Hello again, fight fans. UFC 184 is here, and even though we aren’t getting the middleweight title fight between Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort as originally scheduled, there are still a lot of good fights left to get predicted. Speaking of predictions, please welcome the newest prognosticator and newest MMA contributor for Uproxx Sports, Ryan Harkness! The fights will begin at 7 p.m. ET on Fight Pass, so let’s jump into the picks.
Important Standings of Note:
Jessica: 331-207-3 (61%)
Burnsy: 330-207-4 (61%)
Vince: 168-104-1 (62%)
Danny: 161-77-1 (67%)
Spilled: 76-56-2 (57%)
Sydnie: 16-12 (57%)
Chris: 30-10 (75%)
NY Ric: 36-26-1 (57%)
Ghost: 6-7 (46%)
Seth: 32-15 (68%)
Biss: 35-33-1 (51%)
Featherweight: Masio “El Lobo” Fullen vs. Alex “Rolo” Torres
Jessica: When I tried to use analysis and brain thoughts on my picks last time out, I went a dismal 2-9, so that’s obviously a dumb plan. Back to jokes and predictions based on arbitrary reasons for me! Both Torres and Fullen haven’t really fought much of anyone that’s good, but I prefer THE WOLF to “caramel-filled chocolate candy” for nicknames. Fullen will submit Torres in the second round.
Burnsy: After last week’s horrible round of picks, I need to take this one a little more seriously. Torres has fought 3 times in his young career, so I can’t pick him. Plus, Lobo is just badass.
Ryan: One thing I learned from watching The Ultimate Fighter Latin America is you should always pick the Mexican. I don’t know if that’s racist, but so far it’s been pretty reliable. Fullen via decision.
Vince: Ah, sweet, battle of the guys without Sherdog pictures. Fullen is the Vegas favorite, so I’ll take Fullen. (Yes, I know that every underdog won on the last card).
Lightweight: “The” James Krause vs. Valmir “Bidu” Lazaro
Jessica: I was a little confused at Krause being on the early prelims, because I last remembered him defeating Jamie Varner via ankle destruction, having completely forgot his lost to Masvidal. That story shows I am dumb. Anyway, I feel that Krause has faced better competition, both in his wins and losses. I’ll take that kind of experience over Lazaro’s high finishing rate. Krause wins by decision.
Burnsy: I thought Valmir Lazaro died in the second season of Game of Thrones. *high fives self* But great jokes aside, I like the cut of Krause’s jib, and especially his trash-talking game. I’ll take him for the W in a nice rebound fight.
Ryan: In the parallel universe where Fight of the Night bonuses are doled out solely on merit, this fight would have a great chance of winning. Alas, prelim matches get less spotlight and less bonus cash. But it will still be great. Lazaro by decision by stealing rounds via wrestling.
Vince: Valmir Lazaro already lost to James Vick, and I always get James Vick and James Krause confused, so I guess the big question here is whether James Krause is a better version of James Vick or the poor man’s James Vick. Honestly, these guys look like similar fighters and it’s a pick ’em for me. I’ll go with Krause because I remember him better. Has to count for something, right?
Heavyweight: Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis vs. Ruan “Fangzz” Potts
Jessica: Lewis hits way too crazy hard for me to even consider picking a guy called FANGZZ. Lewis is going to knock out Potts in the first round.
Burnsy: BLACK BEAST! I was pretty bummed after he lost his last fight, especially he was supposed to be the new guy giving out those first round KOs and not taking them, but maybe the inspirational Lewis just needed a little more motivation. He wins this one easily against a guy who has been bullied in his last two fights.
Ryan: This is the Derrick Lewis show right here. You can expect the UFC to replay this fight after the Rousey destruction because Lewis is gonna knock FANGZZ out in the first one.
Vince: FANGZZ is a legit nickname, but I see this going down sort of the same way Potts/Paleilei went down. Potts doesn’t seem to do well with huge strong guys, and The Black Beast is 99th percentile in huge and strong. I’m picking Lewis, hoping he took the Mitrione loss as an incentive to shore up his boxing a little and not as an incentive to be gun shy.
Welterweight: Dhiego Lima vs. Tim “The Dirty Bird” Means
Jessica: Means has been doing well (Other than falling victim to MAGNY) at welterweight, so I’m going with him. Plus I’m mad at Dhiego’s brother, Douglas, for pulling out of the fight with Paul Daley in Bellator. Means wins this by third round TKO.
Burnsy: I’m trying not to make the same picks as Lobby Mobby when we’re finally neck and neck in the standings that never end, but these early fights are all about familiarity. Tim “Natrone” Means just has more experience and the hotter hand right now.
Ryan: In the battle of inconsequential kickboxing I expect to go down, you flip a coin and don’t really care what side it lands on. I pick Tim Means via decision solely based on his Dirty Bird nickname. Maybe two out of three judges will do the same.
