FS1 Prelims (8 PM/ET):
#12 (13) Iuri Alcantara (34-7, 1NC) vs. Brian Kelleher (16-7): We kick off the televised fights for the night with the Bantamweight division. This fight should be a fun way to start off the night as both of these guys will look for a finish. Brian is coming in to his UFC debut on a 6 fight win streak and believes he deserves a top fighter and he is getting a great test to see if he is worthy. 4 of those fights on his 6 fight streak he is riding in on were finished by stoppage. Now his opponent is a UFC vet who has shown as of late his ability on the mat somehow has gotten even better and I expect him to use his cage knowledge and abilities to pace this fight and get it to the mat and go for his submission game. Brian is a great ground fighter too though but if he does get Iuri to the mat he needs to know that Iuri can pull off sneak submissions from the bottom or in a scramble. I went online and watched some film on Brian and I think he could be good in the UFC but his UFC debut I believe will end in a loss after an Alcantara submission in round 2.
#10 (10) Johnny Eduardo (28-10) vs. Matthew Lopez (9-1): Back to back bantamweight fights and this one should be an increase in showmanship. Lopez is a tough dude with a pretty great ability to endure a beating and still keep fighting hard. Lopez is a great wrestler and has a ton of power, he also possess the ability to stop a fight wherever it goes. He has successfully stopped 7 of his 9 professional wins and his one lone loss came in the UFC on his UFC debut. I think he has the skill set and talent to make a run at the rankings and possibly in a couple years be considered a title fighter. His biggest test ever though will be this one as he fights Johnny Eduardo who is one fighter I am so excited to see fight again. I know Eduardo is up there in age but I still think he has a title shot run left in him if he can pull off this win. Eduardo is a dominant striker and if he connects and it doesn’t knock out his opponent he will go to the mat and pick up the RNC. Eduardo will be in front of the home crowd and could pick up the win and retire honestly but I hope he won’t. I am going to honestly believe Lopez can find a way and will pull off this biggest win of his career. I am going to take Lopez by way of unanimous decision.
Antonio Carlos Junior (8-2, 1NC) vs. Eric Spicely (10-2): This middleweight fight is between two Jiu-jitsu greats with very impressive ground games. Spicely is a great ground game fighter who has stopped his last two fights in the 1st round via submission and lost his UFC debut in the 1st via submission to ranked middleweight Sam Alvey. Spicely will come into this fight looking to keep this fight at a distance and shoot for the takedown when an opening happens. He has a phenomenal ground game but his stand-up will need some work if he looks to be a great middleweight fighter. His opponent Antonio Carlos Junior is an aggressive Jiu-jitsu fighter which is rare but he really comes after it. His hands while standing though can plant someone on their butt with their lights turned off and if he doesn’t knock them out he would jump on them for the submission. I love the hype behind this fight and I am going to take Spicely to win this one via 1st round submission by using his elite skill set.
#3 (3) Raphael Assuncao (24-5) vs. Marlon Moraes (18-4-1): The main event of the televised prelims is a throw down between a top bantamweight and a guy looking to make a huge UFC debut. Marlon Moraes gets a big named top fighter with his UFC debut for a reason, he comes in with a whole lot of hype as he hasn’t lost in World Series of Fighting or another major organization since 2011. He is coming in off of 4 stoppage wins in a row. He is a very well rounded fighter with great stand up skills and a great ground game but I am not sure he is at an advantage at on the mat against Assuncao. But this guy has far superior stand up skills to anyone probably in his entire division. He even trains with Edson Barbosa which is huge to me. Now his opponent UFC standout Raphael Assuncao is a top fighter in the world who I once believed to be a top title contender and I still think he can be. The guy loves to push the pace of a fight and can dominate every fighter in his weight range on the mat. Now this fight to me comes down to who pushes the pace as they both love to push the pace and if this fight stays standing or goes to the mat. I think round 1 will be dominated by Raphael but Marlon will survive and pick up a tough KO with a kick to the head in round 2 to get his first UFC win in impressive style.
