heavily muscled he is. If the cut goes well, this could be a big career move as despite constantly dealing with a height and reach disadvantage at Lightweight he was still successful.
Siver will not be the first Lightweight that Diego Nunes has welcome to the division, as he faced Kenny Florian at UFC 131. Despite being defeated by Florian, Nunes made a decent showing for himself against the UFC veteran.
Neither man is known as a ground specialist; Nunes averages 1.25 takedowns per fight and Siver even fewer at only 0.65. In spite of these low numbers, both men are BJJ Purple belts; Siver has won 9 fights by submission and Nunes 6. We have seen both men shoot for takedowns in their recent fights and we could see it again here, but I anticipate that both will be more than willing to remain vertical to showcase their striking.
Statistically, Siver lands an impressive 3.5 strikes per minute, while Nunes is not far behind at 2.67. Both men have knockout power with 5 wins by KO/TKO each. Nunes dropped Kenny Florian with a series of hooks in the opening round, and closed the fight with another powerful right hook that put Florian down on one knee. Siver’s victory over Andre Winner started when he hurt his opponent with a counter left hook that eventually lead to the submission.
Nunes should have a slight edge in speed, but Siver is deceptively fast and showed in the Winner fight that he is able to effectively counter against a faster opponent. Looking at power, Siver had it at 155 and it should translate well in a lower weight class giving him an advantage over Diego in that area.
The most entertaining aspect of this fight will be the myriad of kicks that will be on display. Siver is a German kick boxing champion and has scored a pair of spinning back kick TKO’s over Paul Kelly and Nate Mohr. Although he will used traditional Muay Thai, he has an unorthodox Karate-based style often attempting front leg round house and front kicks that are difficult to defend against because of a lack of wind up. Nunes has never stopped an opponent with a spinning back kick, but just like his training partner Jose Aldo, his soccer background has translated nicely to MMA making him an effective kicker. He did a lot of damage to Manny Gamburyan’s lead leg and against Mike Brown Diego’s leg strikes were a significant difference. Diego does a nice job of maintaining distance and then stepping into his kicks, helping to keep him out of his opponent’s range while unloading his devastating arsenal.
If Siver struggles getting down to 145 he will most likely gas out early and get picked apart by Diego. If Siver doesn’t fade his power will be significant and his size advantage (1” height and 3” reach advantage) will be a nice change for the German. Diego’s recent wins have come over opponents that were predominantly grappling based, where he was the superior striker and it showed in the end result. But against Florian, Kenny was able to match Diego’s striking, not allowing Nunes’ to overwhelm him the later stages.
Siver has been stopped before, but he should be able handle the power of the smaller opponents at 145. Siver will be able to match, potentially better Diego in the kicking department, and his counter striking will help him to get the better of his opponent in the exchanges. Mix in a potential takedown, or at least some form of grappling control from the bigger fighter and it should be enough to get the win, so my prediction is Dennis Siver to defeat Diego Nunes by decision.
170lbs- DaMarques Johnson vs John Maguire
In 170 pound division, DaMarques ‘Darkness’ Johnson 18-9-0 takes on 17-3-0 John ‘The One’ Maguire. Johnson knocked out Clay Harvison in his last appearance while John Maguire earned a dominant decision victory over Justin Edwards in his UFC debut.
Johnson has alternated wins and losses over his last 4 fights and is in search of consistency. In his seven fight UFC career he has never gone the distance win or lose, starting with a submission loss to James Wilks in the finals of the Ultimate Fighter. Johnson has diverse numbers with 6 wins by KO/TKO and 8 more by submission. He has shown significant power, especially in his last fight where he flashed a jab and then dropped Harvison with an accurate uppercut. He has decent counter striking ability, relies heavily on his left hand and uses a fair bit of movement to set up his strikes, but isn’t afraid to stand and trade.
On the ground he is a BJJ Blue Belt and has a pair of UFC submission wins. He will go to the ground completing just over 43% of his takedowns, but he had issues with 5 career defeats by submission. James Wilks was able to continually chain submission attempts together until he eventually got the finish and Edgar Garcia caught him in an early sub attempt but wasn’t able to finish. One of the most significant stats on Johnson’s resume is his 25% takedown defence which indicates that an opponent with any form of offense grappling is a threat to take DaMarques down.
