Hello punch friends! We’ve got an early UFC Fight “Night” today as the prelims start at 10:00 AM ET on Fox Sports 1. Let’s not waste any time and jump right into the predictions!
Important Standings of Note:
Jessica: 349-223-4 (61%)
Burnsy: 354-217-5 (62%)
Vince: 182-112-2 (62%)
Ryan: 8-2-1 (77%)
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: 41-39-1 (51%)
Jared: 15-7 (68%)
Middleweight – Ron “Choir Boy” Stallings vs Justin “Lazybones” Jones
Jessica: Stallings has a more extensive record, but he’s beaten a lot of nobodies on the regional circuits. Jones has, too, but it looks kind of suspect when a guy’s tenth win was against someone who is 5-15. I’ll take Jones to get the fight to the ground and submit Stallings in the second.
Burnsy: It’s either Stallings, whose UFC debut went about as bad as a UFC debut can go, or a guy who is 3-1 as a pro. I’m gonna go ahead and pick Stallings just to start off with a dispute, but I expect this to be a candidate for the sloppiest and possibly worst fight of 2015 when this MMA year is over.
Vince: Hmm, guy I’ve only sort of heard of or other guy I’ve only sort of heard of, real breadth of possibilities here. Both of these dudes lost their UFC debuts. I’m going to go with Jones, who trains out of Victory MMA in San Diego, over Stallings, who trains with Lloyd Irvin. Lotta good fighters in San Diego, so I’m hoping Jones picked up some skills via osmosis.
Heavyweight – Shamil Abdurakhimov vs Timothy Johnson
Jessica: Of course I’m backing another representative of the Dagestani Knucklegame Cartel. Shamil wins this with a first round TKO.
Burnsy: Two debuts, no nicknames. It’s like the UFC is daring me to make a prediction using statistics, records and logic. Well, guess what, UFC… I’m going with Shamil because he is holding a belt in his Sherdog profile photo. Nice try, suckers.
Vince: Shamil! Shamal! Hossen pepper incorporated! Anyway, I echo the thoughts of my fellow predictors. I don’t know either of these dudes, but looking at their records I see Abdurakhimov has victories over Jeff Monson (medium impressive) and Sokoudjou (not that impressive these days, much as it saddens me to say). Not to be outdone, Johnson (Tim-Jo, as I call him) has a win over… uh… Travis Wiuff. ¯_(ツ)_/¯ When in doubt, bet on the Russian.
Lightweight – Gray “The Bully” Maynard vs Alexander “Thunder of the North” Yakovlev
Jessica: Both guys are on losing streaks, so there is a chance that the loser gets sent packing. I wonder how sturdy Gray’s chin is considering his three losses have all been by knockout, but Grant, Diaz and Pearson all have good enough striking to put most dudes away. Yakovlev is making a cut down from welterweight, so that could be an issue, but I’m going to give him the edge anyway. I think Alex will crack Gray, knock him down, and cinch up a submission in the second round.
Chris: Oh Gray, what is going on? From captivating the world to fighting a guy who’s 0-2 as a welterweight in the UFC in too short a period of time. With losses to fighters of declining significance I’m going to let my inner cynic shine through. The UFC is burying Gray in the prelims of an afternoon card in the hopes that should he lose, it’ll be on a much smaller stage. But if he wins it’ll put him in Koscheck territory, which means capable of getting retired on a bigger stage to an up and comer in need of a big name win. Maybe a Khabilov or Barboza?
Burnsy: First and foremost, Yakovlev looks like Randy Orton doing Twilight cosplay in his profile pic. Now, as for the actual fight, sing a song of sadness for Gray Maynard. Three losses in a row, each by TKO in the first or second round. Thunder has the advantage of youth in this one, and that’s all I need. I’ll miss you, Gray.
Vince: This right here is your classic match-up of Russian who raps vs. tramp stamped wrestler. Obviously, Maynard is on a three-fight skid, but those three fights were against top-15 guys, Pearson, TJ Grant, and Nate Diaz. Anyone could lose to those guys, and to me that doesn’t say that he can’t still compete. That said, Yakovlev is 6’3″, with a win over Paul Daley and went the distance with Magomedov. I’ll be rooting for Grey, but I can’t pick him over a huge Russian when he’s on a three-fight losing skid. I learned the hard way picking Koscheck.
Bantamweight – Liz “Girl-Rilla” Carmouche vs Lauren Murphy
Jessica: I still believe that Carmouche won her fight against Tate, and I’m going to go ahead and say she wins this one. Carmouche will take down Murphy and grind out a decision.
Burnsy: I second Jessica’s opinion on my girl Liz’s fight with Miesha “Moral Victory” Tate. Carmouche may never be in Ronda Rousey’s face at a weigh-in again, but she’s better than she gets credit for. She’ll win this one over the woman with the same name as my friend’s wife.