UFC Main Card (10 PM/ET):
Erick Silva (19-7, 1NC) vs. Yancy Medeiros (13-4, 1NC): We kick off the main card with the welterweight division. Yancy is a good standup fighter with a pretty good takedown defense. He has a great mindset and some serious fighting instincts and can control the pace of a fight pretty well. I think Yancy will look to pace out this fight and pick Silva apart and while doing so landing some pretty devastating kicks and punches wearing him down. Now his opponent Erick Silva loves to throw kicks and go for the take downs and use his great ground game to pick up the wins. Silva needs to be careful he doesn’t get too aggressive looking for takedowns and get caught though. He needs to use his phenomenal kicks and power and slowly pick apart Yancy and then get his takedown as he wears him down. This fight is going to be a technical showdown and I see Erick Silva using the hometown crowd to propel him to a win. I believe he gets it done in round 2 via a head kick KO.
Paulo Borrachinha (9-0) vs. Oluwale Bamgbose (6-2): HERE COME THE FIREWORKS! These two middleweights know how to end a fight with one punch. Oluwale’s last fight was cancelled due to his opponent having issues making weight and this guy is an absolute monster and I am so excited for his future in the UFC. This kid has stopped all 6 of his wins with a KO and they are all in the 1st round. This dude is so powerful yet his hands are so quick and he has a great fight instinct and I believe we will see him become a top 15 fighter with one impressive win. He has a very smart mind in the cage and could really climb the ranks quick once he gets some momentum. Now his opponent is entering just his 2nd UFC fight coming off an impressive KO in round 1. Paulo just like his opponent has stopped all of his fights except he has one submission while the rest are KO and they are also all in the 1st round so I believe it be crazy to pick this fight to last beyond round 1. I believe the winner of this fight will find themselves ranked and the loser will rebound after this and be ranked one day soon too as they are both two young beasts bound for title shots one day. I love this fight as it could steal the show. I am going with Oluwale to win this one and pick up an impressive 1st round TKO.
#14 (11) Vitor Belfort (25-13) vs. Nate Marquardt (38-16-3): Alright well I want to make this short and sweet for this fight. Thank you to future HOF member Vitor Belfort as you are retiring after this fight and we will truly miss you and I believe you will ride the emotional wave into your final fight and in front of your hometown fans and pick up a 1st round KO as this fight will be a fun one for as long as it lasts. But thank you so much for what you brought us fans since your debut Vitor. A true legend.
#1 (1) Claudia Gadelha (13-2) vs. #2 (2) Karolina Kowalkiewicz (10-1): This fight is between the top 2 women in the strawweight division that aren’t named Joanna Jedrzejczyk. These two girls have a combined 3 losses and all 3 losses have come to Joanna. These girls might be fighting for the #1 contender spot but I personally believe Rose should be next for the title fight before them. I personally would like to see Claudia go into the next season of TUF and go for the title at 125 that they are creating because I believe she could be Joanna good at 125. These two girls are dominant strikers and this fight will be extremely high entertainment and we could really see a bloody brawl because as Joanna has shown us these two girls can take a beating and keep coming. I am ready to see a Poland vs Poland rematch though as I believe Karolina wins this one by way of unanimous decision.