John Maguire is a BJJ Brown Belt with 9 career submission victories and showcased his grappling skills in his debut. Against Edwards he completed 6 of 9 takedown attempts, advanced to a dominant position 7 times and attempted multiple submissions. He has excellent top control, did a nice job maintaining position during the scrambles, and used a variety of takedown to put his opponent on his back predominantly from the clinch position.
The Brits’ striking is serviceable, but against Johnson he would be best served by taking the fight to the ground. He has been stopped once, by current BAMMA Middleweight champ Tom Watson, but he showed a solid chin against Edwards getting hit with a spinning back kick and a solid hook that did drop him but he quickly recovered.
If Johnson is able to keep the fight standing he will have a reach advantage and overall technical edge with his striking. Just as significant, if not more is the difficulty that DaMarques has had with grapplers. Maguire was impressive in his debut and should be more comfortable in his second fight. Johnson is a solid vet and does have the skills to pick up the win, but the statistics are too significant to overlook. Maguire should look to close the distance, clinch with Johnson, take him to the ground and either grind him out for the duration of the bout or lock a submission. So my prediction is John Maguire to defeat DaMarques Johnson by submission.
135lbs- Brad Pickett vs Damacio Page
In an important Bantamweight matchup, Brad ‘One Punch’ Pickett 21-5-0 and Damacio ‘The Angel of Death’ Page 12-6-0 will meet at UFC on Fuel TV 2. Both fighters are coming off of submission losses; Pickett was dropped and tapped out by Renan Barao while Page was subbed via guillotine choke by former champion Brian Bowles.
The interesting thing about Damacio’s loss was that three years early he got caught in the same submission, by the same fighter, and the fight was stopped at the exact same time; 3:30 of round one. Submission defeats are not something new to Page, as he has dropped 5 of his 6 losses by tapout. He also has submitted five opponents which shows he is capable if the fight hits the ground, but clearly there exists a certain level of vulnerability when he has lost such a high percentage of his defeats by sub.
Brad Pickett enters this match with a 9-3 record in fights ended by submission after getting tapped in his last appearance. Despite going less than a round against Barao, the fight was a flurry of stand up action that eventually saw the Brit get hurt on the feet, drop to the ground, and succumb to a swiftly secured rear-naked choke. Pickett would be the first to admit that his decision to stand and trade with his opponent was reckless and incontrovertibly cost him the fight.
I would anticipate that Pickett will look to use a more controlled and strategic approach against Page, but Damacio will be more than willing to engage him should Pickett come out swinging. Both men have knockout power with 6 KO/TKO victories apiece, Page has never been KOed while Pickett was shutdown once back in 2005. Page is an aggressive striker that I anticipate will move forward from the opening bell focussed entirely on attacking. His aggression has earned him nine first round victories, but it has also cost him; with two mistakes against Bowles and against Demetrious Johnson he eventually gassed out leading to a another submission.
Damacio will have been out of action for the better part of year by the time this fight gets started which means ring rust could be a factor. Conversely, the mistake Pickett made in his last fight will be fresh in his memory and should result in a more composed effort from the Brit. If Page can blitz Pickett early in a similar fashion to what Barao did then he could hurt and potentially stop him. On the other hand, Picket will have a 2” reach advantage and I prefer both his striking and ground game over Page’s. I expect that Pickett will use his footwork to diffuse the forward push of his opponent and potentially mix in takedowns if there is an opening. In addition, if Damacio fades after his initial onslaught Pickett should be able to dictate the pace of the fight and take it where he wants to. I like Pickett early and I like him late, so my prediction is Brad Pickett to defeat Damacio Page by submission.
170lbs- Papy Abedi vs James Head
In the Welterweight division, 8-1-0 Papy ‘Makambo’ Abedi battles James Head 7-2-0. Both men are coming off defeats in their respective UFC debuts, Abedi was submitted via rear-naked choke by Thiago Alves and Head suffered a similar fate getting tapped out by Nick Ring.
Each has spent the majority of their careers at Middleweight, Abedi made the drop in his UFC debut, while Head will be making his first venture to 170 in this fight. Head will be the taller fighter, but overall Abedi is the physically larger man with a more muscular build. Having made the cut already once should help Abedi while Head will be forced to deal with some of the issues that come along with a first appearance in a new weight class.
