UFC Fight Night 101 – Whittaker vs. Brunson comes to the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia where Derek Brunson takes on Robert Whittaker in the main event. Brunson and Whittaker step in after the original main event of Luke Rockhold vs. Ronaldo Souza was scrapped due to an injury suffered by Rockhold.
In the co-main event features a clash of lightweights as Jake Matthews takes on Andrew Holbrook in what should be an excellent fight. The main card rounds out with Kyle Noke taking on Omari Akhmedov in a battle of welterweights, in the lightweight division Yusuke Kasuya goes up against Alexander Volkanovski, in the light heavyweight division we have Khalil Rountree vs. Yyson Pedro and on the women’s side Seohee Ham takes on Danielle Taylor.
Robert Whittaker (17-4) vs. Derek Brunson (16-3) – Middleweight 185 lbs.
Current Odds: Brunson -135; Whittaker +105
This is a big fight for both men. The winner of this fight pushes himself one step closer to a future title shot. Robert Whittaker comes into the fight winning his last five. He is the better striker and will want to keep the fight standing. Whittaker also has the advantage of fighting in front of his home town fans.
Derek Brunson is on his own five-fight win streak as well coming into Saturday’s fight, with the previous four all coming by way of knockout. Ironically, Brunson’s path to victory on Saturday lies in his ability to take Whittaker down. Clearly Brunson has the power to knock anyone out, but in my opinion he has to take advantage of his superior wrestling skills and win the fight on the ground.
This is a very hard fight to predict. The home town crowd may be what drives Whittaker to victory.
Pick: Whittaker by decision
Jake Matthews (11-2) vs. Andrew Holbrook (11-1) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
Current Odds: Matthews -320; Holbrook +250
The up and coming Jake Matthews is 4-2 since coming to the UFC, with three of those wins coming by way of submission. Andrew Holbrook is no stranger to the submission game either. Nine of his eleven career wins are by submission.
I think the difference in this fight will be Matthew’s superior striking skills. He’ll find enough holes in Holbrook’s defense to score a decision victory.
Pick: Matthews by decision
Kyle Noke (22-9-1) vs. Omari Akhmedov (16-3) – Welterweight 170 lbs.
Current Odds: Akhmedov -175; Noke +145
Kyle Noke has had a respectable career. The welterweight mainstay is coming off of two consecutive losses and is clearly on the tail end of his UFC run. The good news for Noke is he’s going up against a fighter in Akhmedov who has suffered back-to-back knockout losses.
Noke will have the support of the home crowd, but will it be enough?
Pick: Akhmedov by TKO
Yusuke Kasuya (9-2-2) vs. Alexander Volkanovski (13-1) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
Current Odds: Volkanovski -165; Kasuya +135
Alexander Volkanovski will be looking to make a statement in his UFC debut on Saturday. The heavy-handed Volkanovski will try to keep the fight standing so he can take advantage of his excellent striking skills. He is coming in on a ten-fight win streak and has all the skill to be a top competitor.
On the other hand, Yusuke Kasuya makes his living on the ground. Eight of his nine career wins are by submission. Clearly, whoever is capable of executing his game plan will come out victorious.
Pick: Volkanovski by TKO
Khalil Rountree (5-1) vs. Tyson Pedro (4-1) – Light Heavyweight 205 lbs.
Current Odds: Rountree -145; Pedro +115
Khalil Rountree is a striker and will want to keep the fight standing at all costs. Tyson Pedro will be making his UFC debut and will want to make a good impression. Pedro has won all four of career fights in the first round.
While Pedro doesn’t have the striking skills of Rountree, he does have the superior ground game. If Pedro has success with takedowns, it’s his fight. However, if Rountree is successful in stuffing the takedown attempts and keeps the fight standing it’s his fight.
Pick: Pedro by submission
Seohee Ham (16-7) vs. Danielle Taylor (7-2) – Strawweight 115 lbs.
Current Odds: Ham -130; Taylor ev.
