(#12) Louis Smolka (11-3) vs (#9) Tim Elliot (14-7-1): Kicking off the prelims for tonight we get a ranked battle in the same division that we will see a title fight in in the main event; flyweight. Both gentlemen have been doing poor recently. Smolka has four wins in his last six, but his two losses are his last two matches. Elliot has only won two of his last seven and is currently on a four-fight drought. Elliot prefers winning with knockouts while Smolka leans toward submissions. Both of these guys are strikers, but it seems like Elliot only really strikes while Smolka will start to grapple and hunt the sub if he can’t make it work on his feet. For that fact alone I see Smolka winning in the second round by submission. I think they will stay standing in the first and Smolka will discover what seems like a big gap in Elliot’s ability.
Bobby Green (13-7) vs. Rashid Magomedov (19-2): The next fight will be in the lightweight division. Rashid Magomedov is a dangerous striker piling up eight wins by knockout and an extra by submission. He is 4-1 in the UFC and unfortunately, he was only able to pull off the stop once. He is great at mixing up quick kicks and landing bombs. His opponent has won eight of his last ten fights even though his two losses are in his last two fights. He has just one more win by knockout than his opponent, with nine, but unlike his opponent he also has eight wins by submission. Green is an aggressive an entertaining fighter. He has great head motion and his confidence is very apparent. These two guys are going to come out and try and tear each other apart. Green is a great ground fighter, but I don’t think he will use it here and they will keep this standing. I think Green will be able to dodge a good bit of Magomedov’s slick combos and get a flashy knockout towards the end of the first.
Patrick Williams (8-4) vs. Tom Duquesnoy (14-1): This next fight will be between two relatively new additions to the bantamweight division. Tom Duquesnoy is debuting in the UFC tonight. He is coming in on a ten-fight win streak not including a no contest in the middle. He won seven fights by knockout and four by submission. He likes to stand down his opponent and mix strikes with wicked low kicks. His opponent in this match is also new to the organization with this being his third match in the UFC. Patrick Williams has a pretty balanced finish rate with four wins by knockout and three by submission and six of them in the first round. These fighters will be a good match up for each other. I think they will time their shots with each guy landing. I think Duquesnoy will have control of the cage though and will probably take to the clinch at times. I see this fight going to the second or third with both guys pretty tired and I predict that Duquesnoy will pick up a late TKO because of his advantage of cage control.
(#11) Alexander Volkov (27-6) vs. Roy Nelson (23-13): This next fight will be in the heavyweight division between a ranked fighter and one who was up until just recently. Roy Nelson is the unranked fighter and he has only won 50% of his last 12 fights. He can take a beating unlike any other because he has almost never been knocked out and what some people call a magic beard. He has 15 wins by knockout and four by submission, but all of his wins in the UFC are by knockout. His opponent is also a knockout beast. Alexander Volkov has 18 wins by knockout with 15 in the first round. This is going to be an absolute slugfest. Volkov is an athletic heavyweight so his game plan will be to survive past the first round. From there Nelson will start to get tired, but he is still dangerous. I think Volkov is going to pick his shots and do some damage and come out of this with a decision win.
UFC Fight Night
(#5) Jeremy Stephens (25-13) vs. Renato Moicano (10-0-1): We have arrived at the main card and we are kicking it off with a fight in the featherweight division. Renato Moicano is coming in on a five-fight winning streak; ten-fight if you don't count the No Contest. He is a skilled Muay Thai practitioner with five wins by submission and one by knockout. He likes to set up takedowns quick and work his fight entirely on the ground. His opponent is also a Muay Thai practitioner that prefers the stand up. Jeremy Stevens has 17 wins by knockout. Stephens may be one of the heaviest hitters in the division. Moicano will definitely want this on the ground, but I think it will be tough for him to implement it because Stephens is Muay Thai too so he will see the cues and react before other people could. I think Stephens will have a pretty easy time coming in and keeping this fight standing and I predict he will win with a TKO towards the end of the first.
(#3) Ronaldo Souza (24-4) vs. (#6) Robert Whittaker (18-4): The next fight is between two high ranked fighters in the middleweight division. With a win here, Robert Whittaker easily belongs in the top five while Souza believes he shouldn’t even be in this fight saying the only reason he hasn’t fought for the title yet is because Michael Bisping is afraid of him. Robert Whittaker is coming into this fight on a six-fight winning streak. Whittaker can get submission victories, but prefers to stand and bang with almost double the amount of knockout finishes. His 94% submission defense is going to be tested tonight because his opponent likes to get in the trenches. When people think of Jacare Souza the first thing that comes to mind is probably his dangerous striking, but 14 of his wins are by submission. He has only lost two fights in his last 16 and both were by split decision. Jacare is a very aggressive striker and constantly pushes his opponent backwards, but most of the time it’s just a setup because if he gets to grapple you then you are as good as tapped already. This fight will be electrifying because Jacare will push the pace, but Whittaker isn’t the guy to back down from that challenge. I honestly think this will be the first time Jacare gets stopped in years. Robert has a great takedown defense, can swing faster and he has a higher percentage of significant strikes. This is probably crazy to call, but I think Whittaker can hold off “The Gator” and win with a second round TKO.
(#4) Rose Namajunas (6-3) vs. (#6) Michelle Waterson (14-4): On to the co-main event and we are seeing the only strawweight fight on the card between two ranked fighters. Michelle Waterson is currently undefeated in the UFC winning all four of her matches so far. She has nine wins by submission and three wins by knockout with eight in the first round. Waterson likes to clinch and drop bombs then just rip out submissions for quick taps. Her opponent, Rose, is currently 3-2 in the UFC and coming off a loss. Namajunas has five wins by submission and three of them were in the first. She is a good standup striker and likes to throw flashy kicks, but does not have any stoppages by knockout or TKO. The thing is she likes to create openings with her striking then, like Waterson, whip out quick submissions. This fight will start with a good back and forth and I predict it will end with a submission so quick we will need a replay to see what happened. Rose swings more often, but Michelle’s strikes have a higher tendency to land on their target. I see this fight switching between standing and clinch for the first with Rose taking more damage. From there Michelle will start to look for her opening while Rose will switch to kicks to keep Waterson away. I predict that Rose will eventually get worn down enough that Waterson will get her submission victory in the third.
(C) Demetrious Johnson (22-5-1) vs (#3) Wilson Reis (22-6): This is the main event for tonight and I’m a bit heated that this is not on any pay-per-view. Demetrius Johnson is looking to tie the record for most successful title defenses in UFC history after decimating the flyweight division. His opponent is one of the only men in the division that he has not fought yet, Wilson Reis. Reis has won 10 of his last 12 fights and three in a row. He has 10 wins by submission and seven of them were in the first round with no wins by knockout. Reis is a good striker and he likes to fake hands to set up for his takedowns. He hunts for a ton of takedowns and tries to work back and forth from his half-takedown hold. His opponent is on a 12 fight win streak and nine fight title defense. Demetrious Johnson seems to get better with every fight and although some fans view him as not entertaining, it is because he is the most technical fighter on the roster and doesn’t jeopardize what he is working toward. I do not want to discredit Wilson, but I think Johnson is going to breeze through this fight because he had his way with Henry Cejudo and I see him as more of a grappling threat than Wilson Reis. He does have some good stoppages, but D.J. is mainly a decision fighter and I think that he is going to work Wilson Reis all the way down and win by unanimous decision.