Champ: Jose Aldo (26-2) vs. Interim Champ: Max Holloway (17-3): HERE WE GO!!!! The MAIN EVENT OF THE EVENING. Looks like Holloway is one of the rarest feats in the world and won the game of where’s Waldo without any longer delays. Holloway is rolling in on a 10 fight win streak and he has looked better and better each and every single fight. I honestly think he is a top 10 fighter in the world not just top in his weight class. Max has become a great striker and learned how to use head movement and counter strike very well and his ground game and Jiu-jitsu is improving each time we see him. He will be put at his biggest test of his young career though as he goes up against the greatest featherweight fighter of all time in Jose Aldo. Aldo has one huge factor we haven’t seen in Holloway yet and that is the fact that Aldo can probably go 15 rounds. Aldo has an advantage on the mat but when it comes to stand up he has KO power but he really needs to close the distance against a better striking fighter. Aldo should be looking to slowly pick his shots in this fight like we saw him do against Frankie Edgar. Aldo doesn’t have the skill set anymore to come get a win he has to pick his spots and land and I am not sure that strategy will work so well against the range of Holloway and the ability Max has of evading shots and countering. I believe this fight could be slow paced and boring if Aldo plays the Floyd Mayweather game like he shows he has the tendency to do but if Max can push the pace he could make this a fight of the year candidate. I am going with Max to win this thing in the 4th round via TKO.
- Matt Koontz
(#13) Iuri Alcantara (34-7) vs Brian Kelleher (16-7): The first fight of the night we see a ranked bantamweight go up against someone making his UFC debut. Brian Kelleher will be stepping into the octagon for the first time tonight. He is coming in off a six fight win streak and is coming down a weight class. He has seven wins by submission and six wins by knockout or TKO. His opponent has won six of his last eight fights. Alcantara is a well-balanced finisher with 13 by submission and 13 by knockout or TKO. He is also a champion in both jiu-jitsu and muay thai. Alcantara has a habit of beating unranked guys and I think this is going to be a rude awakening for him. I think Kelleher is going to adjust well to this weight class because sherdog has his weight listed as 141 so he shouldn't have a rough cut and it will only make him more dominant. I think this will stay mostly standing and Kelleher will get a TKO in the second.
(#10) Johnny Eduardo (28-10) vs Matthew Lopez (9-1): This next fight is very similar to last and in the same division. Lopez is entering this fight on a win and his first out of two previous UFC fights. He has four wins by knockout and three by submission. All of them were in the first round and three were even under two minutes. This guy is a four time state champ in wrestling and a national champ in Greco-Roman so he will be an aggressive grappler. His opponent Johnny Eduardo has won 14 of his last 16 fights. He has won 11 by submission and 10 by knockout with 14 of the 21 in the first round. Eduardo is a champ in both jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai. Eduardo fights only about once a year so I believe Lopez will be able to get in and take advantage early. I think Lopez can get a quick takedown and TKO him in the first couple minutes.
Antonio Carlos Junior (8-2) vs Eric Spicely (10-2): This next fight will be in the middleweight division and the only fight on the prelims without a ranked fighter. Eric Spicely is coming in off two straight wins. Those were two of his five submission victories and they were all in the first round. He is the kind of guy that goes straight for an opening without using many strikes. So far it is working out for him, but with no attempted takedowns against him it will be interesting to see how he does against someone who does close to the same thing. His opponent has competed at both heavyweight and light heavyweight in the UFC. Antonio Carlos Junior is also very good at jiu-jitsu, but it takes him a little longer and he gets a good amount of shots in. It will be interesting to see how this is going to go down and I think Carlos' background will give the ability to test Spicely. However I still think Spicely is going to win, but it will take him til the second round and he will have to work Carlos down first.
(#3) Raphel Assuncao (24-5) vs Marlon Moraes (18-4): The main event of the prelims is the one I find a tad confusing. I don't know much about Moraes, but I don't want to write him off yet. This decorated 29 year old is making his UFC debut against the 3rd ranked fighter in his division and I'm not sure that is the right call. He is on a 13 fight win streak and leaving the title of WSOF bantamweight champion. He is good at finishing his opponents and he does it quick with double digits in the first round. My thing is it is always a different level of opponent when entering the UFC and there is really no telling how a fighter will transition. On top of that he goes straight to the top with the monster in Assuncao. He is near undefeated at bantamweight and has 13 finishes. Assuncao took Dillashaw to his limit and this is the guy they want Moraes to debut against? I have serious doubts, but if I am proved wrong then this could really be a fight of the year candidate. For everyone's sake who is watching I hope I am wrong, but I think Assuncao is going to beat him down and get a second or third round submission.
