Hey fight fans, it’s time for another batch of predictions. UFC on Fox 14 is coming to us from Stockholm, Sweden, on Saturday, January 24th, starting at 4:00 PM ET on Fight Pass. Let’s take a look at the picks!
Important Standings of Note:
Jessica: 311-183-3 (63%)
Burnsy: 301-192-4 (61%)
Vince: 160-89-1 (64%)
Danny: 161-77-1 (67%)
Spilled: 76-56-2 (57%)
Sydnie: 16-12 (57%)
Chris: 27-9 (75%)
NY Ric: 36-26-1 (57%)
Ghost: 6-7 (46%)
Seth: 32-15 (68%)
Biss: 27-18-1 (60%)
Flyweight – Neil “2Tap” Seery vs Chris “The Real Deal” Beal
Jessica: I’m pretty sure that Seery is Conor McGregor’s grandpa, so he should be able to ride that wave of support into a third round TKO victory over Beal. Then he’s gotta head back to the fish warehouse and work a double shift.
Burnsy: Beal’s one of my last few exciting undefeated fighters that I’m clinging to desperately for the sake of saying, “Told you so!” when he wins a title. He’s 2-0 since joining the UFC, and I’d like to see another flying knee KO.
Vince: I appreciate Neil Seery looking like he’s 45 years old. Not sure how much that should affect my decision making here. Seery actually has fantastic hands (I guess that’s redundant for an Irishman) but I have to think Beal will have the speed advantage. Beal.
Biss: This is basically a fight set up for Chris Beal to win, right? Likely by Decision, good effort on the 2Tap UFC its more your pace here … Chris Beal … Decision.
Heavyweight – Viktor Pesta vs Konstantin “The Russian Bear” Erokhin
Jessica: Konstantin fights out of Moscow, so there’s a chance he’s from Yaroslavl Oblast, which has the best flag ever, AXE BEAR. There’s no way I’m not picking for the Bear to destroy Vik Pesto. Erokhin wins by first round knockout.
Burnsy: Erokhin actually looks like a Russian bear, so I appreciate that his nickname is so accurate. Otherwise, this isn’t a very exciting fight, but I’ll take Pesta’s UFC experience.
Vince: 5’11” Erokhin is giving up a ton of reach, but he’s fighting a guy who likes to shoot, and short, stocky Russians are notoriously hard to take down. And Pesta can’t screw up for a second, because Erokhin hits like a truck. Erokhin.
Biss: What the hell, UFC? We had an agreement you put the dumbest nicknames possible in these Fight Pass Fights so I don’t expose myself for not having a clue about these guys (queue research montage). Erokhin’s only fight that has lasted outside of the first round is a decision to Brett Rogers (who should be on the next season of TUF Heavyweight Redemption). I think the Russian Bear is going to Bang … Konstantin Erokhin.
Featherweight – Mirsad Bektic vs Paul “Redser” Redmond
Jessica: The Balkan invasion is here as Bektic beats up Redmond for fifteen minutes and takes a decision.
Burnsy: A guy named Paul should not have Redser as his nickname, because I just read that as Paul Reiser and groaned for 20 minutes thinking about how popular Mad About You once was. Bektic wins while Helen Hunt watches in horror.
Vince: Tough fight to call, because while Bektic looks quick and has good hands, Redmond also has good hands, AND is a judo guy with a pretty good ground game. Fun fact: Redmond has three wins via toehold. That is a lot of toeholds. That said, I can’t get past the fact that Bektic just looks quicker and more athletic. And he just got past a guy (Chas Skelly) who’s a pretty good wrestler. Bektic.
Biss: It’s super hard to pick against an Irish fighter, and 145 is Championship weight after all, not a chance… Mirsad Bektic.
Lightweight – Mairbek “Beckan” Taisumov vs Anthony Christodoulou
Jessica: Even if Taisumov wasn’t representing the Caucasus in general and Chechnya in particular, I wouldn’t pick Anthony due to excessive vowels in his last name. Beckan beats up Tony Lou and takes a decision win.
Burnsy: Taisumov had that nasty TKO win over Marcin Bandel back in October, and I’ve never heard of Tony Christophercolombopolous anyway. Taisumov wins.
Vince: It really screws with our records trying to pick all these fights between dudes no one has heard of. Just saying. That said, Christodoulou looks doughy and tentative and Taisumov is a Wolverine-lookin’ mofo from Chechnya who just won a one-punch KO in 61 seconds. Put your cash on the Chechen.