This is a tough fight to predict. Both fighters are strikers so this should be an exciting fight. Taylor has power behind her five foot frame, but Ham is the more technical striker. Ham works a much faster pace and is the superior wrestler. After dropping a decision to Bec Rawlings her previous fight I expect Ham to come out put on a good performance.
Pick: Ham by decision
Prelims Quick Look
Kelly over Camozzi
Brown over Tuck
Meunier over Walsh
Nguyen over Herrera
Knight over Hooker
Vera over Guangyou
Lausa over Zhikui
Enjoy the fights!
UFC Fight 100 - Night Bader vs. Nogueira 2 is live from Sao Paulo, Brazil. The second half of the UFC Fight Night doubleheader pits Ryan Bader against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in a battle of light heavyweights.
The co-main event is in the bantamweight division where Thomas Almeida goes up against Albert Morales in what should be a very exciting fight. The card rounds out with a fight on the women’s side as Claudia Gadelha takes on Cortney Casey. Back on the men’s side Thales Leites takes on newcomer Krzysztof Jotko, Warlley Alves vs. Kamaru Usman and Sergio Moraes vs. Zak Ottow.
Ryan Bader (22-5) vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (22-7) – Light Heavyweight 205 lbs.
Current Odds: Bader -350; Nogueira +270
Pick: Bader by decision
Thomas Almeida (21-1) vs. Albert Morales (6-0-1) – Bantamweight 135 lbs.
Current Odds: Almeida -300; Morales +240
Pick: Almeida by submission
Claudia Gadelha (13-2) vs. Cortney Casey (6-3) – Strawweight 115 lbs.
Current Odds: Gadelha -450; Casey +340
Pick: Gadelha by decision
Thales Leites (26-6) vs. Krzysztof Jotko (0-0) – Middleweight 185 lbs.
Current Odds: Leites -165; Krzysztof +135
Pick: Leites by submission
Warlley Alves (11-1) vs. Kamaru Usman (8-1) – Welterweight 170 lbs.
Current Odds: Usman -200; Alves +160
Pick: Usman by TKO
Sergio Moraes (10-3-1) vs. Zak Ottow (14-3) – Welterweight 170 lbs.
Current Odds: Moraes -175; Ottow +145
Pick: Ottow by decision
Prelims Quick Look
Ferreira over Hermansson
Antigulov over Rogerio de Lima
Eduardo over Gamburyan
Henrique over Colombo
Scoggins over Munhoz
Stewart over Barroso
Enjoy the fights!
UFC Fight Night 99 - Mousasi vs. Hall 2 comes to us live from Belfast, Ireland on Saturday afternoon. Gegard Mousasi and Uriah Hall step in as the main event for Gunnar Nelson and Dong Hyun Kim. The original main event was canceled due to an injury suffered by Nelson.
Middleweight contender Gegard Mousasi steps into the cage to face Uriah Hall for the second time. In their first meeting at Fight Night 75, Hall delivered a second round highlight reel TKO.
The co-main event is an excellent pairing of lightweights as Ross Pearson takes on Stevie Ray, who steps in on short notice for the injured James Krause. The main card rounds out with heavyweights Timothy Johnson vs. former Bellator champion, Alexander Volkov. Also, in the featherweight division Artem Lobov goes up against Teruto Ishihara.
The Main Card
Gegard Mousasi (40-6-2) vs. Uriah Hall (13-7) – Middleweight 185 lbs.
Current Odds: Mousasi -535; Hall +395
Gegard Mousasi was in complete control of their first fight, dominating Hall for the entire first round. Mousasi says the spinning back kick that Hall landed to knock him out was lucky. Hall describes it as perfect timing. Call it what you want, it won’t happen a second time.
I expect Mousasi to avoid getting in a slugfest and use his superior grappling skills to keep Hall on the ground. Uriah Hall excels in the stand –up where he can use his fantastic striking skills to soften up his opponents, and attempt to land the big knockout blow.
This fight should go exactly the way the first round went in their first fight. Mousasi will avoid Hall’s power and take him to the ground with relative ease.
