Jon Jones vs Anthony Smith
Jon Jones is probably the best fighter of his time. He might very well be the best we have ever seen, and yet some people actually think that Anthony Smith is the man to beat him. Is it just wishful thinking driven by a dislike of Jones (which could be for any number of reasons let’s face it) or do they really think Anthony Smith is finally the man to best Johnny Bones Jones?
Smith is on pretty good form since he moved to light heavy with three wins in a row. Worth remembering though that those three wins were Rashad Evans, Shogun Rua and Volkan Oezdemir. Nothing to laugh at but c’mon.
I don’t even think that this fight will be very competitive. Smith hits hard but he’s far from indestructible and has been finished 13 times in 14 losses for god sake. Jones fight IQ and use of distance is among the best we’ve seen and I think he feels out Smith in the first round and puts him out of his misery in the second by submission. Jones is just superior and has beaten far better fighters than Anthony Smith, and especially with his apparent licence to compete with traces of PEDs in his system.
Prediction : Jones by TKO
Result : Jones by decision
Tyron Woodley vs Kamaru Usman
This is being hyped up as a grudge match and one of Tyron’s toughest challenges but I don’t know, I’m struggling to see how Usman wins. I guess he could out point Woodley with volume but as far as striking goes I think Woodley has the edge, as far as wrestling goes Woodley has the edge. More fire power and more finishing power. I think the things Usman is good at Woodley is better. I guess it depends who puts it together better but for me I think Woodley get the easy decision at the least.
Prediction : Woodley by decision
Result : Usman by decision
Robbie Lawler vs Ben Askren
Probably the most anticipated fight on a pretty stacked card. Everyone has been wondering for a long long time, just how good is Ben and now he’s in the UFC we get the chance to find out. Is he as good as some people think? Is he as good as Ben Askren says? Despite being a former champ, Robbie Lawler is probably not the toughest test Askren will face in this UFC run but it is a good test as to where he’s at now.
Two completely different gameplans. Askren wants it on the ground and Lawler needs to keep it standing as much as possible. Not sure if Askren has fought anyone with the pure explosive aggression of Lawler and he will probably get hit and if Lawler has any success it will be in the first round, but Askren is a former wrestling Oylmpian and it will be hard to keep him away. Lawler can sometimes take parts of a round off, he explodes and gives what he’s got then needs time to recover and this is where Askren will be dangerous and moving in.
The way I see it either Lawler stops him early or Askren dominates most of the rounds with his grappling. To me Lawler is past his best and Askren has a point to prove. Now Askren is hittable but his chin has held up not bad so far but I think the aggressive nature of Lawler will open it up for Askren’s entry into the clinch and once he has hold of Lawler, especially after round one, it will be difficult for Lawler to get him off.
Prediction : Askren by decision
Result : Askren by submission
Tecia Torres vs Weili Zhang
I don’t think this fight will be particularly close. Torres is quick and agile. She has some of that in and out karate style but I think the opponent Weili Zhang is just a class above. Zhang is just as quick as Torres with a very strong core, good striking and some vicious groundwork. There is of course a difference between the general level of competition these girls have faced but if Zhang performs like I expect then a title shot can’t be far away.
Prediction : Zhang by TKO
Result : Zhang by decision
Cody Garbrandt vs Pedro Munhoz
I honestly think that Munhoz is going to be eaten alive. He’s a passable striker but he’s not going to be able to stand with Garbrandt for long periods without being damaged. What Munhoz is good at, what he can have success with is that he’s adept at grabbing people by the neck. He’s a very good opportunistic grappler who capitalises on mistakes. Don’t know how succesful this will be against a guy like Garbrandt, who is a good mix of aggression, power, movement and timing. Just a step above Munhoz and it will show here. Garbrandt will knock him out in one or two.
Prediction : Garbrandt by KO
Result : Munhoz by KO
Jeremy Stephens vs Zabit Magomedsharipov
The fight where we see if Zabit is the real deal or not quite ready yet. I personally think that Stephens aggressive style is tailor made for Magomedsharipov. That aggressive forward pressure power punching style could leave Stephens very open to being countered by a guy with the movement of Zabit. Of course a guy with the power of Jeremy Stephens is never out of the fight but Zabit could turn out to be something special and as long as he doesn’t decide to stand and trade I think he will be elusive and unpredictable enough and I think wins by submission.