Biss: I really want to pick an upset here. I feel it in my bones, just not a chance logic lets me… Mairbek Taisumov.
Light Heavyweight – Nikita “The Al Capone” Krylov vs Stanislav “Stucky” Nedkov
Jessica: There’s no way on earth I’m not picking for The Al Capone. He’s going to knock out Stucky in the first round.
Burnsy: Bad news… Krylov’s Sherdog picture is no longer the dumbest-yet-best profile pic in MMA. Good news… he’s coming off an impressive TKO win over Cody Donovan. Bad news… he’s not going to win this fight.
Vince: I’m with Burnsy on Krylov’s picture. Love Al Capone. Nedkov has fought Thiago Silva and Luis Cane, and Krylov has taken on OSP and Soa Palelei. Nedkov beat Cane, but other than that, they lost all those fights against recognizable competition. This is tough to pick, because Nedkov is a herky jerky striker/bully and Krylov is an okay striker with moderately sh*tty takedown defense. Krylov won a sloppy brawl vs. Cody Donovan, but he has to show me more than that before I bet on him. Nedkov.
Biss: Not the best 205 fight ever promoted, Krylov should be good for a finish. Going to guess he is on the right end of it… Nikita Krylov.
Featherweight – Andy “The Little Axe” Ogle vs Makwan “Mr. Finland” Amirkhani
Jessica: Dude, check out Mr. Finland’s Tapology picture, that is AMAZING. Amirkhani is going to Finnish Ogle in the first round with a submission.
Burnsy: Pretty sure I predicted that Ogle would get a pink slip if he lost last May, and he definitely lost. Yet here he is, 3 losses in a row and 1-4 in his UFC career, hanging on for dear life against what should be a gimme. But it’s probably not, so I’ll pick Mr. Finland.
Vince: I want to pick Andy Ogle because he seems nice, but… maybe… a little too nice. He’s coming off three losses while Mr. Finland has buzzsawed his way through a bunch of random Finns, making him the knee-jerk, much more attractive choice. But Ogle went three rounds with Cole Miller and took Corassani to a split decision, which is… something, right? Amirkhani is mostly a submission guy, and if Cole Miller couldn’t submit Ogle, I doubt Amirkhani can. Does he have the striking to outpoint Ogle? Maaaybe. But to me, Miller is a tougher version of everything Amirkhani brings. Ogle.
Biss: Guys have you heard about this? Everyone is moaning about CM Punk and the UFC has signed Mr. Finland. Not only that, but he is fighting a tiny British lumberjack! This is amazing. There is no way I’m not going with Mr. Finland, unless there is a coal miners strike… Makwan Amirkhani.
Welterweight – Kenny Robertson vs Sultan Aliev
Jessica: Aliev is another member of the Dagestani Knucklegame Cartel, so I’ve got to pick him to win. I’m going to say Sultan punches Kenny a bunch and takes a third round TKO.
Burnsy: Sultan leads most fighters in body hair, but his last fight was in something called MMA Star in the Ring. I’ll take Robertson’s two-fight win streak.
Vince: I’ve been excited to see Robertson fight ever since that funky (and extremely painful) looking kneebar he pulled on Sean Pierson. Just my luck he’s fighting the scariest-looking Russian dude ever here. Aliev is 13-1, with his lone loss coming to the one guy on his record I’ve heard of, freakin’ Doug Marshall, my fellow 559-er. Gonna have to take the known known, as Rumsfeld would say. Robertson.
Biss: This might quietly be the best match of the night, Striker vs Grappler. It might be un-American but I haven’t seen that sniper movie either so… Sultan Aliev.
Welterweight – Nico Musoke vs Albert “Einstein” Tumenov
Jessica: It’s really easy to make predictions when 90% of the fights are “Hitter from the Caucasus versus Not That”. Tumenov is gonna blast Musoke’s dome and finish him with a first round KO.
Burnsy: Musoke went three with my boy Kelvin Gastelum, which earns him plenty of respect in my book. But Einstein is a KO machine, and this card seems really lousy, so I will take a potential decapitation with much enthusiasm.
Vince: Christ, could you throw me a freakin’ bone here with some guys who are actually familiar? Tumenov has been getting the hype, and he does seem like he punches many mens in their face. Tumenoc.
