Greetings, fight fans! I hope everyone is recovering from Fight Week. There’s not much time to recuperate, though, with UFC Fight Night 91 on Wednesday. Let’s take a look at the bouts on the card and then we’ll dive into the predictions.
Prelims start at 5:30 p.m. ET on Fight Pass, then things move to Fox Sports 1 at 7 p.m. ET. There’s some good bouts here, with Cortney Casey taking on Cristina Stanciu in strawweight action. Plus, Sam Alvey faces Eric Spicely, and in the People’s Main Event, a personal favorite of mine, Katlyn Chookagian, makes her UFC debut against Lauren Murphy.
The main card is also on Fox Sports 1, starting at 9 p.m. ET with flyweight action as Louis Smolka takes on Ben Ngyuen. We’ve also got big guys in the Octagon, as Aleksei Oleinik faces Daniel Omielanczuk in heavyweight competition. The main event is a bantamweight clash as hard-hitting John Lineker takes on the very young and talented Michael McDonald.
2016 Important Results:
Jessica: 130-101-4 (56 percent)
Burnsy: 97-97-3 (50 percent)
Ryan: 5-1 (83 percent)
Jason: 38-32-1 (54 percent)
Bill: 17-7 (71 percent)
Jackman: 7-5 (58 percent)
Enrique: 7-5 (58 percent)
Jamie: 16-13-1 (55 percent)
Justin: 13-4 (76 percent)
Marty: 20-12-1 (62 percent)
Jared: 13-11 (54 percent)
Parker: 3-4 (43 percent)
Team Davis: 68-50-3 (57 percent)
Flyweight – Louis “Da Last Samurai” Smolka vs. Ben “10” Nguyen
Jessica: This should be a solid fight. Nguyen is dangerous, with a lot of finishes. He’s also been knocked out a fair number of times, which doesn’t bode well for him. Smolka is a better grappler, but he’s long and lanky for flyweight, so I think he’ll be able to land on Nguyen, despite Ben’s taekwondo background. I think Smolka will get some take downs, beat up Ben on the ground, and submit him in the third. Smolka takes this by RNC.
Jason: Smolka is just better. This is close, though, and anything can happen. This should actually be a pretty scrappy fight. Still, Smolka is just better. Smolka! (It’s fun to yell, “Smolka!” then smash a glass on the ground.)
Bill: “Ben 10” is probably the best MMA nickname in a good long while. This is a super even match and I’m pegging it for Fight of the Night, but it’s likely a pick ’em. So I’ll side with my cohorts and say Smolka out-grapples Nguyen.
Burnsy: Da Last Samurai should focus less on fighting and more on procreating to ensure the salvation of his kind. He has to be distracted knowing that he’s on the brink of extinction, so Nguyen will take advantage and win.
Suzanne: Even though I hate when fighters have “Da” in their nicknames, “Da Spyder”, “Da Last Samurai” (maybe it’s da Hawaiian thing), I have to admit that I was really impressed with Smolka during his emergency main event in the land of Ire. Ben Nguyen has also been impressive in his two UFC fights. To me, this one seems pretty even, so I’ll lean towards more UFC experience and more notable opponents and take Louis Smolka via decision.
Welterweight – Kyle Noke vs. Keita “K-Taro” Nakamura
Jessica: Noke loves to hate guts and he tries his hardest to kick them to death. Nakamura, on the flip side, has a devastating knee. Oh, wait, wrong Nakamura. Yeah, I’ll just say that Noke kicks Nakamura’s guts to pulp. Noke with a second round KO.
Jason: From Australia to South Dakota. But Nakamura is coming from Tokyo … Noke trains in New Mexico … Noke wins and Japanese MMA dies just a little bit more.
Bill: As a pro wrestling fan, it’s difficult to pick against someone named Nakamura, but I think Noke is the clear favorite here. And I don’t usually pick against favorites, no matter what Michael Bisping does.
Burnsy: Everyone picking Noke? Nope. K-Taro takes the win and makes these fools look, um, foolish.
Suzanne: Everything tells me to pick Kyle Noke. He’s experienced, he comes from a great gym, and Keita Nakamura is doing the dreaded fly-from-west-to-east thing. (Noke does as well, but he trains in New Mexico.) However, he’s also prone to slow starts and, well, for no other reason than that, I think Nakamura takes the (split) decision.
Heavyweight – Alexey “The Boa Constrictor” Oleinik vs. Daniel Omielanczuk
Jessica: Boaaaaa constrictorrrr! Daniel Oatmeal/Owe Me A Lunch Truck is going to get grappled to bits. Oleinik wins with a first round no-gi Ezekiel choke.
Jason: Oleinik, and my reasons are personal (he has more vowels in his name).
