Francis Ngannou vs Curtis Blaydes
A rematch of a 2016 fight which Ngannou won by doctor stoppage because Blaydes couldn’t see out of one of his eyes. This was just when Ngannou was coming up and when everyone though he was an unstoppable terminator (or Predator) type. Careers have been on different courses recently with that being the only loss on Curtis Blaydes record and he’s been going from strength to strength. While Ngannou fought his way to a title shot against Stipe Miocic and it seems like he started to believe his own hype…. a lot. He got handled pretty easily by Stipe then had an absolutely terrible performance against Derrick Lewis and now there is no more hype to believe. It seems like the loss to Stipe did a number on him psychology and people don’t think he can get it back together.
This fight may actually be good mentally for Ngannou going into it in that he knows he can beat Blaydes, he’s done it before. Maybe that confidence will give him a boost. On the other hand Blaydes could arguably have been winning the first fight before it was stopped due to his damaged eye and that will give him confidence. I think though that Blaydes has improved a lot since then and I’m not sure if Ngannou has, his attitude has been a problem and I don’t know if he’s fixed that. I’m not going to totally dismiss Ngannou like many have but I think he needs to finish it in the first round or Blaydes will break him with wrestling and pound him out.
Prediction : Blaydes by TKO
Result : Ngannou by TKO
Alistair Overeem vs Sergey Pavlovich
Overeem has been around a long time and has been successful wherever he went. Former StrikeForce heavyweight champion, Former Dream heavyweight champion, K1 Grand Prix champion. In fact this will be his 61st professional MMA fight not to mention kickboxing bouts. To be fair though this is no longer the 285lb marauder who Golden Glory had perfectly trained to fight to his strengths. He’s still danderous but the fear factor is pretty much gone now.
The opponent, Sergey Pavlovich is making his company debut here but he’s 12-0 in his career. He’s a big strong guy with wrestling experience and a lot of power in his hands. Sergey can seem a bit stiff with his movement at times but he big and solid and keeps his hands up.
The way I see it, Overeem has been knocked out far too many times for a former champion and contender yet he’s still here. This is going to come down to defence in my opinion, Overeem is a touch slower at 38 years old and tends to keep his hands down these days. Pavlovich is a decent counter puncher and I see him coming over Overeem’s left with a right hand and then get the finish by TKO.
Prediction : Pavlovich by TKO
Result : Overeem by TKO
Song Yadong vs Vince Morales
Morales making his UFC debut here if you don’t count the Contender Series and Yadong has had a couple of UFC fights and looked very impressive. The key here will be movement and timing with Yadong having a good in and out style and has good striking defense. I think the big difference will be timing, Yadong is great at not let his opponent set to strike. He moves and moves and when his opponent thinks he has the right distance and tries to set his feet to attack, Song pounces first and with very crisp punches and kicks.
Like I said timing and movement. I think these things mean Yadong gets the job done. Morales won’t be a pushover and he’ll make a fight of it but I think in a three round fight Yadong will win the rounds and get a decision.
Prediction : Yadong by decision
Result : Yadong by decision
Li Jingliang vs David Zawada
I’ve said before that Li Jingliang is probably my favourite Chinese fighter. He’s got a bit of that personality, that x-factor, that a lot of the more reserved Asians don’t have.
He’s going to have to work for this one though. Zawada is going to be coming forward throwing punches and knees and Li will probably spend a lot of time fighting off the back foot. Still think Li wins, he will counter when he can and if he gets takedowns then excellent. I just think Li is much more well rounded and gets a TKO finish due to strikes on the ground in the third.
Prediction : Jingliang by TKO
Result : Jingliang by TKO
Kenan Song vs Alex Morono
Song has had a really good start to his UFC stint. Two fights, two wins, two finishes. Can’t ask for more than that. And I’m not sure if Morono really represents a big step up in competition. I expect the first round to be fairly close but as Morono slows down a bit later on, Song will take advantage.
Song’s right hand has done the business for him so far and I expect that again and then swarm Morono for the finish.
Prediction : Song by TKO
Result : Morono by decision
Hu Zaozong vs Rashad Coulter
Let’s be honest, if these dudes weren’t heavyweight then they would not be with the UFC and in Hu’s case if they didn’t need Chinese fighters for the Asian events especially. Neither of these guys have managed a win in the organisation but I suppose one of them will after this fight at least.
Coulter should win this. Of course anything can happen. Coulter could trip and smash his face into Zaozong’s knee but in normal circumstances Coulter should win. All we can hope for is that it finishes early, god help us if we get to round 3, still though Coulter by TKO in the first.
Just realised this fight is at light heavyweight, still doesn’t change my opinion.
Prediction : Coulter by TKO
Result : Coulter by decision
Kevin Holland vs John Phillips
To say that John Phillips UFC debut didn’t go to plan is a huge understatement. He was taken down easily, controlled easily and then submitted all inside a round. This wasn’t a total surprise but I guess you would say the blueprint has been set. The good news for Phillips might be that I don’t necessarily think that Holland will be looking to take him down.
Holland is tall and rangey and moves well. He has snappy punches and kicks and his confidence is sky high. Thing is though for all of Phillips flaws he hits like a truck. He’s a barbarian throwing murderous hooks till he’s stopped and I don’t think the fight will be as straight forward as Holland thinks.
Either Holland keeps range and uses his speed and wins a decision or Phillips catches him and puts him out. Essentially there are levels to this game and I’m not sure if Phillips is at this level, we will find out.
Prediction : Holland by decision
Result : Holland by submission
Louis Smolka vs Sumudaerji
Sumudaerji is very impressive on the feet, very fast with good hands and excellent kicks and I think that because of his style whatever happens the first round is going to belong to him. If Smolka can get a read on the timing in the second and third rounds then it will become interesting. Sumudaerji does kick a lot and Smolka might be able to time it and get takedowns because there will be a huge difference in grappling skills.
However I think that Sumudaerji gets the decision in this one, whether he deserves it or not if you know what I mean.
Prediction : Sumudaerji by decision
Result : Smolka by submission
Pingyuan Liu vs Martin Day
I got Day in this one. I think he’s going to be too quick and too accurate with his strikes for Liu. Day has an obvious weakness on the ground in bottom position but he’s been working on it and his defence is improving. Liu hits hard but Day’s quickness will win out here and I think he gets the KO.
Prediction : Day by TKO/KO
Result : Pingyuan by Split decision
Wu Yanan vs Lauren Mueller
This is most likely going to be terrible. Poor striking and wall n stall. I’ll give the edge to Mueller just because I think she will be trying to put pressure on Wu.
Prediction : Mueller by decision
Result : Yanan by submission
Weili Zhang vs Jessica Aguilar
Aguilar needs takes takedowns in this fight and lots of them. It’s not impossible but it will be difficult. Zhang is very technically good with good balance and very good hips, explosive.
I think a close first round with Aguilar getting some clinches and putting pressure on but Round two and three are for Zhang landing punches and kicks for the decision.
Prediction : Zhang by decision
Result : Zhang by submission
Xiaonan Yan vs Syuri Kondo
Differing fortunes for these two last time out with Xiaonan having a good performance against Viviane Pereira and Kondo getting stopped by Pauliana Botelho in 30 seconds.
Kondo is a strong girl and a decent wrestler who can punch but Yan is going to be too quick for her and technically a much better striker and I would expect Yan to win a convincing decision.
Prediction : Yan by decision
Result : Yan by decision
CORRECT PREDICTIONS 6/12