UFC on ESPN 1 Predictions

Cain Velasquez vs Francis Ngannou

All depends on Cain really doesn’t it? Is he still the same animal he once was?

The best version of Cain would smash any current heavyweight and do it comfortably and may be the best heavyweight fighter of all time. Problem is he hasn’t fought since 2016 so we don’t know till he gets in there what kind of shape he’s in and Francis Ngannou ain’t no gimmie fight, no warm up.

Ngannou was on a tear then probably went into his title fight with Miocic overconfident and got destroyed. Then in his fight with Lewis it looked like his confidence was rock bottom. His comeback fight against the impressive Curtis Blaydes proved he still has a lot of potential.

This could come down to wrestling and pressure. Cain will have to be aware of the power of Ngannou but if he can get his game together, Velasquez can put a pace and pressure on Ngannou like he’s never felt before. Cain mixes up the strikes and takedowns and ground and pound as well as anyone and unless Ngannou has got 1000 X better at wrestling, I don’t think he will be able to handle it.

Prediction : Velasquez by TKO

Result : Ngannou by TKO

James Vick vs Paul Felder

I find James Vick really unlikable. Not sure if it’s the Lloyd Irvin thing or the fact that his confidence by far exceeds his ability. Don’t get me wrong he’s a good fighter with good boxing. He’s got good timing and use of range, very good at keeping people on the end of his punches, but I think he’s quite a bit away from the elite.

I like Felder but the only problem I have with him is whether he can wear two hats successfully. Can he be a broadcaster and still give the required attention to being a top class professional fighter? I think Felder has more skills and more stopping power, he’s good at catching people with shit. Vick gets knockouts as well but sometimes due to his opponent making a mistake and walking into something. Going with Felder here, think he’ll catch something and get a ground n pound finish.

Prediction : Felder by TKO

Result : Felder by decision

Cynthia Calvillo vs Courtney Casey

Could be a close enough fight but you have to favour Calvillo off the bat. I think she’ll win because she has an aggression, a will to win, a meanness that a lot of females don’t and especially at the mid level. Casey is decent but Calvillo I think wins this one by submission.

Prediction : Calvillo by submission

Result : Calvillo by decision

Alex Caceres vs Kron Gracie

I like this match up. In Caceres you have an opponent that is credible and at the same time one Kron should beat. Sometimes in the UFC they can tend to try to throw Gracie’s to the wolves, to use the name and try prove how much the sport has moved on and left the Gracie’s behind. And to an extent it has but Kron has it in him to be special I think.

Kron is of course the son of the legend Rickson Gracie and seems to be several levels above the other third generation Gracies. He is currently undefeated with 4 wins, all by submission including wins over the very experienced Hideo Tokoro and the very tough Tatsuya Kawajiri.

Caceres will be a game opponent and has skills to make things difficult but as I said, essentially beatable and Kron should win. Might be too simplistic to say that at some point Gracie will get Caceres to the ground then that’s a wrap but that’s what I’m going with. Kron won’t have it easy or all his own way in the UFC but I think he gets the W here.

Prediction : Gracie by submission

Prediction : Gracie by submission

Bryan Barberena vs Vicente Luque

Barberena is going to struggle with the power of Luque I think. Luque stalks forward throwing leg kicks and hook waiting for a mistake, waiting for a chin. Luque is also dangerous on the ground so there is no respite there. I just don’t see Barberena having the technical counter game to get anything going. Luque catches him and maybe finishes with a submission.

Prediction : Luque by submission

Result : Luque by TKO

Andre Fili vs Myles Jury

Kinda run out of time on this one. Jury is the better fighter, being caught cold by Chad Mendes aside. Jury has the advantage everywhere the fight goes. Perhaps Fili could use his speed avoid too many exchanges an try to outpoint Jury but I don’t see it.

