Online Prelims (6:15 PM/ET) UFC Fight Pass
Derrick Lewis (12-4, 1NC) vs Viktor Pesta (10-1): This fight is a really interesting one in the heavyweight division to start the night. Viktor Pesta has a 70% finish rate with 4 wins by KO and the other 3 are obviously submission. Viktor seems to really only finish fights in the first round as 6 of his 7 wins are in the very first round. He is a very athletic young fighter at 25 years of age with some great ground and pound when he takes his fights to the mat. Now his opponent is Derrick Lewis who is a fighter with a lot of heart. Derrick’s last fight he was finished by my man Shawn Jordan and that is his second loss to Shawn making it that only two of his losses come to different fighters. Derrick has finished every single one of his wins and 11 of those finishes are by way of KO. I think when it comes down to it that Viktor is the better fighter and will win this fight by way of a 2nd round KO.
Chris Cariaso (17-7) vs Sergio Pettis (12-2): This fight in the flyweight division is against a kid on the rise and a veteran of the octagon. Sergio is the younger brother of the UFC fighter and former champion Anthony Pettis. Sergio will one day be better than his last few fights have led everyone on to believe he was. Sergio is one of the best young fighters in the UFC and will one day I believe be a ranked fighter and a title contender. He has just recently made the cut to flyweight and I think it will benefit him. Sergio has 6 stoppages, 3 by KO and the other 3 are by submission. Pettis has stopped 5 of those 6 in the first round and I believe he will come out strong in this fight too. I truly can’t wait to see this kid continue to grow and become like his brother. Now across from him is the “Kamikaze” Chris Cariaso. Cariaso is looking to bounce back from a two fight losing streak. His streak started with a loss to the champion Demetrious Johnson and his other loss was recently to Henry Cejudo where he was absolutely dominated. Cariaso is not a finisher he likes to grind out wins and score points which is really annoying considering his nickname being the Kamikaze. He has only stopped 5 of his 17 wins, 3 by KO while the other 2 are by submission. I think that this fight will be close and go all three rounds the more technical fighter who is on their game that night will pick up the win. I am going to be taking a shot in the dark here and pick Sergio Pettis to win by unanimous decision.
Francisco Trevino (12-1) vs Sage Northcutt (5-0): Out of all the fights on this entire fight card this is my favorite fight along with Woodley vs Hendricks (now cancelled). This is an amazing fight in the lightweight division and is now the main event of the online Prelims. The reason I am excited can be said in two words, Sage Northcutt. Sage is a new comer to the UFC but he is 19 years of age and he is the future of the UFC. I mean the future not just of his division but of the entire organization. This kid is amazing he has finished all five of his fights, three by KO and the other two are by submission. He has finished 4 of those in the first round and I could go on and on about how great he looks during each and every single one of those fights. This kid is a karate expert at 19 years old, the youngest fight in the UFC. He is literally the perfect fighter because his abilities standing and on the mat are basically a dead draw. His hands and legs are extremely lethal with incredible power and amazing speed. He is a unique fighter in the UFC and is seriously untouchable. His footwork and style are unpredictable and unconventional and will be a match up nightmare for any fighter in the UFC. Standing opposite of this kid is a 33 year old MMA veteran, Francisco Trevino. Trevino is a good fighter with a lot of heart but his last fight he looked a tad lost in his losing effort against Johnny Case. He has finished 8 of his 12 wins, 5 of them by way of KO and the final three submissions. Trevino has finished half of his fights in the very first round and will look to come out fast here to pull off a win if he can. Trevino is the underdog against Northcutt regardless of having more fights in the UFC and being a veteran in MMA. Now I am going to pick Northcutt because I know a lot about this kid as I have watched almost everything you can find about him on the internet. I have Northcutt winning this fight by way of a first round KO.