Vince: Lima looked impressively unimpressive in his last two fights. I’ll take the Dirty Bird.
Bantamweight: Roman “El Gallito” Salazar vs. Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto
Jessica: What kind of MMA fan would I be if I didn’t blindly put faith into an aging superstar of yesteryear despite all evidence that he probably shouldn’t be fighting any more? Yamamoto wins with a second round TKO.
Burnsy: Sorry, Kid. You’ve lost three in a row and I’m worried the pink slip might have been lost in the mail. Salazar wins this.
Ryan: As gentle of a welcome back fight as you’re gonna get in the UFC, I still can’t pick Kid Yamamoto in good conscience. My heart says Kid. But my heart also said yes to my ex-wife Karen. F*ck you Karen. Roman Salazar via heart breaking TKO in the first round.
Vince: Kid Yamamoto is 1-5 in his last six, fighting a guy without a picture in his Sherdog profile, so obviously this is a high-quality matchup with title implications. I’ll take Salazar because I like that “El Gallito” means “The Cock.” Respect the cock.
Middleweight: Mark “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Munoz vs. Roan “Jucao” Carneiro
Jessica: Munoz has been put through a meat grinder, going up against Machida and Mousasi back to back. Carneiro’s fresh off winning the BattleGrounds one night tournament, so this is a bit of a toss-up. I’m going to say Munoz will manage to drag Carneiro to the ground at some point and unleash some of his terrifying ground and pound. Munoz wins by third round knockout.
Burnsy: I want Munoz to win because he is such a positive dude and an inspiration to everyone he trains. Yes, he has lost bad his last two times out, but he’s not done. He wins this one and we all cheer.
Ryan: This is a mental game as far as I’m concerned. Mark has been in a dark place ever since he got Weidman’d back in 2012. Meanwhile, Roan Carneiro is ascendant off that three wins in one night deal. There’s nothing scarier than a BJJ black belt in a serious groove. Carneiro gets the submission in round one.
Vince: First off I’d like to chide my colleagues for their lazy lack of tildes. Mark Muñoz deserves better. As for the fight, I saw Carneiro look impressive in that tournament, but he sure as hell didn’t fight any Filipino wrecking machines that night. Also, Muñoz has one submission loss in his career. I see Jucao getting dominated.
Lightweight: Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson vs. Gleison Tibau
Jessica: I like that both dudes are on win streaks after being defeated by Michael Johnson. Normally I’d back Tibau against just about any opponent, but I like what Ferguson has been doing recently. I think he’ll punch Tibau in the face a lot and avoid getting clinched on the cage for significant portions of the fight. Ferguson knocks out Tibau in the second round.
Burnsy: I’m very excited about this fight. I think this is an instant FOtN contender and I hope these guys come through. I say that because I enjoy how Tibau puts everything he has into each fight, but I don’t think his strategy is ever the best. I think El Cucuy is just a better fighter and will ride that to a win.
Ryan: Tony Ferguson gets the call to yank the curtain open for this UFC pay per view because the UFC knows he’ll come out swinging. Unfortunately, his original opponent got injured and subsequently replaced by 170 pound ball of beef Gleison Tibau. I like Tony – dude’s got bricks for hands. But you can’t knock someone out off your back and that’s where Tibau’s gonna keep him. Tibau wins via decision.
Vince: Gleison Tibau is surely the most dominant fighter ever to bore me to tears on the way to plodding split decisions. Can Tibau once again drag an exciting fighter into the world of tit-for-tat point fighting? God I hope not. I love El Cucuy and he looked like a beast against Trujillo.
Welterweight: Alan “Brahma” Jouban vs. “Filthy” Richard Walsh
Jessica: While the idea of “Dirty” Dick Walsh amuses me, I’ve got to go with Handsome Man Alan Jouban. Jouban should have better striking, and that’s the path to victory, but not a stoppage. Jouban wins by decision.
Burnsy: I feel like I totally missed Jouban’s loss in November. I don’t remember him fighting since his UFC debut in August, but sure enough, he lost since then. On that note, I dig that John Q. Awesome Face Structure is willing to sacrifice his modeling career by fighting twice in four months, so he’s made a fan of me. I’ll pick Brahma to win, but I’m very disappointed that this fight wasn’t marketed as Clean vs. Filthy. And I won’t pick Walsh to win until he’s willing to come out dressed like Dirty Dee from Pootie Tang.
Ryan: A lot of people are wondering why this fight is even on the main card. Sometimes it’s because cards are stretched too thin, but in this case I think mad scientist Joe Silva has cooked up something special for us here. Both Walsh and Jouban are prospects about to evolve Pokemon style into dangerous contenders, perhaps on Saturday night before our very eyes. I give this fight to Walsh via bad decision due to top control.
Vince: Pretty Boy Jouban can brawl and Australians are just too laidback to ever be exceptional fighters. Jouban.