Pick: Mousasi by submission
Ross Pearson (21-11) vs. Stevie Ray (19-7) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
Current Odds: Pearson -120; Ray -110
This is the fight I’m most looking forward to on the entire card. Ross Pearson enters the fight after losing his last two bouts. While there’s no shame in losing to Jorge Masvidal and Will Brooks, a third consecutive loss would be devastating for Pearson.
With just three weeks’ notice, Stevie Ray comes into the fight far less prepared. That’s not to say he doesn’t have a chance here. He is 3-1 since coming to the UFC with two of the three wins coming by way of knockout.
This is as close to a must win situation as there is for Ross. I expect a good, competitive fight between these two.
Pick: Pearson by decision
Timothy Johnson (10-2) vs. Alexander Volkov (26-6) – Heavyweight 265 lbs.
Current Odds: Johnson -145; Volkov +115
While he won’t “wow” anyone, Timothy Johnson goes about his business in a workman like manner. Johnson will have the most success against Volkov by taking him down and keeping him there while using ground and pound. If he chooses to stand and trade with Volkov then it’ll be a short night for him. I think Johnson will have success scoring takedowns, as well as scoring in the clinch.
Former Bellator champion Alexander Volkov makes his UFC debut and will want to make a statement. I expect him to want to keep the fight standing so he can take advantage of his superior striking skills. If Volkov is successful at stuffing the takedown attempts and if he can keep his back off of the fence, I think he’ll win the fight.
Pick: Johnson by decision
Artem Lobov (13-12-1, 1 NC) vs. Teruto Ishihara (10-2-2) – Featherweight 145 lbs.
Current Odds: Ishihara -250; Lobov +200
Teruto Ishihara is 4-0-1 since coming to the UFC. He’s 2-0 in his previous two fights with both wins coming by knockout. Artem Lobov is 4-3 in his current UFC run. He tends to struggle against fighters with a high fighter IQ, and I expect him to struggle here as well.
Pick: Ishihara by submission
Prelims Quick Look
Cedenblad over Marshman
Horiguchi over Bagautinov
Lee over Mustafaev
Elmose over Cooper
Godbeer over Ledet
Yakovlev over Cummings
Reneau over Didieva
Johns over Kwak
Alhassan over Ward
Enjoy the fights!
Bellator makes its way to the SAP Center in San Jose, California for Bellator 165. Former UFC champion, Benson Henderson will step into the cage for the third time under the Bellator banner when he faces off against lightweight champion Michael Chandler on Saturday night.
Ben Henderson is 1-1 since making the jump from the UFC to Bellator. He was completely outclassed by former welterweight champion Andrey Koreshkov for five rounds in his first fight. In his second fight, he picked up a win over Patricio Freire after Freire couldn’t continue due to injury at Bellator 160. Benson has yet to look anything like the fighter we saw while he was in UFC.
Michael Chandler is on his second run as the Bellator lightweight champion. He finally regained the title after losing it to Eddie Alvarez back in 2013 by defeating Patricky Freire. Chandler knocked Freire out in the first round at Bellator 157 winning the title after it was vacated by Will Brooks, who jumped to the UFC.
The co-main event features the flashy Michael Page as he looks for another highlight win against Fernando Gonzalez. This should be a good fight with both fighters taking a step up in competition when they meet on Saturday night. The main card rounds out with Linton Vassell vs. Francis Carmont in a battle of light heavyweights. Up-and-comer Adam Picclotti squares off against Brandon Girtz in the lightweight division, and on the women’s side, Keri Melendez makes her debut against Sheila Padilla.
Benson Henderson (24-6) vs. Michael Chandler (15-3) - Lightweight 155 lbs.
Current Odds: Chandler -170; Henderson +140
Michael Chandler will be looking for his fourth straight win when he takes on Benson Henderson on Saturday night. Chandler is willing to take the fight wherever it goes. He has an excellent ground game and is also capable of finishing on his feet as his last two wins demonstrate. While he has knockout power, Chandler’s stand up isn’t as polished as his ground game. He tends to leave himself open which makes him easy to hit.