In Papy’s debut, he held his own against a dangerous striker in Thiago Alves, landing some decent strikes and doing a nice job cutting of the cage to limit Alves’ movement. He is a powerful fighter and his strikes reflect this having earned 5 of 8 wins by knockout. Abedi showed a lot of confidence in his hands, but getting hurt on the feet the way he did can impact a fighter’s approach in the next appearance so it will be interesting to see if he chooses to mixes things up a little more against Head.
In his final fight before signing with the UFC, Head defeated Octagon veteran Gerald Harris. Against Harris, he showed decent takedown defence to keep the fight standing. He does have a pair of wins by submission and a BJJ purple belt, but appears most comfortable with his striking. Head has a boxing background and he had success against Nick Ring early on, including dropping him with a well timed counter strike.
The turning point for Head against Nick Ring was his inability to keep the fight standing. Ring completed all 5 of his takedown attempts and held multiple dominant position. Spending the majority of the grueling ground battle on his back clearly took its toll on Head. With James’s endurance fading, Ring dropped a nasty elbow on the bridge of his nose cutting him open, and eventually Ring was able to secure the fight ending rear-naked.
Papy Abedi is also a Purple belt in BJJ, but in addition to this he brings a Black belt in Judo to this bout which should have a significant impact. Abedi was able to get the clinch on Alves a couple of times, but never really went for the takedown. Although Head is the bigger fighter, look for Abedi to incorporate more of his grappling skills into this fight, clinching and looking for takedowns.
Having never gone beyond the second round, there are question marks about Abedi’s endurance. If Head has a successful weight cut and is able to drag his heavily-muscled opponent into the second half of the fight, fatigue could set in creating openings for the Head to capitalize on. Abedi’s focus should be on using his Judo to set the tone of the fight by getting inside and using his strength to breakdown his adversary. If Papy either can’t get the fight to the ground or chooses not to, his striking looked more the serviceable against Alves and should hold up against Head. Abedi will be a crowd favorite, and has fought multiple times in Sweden before which should increase his comfort level. With his Judo he brings more tools to the cage then Head, and I like his power to play a significant role as well so my prediction is Papy Abedi to defeat James Head by TKO.
205lbs- Cyrille Diabate vs
Jorgen Kruth Tom DeBlass
An injury has forced Jorgen Kruth to withdraw from this fight, and undefeated 7-0-0 Ring of Combat Light Heavyweight champion Tom DeBlass has stepped up to take his spot against Cyrille Diabate. Deblass’s record breakdown consists of 2 wins by TKO/KO, 2 by submission, and 3 by decision. He is a Ricardo Almeida trained BJJ Black Belt and has competed in multiple grappling competitions. In his last fight he moved up to Heavyweight and defeated the Ring of Combat Heavyweight champ via 41 second submission (Heel Hook). Kruth/Diabate was setting up to be a striking battle, but with DeBlass this fight changes complexion and will be either be won by Diabate on the feet of the UFC newcomer on the mat.
DeBlass has serviceable striking ability, but against a K-1 veteran like Diabate he needs to drastically limit the amount of time spent on the feet. Diabate will have a significant height advantage (6’6″ vs 5’11”) as well as a big edge in reach, and he will need to exploit these disparities to avoid the takedown by maintaining distance. If Diabate can keep DeBlass on the outside he should be able to pick him apart and either win a oneside decision or score the knockout.
With Cyrille having suffered 4 of his 8 losses by submission, including being tapped 2 times in his last three fights should have DeBlass focused in on getting this fight to the ground as soon as possible. Diabate has demonstrated improved takedown defence but in his last fight he took on a highly skilled BJJ Black Belt Anthony Perosh whose striking is basic and his raw takedown skills average. Despite a huge striking advantage, it was clear that the threat of a takedown made Diabate hesitate to pull the trigger and eventually he made a mistake leading to the takedown/submission.
If DeBlass is unable to complete the takedown early on, he should use his lower stature to get inside, grind Diabate into the cage and wear him down. Diabate’s gas tank is questionable and if he is forced into a style of fight that he is least capable of dealing with it should help to break him down even quicker. This is a significant step up for DeBlass, but Diabate is being forced to switch gears and prepare for a drastically different opponent than he had been preparing for with less then two weeks notice. DeBlass has a big opportunity against a UFC/Pride/K-1 veteran and his skill-set matches up nicely with the type of opponent that Diabate has had trouble with so my prediction is Tom DeBlass to defeat Cyrille Diabate by submission.