FOX Sports 1 Prelims (8PM/ET):
#4 Rose Namajunas (3-2) vs Angela Hill (2-1): Well this fight to open the televised prelims will be so much fun in the Women’s strawweight division. Angela seemed to struggle finding her groove against Tecia Torres in her last fight and picked up her first professional loss. Now Angela is a good fighter but I don’t believe she will ever crack top 10 in the UFC. I think if Angela can keep this fight standing she will make sure she keeps it exciting and will continue to look for a KO with her incredible striking skills. Now on the mat Angela is a tad below average and will need to improve it in time. Now her opponent Rose Namajunas is an incredibly gifted young fighter. She is a great jiu-jitsu fighter and some incredible striking as well. To me Rose is lethal because she can fight so well on the mat and standing and is a very well rounded fighter. Rose’s loss to Carla Esparza is the only time I haven’t seen her look like the better fighter and oddly enough she is better than even Esparza. I think Rose wins this fight in the very first round by way of a rear naked choke submission over Angela Hill.
Adriano Martins (27-7) vs Islam Makhachev (12-0): This fight in the lightweight division is nothing to be taken lightly. Islam Makhachev is along with Sage the future of the UFC and they are in the same division, what I would do to watch these two fight each other. Islam is one of the best young fighters I have watched and he is only going to get better. He has picked up 2 wins by KO and 6 by submission. Islam is an amazing fighter with some incredible wrestling and is now training with AKA the same gym as Daniel Cormier, Cain Velasquez, Luke Rockhold, and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Islam is improving his striking game and once that reaches that new level he will be an instant title contender. Now standing opposite is Adriano Martins a MMA veteran. He is an impressive and talented fighter at 32 years of age. He has picked up 12 wins by KO and 3 more by submission finishing 15 professional wins. Adriano has finished 10 of those 15 fights in the first round displaying his ability to come out fast and finish his fights often. He has won 8 of his last 9 fights and seems to be getting a hot hand. Adriano is a great jiu-jitsu fighter with a weak stand up game and he needs to learn how to improve on that but both fighters are in need of an improved stand up game so in other words this fight could be either really technical or a wild brawl and that could lead to some serious fun. I am going to take the future here again and pick Islam to win by second round submission.
Alan Jouban (12-3) vs. Albert Tumenov (15-2): Here is a fight as the co-main of the welterweight division. Albert is a boxer and kick boxer and is only 23 years old and is on the rise. He has won 11 of his last 12 fights. Out of his 15 wins, he has picked up 10 of them by KO, those being all his stoppages. He hasn’t displayed his abilities on the mat yet. Now out of those 10 wins by KO he has stopped 9 of them in the first round and that could lead to a really exciting fight. His stand up game is pretty awesome and will be what he tries to rely on here for sure and we will see how his game plan goes. Now opposite of him is Alan Jouban. Alan is just like Albert by that I mean they are both stand up fighters with weak ground games. The only difference to me is that Alan is an extremely explosive fighter with one hit KO power. Alan again just like his opponent has all his stoppages by KO and he does as well with 9 KO’s displaying 6 of them in the first round. Now I really got no idea who is going to win this fight as these two are literally identical. I guess since I have to pick I am going to go with Alan Jouban in a unanimous decision.
Yair Rodriguez (6-1) vs. Daniel Hooker (13-5): This fight is the main event of the prelims between two young upcoming fighters in the featherweight division. Daniel Hooker is one tough kid out of New Zealand with an extremely well rounded game. Daniel has 11 stoppages in his professional career and they show how well-rounded of a fighter he really is. He has 5 wins by submission and the other 6 by way of KO. This kid one time in his career fought in the heavyweight division, basically 100 LBS heavier than he is now. He has stopped 8 of his 13 fights in the first round and is on a roll winning 7 of his last 8 fights. Daniel is going to one day be a championship contender and could potentially win the title mark my words. Now opposite of Hooker is Yair Rodriguez. Yair is 23 years old and is learning to put his stuff together. He was the winner of TUF LATAM on team Velasquez. Yair finished 3 of his 6 wins, 2 by KO and the final one by submission. All three of his finishes are in the first round and is entering this fight on a four fight win streak. I think Yair will become title worthy one day soon but he needs to get more of his fighting skills polished off before he gets to that level. I think Daniel is honestly the better fighter with a more complete skill set and is just the all-around better fighter. I am going to take Daniel to win this fight by way of a second round submission.