Welterweight: Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger vs. Josh “Kos” Koscheck
Jessica: It seems kind of weird to put two dudes both on 3-fight losing streaks this high on the card, but whatever, the STAND N BANG. I’m pretty confident that Koscheck’s chin is weaker than Ellenberger, so I’ll say Jake lands a big punch to put out Josh’s lights. Ellenberger wins by first round knockout.
Burnsy: This is fantastic – two guys who deserve wins after the hell they’ve been put through by fighting three badasses in a row. Ellenburger has a UD loss to Rory Mac, a TKO from the champ Robbie Lawler, and a submission against my main man Kelvin Gastelum. Koscheck has a split loss to Hendricks, a TKO from Lawler, and a KO from Tyron Woodley. This should be a battle of two guys ready to win a f*cking fight already, right? However, I think the huge difference is that Ellenberger fought in 2014 and he’s hungrier. I don’t think Koscheck stands a chance.
Ryan: There is a classic tradition in combat sports where the old lion is sent out to face the young wolf. Think BJ Penn vs Rory MacDonald. Fortunately, the matchmaking has smiled upon Josh Koscheck and his wolf is known for having more off days than Erick Silva. This fight is totally winnable for Koscheck. That being said, I wouldn’t bet on it. Ellenberger wins by second round knockout.
Vince: It’s gotten to the point where I’ve seen Josh Koscheck get thrown to the wolves so many times (fighting Hendrix, Lawler, and Woodley in succession) that I was actually rooting for the poor bastard to get a tune-up fight, and I hate Josh Koscheck. Jake Ellenberger is not a tune-up fight. Nonetheless, I’ll be rooting for Kos because he’s the old guy and the underdog and fights out of the 559. And you know what? He’s a better wrestler and hits harder than Ellenberger too. The big question is whether his chin will hold up, but Ellenberger’s no Tyron Woodley, so I’m taking the old dude.
Bantamweight: Holly “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holm vs. Raquel “Rocky” Pennington
Jessica: A lot is riding on Holm winning this fight so she can be the next to challenge Rousey, so in the interests of chaos, I’m seeing a Pennington victory. Raquel is tough, she’s never been stopped by strikes, and her submission game is pretty solid. I’m going to say that Raquel gets Holly down to the mat and finishes things off on the ground. Pennington wins by second round submission.
Burnsy: Rocky beat my girl Ashlee “Smashlee Bashlee, Put You in the Trashlee” Evans-Smith last time, so I’m taking Holm out of principle. NOBODY TAKES AN ASHLEY DOWN! Even if she spells it weird. It’s a boy’s name.
Ryan: Rocky was one of my favorite fighters on TUF, but she was also one of the most frustrating to watch. Dana White told her to let her hands go if she wanted to win the show. She did not. And unless she does tonight, Holly Holm is gonna trounce her. Let’s be honest here: Holly Holm is gonna trounce her anyways. Holm wins by first round head kick knockout.
Vince: I’ve never been impressed with Rocky, who has all the skills, but fights like she doesn’t like to fight. Holm.
Bantamweight: “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey vs. “Alpha” Cat Zingano
Jessica: I really want to pick Zingano here. She’s been through a ton of terrible things in her life, and she seems like a nice person. However, the fact that she tends to get dominated at the start of fights doesn’t bode well against basically the best early finisher in MMA right now. Ronda is going to go back to her roots and get a first round armbar, and then, with any luck, Bethe Correia will hop the fence and challenge the leader of the Four Horsewomen.
Burnsy: I think now more than ever, the UFC could handle Rousey losing. The strawweights are a lot of fun and the bantamweights are getting better as they fight behind Rowdy. Zingano’s clearly one of the best in the UFC, but I still don’t think beating Miesha Tate is a qualifier for Rousey. Amanda Nunes looked like a badass early on, but Zingano popped that balloon. There’s just no one on Rousey’s level yet, and I’m worried that when she wins this, because she will, she’ll be one step closer to gone.
Ryan: I’ve got Rousey winning this one too, but there’s enough grit and determination in Cat Zingano to make me feel like she won’t go down via 10 second armbar. I hope. Ronda fights aren’t just about seeing her whup her opponents, it’s seeing how her opponents fight back against them whuppins. I desperately want the Alpha Cat to do well. Maybe get Ronda in trouble like Liz Carmouche did before losing to Ronda in the second round via armbar.
Vince: I absolutely think Zingano is the best competition Rousey has faced and has the better human interest story. That guillotine-suplex move Zingano keeps pulling on people is the gnarliest thing ever. But hey, I’m not an idiot. No way I’m picking against Rousey until an opponent makes her look even remotely human. Zingano also showed a bad habit of holding her hands low against Tate.
Performance of the Night
Jessica: Lewis, Rousey
Burnsy: Ferguson, Rousey
Ryan: Lewis, Holm
Fight of the Night
Jessica: Krause vs. Lazaro
Burnsy: Ferguson vs. Tibau
Ryan: Rousey vs. Zingano