Did everyone enjoy their Zuffa-free weekend? I built a boat out of toothpicks, then scuttled it. Anyway, we’ve got mid-week UFC action with Fight Night 45! The only downside is the event is in New Jersey, which means it’s another international card. Wait, New Jersey is part of the United States? SINCE WHEN? With that shocking blow to history, let’s find out which wonderful and charming people have been tasked to predict these fights. As always, you’ve got myself, Jessica “Leg Kick TKO” Hudnall. There’s that dashing rogue, Ashley “Burnsy” Burns and that rashy doge, Vince “Film Drunk” Mancini. A man that has the unique ability to write and fight his way out of a paper bag, Danny “Boy” Downes. An absolute mess of frozen water, the internet’s very own Spilled Bag Of Ice. A super-talented artist, Chris Rini.
Important Standings of Note
Jessica: 151-82-2 (64%)
Burnsy: 148-84-3 (63%)
Vince: 75-37-1 (66%)
Danny: 106-52-1 (67%)
New York Ric: 36-26-1 (57%)
GhostFace: 6-7 (46%)
Spilled: 18-13 (58%)
Sydnie: 5-5 (50%)
Chris Rini: 9-1 (90%)
Strawweight – Claudia “Claudinha” Gadelha vs Tina “Jelly Bean” Lahademaki
Jessica: I am super excited that UFC now has strawweights! They are pretty much always exciting, and I’m kind of glad that Gadelha doesn’t speak English no good and won’t be on TUF 20. She’s going to do terrible things to this Finnish lady and get a first round submission.
Danny: Gadelha is a big Brazilian prospect and she’ll use this fight to show off her skills. Lahdemaki comes all the way from Finland, and not only does she have to stay in Atlantic City, she loses by first round TKO.
Vince: First of all, I wish Tina was bigger because I’ve always wanted to taunt someone by shouting “Tina! Come get some ham!” Anyway, the conventional wisdom has been expressed above, but they’re both undefeated against competition we mostly haven’t heard of. The only real difference here is that Gadelha trains with Nova Uniao, who I’ve actually heard of, and that’s enough for me not to bet against her. Gadelha.
Burnsy: When I think of strawweights, I think of two people tossing each other around like they weigh almost nothing. It’s like anti-gravity fighting and I want it to be real! That said, I can’t take “Jelly Bean” seriously, so I’ll go with Claudinha.
Lightweight – Yosdenis “The Pink Panther” Cedeno vs Jerrod “J-Reazie” Sanders
Jessica: Yosdenis Cedeno made a big mistake by entering and winning the Home Run Derby on Monday. Dude’s gonna be way too tired to fight, so Sanders should be able to submit him in the second.
Danny: If you thought Justin Salas’s “J Bomb” nickname was the worst on the card, you thought wrong. “J-Reazie” Sanders has that locked up. Still not sure how I feel about “The Pink Panther,” but as long as it has nothing to do with the Steve Martin movie, I’ll allow it. Cedeno is powerful, but wild. His wrestling has holes, but Sanders won’t be able to take advantage of it. The Pink Panther karate strikes his way to a decsion.
Vince: These guys look pretty similar on paper, which conveniently is the only place I know them from. Cedeno dropped his last fight to a guy who dropped his next fight. Will that make a difference? I hope so, because I’m picking Sanders.
Burnsy: I just can’t. I can’t pick a guy who calls himself J-Reazie. I can’t.
Bantamweight – Hugo “The Wolverine” Viana vs Aljamain “Funkmaster” Sterling
Jessica: Good ol’ Muttonchops Viana, he’s not too bad of a fighter. However, he’s got nothing on THE FUNKMASTER. That really is a fantastic nickname, and that’s about all it takes for me to pick someone for at least three fights for no particular reason. Sterling uses his wrestling and wins a unanimous decision.
Danny: “Funkmaster” Sterling gives us another opportunity to hear Ray Longo corner somebody, so I guess we’re the true winners here. He throws a lot of kicks, but his boxing could use some improvement. His strong wrestling base, though, allows him to use the type of kicks that Joe Rogan loves. LOOK! THEY’RE SPINNING!
Viana may find the mark with his boxing, but he won’t be able to drop Sterling since he only really attacks in single, hard shots. The Funkmaster flexes and spins kicks his way to a decision win.