Prediction : Jury by decision

Result : Fili by decision

Jimmie Rivera vs Aljamain Sterling

This could be fight of the night lads. In an absolutely packed division, these two are just behind the leaders. Rivera will be tough as fuck pushing forward punching and wrestling and Aljamain will probably be on the defensive most of the fight but he is very capable and probably more tricky than Rivera, more likely to pull out something unexpected.

This is 50/50 for me. Honestly I’ll go Sterling because I’ve picked favourites for this whole event so here’s one underdog. Bullshit reason I know but I can’t call it.

Prediction : Sterling by submission

Result : Sterling by decision

Manny Bermudez vs Benito Lopez

So similar but so different.

Similar age, similar height, similar weight, both undefeated but almost completely opposite as far as styles go. You have the flamboyant striker in Benito Lopez and the hard-nosed relentless grappler in Manny Bermudez. Clash of styles, who will prevail?

Both of these guys have shown that although they are very skilled, they can be hit, but they’ve managed to push through this far. The way I see it Manny will do better in the striking exchanges than Lopez will in the grappling. Manny also has more finishing power, winning his last four fights by submission. Don’t think he will submit Lopez but I think he gets the decision.

Prediction : Bermudez by decision

Result : Bermudez by submission

Andrea Lee vs Ashlee Evans Smith

I like Lee here I like her movement and technique, which I think is better than Smith’s. Smith’s a tough chic but I think KGB outclasses her her to a convincing decision.

Prediction : Lee by decision

Result : Lee by decision

Scott Holtzman vs Nik Lentz

Scott Holtzman is a year older than Nik Lentz, that seems pretty crazy to me. Seems like Lentz has been around forever and in reality he’s been a pro since 2005 and in th UFC since 2009.

Holtzman is more of an all-rounder, distinctly average at just about everything, while Lentz is more of a specialist wrestler. Another thing to consider is that although Holtzman’s record is better he hasn’t fought the calibre of guys that Lentz has. Lents has wins over Danny Castillo and Will Brooks. The way I see this fight going is pretty boring with Holtzman being able to slow the fight down, stay on the outside and take advantage of Lentz lack of speed, relatively for a lightweight. An uneventful decision that should go Holtzman’s way.

Prediction : Holtzman by decision

Result : Lentz by decision

Jessica Penne vs Jodie Esquibel – CANCELLED

I think Esquibel could have the same type of problems here that she did against Aguilar and at this point Penne might be slightly better. Esquibel needs to keep the fight at distance because Penne is good at clinch range with elbows and knees and mixing in takedowns and even at distance Esquibel doesn’t have any exceptional gifts that will give her a huge advantage. Penne will be advancing more and get a few takedowns which will help give her the decision.

Prediction : Penne by decision

Luke Saunders vs Renan Barao

Has there ever been an MMA fall from grace like Barao? At one point the guy had 32 fights undefeated over 9 years and a lot of it against top competition. His loss to Dillashaw seemed to take something out of him (that or USADA) and he’s lost three in a row and lost six of his last eight. Got to feel for the guy.

Luke Saunders is similar but different. He was undefeated before he got to UFC but has only managed two wins to three losses since. To be fair on Luke he is a better fighter than 2-3.

Barao doesn’t have the same strike resistance or defense that he used to, still looks good in places but his momentum is easily broken. Saunders on the other hand can make fight ending mistakes. On recent form we got to go with Saunders, probably by TKO but if Baroa does get success it will probably be by submission.

Prediction : Saunders by TKO

Result : Saunders by TKO

Aleksandra Albu vs Emily Whitmire

Albu is stronger, more athletic and hits harder than Whitmore but he also doesn’t compete a lot with huge gaps between fights for various reasons. On the other hand the Women’s Straw Weight Division is a bit more forgiving than most. Albu will be happy to counterstrike in the stand up exchanges and I don’t see Whitmire getting her on the mat too much. Albu win the decision with more effective striking.

Prediction : Albu by decision

Result : Whitmire by submission


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