FS2 Prelims (7 PM/ET):
Devin Powell (8-1) vs. Darrell Horcher (12-2): This lightweight brawl is a good way to kick off the night on FS2. Darrell Horcher will be looking to head hunt and land one of his vicious hands and end the night of Powell early. If he wants to succeed on this he will have to prevent himself from finding the mat and keep this thing a stand-up fight. If he does keep this thing standing he will be a great fighter to watch square off and provide a show for the fans. Now his opponent Powell can land the TKO finish but he is better off getting this thing to the ground. Powell is a good fighter on his feet don’t get me wrong but Horcher hits like a brick hitting someone in the skull when he gets a clean shot and would be best to avoid the heavy hands and slightly superior better stand-up. Powell was discovered on Dana White looking for a fight. Both fighters are coming off UFC debut loses and look to right the ship and prove they belong and I believe we will see Horcher get his hand raised at the end of this one via 2nd round TKO.
#8 Carla Esparza (12-4) vs. #10 Maryna Moroz (8-1): This strawweight fight is one to watch as it has the first ever strawweight champ in Esparza and the young future title challenger Moroz. Moroz is one tough girl and her nickname “the Iron Lady” is amazingly fitting for her. I think she is a definite future challenger for Joanna for the Strawweight title. This girl can beat someone’s face in but if she gets her opponent to the mat they better hope they find their feet soon or she will end their night with a tap out. She can’t take Carla lightly though because the last two times we have seen Carla she looked good regardless of being 1-1 in those two. The one thing Carla does well is get fights to the mat but the big issue with that is she doesn’t want to really get Moroz to the ground. This fight is going to be interesting because I can’t figure out how these two women are going to take this fight due to the strengths of their opponent. I am going to stick with Moroz because I believe in her as a better fighter and think we will see her continue to learn and progress through the strawweight division.
Vitor Miranda (13-5) vs. Marvin Vettori (11-3): This middleweight fight is between two lesser known UFC middlweights to the moderate fan but they can both provide a show with their counter opposite skills. Marvin Vettori is a very skilled submission artist who can end a fight in moments on the mat and will be picking his spots and looking for the shot to take this fight to the ground when he can. If he does so he will get his hand raised at the end of the fight fairly easily. Now his opponent Vitor Miranda hasn’t fought in a year and hopes to return to the octagon in a KO style win that he will be looking for. He has the ability to keep a fight standing and land his shots and pick up an impressive KO or TKO. I am struggling to pick a winner in this fight because I believe these two will have a hard time doing what they want in this fight and could lead to slow paced fight for 15 minutes. I am going to take Vettori by way of a unanimous decision.
Clay Guida (32-14) vs. Erik Koch (15-4): This lightweight showdown is going to be fun as all fights with Clay Guida and Erik Koch are. Both fighters have the ability to finish this fight on the mat better than on their feet but they can both take a beating and deliver a beating as well. This is going to be a front runner for fight of the night behind Lee and Chiesa. I think these two are the perfect matchup for each other and they both have great takedown defenses. I am so excited for this fight I almost hate having to pick someone to win this fight. I believe this fight will go the distance and they will both be bloodied and beaten and fully tested. This fight is going to be action packed and some serious fun. I am going to take Guida to win by way of split decision in hopes that he can turn it around and doesn’t decide to leave the gloves in the octagon just yet.
FS1 Main Card (9 PM/ET):
BJ Penn (16-11-2) vs. Dennis Siver (22-11, 1NC): To kick off the main card we have UFC HOF member BJ Penn against Siver in a lightweight battle. This fight will be two weathered veterans of the octagon who will respect each other but look for the win in their own ways as both fighters are skilled in every aspect of MMA. This fight is a turnaround fight for both as Penn the legend he is, is looking to end his career with a win instead of his current 4 fight losing streak and Siver who hasn’t fought since his loss in 2015 would love to end his career with a win as well. I think for Siver he is going to look to keep this fight standing and look to score the win that way while I believe Penn will find a way to get this thing to the ground and go for the win there. But either fight can win in either spot though I do believe this will be a grind to a decision. I have faith Penn is the better fighter regardless of his tough go and long absence from the octagon and will pick up a 29-28 unanimous decision victory.