Prediction : Magomedsharipov by submission
Result : Magomedsharipov by decision
Diego Sanchez vs Mickey Gall
Diego proved last time that he’s not done just yet but Mickey Gall ain’t Craig White, definitely not in skill sets, not at this point in their careers. Look let’s face it Sanchez chin is not what it was, his speed and reactions ain’t what they were but, and it’s a big one, his heart and desire match up with just about anyone. In a three round fight he’s still dangerous, still has the ability to push himself to the limit. In Gall though I think he will find an opponent that he won’t be able to boss on the feet and an opponent he won’t be able to hold down. All five of Gall’s wins have come by submission but I don’t think he adds to it here, I think he stifles Diego and youthful energy wins a decision.
Prediction : Gall by decision
Result : Sanchez by TKO
Marlon Vera vs Frankie Saenz – CANCELLED
Edmen Shahbazyan vs Charles Byrd
I’m a fan of Edmen Shahbazyan, at only 21 years old he has a lot of potential, despite the fact that he is fighting out of Glendale Fight Club. He has skill wherever the fight goes. He has very good hands, good finishing instincts and he has competed in submission grappling competitions in the past.
Byrd on the other hand is your middle of the road fighter, probably not going to make much waves in the UFC but he’s game and he’s here. Charles Byrd will be trying to wrestle Shahbazyan, especially when he feels some punches. Byrd’s method of wrestling is usually upper body locks and try for takedowns from there. Could be successful in slowing the fight down, especially early on, but eventually he will slow a touch and Edmen will be able to start hurting him more. Edmen will attack at any opening and as the fight goes on I see him overwhelming Byrd and maybe getting the finish in the third.
Prediction : Shahbazyan by TKO
Result : Shahbazyan by TKO
Gina Mazany vs Macy Chiasson
Oh God, this could be boring. Chiasson is good n all, good striker, dynamic, but I don’t think she has the experience to deal with Mazany. I see Mazany being able to stifle Chiasson and hold her against the cage and mostly neutralise the striking winning a shit boring decision.
Prediction : Mazany by decision
Result : Chasson by TKO
Polyana Viana vs Hannah Cifers
Polyana Viana got some attention earlier this year when pictures were released of a robber whom she had beaten the absolute fuck out of. That might put some extra eyes on her but she needs a win now to capitalise.
This might be an ugly fight with quite a lot of clinching. Both of these girls will probably have a similar game plan and we will see who can get the edge. I’m going with Viana, I think she’s technically better and although that doesn’t alway mean everything, i don’t think Cifers is good enough or strong enough to push her off her game.
Prediction : Viana by decision
Result : Cifers by Split decision
Alejandro Perez vs Cody Stamann
This will mainly be a striking battle and it could be close. Perez is quicker with better movement but Stamann has good defense and sticks to the basics. The difference in close rounds may be Stamann’s wrestling. Like I said, I think it will be mostly contested on the feet but a takedown here and there may sway the judges towards Cody Stamann.
Prediction : Stamann by decision (split)
Result : Stamann by decision
Micha Cirkunov vs Johnny Walker
As impressive as Johnny Walker has been in the UFC so far, I would say that Micha Cirkunov presents a different kind of test and probably Walker’s hardest one to date. Cirkunov is a hell of a submission grappler and he’s big and strong and could be a real problem if he gets the fight to the mat. The thing about Johnny Walker as a striker is that he’s very loose and pretty fluid for his size and he also has a lot of confidence in his power.
Although Cirkunov is a great grappler, he isn’t a top class wrestler. Now I’m not saying he can’t take Walker down he will probably try to do it from the clinch with trips and throws. I’ve also noticed that he tends to duck his head as he punches while trying to close the distance. Walker’s style though is not very conservative, which could play into the hands of a grappler but I think he can handle that and power his way out of trouble mostly. I see Walker staying on his toes and using his reach and speed to pepper Cirkunov in the first round and I think he catches him with something hard and gets the finish in the second.
Prediction : Walker by KO/TKO
Result : Walker by TKO
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