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!
The Fighting Champion
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