185lbs- Francis Carmont vs Magnus Cedenblad
In the Middleweight division Francis Carmont 17-7-0 will try to build on his victorious UFC debut when he welcomes Swedish fighter Magnus Cedenblad 10-3-0 to the Octagon.
Cedenblad comes into this bout riding a 7 fight winning streak with four wins by TKO, two by submission, and one by decision. He is a rangy fighter at 6’3 and likes to use his length to tie up his opponent with a body lock leading into a takedown. During the transition to the ground, he does a nice job improving his position, frequently landing in full mount and eventually finishing his opponent with a submission or ground and pound.
Francis Carmont defeated UFC veteran Chris Camozzi in his debut, showcasing a little bit of everything including a series of devastating knees to the body, powerful clinch work and a big slam. Training out of the Tri-Star Gym, Carmont has the luxury of working his wrestling with the Welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre and his takedown defence showed the work he has put in. Camozzi was unable to take Carmont off his feet, tying up in the clinch but losing the position while getting punished in the process.
Look for Carmont to open up even more in his second appearance, while Cedenblad is taking a big step up in competition compared to his previous opponents. I haven’t seen a lot of Cedenblad’s striking, but Carmont should have a significant edge nonetheless.
Cedenblad has had a lot of success in his cage but in his matchup with Mats Nilsson, when Nilsson got a dominant position and started dropping shots Magnus almost immediately covered up leading to the submission. Carmont should be able to break Cedenblad with his physical style leading to either a TKO or Submission victory. I’ll take Francis Carmont to defeat Magnus Cedenblad by TKO.
145lbs Jason Young vs Eric Wisely
In the Featherweight division 8-5-0 Jason ‘Shot Gun’ Young will battle 19-7-0 Eric ‘Little Lee’ Wisely. Young has lost his first two UFC contests, while Wisely started off with a first round submission defeat against Charles Oliveira.
Having combined for an 0-3 start to their UFC careers doesn’t exactly get fans excited for a fight, but the style that both competitors bring to the cage should turns this into one of the more engaging clashes on the card.
Wisely and Young both use a predominantly striking based attack, which has left them vulnerable to the ground game. Young did a nice job in the stand up against both Dustin Poirier and Michihiro Omigawa, but when his opponents turned their focus to grappling he struggled to respond. Wisely had a one fight stint in Strikeforce where he was shut down by the power wrestling of Pat Healy and then as mentioned about was submitted with a calf slicers by talented BJJ Black belt Oliveira. The good news for both fighters is that this fight should remain in the striking realm for the majority of the 15 minutes.
Both men have knockout power and press the action. Wisely uses a lot of head movement and did a nice job navigating the out reaches of the cage against Healy forcing Pat to chase him down. We haven’t seen a lot of his striking so far, but he has a quick front kick and will strike while changing stances which can catch his opponent off guard.
Jason Young really focuses on using tight technique, keeping his hands up and trying to avoid overextending himself when attacking. He has a brutal inside leg kick that badly damaged the lead leg of Dustin Poirier and clearly limited his movement in the second half of their fight forcing him to look for takedowns. This could be the key against Wisely, if Young is able to limit his movement by damaging his legs he will gain a significant advantage. Also in that fight, Poirier told his corner between rounds that Young was quite fast which was giving him difficulty in the exchanges. The Brit will use a variety of kicks, and can counter strike effectively.
Young will have advantages in both reach and height which will show up significantly in a fight that should be predominantly striking based. Despite the defeat, Young’s performance against Poirier was first-class and I expect he will be able to open up more without the threat of being takedown. Wisely is a tough competitor, never having been finished via knockout and he does have 3 wins by submission if he can get is opponent to the ground. Young did force Omigawa and Poirier to work hard for their takedowns and they are both better grapplers then Wisely, so I don’t see him taking Jason down with regularity. This fight should be a good one, two desperate fighters both searching for UFC win number one and I’ll take Jason Young to defeat Eric Wisely by decision.