Demian Maia vs Kamaru Usman
At his best, Demian Maia has the rare ability to make great fighters look like shit, guys like Jon Fitch, Chael Sonnen or Carlos Condit. His plan A when it works is like poetry, which is good because his plan B is absolutely crap. He’s another one of those genuinely world class specialists, 4th degree black belt in BJJ, and his accomplishments in that sport are too much for me to list here but BJJ Heroes has it covered (https://www.bjjheroes.com/bjj-fighters/demian-maia-fighter-wiki). He’s 40 years old, 6’1 with a record of 25 wins and 8 losses. He also has the achievement of getting 5 submission wins in a row. He is currently coming off of 2 loss and to be honest I think his best days are probably behind him. He’s still dangerous but I don’t think he’s going to be challenging for titles anymore.
Usman seems to be another one of those guys, mostly seems to be Welterweights, who think that if they string together a couple of wins then they are entitled to a title shot. Saying that he is on a 11 fight win streak but the problem is there are no real names on his victim list, a win over Maia would change that but it depends on how he wins and who he gets to fight him next might still be 3 or 4 fights away. Kamaru is 30 years old, 6’0 with a record of 12 wins and 1 loss and he was the winner of ‘The Ultimate Fighter – ATT vs Blackzillians’. He’s a very good aggressive wrestler who claims to be the most avoided fighter in the UFC and you know what? It might be true.
I think this fight will be the shits. Usman probably won’t want to go to the ground with Maia and Maia won’t be able to take Usman down, so we’re left with a slow paced kickboxing match between grapplers, great.
Usman wins this because he’s younger, faster and a better striker. Won’t be pretty but he will get a decision or a stoppage on damage done.
Prediction : Usman by decision
Result : Usman by decision
Alexa Grasso vs Tatiana Suarez
In Suarez we have a top class wrestler who won TUF 23. She’s 27 years old and 5’5 with a perfect professional record of 5 wins and 0 losses. As I said she’s a wrestler and a good one with excellent top control and good ground and pound.
Alex Grasso is a good prospect, not really much else to say right now. She’s 24 years old with a record of 10 wins and only 1 loss. Decent striker and grappler for this level of competition.
I like Grasso and think she’s a good fighter but I think this will be fairly one sided. Suarez is going to get takedowns and grind Grasso with elbows and punches. No finish in this one but Suarez gets a very convincing decision.
Prediction : Suarez by decision
Result : Suarez by Sub
Jared Cannonier vs Dominick Reyes
Jared Cannonier is a tough guy who’s been in there with some of the best and did OK. He fought Teixeira and Blachowicz to decisions so that says something. He’s 33 years old and 5’11 with a record of 10 wins and 3 losses. He’s a solidly built strong guy and a decent puncher with a bit of power.
Dominick Reyes has 8 wins and 0 losses and he’s only been to decision once, in fact that was the only time he was out of the first round. He’s 28 years old and 6’4 and he’s very good at fighting long. He’s not the quickest or doesn’t hit the hardest but he pours on the shots and the opposition’s brain seems to eventually think ‘fuck this’. Let’s see if he can keep it going.
The story of this fight might be, can Cannonier get Reyes out if the first round and what happens if he does. Reyes has fought to a decision one time before but he likes to get his work done early. Reyes size and reach will play a factor here, he has very long, accurate punches. He’s not the quickest but he puts it together well and has a good eye for a finish. Cannonier sometimes drops his hands when he punches and leaves himself open, especially as he gets tired so I’m looking at that and thinking Reyes gets the finish in the 2nd.
Prediction : Reyes by KO/TKO
Result : Reyes by TKO
Diego Rivas vs Guido Cannetti
This will be Rivas second fight at bantamweight after losing his first to Jose Quinonez. He’s 26 years old and 5’9 with a record of 7 wins and 1 loss.
Guido is getting on a bit at 38 years old especially in a division that relies on speed a lot and he ain’t exactly been prolific, having 10 fights in 11 years but he’s still dangerous, he’s still a hard fight for anyone. He has an aggressive style where he likes to be moving forward, always throwing and trying to make things uncomfortable for his opponent and that can be tricky to deal with and it’s also good to watch.