Tim Means (26-8-1) vs. Alex Garcia (14-3): This welterweight fight is going to be a showdown between two talents on the verge of the top 15 as we have seen Tim Means in the top 15 before. Alex Garcia came off a big win over Mike Pyle and this win if he can get it would be enough to prove he belongs in the top 15 and receive an even better fighter. Garcia is a big powerful dude but he has surprising skills on the mat as well that can’t be overlooked. Tim Means finishes a vast majority of his fights and does so with his skilled striking and can KO anyone with his sneaky power and will most likely be looking to do so this fight. I am a huge fan of this fight because we will most likely see a finish in this one. I have faith we will see Alex Garcia though with his hand raised at the end of round 2 after knocking Means to the mat he will get on top and find a submission.
Joachim Christensen (14-5) vs. Dominick Reyes (6-0): The light heavyweight division has an interesting fight here as Dominick Reyes could be a rising star in this division as the 27 year old LHW fighter is in his UFC debut. This dude enters the octagon undefeated with 4 KO/TKO finishes, a submission, and only one fight ever going to decision. All 5 of his finishes have been inside the 1st round. He has the skill set to become a real threat in a pretty weak division after the top 5. I believe strongly he will be part of this divisions future. Now his opponent is Joachim Christensen who is 1-2 since joining the UFC and at 38 years old is just trying to find a way to turn around his luck and pick up some wins. I believe this fight will be quick and the far superior fighter will show his true colors and I believe that is Dominick Reyes who will pick up the win via 1st round TKO.
#13 Felice Herrig (12-6) vs. Justine Kish (6-0): This strawweight battle is going to be fun between two incredible females. Kish has started her UFC career with an impressive 2-0 start. She is a monster with a great set of ground skills. Her striking lacks some if you ask me even as a Muay Thai fighter I think she needs to greatly improve her skill set on her feet if she wants to move into serious contention in this division. That being said she has the ability to grow some more and develop into each fight she enters. I am a big fan of her opponent though as she fights one tough girl in Herrig. Herrig is a monster on her feet as a kickboxer she knows how to land some devastating blows. She is great at setting a fast pace in her fights and uses her great stamina to endure that pace as she wears her opponents out and I believe she is the perfect true test for Kish to see if she really belongs in the ranked picture of the strawweight division. I really love watching Felice fight and think she will put on a phenomenal show for the fans. I have a feeling 6-0 will end tonight and become 6-1 as Herrig will pick up a 2nd round head kick KO.
Tim Boetsch (20-11) vs. Johny “Fat Boy” Hendricks (18-6): Johnny once again for the 2nd straight time missed weight since moving up a weight class after having issues in welterweight making weight. At middleweight Johny could be a real threat to a title if he can put more passion and dedication into working for weight and staying UFC ready. I love what Johny brings talent wise he just needs to find that drive and passion again because he is an All-American wrestler with dominating power on his stand-up. Now his opponent Boetsch is a granite chinned machine with great wrestling skills. I think Boetsch to have a shot in this fight will have to push the pace and go for the KO or TKO win or he will be overwhelmed by a very skilled Hendricks. I believe that the man bound to hopefully get his mentality straight and get that passion and drive back because it could be something great for the UFC. I have Hendricks winning by 3rd round TKO.
#6 Michael Chiesa (14-2) vs. #11 Kevin Lee (15-2): This fight is personal between two rivals who are both bound for the top of this division with a shot at the belt. These two kids are absolutely incredible and should bring as much hype as you need to get you into this fight card. Kevin Lee is a 24 year old phenom who will one day be holding this lightweight title around his waist and could hold it for a while. Kevin Lee has the skill set to end a fight on his feet but he can quickly and will quickly look to pick submissions if this fight goes to the ground. Kevin Lee is a very well-rounded fighter with a flashy skill set. I believe if Kevin can set a fast pace aggressive style he will be impossible to stop in any fights in this division moving forward because of the talent and speed he brings into the equation. Now his opponent Michael Chiesa is a man to watch now that he has returned from a year off due to injury. Chiesa is a great stand-up fighter and loves to make things sloppy and scramble a lot because there isn’t anyone much better at cracking off some shots in a crazy scramble. I believe this fight will come down to just who becomes the more aggressive fighter and keeps the pace. I really believe these two both one day will be battling for the title and could both one day have that belt around their waist. I am going to take Kevin Lee via 4th round submission after a brutal back and forth fight of the year candidate.
- Matt K