Bill: The Boa Constrictor is going to slither his way to an easy, cold-blooded win.
Burnsy: The Boa Constrictor is going to wrap himself around Daniel and choke and crush him. There will be an investigation and likely prison time.
Suzanne: I asked Twitter how to spell OleksiyAleksei OliynykOleinik’s name, but have not received an answer as of this writing. To be fair, I only waited about 20 seconds before I started writing. It doesn’t matter. Historically, Poland has done very poorly against Russia. As is obligatory, I must remind everyone that this is heavyweight, so anything can happen, but that anything usually involves one fighter wearing down and getting slow. I’ll take OleksiyAleksei OlinykOleinik via being less tired than Daniel Omielanczuk somewhere in the second.
Middleweight – Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch vs. Josh “Anqa” Samman
Jessica: I think Boestch is extremely knockout-able and Samman has good power. However, I think Samman is extremely punchable, and that has nothing to do with his fighting skills. I’m going to say that Boetsch absorbs a mild beating in the first round, grits his teeth and hefts his axe in the second. The Barbarian rages to a second round KO.
Jason: This is a crazy fight. It’s pretty simple — Boetsch is due. He might get dropped in the first, he’ll more than likely bleed, but then he’ll somehow rally a knock out Samman, like Jessica said, in the second round.
Bill: Boetsch is EXTREMELY due, but he’s also on the tail end of his career. I think Samman is the better fighter at this point and it isn’t close. I’m picking Samman, but if he doesn’t win, I’ll be happy. Boetsch looks like every UFC fighter from the year 2002 all mashed together and that pleases me.
Burnsy: As always, I don’t like Boetsch for some reason. I don’t even remember why anymore. I think it’s because he’s boring. Whatever, Samman wins.
Suzanne: Full disclosure — I’m totally biased here. Mr. Samman follows me on Twitter and I’ll always cheer for people who follow me over people who don’t. (To be fair, Tim Boetsch followed me for, like, 3 days.) Even with that said, I think Samman will take this one. Boetsch is fearless when he knows he’s behind and that adds a large element of danger to all of his fights. Unfortunately, Boetsch tends to put himself behind by playing right into the strengths of his opponents. Samman takes this one by decision.
Lightweight – Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson vs. Lando “Groovy” Vannata
Jessica: T-Fergz is gonna run through this cat with ease. Ferguson wins with a first round submission. He’s gonna hit that Imanari roll and leglock Vannata.
Jason: Ferguson is really something now, huh? I didn’t like his personality on TUF and that’s really soured me on him. That, and him beating up Yves Edwards, Aaron Riley, and Josh Thomson. #OldSchool
Bill: Just a good old-fashioned thrashing from Ferguson.
Burnsy: You know who won’t be feeling Groovy? Vannata, when he loses. Thanks, that’s the kind of humor you’ve come to expect from me, and I will never let you down.
Suzanne: Tony Ferguson gonna show Lando a little maneuver he learned at the battle of Taanab. Van-Van-Vannata going to win this one, anyway. Ferguson by choke-based violence in slightly less time than it takes to walk to the Octagon.
Bantamweight – Michael “Mayday” McDonald vs. John “Hands of Stone” Lineker
Jessica: McDonald is a solid kid, but Johnny Lineker once punched a mountain into a molehill. Lineker wins by second round KO after some gnarly body work in the first.
Jason: McDonald has only been back for one fight since taking nearly two years off with a slew of injuries. In 2013, I’d say McDonald. In the current year, I’ll take Lineker. But I hope I’m pleasantly surprised with a McDonald win? Yeah.
Bill: Lineker is going to win by TKO in the second or third round. He’ll have McDonald hollering “MAYDAY!”
Burnsy: Last time I checked, Lineker was never on an episode of 30 Rock, which is the greatest show ever. Michael McDonald was. Well, the other Michael McDonald was. Close enough. Mayday wins.
Suzanne: COULD Michael McDonald hop on the Shoulders of Stone of the Hands of Stone and sink a Rear-Naked Choke under the Chin of Stone? Sure. I guess. But you keep forgettin’ that Lineker throws 8,000,000 strikes a minute. If McDonald was wobbled by a not-known-for-his-power Urijah Faber, Lineker sends the 14 year old to bed without his dinner some time in the second.
Performance of the Night
Jessica: Ferguson, Lineker
Jason: Ferguson, Boetsch
Bill: Ferguson, Lineker
Burnsy: Nakamura, Samman
Fight of the Night
Jessica: Chookagian vs. Murphy
Jason: Boetsch vs. Samman
Bill: Smolka vs. Nguyen
Burnsy: Noke vs. Nakamura