Main Card 10 PM/ET:
#6 Jessica Eye (11-3) vs #12 Julianna Pena (7-2): This fight to open the main card in the women’s bantamweight division. Julianna Pena is a finisher by nature, she has finished all 7 of her wins. She has 4 wins by submission and the other 3 by KO. Julianna is a fan favorite due to the excitement she brings naturally be being a finisher in the UFC. She has stopped 4 of those 7 fights in the very first round, which is not a common thing in a women’s division. She is a great jiu-jitsu fighter with wrestling abilities which makes her a unique fighter and tough to beat because she is well rounded on the mat in 2 different styles. That all being said she is no guarantee to win as she is fighting one tough girl Jessica Eye. Jessica is responsible for one of the most brutal doctor’s stoppages I have ever seen in my entire life. Her fight against Leslie Smith was so brutal Jessica nearly completely severed Leslie’s ear forcing the doctors to stop the fight in the second round. Following that fight she went on to fight Miesha Tate where she was just out classed and out preformed. In that fight I think Miesha really displayed weaknesses in Jessica’s fighting skills and those are what Julianna should focus on here. I think Julianna will continue to climb and Jessica will sadly continue to slide here. Julianna by third round KO here moving way up in the rankings with this impressive win.
#1 Joseph Benavidez (22-4) vs #14 Ali Bagautinov (13-3): We welcome the return of top ranked Ali here in a classic flyweight match up. Ali Bagautinov is back from a year-long suspension following an increase in testosterone after a loss to Demetrious Johnson in a title fight where he just looked unprepared. Ali is an incredible fighter with 9 finishes in the UFC, 5 by KO and the other 4 by submission where he really displays his well-rounded skill set. Ali is another one of these tough Russian fighters who are almost impossible to stop by brute strength. His loss to Demetrious (aka the greatest ever) he lost his 11 fight win streak and is looking to bounce back after his suspension which is tough enough, but now he has to fight another top fighter, Joseph Benavidez. Benavidez fights out of in my opinion one of the most overrated gyms where they don’t teach you to actually beat your opponent they teach you to outscore him. Benavidez is a semi-contraditcion to that theory though as he has finished 15 of his 22 wins. Benavidez is a very fast fighter who can be aggressive and successful or defensive and just as successful making him a very dangerous fighter in the UFC and honestly the reason he is the number one in this division at this point. He is coming in hot just like his opponent winning 10 of his last 12 fights and is looking for a title fight if he picks up the win. Benavidez is a very well-conditioned fighter with some absolutely incredible speed, absolutely lethal. I really am having a hard time with this fight and I will take the fighter who didn’t lose time in the octagon. Benavidez wins in a really good fight by way of a third round submission.
Shawn Jordan (18-6) vs Ruslan Magomedov (13-1): A heavyweight fight here that has my excitement level boiling over. Ruslan is an incredible striker and is honestly something to be excited about in a division lacking in excitement after the top 5. Ruslan is entering this fight on an 8 fight win streak looking to roll here. His ground game is a bit underrated has he has stopped two fights by way of submission. Ruslan is a beast but he is fighting a monster here in Shawn Jordan. Shawn is an athletic freak who I love personally. He is a former LSU fullback and is one tough dude who I believe personally is a top 15 fighter in this division already and if he can pull of a win here will be I think in everyone else’s eyes. I think Shawn is a great fighter no matter where the fight goes. He is a finisher to say it nicely, finishing 17 of his 18 professional wins. 14 of his finishes are by way of KO and the final three by submission, I think his ground game has even improved making him a very versatile fighter and a very dangerous one to say the least. I love this fight just because these guys are going to have fun and go to town for the fans here. I am going to take Shawn when the dust settles to pick up his 15th career KO victory in the 2nd round of this one.