This could go either way but the difference for me is that for all of Canetti’s relentless pace he can get himself into trouble, can seem careless in a way and I think that makes a difference in this fight. Rivas has a bit of a more reserved style and he can pick off Cannetti coming in if he’s smart.
Prediction : Rivas by decision
Result : Cannetti by decision
Veronica Macedo vs Andrea Lee
Veronica Macedo is usually a 135lb fighter but agreed to this fight to get on the Card. She’s a strong and well built southpaw. She’s 22, 5’3 and has a record of 5 wins and 1 loss.
Andrea KGB Lee is making her well anticipated UFC debut here. She is the current Legacy flyweight champion and definitely one to watch. She’s 29 years old and 5’7 at 125lbs. She’s got a record of 8 wins and 2 losses.
This could be a good enough fight but I believe that after a few minutes once she gets her timing and range, KGB will be able to dominate this one in the striking range. Macedo is a competent striker but Lee is crisper and sharper. When KGB is on form she’s quite impressive. Either Andrea gets a late stoppage or a dominant decision.
Prediction : Lee by decision
Result : Lee by decision
Vicente Luque vs Chad Laprise
Vicente Luque seems to be one of those guys who should have a better record than they do. He has 12 wins and 6 losses, don’t know if its just bad match ups or some days he doesn’t feel it but when he is ‘on’ he is very good. He primarily likes to strike and he has an excellent right hand and very good low kicks. He’s an aggressive fighter with 11 finishes in his 12 wins.
Laprise won the TUF Nations series in 2013 and he’s been building a solid career for himself. He’s 31 years old and 5’10 with a record of 13 wins and only 2 losses. He very well rounded and fights out of TriStar gym(of course, he’s Canadian).
This could be an interesting fight, maybe. Laprise is going to move around the outside with lots of feints and direction changes while Luque will take the middle and try to stalk him down. Luque is very good if you give him time and space and not so good if you can keep him on defence but I’m not sure Laprise is the striker to do the later especially over three rounds. Take downs for Laprise would be nice but I’m not sure that will happen either. Sometimes Luque can settle into a fight at his opponents pace so maybe Laprise can take advantage of that and out point him for a decision but I’m going the other way, Luque hits harder and could hurt Laprise and get the finish.
Prediction : Luque by KO/TKO
Result : Luque by TKO
Rest of the Card
Zac Cummings vs Michel Prazeres
Prazeres moving to welterweight after continually coming in heavy at lightweight. Cummings has about a 6″ height advantage so will he be able to use range and avoid the bombs that Prazeres throws? I don’t think so, I think Prazeres will be able to keep Cummings on the back foot and get a few takedowns and win a decision.
Prediction : Prazeres
Result : Prazeres
Brandon Moreno vs Alexandre Pantoja
Going with Moreno here even though its a tricky fight for him and his defense will need to be good, I think he will catch something.
Prediction : Moreno
Result : Pantajo
Poliana Botelho vs Syuri Kondo
My general rule of thumb used to be, if there is a fight between a Brazilian and a Japanese then back the Brazilian; thanks Pride. It’s a new world though and I say Kondo wins this.
Prediction : Kondo
Result : Botelho
Gabriel Benitez vs Humberto Bandenay
Last time out when Gabriel Benitez fought Jason Knight I would have bet good money, and I did, that Knight would beat his ass (Benitez won). I’m still not convinced by him though and I think Bandenay will give him trouble with his size and movement.
Prediction : Bandenay
Result : Benitez
Enrique Barzola vs Brandon Davis
This could be a wild fight, Davis likes to move a lot while Barzola will more likely take the centre. Davis can sometimes walk into strikes or into danger but it all depends if Barzola can land solidly enough. I think Davis gets it on points.
Prediction : Davis
Result : Barzola
Henry Briones vs Frankie Saenz
Could be a loser leaves town match, especially for Briones. Both guys are scrappers and Briones is the cleaner puncher especially to the body but he does get hit more and Saenz seems more durable. Plus Briones fights once a year.
Prediction : Saenz
Result : Saenz
Claudio Puelles vs Filipe Silva
I’m not sure if Puelles is battle hard enough. I see Silva starting fast and getting Puelles out of the fight before he gets settled in.
Prediction : Silva
Result : Puelles
Correct Pick 7/13