Hey punch fans, it’s time for another set of UFC predictions from the smartest, funniest group of fight pickers in the entire world. UFC on Fox 18, or Fight Night 82 or even UFC Newark, starts at 3:30 p.m. ET on Fight Pass on Saturday, so let’s jump into the prognostications!
2016 Important Results:
Lightweight – Tony Martin vs Felipe Olivieri
Jessica: I was just about to start analyzing both guys and seeing what they are good at and whatnot, and then I saw that Martin’s a Lloyd Irvin guy. Nuts to him and f*ck Lloyd Irvin. Oliveiri to win by first-round submissions (vengeance).
Burnsy: Tony Martin sounds like a Jersey guy, even if he’s from Minnesota. “Hey you hear about this Tony Martin guy? Says he’s gonna whoop up on a Brazilian guy for hittin’ on his sister.” Anyway, Martin’s had his butt kicked (1-3) since coming to the UFC, so I’ll buck tradition and take Oliveiri in his debut.
Featherweight – Damon “The Leech” Jackson vs Levan “The Hornet” Makashvilli
Jessica: Hornet vs Leech is the most bizarre animal fight I didn’t know I kind of want to see. On paper, I should be a big fan of Levan (He’s from a place near Russia and trains near Matt Serra), but I haven’t really hopped onboard his fan train yet. Jackson’s okay, but I think of Li Jiangling when it comes to fighting leeches. Ehhh, I’ll go with Makashvilli to win by decision, and hopefully impress me enough that I buy a Georgian flag to cheer him on at home.
Burnsy: Jackson was bailed out of his last loss when Rony Jason failed a pee test and earned a nice suspension, but I’m not really sure a banned diuretic was the difference maker in that quick fight. I hate starting an event with the same picks as J-Mob, but Levan seems like the no-brainer here.
Welterweight – Matt Dwyer vs Randy “Rude Boy” Brown
Jessica: Brown cut his teeth in Ring of Combat, the same place as Uriah Hall and Chris Weidman, which is a good minor league to get experience. Dwyer’s been kind of inconsistent, getting sparked out by Albert “Nobody Can Beat” Tumenov, but then putting William “Whatever’s Portuguese for Simon Phoenix” Macario to sleep before dropping a decision to Handsome Alan Jouban. I’m going to go with Brown here, even though Dwyer’s UFC record shows he’s due for a win. Brown takes a third-round TKO.
Burnsy: Rude Boy only has six fights to his name, but he’s won and finished all of them. Dwyer’s just meh at this point. Rude Boy wins and makes this a night of debut victories.
Featherweight – Alex “Bruce Leroy” Caceres vs Masio “El Lobo” Fullen
Jessica: I forgot that Bruce Leroy was on a three-fight skid, which puts a hitch in me blindly picking him to win. On the flip side, Fullen got ran through by My Main Man Makwan, so I don’t have high expectations for him. I’m going to say that a return to featherweight will help Caceres, since not cutting as much weight sounds like a good plan. Caceres wins with a third-round submission.
Burnsy: Bruce Leroy still gets my automatic pick for his nickname alone (is there perhaps an oral history of The Last Dragon coming soon?) but if he loses this and is pink-slipped, he has to change his name to Sho’Nuff. That’s written in stone now.
Welterweight – George “The Silencer” Sullivan vs Alexander “Thunder of the North” Yakovlev
Jessica: I will never not think that Sullivan is a boxer from Ye Olden Tymes based on his name. Yakov’s UFC career started bad, getting matched up with Demian Maia, and it’s a small miracle he lasted until the final bell. His only win in the company is against Gray Maynard, and on the flip side, it’s a miracle that Maynard lasted the full 15 minutes (His only decision loss in is current 4-fight skid). Sullivan’s only stumble in the UFC was against Tim Means, which isn’t that bad, because Tim Means is basically a less good version of Matt Brown, which is still pretty scary. I’m taking Sullivan to win this, though I don’t think it’ll be very pretty. George takes a decision.
Burnsy: THUNDER OF THE NORTH! It’s either an inspired MMA nickname or what I call my son’s farts. Either way, it gets my blessing for victory.
Flyweight – Dustin Ortiz vs Wilson Reis
Jessica: This oughta be good. Little scrappy flyweights, flailing all over each other is Extremely My Sh*t. I’m giving an edge to Ortiz, since I think he’s faced better competition recently, and he’s done well. Ortiz pinballs his way to a solid decision win.
Burnsy: Reis’s most impressive win came in a first round gimme against Scott “Glass Joe” Jorgensen. Ortiz is winning better fights and putting on a better show each time out. He’ll keep that going.
Middleweight – Rafael “Sapo” Natal vs “King” Kevin Casey
Jessica: Natal needs to drag this fight out as much as possible, since Casey gets tired after roughly 45 seconds of light activity. Despite that, I don’t see Natal getting a submission, even if Casey is gasping for air like a landed trout. Natal wins by third-round TKO.
Burnsy: Casey needs to hit the reset button and get his sh*t together. Two NCs in his last three fights sucks for all of us. Natal’s on a three-fight tear right now, so I don’t think Casey will have a good time with this one either.