#4 Ryan “Darth” Bader (20-4) vs. #5 “Suga” Rashad Evans (24-3-1): This new Co-main event is going to be a blast of two classic light heavyweight fighters who are both title caliber fighters. This fight features former champion Suga Rashad Evans. I think Daniel Cormier is stupid for saying he wants to fight Evans because Rashad is terribly gifted. Suga is a really fast fighter especially in this division where speed seems to be a lost art. Suga is great at getting his opponents to the mat when he wants and keeping the fight standing whenever he wants due to his incredible takedown defense. He is making his return to the octagon for the first time since 2013 where he destroyed Chael Sonnen with a brutal first round KO/TKO. He is truly hoping if he can continue to be at the top of his game even at his age of 36 years old that he can get a title shot if he pulls of this win. Now standing opposite of him is a monster with phenomenal takedowns due to his incredible, I mean INCREDIBLE, wrestling skills, Ryan “Darth” Bader. Darth is one of the best pure wrestlers you can ever watch in the UFC or anywhere really. I think the reason DC doesn’t want to fight Bader is that Bader might truly be the better wrestler and be able to stop DC. Darth is a very very powerful man and could stop this fight if he gets one clean shot on Suga with his heavy hands. Ryan has stopped 10 of his 20 wins, 7 by KO and the other 3 are by submission, 8 of those are in the first round. I respect both fighters’ skills and think these two are an incredible match up for one another and every single one of us UFC fight fans should be excited. I am so torn here and I really am just picking a name at random it’s too close to call. I will take Darth to win here by a 3rd round TKO after getting Evans to get the ground and pounding out a win.
#1 Johnny Hendricks (17-3) vs #3 Tyron Woodley (15-3): Well this was the original co-main and now it’s cancelled. Johnny failed to be able to cut weight and not only that he did it completely in an unhealthy manner and was rushed to the hospital due to making such a harsh cut. He is now contemplating going up a weight class which is honestly where I think he would be best. Tyron has been promised the title shot he deserved getting the winner of Condit vs. Lawler.
(C) Daniel Cormier (16-1) vs #2 Alexander Gustafsson (16-3): The main event of the evening and a title fight I think is perfect for this division. This fight in the light heavyweight division for the title is going to be a brawl between two fighters who as time has passed have developed more and more trash talk among each other. Gustafsson is coming off a really disappointing loss to Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. Gustafsson is an absolutely amazing fighter who took Jon Jones to his limit and in my opinion beat Jones. Gustafsson is a very aggressive fighter and his stand up skills are incredible especially when he uses his incredible length to his advantage. Gustafsson has finished 10 fights by way of KO and three more by way of submission. His stoppages are pretty impressive as he finished 8 fights in the first round. Now this aggressive man is one day going to be champion and will be hard to take the title for once he gets his whole game together. Now opposite of him is the champion Daniel Cormier is a super talented fighter. He is an incredible wrestler just like Darth is and has a ton of power in his hands, had a 13-0 record in the heavyweight division. His only professional loss is to Jon Jones where he also took Jones to his limit. Daniel since then beat Anthony Johnson to take the vacant title and is now entering his first title defense. Daniel is the better fighter when it comes to the fight on the mat but if this fight stays standing Gustafsson when he is on is incredibly way more talented then DC. I really believe Daniel did all the preparation to take this fight to the ground knowing that’s where he stands his chance to survive and will try over and over to get this fight to where he is best. That being said I think Gustafsson is going to keep it standing long enough to pull off the win and get it done by KO in the third round giving us a new title holder.
- Matt Koontz.