Vince: Carmouche is rightly a favorite, having actually had Rousey in trouble for a few seconds in their fight and going to a close decision with Tate. If it goes to the ground, I imagine Carmouche is going to have the jitz advantage. Does it ever get there though? Murphy is strong as hell and her only loss is a split decision to an Olympic wrestler (Sarah McMann). I’m not sure this ever gets to the ground. I’m going to take Murphy and her big, strong, dynamic striking to punchasize her way to the upset.
Lightweight – Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier vs Carlos Diego Ferreira
Jessica: I’m conflicted. Ferreira beat Colton Smith, so I’ll hold him in high esteem for that. On the flip side, I really like Poirier and I like to see him doing well. I think Dustin is good enough on the ground to avoid getting completely trucked by Carlos, and I give Poirier a hearty advantage on the feet. Poirier wins by third round TKO.
Chris: The DIAMOND vs A Brazilian
If Dustin’s claims that weight cuts have truly be debilitating to his fighting abilities then I don’t see any reason he can’t smash Ferreria. He’s a very good fighter, falling only to top 5 featherweights and I think he’ll survive all the way into the top 15 of lightweight before getting tested.
Burnsy: I like Dustin a lot, even if I’ve been very vocal about my distaste for his nickname, and the only thing that he has going against him is that he ran face first into the unstoppable hype train, Conor McGregor, in his last fight. New weight class, new opportunity, back to winning.
Vince: Dammit, I like Poirier. He was hitting McGregor with shots, but McGregor’s X-factor, much like Jose Aldo’s, is that he has a really good chin. Meanwhile, this Brazilian has a win over Ramsey Nijem though and seems pretty tough. SUCH A TOUGH CHOICE! I’m going to take Poirier, who seems like a step up from anyone Ferreira has fought.
Featherweight – Clay “The Carpenter” Guida vs Robbie “Problems” Peralta
Jessica: Guida is kind of a wrestle-man, but he’s not the greatest fighter. Peralta isn’t either, but he’s also not Guida. Peralta has good hands, and Guida is very hittable. I’ll take Robbie to punch Clay’s face to mush and win a second round TKO.
Chris: How many miles does Clay Guida have on his old bones? He’s put a couple extra on just running in place between rounds. I’m a big believer in the 9-year rule, where fighters lose their ability to compete at their peak after that many years of training camps, bumps, bruises and accumulated injuries. Looking at Guida’s wiki page I’d say the theory holds true for him. After taking a decision from Anthony Pettis in 2011 he has not put forth a dominating performance and his last two losses were stoppages. While Peralta might not be the man to retire the carpenter, his foundation is no longer capable of supporting title shot dreams.
Burnsy: Wouldn’t a better fight have been Maynard-Guida II? Two guys on their way out – but don’t tell them that, I’m sure – with Guida being the last guy that Maynard defeated. Can Maynard pull out a win or will Guida get revenge in this battle of veterans, one on the wrong side of 35 and the other with a million miles on his odometer? Instead, they’re each fighting relative nobodies. I don’t really understand UFC booking, and this is a great example of that. So, whatever, I’ll take Guida in a really pointless fight for him.
Vince: I saw two things I thought I’d never see since 2013, Clay Guida get knocked out (by Chad Mendes) and Clay Guida get submitted (by Dennis Bermudez). That said, the toughest competition Peralta has faced up until this point is… Thiago Tavares? Akira Corassani? If Guida doesn’t win this he should retire. Guida.
Bantamweight – Juliana “The Venezuelan Vixen” Pena vs Milana Dudieva
Jessica: Oh snap (Sorry, Juliana), this fight should have some heat behind it, since Dudieva beat Pena’s SIKJITSU teammate, Elizabeth Phillips, last time out. Pena has been on the shelf for a long time, but I think she’ll have plenty of fire in her and manage to take Milana down and submit her. Pena wins by third round submission.
Burnsy: It’s really nice to see Pena back, because her knee injury is the kind that few athletes ever come back from, unless their name is Adrian Peterson and they undergo surgery using Chitauri DNA. I don’t think she’ll ever be dangerous enough to compete with Rousey like people are trying to hype, but she’ll win this one and hopefully in electrifying style.
Vince: So much of the women’s game seems to come down to aggression and killer instinct, and Juliana Peña seems like she has more of that than just about anyone. She has impressed me every time she’s fought. Meanwhile, Dudieva I’ve never seen fight and she won her only UFC fight by split decision against another fighter I’ve never heard of. This is clearly meant as a tune up for Peña, and unless her knee is seriously FUBAR I think she takes this.
Lightweight – Michael “Maverick” Chiesa vs Mitch “Danger Zone” Clarke
Jessica: Both guys have submitted Al Iaquinta, which has got to be frustrating since he’s in the co-main event spot. Anyway, both dudes have good submission skills, but I think Chiesa is a little better at grappling than the dude what looks like Haley Joel Osment. Chiesa will show off his SIKJITSU and make Clarke tap in the second round.
