170lbs- Ben Saunders (22-11-2) vs Takashi Sato (12-1-1)
The final fight of the undercard pairs together Ben “Killa B” Saunders and the debuting Pancrase veteran Takashi Sato. Sato has won 6 of his last 7 fights, with his only loss coming to UFC veteran Glaico Franca. Saunders has just a single win over his last 5 outings- a TKO victory over the faltering Jake Ellenberger.
The American is the taller man by 4 inches to go along with a 4″ reach advantage. Sato is the younger man by 7-years.
Ben debuted in the UFC back in 2007 and fought 10-time for Bellator between his 2 Octagon runs. He is an experienced fighter with a capable submission game and dangerous clinch-centric striking offense.
Unfortunately, the knockout defeats are starting to pile up for Saunders with 7 of his 11 losses coming by TKO or KO.
Sato enters the Octagon having won 9 times by knockout. In his last fight, he went back and forth with his foe, hurting him and getting hurt before gaining mount and ending the fight with GNP.
8 of his 11 wins have come in the opening round.
Prior to stopping Ellenberger, Saunders won a pair of contestable decisions where he narrowly edged out his opponent despite struggling to match their volume on the feet.
Ultimately, this fight comes down to the durability of Saunders. It is simply not there. The mileage has piled up alongside the knockout defeats. Sato is far from indestructible, but he is the more durable fighter. Saunders could catch him with a something in the clinch or secure a sub, but Sato is more likely to hurt him and keep engaging until he scores the finish- my prediction is Takashi Sato to defeat Ben Saunders by knockout.
265lbs- #15 Andrei Arlovski (27-17-0 2NC) vs Augusto Sakai (11-1-1)
Former Heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski returns to action against promotional sophomore August Saki. Saki stopped Chase Sherman in his debut and compiled an impressive 4-1-1 record in Bellator- dropping a decision to Cheick Kongo. Arlovski lost to Walt Harris by questionable decision, but the fight was overturned- he has just 2 wins in his last 10 fights.
Andrei is the older man by 12-years, but they are both 6’3″ and share a 77″ reach. Look for Sakai to weigh-in 15 to 25 pounds heavier.
When he is at his best, Arlovski utilizes good movement, above average hand speed and a solid boxing attack. He augments his hands with kicks and will take his opponent down when needed.
In recent action, he has struggled to produce offensively and has slowed down as the fight advanced. Including the No Contest, he is 2-4 over his last 6 decisions.
Sakai is coming off a marked 111-significant strike performance in his late round TKO victory.
Augusto moves well for a big man and throws good volume, but he is also willing to absorb damage in the process. His opponent landed 79-significant strikes.
For Arlovski to be successful, he will need an uptick in his offense and an improved defensive front that limits the damage his foe can do.
The former Champion has been knocked out 10-times.
Sakai is the heavier man, but should also have an edge in movement and output. He can do damage at range with punches and kicks, but his clinch game is also dangerous and will grind Andrei down. Arlovski needs to punish Augusto for willingly accepting damage, even potentially finishing him if he gets the chances. That won’t be easy. The more durable Brazilian will wade forward with a constant flow of heavy offense, my prediction is Augusto Sakai to defeat Andrei Arlovski by TKO.
115lbs- #9 Carla Esparza (13-6-0) vs Virna Jandiroba (12-1-0)
The first of 2 former UFC champions to compete on the undercard, Carla “The Cookie Monster” Esparza welcomes the debuting Invicta FC Strawweight champion Virna Jandiroba to the promotion. Esparza dropped a split decision to Claudia Gadelha and more recently fell via TKO to top contender Tatiana Suarez. Jandiroba won a split decision over Mizuki Inoue to capture the Invicta strap and defended it with a 2nd round armbar last September- she went 3-0 in the promotion.
Jandiroba is replacing Livia Souza with a month to prepare. She is the taller fighter by 2 inches to go along with a 1″ reach advantage. Virna is also a year younger than Esparza.
Both girls have found their success primarily on the ground. Esparza is 4-2 when she lands at least 2 takedowns in the UFC, falling via split decision in each loss. Jandiroba, a BJJ Black belt, has recorded 11 of her 14 wins by submission. 6 by RNC.
Still undefeated, Jandiroba is 3-0 in decisions winning twice by split.
Based in wrestling, Esparza’s track record would suggest she should hold a positional edge on the floor. Unfortunately, she is coming off of a loss where she was dominated on the mat and she also dropped a decision to Randa Markos who out-positioned her on the ground.
If Jandiroba is able to get Carla to the mat, she is difficult to control and in constant pursuit of the submission. On the feet, her striking attacking is still developing and could be a significant problem if she is forced to rely on it.
Esparza’s win over Cynthia Calvillo is a perfect example of what she needs to do here. Look for Carla to use her wrestling in reverse to force her opponent to stand and trade. Virna will get second best of the stand-up and once the short notice factor kicks in and Jandiroba slows, Carla will control her from top position if wanted- my prediction is Carla Esparza to defeat Virna Jandiroba by decision.
155lbs- Gilbert Burns (14-3-0) vs Mike Davis (7-1-0)
In the opening fight of the televised prelims, Brazil’s Gilbert Burns welcomes the debuting Mike “Beast Boy” Davis to the UFC. Burns is coming off a well-fought decision win over Olivier Aubin-Mercier to earn his 3rd victory over his last 4-fights. Davis suffered the first loss of his pro career in his Tuesday Night Contenders Series bout with Sodiq Yusuff, but returned to the regional scene and the win column in his 2 next outings.
At 6’0″, Davis is 2 inches taller to go along with a slight 1″ reach advantage. Davis is the younger man by 6-years, but traditionally fights at 145-pounds.
Davis is stepping in with a week to prep after Eric Wisely pulled out. It is a 1-month turnaround from his last fight.
A talented BJJ Black belt, Burns has recorded 7 wins by submission to go along with a 7-0 record in fights where he lands more takedowns.
“Beast Boy” prefers to do his work on the feet, recording 6 wins by TKO or KO. A methodical striker, Davis maintains a consistent but not overwhelming boxing based attack. He has finished 3 opponents in round 1, 2 in the final frame, and 1 in the middle frame.
The recent success of Burns has partially been a product of his improved striking skills. He newly added a pair of knockouts to his resume, but also suffered a knockout loss- the first of his career.
Davis is coming in on short notice which is a nightmare considering he is facing a very talented fighter. Conversely, Burns is the type of fighter that will struggle if thrown off his game. Burns is capable of holding his own and winning on the feet, but his advantage is far greater on the mat. Gilbert will eventually put Davis on the floor and go to work- my prediction is Gilbert Burns to defeat Mike Davis by submission.
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.