Dustin Poirier vs Justin Gaethje
Always kinda seems like just when Poirier is getting some real momentum, he picks up a loss. Always just a couple of fights away from the title shot. He’s 29 years old, 5’9 and his record is 22 wins and 5 losses. His last fight was a no contest with Eddie Alvarez and if he could get a win here it would put him up near the lightweight contenders. Basically you’ve got McGregor and Ferguson then everyone else below them jockeying for position. If Poirier wins I could see a title eliminator rematch with Alvarez. Poirier is very well rounded. He strikes well, good wrestling and good submissions especially with chokes and the last couple of years he seems to have a different attitude, more focused since he got knocked out by McGregor.
This is Gaethje’s first fight back since his first career loss in December. Be interesting to see if it affects him or if he makes any changes. I personally don’t thinks so, it was bound to happen eventually the way he fights, as he said himself. He’s 29 years old and 5’11 with a record of 18 wins and 1 loss and impressively 15 wins by stoppage. He’s a NCAA div 1 All American although he rarely goes for takedowns but has good defence against it. He’s one of the most aggressive guys you will come up against and loves to stay in the pocket cover up and punch back. Doesn’t mind taking a few to give a few and has some very good leg kicks and is the former World Series of Fighting lightweight champion. Maybe one of the most fun guys to watch in the whole sport.
Poirier can win this but he’s going to have to go through hell to get it. We know what Gaethje is about. As Joe Rogan would say, he’s a savage. He comes forward throwing punches and leg kicks, always pressuring his opponent. Poirier is aggressive too but more tactical aggression, looking for openings then going for the kill. I think Poirier possibly has better movement that Alvarez but I’m not sure if he’s as durable. He’s probably going to have to tough it out for the first 1 or 2 rounds and hope that maybe Gaethje slows down late on. Gaethje has heart though and he just keeps coming. This is a hard one but I think maybe Gaethje gets the stoppage in the 2nd or 3rd.
Prediction : Gaethje by KO/TKO
Result : Poirier by TKO
Carlos Condit vs Alex Oliveira
Condit hasn’t had the best couple of years as far as fighting goes. He lost a split decision to Robbie Lawler in a fight I thought he won. Then he just got dominated by Demian Maia so badly that he actually retired for a year. In December he had a comeback fight against Neil Magna and he just looked off, ring rust? Overtrained? He just seemed flat. Now he has this fight and its pretty much must win if he still wants to be considered a force in the division. He’s got a lot of experience, he’s 33 now with 40 fights. 30 wins with 28 finishes. He was the last ever WEC Welterweight champion and he was ferocious with punches, kicks and elbows….. I hope we see that guy again.
‘Cowboy’ Oliveira is never going to be championship material, let’s face it, but he is good enough to give anyone a hard fight. He has very good kickboxing, good use of range and long arms. In close he’s good at tying guys up and keeping his body very tight to his opponent. He is 31 years old with a record of 18wins and 4 losses with 11 of his wins by knockout. He’s coming off a loss to Yancy Medeiros in a great fight that he was doing well in until he got knocked out.
The winner of this fight could depend on which Condit turns up. Will it be the Born Killer who had 28 finishes from 30 wins? Or the guy who fought Magny, who seem flat, slow, predictable and hesitant. Hopefully the old Carlos, who we saw glimpses of in the Magny fight but not enough. If he can’t get get it together it could be a long night for him. Oliveira can be a quick and loose striker who very good in the clinch, like Condit, but more against the fence and tying up arms and using his body.
For me, the problem with fighters who have been around forever is that you remember them how they were and not necessarily what they are now. Can Condit pull this off? Honestly I don’t think so. I think if Oliveira tries to keep it standing he can use his speed and striking to win the rounds. I don’t think he will stop Condit but I would say Oliveira wins a decision here.
Prediction : Oliveira by decision
Result : Oliveira by submission
Israel Adesanya vs Marvin Vettori
Quick turn around by Israel here after his UFC debut in February, but he didn’t really take any damage and let’s go again while people are still talking about him. That’s how you build momentum. He’s a world class striker, quick and agile and accurate. Can fight from either orthodox or southpaw and can hurt you with any hand or foot from any range. From long accurate punches and kicks from range to elbows and knees in close to Thai trips and throws, he’s very unpredictable. So far in his mma career he is perfect with 12 wins and 12 by KO/TKO. If he can get another impressive win here with a bit of style he could be on the fast track.