Biss: While I dig these Eastern Europeans high K/O to decision ratios, I’m going with the home field advantage here, hard to call though… Nicholas Musoke.
Featherweight – Akira Corassani vs Sam Sicilia
Jessica: I’m still not a fan of Akira, so I really want Sam to do terrible things to his face. Sicilia puts out Akira’s lights in the second round.
Chris: These are two guys that are made to curtain jerk. Sicilia tends to wade through exchanges, confident in his chin, more than willing to eat some to give some. I don’t think this approach will bode well for his future but against questionable opponents it can deliver the TKO. Against better grapplers he has fallen to the RNC but Corassani is not that opponent.
Akira seems to be coming to terms with is place in the MMA universe. He is 32 and went 0-2 in 2014, but showed a willingness to embrace a higher level of opponent and throw hands, seeking excitement and bonus money. Against Sicilia this is a sleeper candidate for FOTN, but Sicilia’s chin isn’t gone yet. I’m picking the Italian to make the Persian an offer he can’t refuse.
Sicilia by KO.
Burnsy: Sicilia apparently believes that he’s “fighting for his job,” because he’s 3-4 in the UFC. If that were the case, plenty of other guys deserve to be fired before him. Hell, Corassani has been pounded his last two fights, and might be looking at three losses in a row if he didn’t take the DQ win against Maximo Blanco at the TUF 18 finale. If anyone’s facing a pink slip, it’s Corassani. Sicilia should win easily.
Vince: Sicilia’s RNC losses to Cole Miller and Kikuno don’t really factor into my decision here so much as his loss to Rony Bezerra, who actually does bring a similar skill set to Corassani. Who the hell knows with either of these inconsistent f*ckers. I guess I’ll take Sicilia. He seems like he has a chin and power advantage.
Biss: Sorry guys, I just cant pick a dude that lost to Cole Miller, well besides Andy Wang… Akira Corassani.
Light Heavyweight – Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis vs Ryan “Darth” Bader
Jessica: Wrassle-fight! Davis is probably a better pure wrestler and he’s got a good submission game. His striking is hot garbage, though. Bader’s got power in his hands, but he’s never really going to scrub the stench of “lost to Tito Ortiz in 2011” off his resume. Davis gets the fight to the ground and locks up something cool for a second round submission.
Chris: Phil Davis vs Ryan Bader. If this turns into a wrestling match, then we all lose, but I’ve got my doubts about that happening. Both guys are perennial “gateway to title contention” fighters. Bader launched the title bids for both Jones and Texiera, Davis did the same for Rashad Evans and Rumble Johnson. Both know that there is still a chance to get a title shot in the threadbare race for LHW gold. I’m glad they’re paired on the same card as Gus & Rumble, allowing for some winner/loser mix & matchups on Sunday morning.
But for Saturday night’s purposes I’m picking Ryan Bader. While he has his limitations he also has the mental approach necessary to be a winning fighter, if not the total skill set and fight IQ. He wants to beat people up, he’s willing to eat shots, and he will press forward with the belief that his right hand will end the night. Davis’ standup has never overwhelmed me. Ever since the Rashad fight I’ve felt like he’s a stellar athlete without a plan. He rolls his shoulders and flexes and bounces, but I’d be hard pressed to tell you what strikes he’s got in his bag of tricks that you need to worry about. He tussle with Lyoto was forgettable and unsatisfying and against Bader he’s going to run into some hard shots that I suspect will kill his will to win.
Bader by decision.
Burnsy: I’m picking Bader because I think he has momentum on his side, but I think Davis will eventually be the better fighter when he gets it all together. Either way, these guys said that this fight won’t suck, and I believe them. A lot is riding on this fight in terms of entertainment.
Vince: Bader’s fight IQ is horrific. See: rushing Machida, getting guillotined by Tito Ortiz. Bader has the edge in striking, Davis the edge in wrestling. I did not expect Davis to beat Teixera, so I have to imagine he finds a way against Bader.
Biss: Davis looks super lean going into this fight, almost too lean, and Bader looks big. I’ve second guessed this pick a lot today but I’m sticking to my guns, everything is coming up Wonderful… Phil Davis.
Middleweight – Dan “Hendo” Henderson vs Gegard “The Dreamcatcher” Mousasi
Jessica: I know I’ve thrown in entirely behind the Russian fighters, but I feel that this is the only hope-spot fight. I’ll never not pull for Hendo, so screw it, there’s going to be an H-Bomb detonation in the second round that finally puts Sleepy Time Mousasi to sleep for real.