Erick Silva (19-7) vs. Yancy Medeiros (13-4): The first fight of the main card and this will be one of two unranked fights on the card. Yancy will be moving up a weight and I'm not sure why considering he was staying pretty solid in lightweight. He won four of his last six and over his career gathered ten finishes. Medeiros is a thug in the octagon and he just whoops ass. He presses forward and practically stalks his opponent landing shot after shot until it's over. His opponent is Erick Silva who is a decorated welterweight. He has trained with some of the best Brazilian fighters including Anderson, Jacare and the Nogueira brothers. He has a dozen wins by submission and is a black belt in both judo and jiu-jitsu. How this guy managed only four knockout victories is insane because his hits are lethal. These two fighters are going to go nuts. They are going to both want to set the pace and I think someone is going to get dropped because of it. Silva seems to hit harder, but Yancy lands a lot more and I think that will go in his favor because it will mess Silva up and make him sloppy. This fight is going to be intense and I predict Medeiros getting a knockout towards the end of the first.
Pualo Borrachinha (9-0) vs. Oluwale Bamgbose (6-2): This next fight may seem like it doesn't belong in the main card, but it will be brutal. Between the two fighters, 14 knockouts occurred in the first round. This will be a great test for both fighters at their current standing in the division. It is going to go quick though because both men swing fast and heavy. I predict Oluwale to win this one. Even though his career in the UFC is shaky right now he has spent a ton of time in a massive list of gyms and I believe he is ready to take his career to the next level. I say that these two will go at it and Oluwale will use his new found skills to pick up a knockout in the first.
(#11) Vitor Belfort (25-13) vs. Nate Marquardt (38-16-3): This fight is Belfort's last fight on his contract and he has made it clear that this will be his last. He chose a good opponent in terms of experience and this will have a good feeling of the UFC days of 5-10 years ago. Vitor has been a tank from the beginning being in and out of title contention and giving highlight fights all the time. His opponent has seen better days in the organization, but he was also a terror in his own right in his prime. Nate has over 25 finishes and has knocked out almost all of his opponents in his last ten wins. Vitor has been more successful than Nate when it comes to staying in the rankings, but has lost his last three fights in a row. I am predicting that Vitor manages to win this one by decision because he has stuck around a higher level of competition than Nate. It will be a tough battle and more than likely a standing ovation from the crowd when it is over.
(#1) Claudia Gadelha (13-2) vs (#2) Karolina Kowalkiewicz (10-1): We are at the co-main and it is probably a number one contender match for the strawweight title. Both of these women are undoubtedly the best in the division if not for champ, Joanna. She is all three of their combined losses and these two could probably have an epic trilogy between them in the future. Both fighters are great at setting their pace and really push the opponent to the limit. Karolina was able to stumble Joanna a couple times and Claudia was stuck defenseless due to Joanna pinning her against the cage for almost 25 minutes in both fights. Karolina is great at standup, constantly popping shots and delivering a heavy at the end of each combination. Claudia prefers to time her shots and try and land nothing but heavies and get takedowns. I think Karolina will win this fight because she will be able to keep Claudia stood up and at a distance. It may take a while and possibly go to decision, but I believe Karolina will edge this win here.
(C) Jose Aldo (26-2) vs (#1) Max Holloway (17-3): This is the main event for the night. Max Holloway is finally getting a title shot after a ten win streak and gaining the Interim Featherweight title. Aldo has been in MMA a very long time and he has seen many fighters, but he has a few holes. He doesn't fight that often with only one fight per year on average when he first started as UFC featherweight champ the first time. He also likes to stick and move and sometimes a lot more moving than actually landing. Holloway however is the kind of guy that will close that distance and put pressure on him the same way Conor did. This may take two or three rounds to get to him, but I think Holloway will get a TKO victory and run this division for a while.
- Mike W.