Chris: It feels like forever since Michael Chiesa put on a FOTN performance in only 2 minutes with Mr. Saturday Night, Joe Lauzon. That said, I still have high hopes for the Northwesterner and thing he will put on a spirited grappling performance against Mitch Clarke whose goodwill after the Iaquinta win has evaporated over time.
Burnsy: I’m going to take the hot streak with Clarke here. I like both of these 11-2 fighters, so it’s a coin flip, but Clarke has momentum.
Vince: I really enjoy that both guys have Top Gun nicknames. Who put this fight together, David Miscavige? Anyway, Chiesa is a heavy favorite, but I have to wonder if that’s just because he’s a TUF alum, while no one’s heard of Mitch Clarke. Who has a sub win over Al Iaquinta, which is huge. Anyway, it’s a battle between two ground fighters, with Chiesa having all of his finishes by sub and Clarke having all but one. Clarke seems like a sneaky submission finisher, whereas Chiesa is more of a controlling, position-first wrestler, Chiesa’s also really lanky, which is odd for a wrestler. That’s going to make it hard for Clarke to take him down, and it’s hard to count on Clarke being able to pull out a submission from the bottom against a good grappler. I’ll go with Chiesa and the odds on this one.
Lightweight – “Raging” Al Iaquinta vs Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal
Jessica: WOO, VIOLENCE, WOO! Masvidal has good kickboxing with solid grappling, and Al’s a rad boxer with good BJJ and a killer marinara recipe he learned directly from Momma Serra. I’m giving an edge to Strong Island here, Iaquinta will box up Masvidal and finish him with a KO in the third round.
Chris: This is a total coin toss, so I’m picking Iaquinta due to the more intangible elements of momentum and mileage. It’s going to be a great fight and experience could just as easily win, but I flipped a coin and it said you can call me Al.
Burnsy: What a matchup. On one hand, Al is on a finishing streak with TKO victories in his last three fights. On the other hand, nobody ever finishes Masvidal. I’m going with Masvidal because I think he has a great gas tank and will frustrate Al’s boxing skills.
Vince: The only thing I’m confident in is that this is going to be a great fight. Iaquinta is probably more exciting, but also a little more prone to flukey losses. Masvidal never gets outclassed, he’s always hanging right in there, even when he loses. Iaquinta just beat the crap out of two great boxers (Lauzon and Pearson), the second of whom just a few months ago. But both these guys are crazy well-rounded with great boxing and both seem to be peaking right now. So tough! The only thing I can think of is that Iaquinta has never lost by KO or TKO, and that Clarke sub against seemed pret-tay, pret-tay flukey. I’m not seeing a sub in this fight, and whereas Iaquinta’s never been KO’d, Masvidal has gotten out-struck a few times (Paul Daley, Gil Melendez). I’m taking Raging Al by a hair.
Featherweight – Chad “Money” Mendes vs Ricardo “The Bully” Lamas
Jessica: That video never gets old. Mendes only loses to guys named Jose Aldo, and Lamas has already fallen to Danny Castillo’s Alpha Male hands. Both guys are good wrestlers, so that will neutralize each other, leading to a kickboxing match. Mendes has crazy power, and he’ll eventually drop some bombs on Ricardo’s jaw. Mendes wins by fourth round KO.
Chris: Mendes all the way. He’s JDS without the brain damage. I love his standup game which was always potent, even pre-Ludwig. Just look at his ability to eradicate Cody McKenzie via a perfectly planned striking attack. After his stellar showing against Aldo, it seems he’s existing at his peak right now. With nearly identical records, we’re being treated to a great matchup which in another weight class might be considered a real gift to the fans. We can’t afford to pair Gus and Cormier, but this is the equivalent fight at FW.
Burnsy: Mendes, of course. Both guys went 5 rounds with Jose Aldo, but Mendes is a different monster.
Vince: Much like Iaquinta/Misvidal, these guys are both bad muhfuhs who don’t lose very often or to anything but elite-level competition. On paper, it’s a pick ’em. Having watched them though, Mendes looks faster and stronger than anyone (even Aldo, he just wasn’t blessed with Aldo’s chin). I think he’s too fast for Lamas. Also too fast for llamas, which would make a great children’s book.
Performance of the Night
Jessica: Abduramikhov, Mendes
Burnsy: Pena, Mendes
Vince: Peña, Mendes
Fight of the Night
Jessica: Iaquinta vs Masvidal
Burnsy: Damn it, I wanted Al and Jorge. Okay, I’ll go with Chiesa and Clarke.
Vince: Obvious money is on Al and Jorge, but don’t sleep on Poirier and Ferreira, both of whom come to bang. Which is the opposite of what I do, amirite?