Vettori is a young guy at 24 making his way in the world and he’s doing pretty good so far. He’s the former Venator Welterweight champion and has a record of 12 wins 3 losses and 1 draw(his last fight). He’s a big strong guy with a lot of submissions on his record, mostly chokes, and he hits hard. Seems like he sometimes puts strength over technique and just charging in at times which could cost him at this level. Still young and still learning and this fight will show us where he is right now.
I’m a little bit surprised that they are putting Adesanya in with a pretty good submission guy this early on in his UFC stint, could be a dangerous fight for him. On the feet obviously they are leagues apart and I would guess you would give the edge to Vettori on the ground. It should be 2 different gameplans right? Israel will try to keep distance and move and pepper Marvin with strikes, while Marvin will need to get close and use his weight and try to wear out Israel against the fence from the clinch and maybe try to get a takedown. We will see if Adesanya has improved his takedown defence but even if he gets taken down he is hard to keep down because of his agility and athleticism. Also on the feet, when Vettori gets hit hard he tends to put his head down and fire back wildly and also he moves straight back at times and I’m sure a cultured striker like Adesanya can take advantage of that. For Vettori to have success he needs to slow Israel down in the first round. Try to bully him against the fence and make it ugly. In a striking battle in the open mat Vettori will get chewed up and he’ll need to avoid that and I’m sure he knows that but I will back Adesanya to keep the hype going, don’t think he will have it easy but I think he will get the decision.
Prediction : Adesanya by decision
Result : Adesanya by split decision
Michelle Waterson vs Cortney Casey
Michelle Waterson is one of my favourite female fighters. Lifelong Martial Artist and it shows. She has that relaxed, easy movement that comes from years and years of training. Very quick, very good movement, good on the ground. Her record is 14 wins and 6 losses and she has fought some of the best.
Cortney Casey is big for the division with long limbs and she can use that to her advantage at times. She can have very good fast punch combinations making the most of her reach. She has a record of 7 wins and 5 losses and honestly I believe she is a bit better than that. She can sometimes find herself in a slow paced shit kickboxing match especially later in fights and it can cost her.
So Casey has a big reach advantage right? But Michelle uses that front leg side kick from southpaw stance and comes behind it with a right hand to close the distance. Michelle is much quicker as well and if it goes to the ground I give her the advantage as well but Cortney has some good boxing if she can keep on the outside and keep Michelle at the end of her punches, the fast 2 or 3 punch combos. She will need to do this all night though and not get caught up in reacting to Michelle. Could be an interesting fight but I think Waterson has more weapons and the ability to use them.
Prediction : Waterson by submission
Result : Waterson by Split decision
Rest of the Card
Tim Boetsch vs Antonio Carlos Junior
Could be a bad stylistic match up for Boetsch, of course he has that KO power but I suspect either a submission or decision for Carlos Junior.
Prediction : Carlos Junior
Result : Carlos Jr
Wilson Reis vs John Moraga
I like Moraga here, he’s a better wrestler and probably a bit quicker.
Prediction : Moraga
Result : Moraga
Krzysztof Jotko vs Brad Tavares
This has decision written all over it. Tavares has the tighter boxing and short of getting caught, should be able to win the rounds.
Prediction : Tavares
Result : Tavares
Shana Dobson vs Lauren Mueller
Mueller just seems better all round, better combinations and more aggressive attitude.
Prediction : Mueller
Result : Mueller
Dhiego Lima vs Yushin Okami
Okami is very experienced and does the basics well enough that he can catch Lima at some point.
Prediction : Okami
Result : Okami
Arjan Singh Bhullar vs Adam Wieczorek
Bhullar will probably get a few takedowns but I don’t think he will do enough damage and Wieczorek will punish him on the feet.
Prediction : Wieczorek
Result : Wieczorek
Patrick Williams vs Luke Sanders
I think Sanders has been unlucky in his UFC stint so far, he’s better than he has shown at times. Williams can fade in the second half of fight and after the first round I give the advantage to Sanders.
Prediction : Sanders
Result : Sanders
Ricky Rainey vs Muslim Salikhov
After disappointing in his last fight I think Salikhov can come back strong against Rainey. Don’t think Rainey will be able to grapple enough over the 3 rounds to get a decision and he’s coming in at short notice as well.
Prediction : Salikhov
Result : Salikhov
Matthew Lopez vs Alejandro Perez
Lopez is an aggressive wrestler and Perez will try to keep it standing. Over the 3 rounds I think Perez does enough.
Prediction : Perez
Result : Perez
Gilbert Burns vs Dan Moret
Big ask for Moret, who is a grappler, to make his UFC debut against one of the most decorated grapplers in the company. Got to think Burns takes this.
Prediction : Burns
Result : Burns
Total Predictions 13/14