Lightweight – Olivier “The Quebec Kid” Aubin-Mercier vs Carlos Diego Ferreira
Jessica: No shame at all in Ferreira dropping consecutive fights to Benny Dariush and Dustin Poirier, those dudes are OUTSTANDING SAVAGE MONSTER KILLERS according to Joe Rogan. Olivier is solid enough, but I just can’t possibly get hyped for a dude with that collection of syllables as a name. He’s basically the combat sports version of Gwydion Lashlee-Walton. Carlos is going to win by second-round submission.
Burnsy: Three wins in a row for the Quebec Kid since losing his UFC debut. That’s usually enough to get my pick, but as J-Mob points out, Ferreira’s two consecutive losses were against great fighters. So what happens for Carlos? Does he rebound from an embarrassing first-round loss to Poirier or does he get lit up for the trifecta? I’m going with a three-round fight that could go either way, with the Quebec Kid getting the win.
Welterweight – Tarec “Sponge” Saffiedine vs Jake “Juggernaut” Ellenberger
Jessica: A wrestle-man versus a kickboxer usually has me predicting a grindy decision win for the grappler. However, Ellenberger recently got his brains blonked out of his skull by Stephen Thompson. Also, Saffiedine’s been hanging out at Team Quest for a while, so I assume he’s scraped together a little bit of take-down defense. Ellenberger does hit like a truck, but I think Tarec is smart enough to kick Jake’s legs to death. Saffiedine wins by third-round LEG KICK TKO.
Burnsy: Sponge hasn’t fought in over a year, which is normally cause for caution. However, Juggernaut is more like — wait for it because this is a SICK BURN — Jugger-not these days, having lost four of his last five. That’s… not good. Sponge wins and feels success reminiscent of the hit single “Molly (16 Candles Down the Drain).” Have fun getting that out of your head now.
Welterweight – “Super” Sage Northcutt vs Bryan “Bam Bam” Barberena
Jessica: Who??? And hey, I thought Sage was going to be the Face of Fight Pass. Whatever, Sagey-Cakes will probably run through this alleged person and do upwards of 70 flips in celebration. Northcutt wins by first round KO.
Burnsy: I’m feeling funky on this one. I like Sage a lot, because who doesn’t like the goofy-yet-charming bro dude who was cut right out of an Abercrombie catalog? Oh right, hardcore fight fans. I’ve seen a lot of hate toward Sage already, some of it because he’s making more money than most fighters at his level, and a lot of it because he’s the Great White Hype. This feels like a fight that derails a hype train. I’ll take Bam Bam.
Bantamweight – Iuri “Marajo” Alcantara vs Jimmie “El Terror” Rivera
Jessica: Rivera knocked out Marcus Brimage, which is something that is becoming increasingly easy to do, and then took a decision off Pedro Munhoz, who I might have seen before. Alcantara has been a staple of the division for a long time, with a fairly impressive resume. I’m going with Alcantara, only because I’ve seen him way more. Iuri takes a decision win.
Burnsy: Fine, I’ll take EL TERROR! Sounds like what I went through last night after I had Tijuana Flats for dinner. My Florida people feel me.
Heavyweight – Josh “The Warmaster” Barnett vs “Big” Ben Rothwell
Jessica: My heart is protesting this match up. I like both dudes and don’t want to see either of them lose. However, from a brain standpoint, I’m edging towards Rothwell. I think he’s good enough on the ground to not get obliterated by Barnett’s grappling, and I think Big Ben’s got more striking power. Plus, and this is a dumb metric, but Rothwell is hungrier. I’m taking Rothwell to wear down and frustrate Barnett, ultimately getting a third-round TKO. MUAHAHAHAHAHA!
Burnsy: With three wins in a row, Ben Rothwell is basically like the best healthy fighter in the heavyweight division right now. I say it every few months and I never think I can mean it more, but the heavyweight division is hot diaper right now (nice knowing you, original UFC 196 fight card!) In fact, if Dana White steps into the octagon after this fight and awards the winner the interim title, I’d have no problem with that because it’s going to be Rothwell. Then Big Ben would probably break an ankle exiting the octagon, because the heavyweights are cursed and doomed.
Light Heavyweight – Anthony “Rumble” Johnson vs Ryan “Darth” Bader
Jessica: Oh come on! I have to pick between an utterly reprehensible piece of sh*t and a straight up dingus? Obviously Johnson is a TurdMan, but holy cow, dude hits hard. Bader, despite his TWO YEAR WIN STREAK and whatnot, is still Ryan friggin Bader. My heart hates Rumble, while my brain is recoiling at the possibility of Bader being “good.” I tend to finagle myself into making the prediction that I think will happen while also making me happy, often to the detriment of all known logical realities. I’m going to take Bader to win this because I think his striking is okay-ish enough to give him opportunities to wrestle Johnson, and any time there’s prolonged grappling sequences, not only does Rumble tire at an exponential rate, the chances of him giving up and welcoming a rear naked choke’s sweet embrace skyrocket. Bader wins by second-round submission.
Burnsy: Johnson’s going to win this and get another title shot. I’m not happy about it, but it’s going to happen. Trust me, I hope I’m wrong.
Performance of the Night
Jessica: Northcutt, Saffiedine
Burnsy: Rothwell (KO KABOOM!), Ortiz
Fight of the Night
Jessica: Ortiz vs Reis
Burnsy: Johnson vs Bader