Vince: Hugo has only lost to TJ Dillashaw while the Funkmaster is undefeated. A loss to the current champion isn’t a mark against Viana’s record, but Sterling is coming out of Serra-Longo and they’re on an absolute tear lately. I have to take Sterling, even though I really want to take the Wolverine who’s actually small enough to accurately portray the Wolverine.
Burnsy: I fully expect this to be a great fight, and I will pout for hours if it’s not. I’m taking the Funkmaster, because I can’t stop imagining a guy fighting on rollerskates.
Bantamweight – Jessamyn “The Gun” Duke vs Leslie “Peacemaker” Smith
Jessica: Two ladies of Invicta (WATCH IT) square off in what should be a really good fight. Duke is super-gangly and ultra-yokelly, two of my favorite things in fighters. Leslie “Chick Diaz” Smith is a good, highly active fighter that is sometimes more aggressive than good. On the flip side, Duke had a nonexistent gameplan against Bethe Correia. If Duke actually tries to fight, she should win this pretty easily. Duke wins by decision, and hey, brief side note, I find it interesting that both fighters’ nicknames can be firearms related if you want them to be. Yeah, blam guns!
Danny: Duke’s last performance against Bethe Correia finally showed the masses in her game that I’ve mentioned from the beginning. Duke fancies herself a Muay Thai fighter, but she’s never been able to use her reach to its maximum effect. Couple that with a lackluster grappling attack, this Four Horsewoman really has her back against the fence.
Smith isn’t the most technical, but she’s constantly charges forward. She could push Duke up against the fence and grind her out, but she doesn’t have much more power than Duke. It won’t be pretty, but Duke finds a way to keep her hype train going and takes the decision.
SBoI: Duke has lovely hair and is tall and gangly. Kinda like a pretty giraffe. Smith has more experience and is tough but is on quite a skid lately. But I’m gonna go with Smith being able to close the distance and control the foxy giraffe en route to a close decision. Or Duke jabs & circles her way to a decision. I can’t see the future!
Vince: Jessamyn Duke looks like a pretty pterodactyl and always comes off super charming in interviews, but nothing I’ve seen from her leads me to believe that she’s really good at fighting. She doesn’t seem strong enough to hurt opponents with those pterodactyl limbs. Smith.
Chris: I gotta think that you can’t actually be friends with Ronda unless you’re willing to bust your ass in the gym. Duke is pretty tough and has got to be absorbing some skills training with the anointed one, so I’m picking her to gut this one out.
Burnsy: Duke appeared to have the benefit of knowing how to fight on her side in her last victory, because if memory serves, that fight was incredibly sloppy. But I like that she’s in Rousey’s posse, so I continue to give her the benefit of the doubt.
Lightweight – Gleison Tibau vs Pat “Bam Bam” Healy
Jessica: Glacier Tebow is my favorite heavyweight fighter, you guys. I think Healy will be in trouble early since Tibau will have rehydrated to 500 pounds, but at about the three minute mark, Tibau will be gassed out, and Healy should be able to take over and win a decision.
Danny: Fun fact: going into this fight night, both Gleison Tibau and Jim Miller are tied for the most wins in lightweight history. What does that have to do with anything? Nothing, I just thought that you people would want some facts to elevate the discussion around here.
Pat Healy must have pissed off somebody because this is not a great matchup for him. Tibau’s power and grappling defense will negate Healy’s strengths and help him cruise to decision win. Since that would be Healy’s fourth straight loss, you might see him on a Bellator card soon.
SBoI: Healy is also on a streak of L’s but I can see the future and Bam Bam’s dump and grind is going to make Tibau very very sleepy. By the third round he’ll want a nap more than a W and Healy will crawl out of the rut.
Vince: Danny Boy’s analysis is very persuasive, but I hate Gleison Tibau, and Bam Bam looks like Mickey Rourke in Sin City. I can’t think of a great reason why Bam Bam will win, but I want him to so I’m picking him.
Chris: Two similar guys in style but something about Pat just blew me away in the Jim Miller fight. It’s a little sad that he couldn’t capitalize on that momentum and now he’s ‘featuring’ on the prelims of the same card Miller is headlining. For that alone, I gotta pick Pat. Plus, Michael Johnson turned Tibau’s lights out last fight.