Chris: How many smirks will be exchanged? Who will win the battle of who could care less? Both of these guys are awesome, quirky personalities who will press forward and will likely keep the fight standing, believing in their boxing above all else. However, Hendo is only getting older and he has the flexibility of a plywood karate dummy. It’s been that way since the first Shogun fight. He’s tough as leather but the foundation of his legendary chin is starting to crumble. Vitor put him down and while the TRT helped, those kicks and punches did real damage. Shogun punished him in the rematch until a single punch saved Dan’s career and the Cormier just manhandled the guy. Here’s a harsh thought: with different scoring at the first Shogun fight, and a 1st round stoppage in the Shogun rematch, Dan would be on a six fight losing streak.
Mousasi is younger by 15 years, has a 2″ reach advantage and unless you are the cream of the crop, he’s going to beat you.
Mousasi by decision.
Burnsy: Here’s a fun fact – Hendo is 44 and has 42 professional fights to his name. Mousasi is 29 and has 42 professional fights to his name. I’d love to pick Hendo for old time’s sake, but I’m a here and now guy. I’d like to see Mousasi get something going in the UFC, and Hendo’s the perfect springboard for that. (Also, I’d like to see Mousasi change his nickname, but baby steps.)
Vince: Yeesh, the old guy with the ticking father time clock or the least aggressive high-level fighter in the world? I feel like people were basing their judgment on Hendo being too old based on his fight against Cormier. Mousasi is the elitest of elite gate keepers, but also exactly the kind of fighter Hendo has always seemed to find a way to win against. Rooting for that H-bomb, baby.
Biss: Hendo is one of my top 3 favorite fighters of all time, and likely number one. I selfishly hope he fights forever even if it seems his time is closing in on him. Tonight is not that night though… Dan Henderson.
Light Heavyweight – Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson vs Anthony “Rumble” Johnson
Jessica: I hope this fight isn’t as close as some people are saying it is. I think Gustafsson’s footwork will help him a lot, especially since the guys Rumble has beaten up recently have either been decrepit mummies or dudes that don’t know what it is to punch. Gustafsson TKOs Johnson in the third and then Jon Jones will re-enter rehab for a prolonged stay to avoid fighting the Mauler a second time.
Chris: It’s difficult to be objective predicting the main event. I’m dying to know if the Jones/Gus rematch will be a harsh reckoning in which Jones corrects a mistake in judgement and preparation, or if Gustafsson returns like Patton: a man possessed and angry, hell bent on wrenching the belt he rightfully believes to be his own. That half full triangle tattoo is such a vicious statement.
Rumble Johnson has looked fantastic and has demolished his competition, but this is another level of competition. A five round fight against a Swede with a chin, footwork, cardio and a belief that his destiny is around the corner.
If Gus keeps Rumble at bay through the opening two rounds, he may find the opportunity to finish his opponent in the championship rounds. Dragging Rumble into deep waters is a nice idea but easier said than done.
That said, I’m picking Gustafsson by decision.
Burnsy: I’m never picking against Gustafsson. Like him, I’m sitting here wondering when the hell his rematch is coming, because after Cormier’s shot, we’re owed a real title fight.
Vince: I love watching Rumble fight. The way he whooped Phil Davis’s ass shows he’s not here to f*ck around. But, as everyone has pointed out, Gustafsson is another level. Can Rumble outstrike another elite striker against whom he has a reach disadvantage? It’s a distinct possibility, but since I haven’t seen it yet I have to take Gustafsson.
Biss: Wouldn’t it be perfect to watch the face of Swedish MMA slowly dismantle a horrible human? Wouldn’t it be great to watch Alex Gustafsson have his hand raised to the cheers a jubilation of his hometown crowd? Wouldn’t it just be the perfect scene to send him on his way to a rematch with the dastardly Jon Jones? Well the world ain’t perfect and it damn sure ain’t great sometimes… Anthony Johnson.
Performance of the Night
Jessica: Krylov, Amirkhani
Burnsy: Tumenov, Mousasi
Vince: Gustafsson, Henderson
Fight of the Night
Jessica: Seery vs Beal
Burnsy: Bader vs Davis (Edit: Eat poop, Vince.)
Vince: Hahahaha, Burnsy picked the wrestlers. Corassani/Sicilia, because they’re both bangers with nothing to lose.