Like Chandler, Benson Henderson has a great ground game. The big question coming into this fight is which Ben Henderson are we going to get on Saturday night? Will we see the UFC version or the Bellator version? Koreshkov was just the bigger, stronger fighter who was able to impose his will on Henderson throughout the five round beat down. The more alarming effort was what he put forth against Freire. Had Patricio been able to continue in the fight I’m not so sure Henderson comes away with the victory.
I’m a big fan of Benson Henderson, but until he shows me time isn’t catching up with him I just can’t put my money on him.
Pick: Chandler by decision
Fernando Gonzalez (25-13) vs. Michael Page (11-0) - Welterweight 170 lbs.
Current Odds: Page -450; Gonzalez +340
This should be an entertaining fight. Fernando Gonzalez will be riding a five fight winning streak when he steps into the cage against his toughest challenge to date, Michael Page. While Gonzalez has great striking, it’s his ability to take his opponent down that makes him dangerous against Page.
Michael Page is going to want to stand and trade against Gonzalez due to his lack of takedown defense. Seven of MVP’s eleven wins are by knockout. If Gonzalez decides to engage in a slugfest, I don’t see the fight going well for him. The best chance of victory for Gonzalez is for him to take the fight to the ground.
I expect Page to win the fight; I also expect it to be a learning experience. He will be challenged, but I see him taking over in the third round and finishing Gonzalez.
Pick: Page by TKO
Francis Carmont (25-11) vs. Linton Vassell (16-5) - Light Heavyweight 205 lbs.
Current Odds: Vassell -140; Carmont +110
Linton Vasssell has alternated wins and losses over his previous four fights. His most recent fight was a win over Emanuel Newton at Bellator 149 after losing to him previously by submission at Bellator 130.
Former UFC veteran, Francis Carmont is 3-1 since coming over to Bellator. He lost to Phil Davis in the finals of the Light Heavyweight Tournament back in September, 2015. This is a tough fight to predict. I’ve never been a fan of Carmont’s, and I think Vassell has more ways to win the fight.
Pick: Vassell by decision
Brandon Girtz (14-4) vs. Adam Piccolotti(8-0) - Lightweight 155 lbs.
Current Odds: Piccolotti -145; +115
Brandon Girtz is 5-1 over his last six fights including a decision win over former UFC fighter Melvin Guillard. The former All-American wrestler will want to try and take his opponent down and grind out a win. However, that will be a mistake against Adam Piccolotti.
The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt welcomes the opportunity to take the fight to the ground. Piccolotti’s last three wins are by submission. This is just a tough match-up for Brandon Girtz. I think Piccolotti wins the fight whether it goes to the ground or stays on the feet.
Pick: Piccolotti by submission
Sheila Padilla (2-0) vs. Keri Melendez (0-0) - Flyweight 115 lbs.
Current Odds: N/A
Bellator is hoping Keri Melendez is the real deal. Aside from her kickboxing, not much else is known about her. Having husband, Gilbert Melendez helping her can’t hurt. Bellator will choose her opponents wisely as she gains experience, and maybe someday down the road they’ll have a star in a women’s division.
Pick: Melendez by TKO
Prelims Quick Look
Ferguson over Hamilton
Banks over Roberts
Pica over Herzog
Labiano over Murdock
Terry over Baesman
Cacdac over Ramirez
Okanovich over Vargas
Jones over Hamilton
Gonzalez over Lujan
Sumner over Roswell
Mohammed over Grant
D’Alelio over Nievera
Enjoy the fights!
The UFC makes its’ debut in New York with a loaded card. Madison Square Garden is the site for one of the most historic nights in UFC history. The eleven fight card is headlined by Conor McGregor a he takes on Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight title. The co-main event is another title fight as Tyron Woodley defends his welterweight title against Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. While on the women’s side, Joanna Jedrzejczyk defends her strawweight title against Karolina Kowalkiewicz. The main card rounds out with Chris Weidman vs. Yoel Romero and Miesha Tate against Raquel Pennington.