Burnsy: Bam Bam’s probably facing a pink slip with a loss, as I can’t imagine the UFC wanting to keep a guy with four straight losses around. Still, I’m taking Tibau.
Featherweight – Lucas “Mineiro” Martins vs Alex “The Spartan” White
Jessica: White is cool, so he’ll win by submission. Now I’m going to think up nicknames for him that reflect the time he accidentally drank gas. “High Octane” Alex White, Alex “Diesel Power” White, Alex “The Exxon Assassin” White. Also, he totally needs to use Daddy Yankee’s “Gasolina” as his walkout song, right?
Danny: This fight boils down to experience. White has a lot of power, but he’s never really been tested. Martins is a savvy enough striker to avoid the early blitz, and there’s no way to predict how White will react. Once he gets out of the first, Martins will stick and move his way to a decision win.
Vince: I was trying to remember why I knew Alex White, and then I remembered, oh yeah, he’s the guy who drank gasoline and gave himself a speech impediment. No way I’m betting against that guy, he already went the distance with God.
Burnsy: Alex White is my new favorite guy. I won’t ever pick against him.
Flyweight – John “Hands of Stone” Lineker vs Alp “The Turkish Delight” Ozkilic
Jessica: Once again, it’s time to place your bets on what Lineker’s first attempt to weigh in at will be. I’m putting it at 128.2 because this guy never seems to come in on-weight. I’m taking Ozkilic because of that, and also because he’s got a rad nickname. Turkish Delight wins by decision.
Danny: Linker may be the hardest hitter in the division, but his fight against Bagautinov showed the weakness in his ground game. Ozkilic isn’t the same level of grappler as Bagautinov, but he’s smart enough to avoid the big punches. Once he wears Lineker down against the fence, he’ll start to pull away in the later rounds. Ozkilic by decision.
SBoI: Lineker has the experience and skills to stay a step ahead of The Turkish Delight but I see some back and forth and a gutsy performance by Oz, that shows he’s a force and doesn’t cause him to lose his standing along with the decision.
Vince: I’m choosing The Turkish Delight, because the only thing better than a nickname that sounds like a sex act is a first name name that sounds like a random collection of letters. “Yes, these are my sons, Alp, Horb, and Prn.”
Chris: Lineker was one fight away from a title shot and Ozkilic doesn’t even have a wikipedia page. The Brazilian made weight and Dodson is out for a year. Going with John-boy by KO.
Burnsy: Lineker had four consecutive strong wins before losing his last fight, so I have no reason to think that he won’t bounce back and win here.
Lightweight – Justin “J-Bomb” Salas vs Joe Proctor
Jessica: J-Bomb Dot Com by third round TKO because Proctor’s a Masshole and not one of the good ones, like Joe Lauzon.
Danny: Salas comes out hard, but he’s another reckless fighter. Proctor is a solid all around fighter that will weather the early storm and hurt Salas as he starts to fade. As the J-Bomb tires out, Proctor will lock up the second round submission.
SBoI: Salas gets the late TKO. His name is an anagram of “salsa” and it’s also a palindrome (spelled the same backward and forward). Why isn’t that called an emordrome?
Vince: Damn, I swear all of these fights are pick-ems. Salas is coming off a KO victory just a few months ago, so I’ll take him.
Burnsy: I’m taking Proctor. Someone finally has to rebuild the reputation of that battered name.
Welterweight – Rick “The Horror” Story vs Leonardo “Macarrao” Mafra
Jessica: Isn’t Mafra that town in Texas where No Country was filmed? Story’s a pretty decent wrestler, and I’ll go with that over whatever a Mafra is. Story takes a decision victory.
Danny: Rick Story hasn’t put together a solid win streak since 2010. When you look at his losses, though, he’s gone the distance with Kampmann, Pyle, Brenneman (when he was relevant) and Gastelum. He may not ever get a title shot like we envisioned a few years ago, but he’s the gatekeeper to the upper level of the division. Mafra has respectable striking, but he’s not ready to make the jump. Story smothers Mafra’s range and picks up the UD.
SBoI: Story has been rather up and down the last few years. Mafra is a Chute Box guy. So, Maf via vicious KO.