The prelims feature Frankie Edgar as he goes up against Jeremy Stephens. Undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov takes on Michael Johnson, Rafael Natal vs. Boetsch, Vicente Luque vs. Belal Muhammad, Jim Miller vs. Thiago Alves and Liz Carmouch against Katlyn Chookagian.
Conor McGregor (20-3) vs. Eddie Alvarez (28-4) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
Current Odds: McGregor -160; Alvarez +130
Pick: Alvarez by decision
See my write up on this fight in an earlier post.
Tyron Woodley (16-3) vs. Stephen Thompson (13-1) – Welterweight 170 lbs.
Current Odds: Thompson -200; Woodley +160
Pick: Thompson by decision
See my write up on this fight in an earlier post.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk (12-0) vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (10-0) – Strawweight 115 lbs.
Current Odds: Jedrzejczyk -390; Kowalkiewicz +300
Pick: Jedrzejczyk by TKO
Chris Weidman (13-1) vs. Yoel Romero (11-1) – Middleweight 185 lbs.
Current Odds: Weidman -185; Romero +155
Pick: Romero by TKO
Miesha Tate (18-6) vs. Raquel Pennington (8-5) – Bantamweight 135 lbs.
Current Odds: Tate -160; Pennington +130
Pick: Pennington by TKO
Frankie Edgar (20-5-1) vs. Jeremy Stephens (25-12) – Featherweight 145 lbs.
Current Odds: Edgar -325; Stephens +255
Pick: Edgar by decision
Khabib Nurmagomedov (23-0) vs. Michael Johnson (17-10) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
Current Odds: Nurmagomedov -320; Johnson +250
Pick: Nurmagomedov by submission
Belal Muhammad (10-1) vs. Vincente Luque (10-5-1) Welterweight 170 lbs.
Current Odds: Luque -125, Muhammad -105
Pick: Muhammad by submission
Jim Miller (27-8) vs. Thiago Alves (21-10) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
Current Odds: Alves -160; Miller +130
Pick: Miller by decision
Rafael Natal (21-7-1) vs. Tim Boetsch (19-10) – Middleweight 185 lbs.
Current Odds: Natal -145; Boetsch +115
Pick: Natal by submission
Liz Carmouche (10-5) vs. Katlyn Chookagian (8-0) – Bantamweight 135 lbs.
Current Odds: Chookagian -175; Carmouch +145
Pick: Chookagian by decision
Enjoy the fights!
Originally posted at MMATorch.com on November 11, 2016
Predict how Eddie Alvarez vs. Conor McGregor will play out on Saturday night at UFC 205…
MICHAEL GROCKE, MMATorch contributor
I expect Conor McGregor to come out with his left hand cocked and loaded, hoping to land big shots in an effort to get Eddie Alvarez out of there as quickly as possible. It won’t be easy, though, considering Alvarez has only been knocked out once. It’s no secret McGregor tires as the rounds go by, so as long as Alvarez doesn’t get caught with a big left and he can weather the early storm, I think he’ll be in a good position come the latter rounds.
Eddie Alvarez is a well-rounded fighter. He’s clearly the much better wrestler. While his footwork isn’t as polished as McGregor’s, it’s vastly improved over recent years. His experience will prepare him for anything Conor throws at him and he’s as mentally tough as anyone. I expect Alavarez to go after takedowns and try to get the fight to the canvass. Conor will want to apply pressure, so Alvarez’s ability to counter and utilize his speed will be a big factor in his chances of winning.
Conor McGregor is the more skilled, more disciplined striker. He’s going to look to set up his left hand early and often. While both fighters hit hard, Eddie has yet to face a foe that hits as hard as McGregor. Conor wants to keep the fight standing so he can utilize his superior boxing skills. If McGregor can’t defend the takedown then I think it will be long night for him. I also think if the fight goes past the third round he might be in trouble.
The current odds are, McGregor -175; Alvarez +145.
I’ll take the underdog by decision.
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