Vince: I’m tempted to take Mafra since he seems to win all his fights by first or second round KO. But I’m not sure if he has the takedown defense not to get wrestlef*cked by Story and Story’s pattern of win one lose one going all the way back to 2011 would put him due for a win. I predict a Rick Story wrestlef*cking.
Chris: I can’t figure out where Rick Story is in his career. Demian Maia ran right through him but then word was that Story was training at Tri Star and looked laser focused against Brian Ebersole. The Gastelum fight showed that Story won’t roll over when faced with a challenge and I think this fight with Mafra is an opportunity the UFC is giving him to convince them he can demolish lesser fighters and should be in the top 15. Story by TKO.
Burnsy: Story looked really good against my boy Kelvin Gastelum, but Mafra’s record suggests that he’s a KO animal. I don’t know, this one is really tough. I’m flipping a coin and going with Mafra here.
Lightweight – Edson “Junior” Barboza vs Evan Dunham
Jessica: Barboza is like my patron saint of leg kick TKOs, how could I not pick him to win? Yeah, his chin isn’t that great, and he’s had some issues with wrestlers, which Dunham is, I guess. But Evan doesn’t really hit that hard, so I’m going with Barboza to get a TKO in the third, hopefully of the leg kick variety.
Danny: The knock against Barboza is that he doesn’t have a chin. The thing about a chin, though, is that you have to get hit for it to come into play. Dunham likes to stand toe to toe and take three or four to get back one, but it’s a recipe for disaster here. Barboza will rip up his legs then finish him up with a head kick in the second.
SBoI: Dunham is tough. He’s not going to be easy to put away. This could go either way but if I have to pick… and that’s kind of the point. Barboza via unanimous decision
Vince: I was incredibly impressed with Cerrone and Jamie Varner pulling off wins against Barboza. I don’t see Dunham pulling off a similar upset. Barboza.
Chris: While on paper you could suggest that both of these men falter against the best of the division and conquer those below them, one thing sticks out in my memory. Barboza was lighting up Donald Cerrone before he closed his eyes and ate a short punch. Cerrone only needs an inch to take a mile so I’m not counting Barboza out. He’s 4 years younger and has a five inch reach advantage. Barboza by Decision.
Burnsy: Dunham’s back is up against the wall and he needs a win. Barboza lost to Cowboy on a fluke jab stunner in Orlando, and I am going to assume that he’s going to bounce back with a huge performance and statement win.
Lightweight – Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone vs Jim Miller
Jessica: Donald SUH-ROH-NAY is all about going and getting himself some, while Jim is the best of all the Fighting Millers (Second is Dan, third is Cole, fourth is Dan Jr and fifth is Micah). They’ve got a lot in common, as both have lost to Nate Diaz and Benson Henderson, while both have defeated Melvin Guillard and Charles Oliveira. Cerrone gains points for having been arrested for BOAT RAGE and Cerroneous assault, but loses all of those points and more by constantly tweeting out his home address. Jim’s always fighting for baby Dan Jr, so I’ll give him the nod in a super rad split decision fight.
Danny: Despite his 15 career submission victories, people still like to think of Cerrone as a brawler. Cowboy is never one to play things safe, but he’ll play this one smart. He’ll use his reach to wear Miller down with straight punches. After taking some damage, Miller will reach for the takedown more. This will leave him vulnerable to a submission and Cerrone makes him tap in the third round.
SBoI: Another though one. Miller is also durable as shit and hard to put away. But if I have to pick… and that’s kind of the point. I say it’s a good back & forth with Cerrone landing lots of leg kicks until he switches it up with a high kick, wobbles Miller and locks in a choke to get the win.
Vince: Two well-rounded fighters I love to watch bang. …Wait, that came out wrong. Cerrone’s the languid, lanky, tough-as-nails redneck vs. speedy, technical, workhorse Miller. Interesting clash of styles despite them both being incredibly well-rounded and with solid jitz. I think Miller has the edge in takedowns, while Cerrone seems just a little more dangerous. Cerrone.
Chris: I’m just gonna sit back and enjoy this moment. Are either of these guys ever in bad fights? No. They aren’t.
Burnsy: I just hope this one goes five. I’ll take Cerrone to extend the streak to four.