The past two weeks I am a combined 13-4 in fight predictions (8-1 and 5-3) and 11-6 in predicting how the fight will be won (7-2 and 4-4). This week the UFC is in Nashville, Tennessee for UFC Fight Night where Cub Swanson will take on Artem Lobov in the main event and Al Iaquinta will fight Diego Sanchez in the co-main event.
Women’s Strawweights – Jessica Penne (12-4) vs. Danielle Taylor (8-2)
Penne is coming off two bad losses where she lost by TKO in both. However her fights are very entertaining and in her three UFC fights she has received two fight of the night honors. Taylor is five inches shorter than Penne and because of that Penne will hold a seven inch reach advantage. Penne is a very seasoned fighter but sometimes finds herself taking too many punches. Taylor will work in-and-out to land jabs and prevent the takedown of Penne. Penne will want to take this fight to the ground but the five inch height differential will make it more difficult for Penne.
Prediction: Taylor (+110) via unanimous decision
Lightweights – Scott Holtzman (9-2) vs. Michael McBride (8-2)
Holtzman is a former hockey player so you know he is not stranger to contact. But with two losses in his last three fights he has something to prove. Holtzman’s strengths are in the clinch and with dirty boxing, from a hockey player, go figure. McBride has only ever won by submission and will want to take this fight to the ground and not let Holtzman get comfortable. McBride will be able to take Holtzman down but the deciding factor is going to be whether or not McBride can keep him down. McBride has great scrambling and his ability to get his back off the mat will be the deciding factor in this match.
Prediction: Holtzman (-350) via unanimous decision
Flyweights – Dustin Ortiz (16-6) vs. Brandon Moreno (13-3)
Ortiz’ record of 2-3 in his last five fights is very deceiving. He has losses against Jussier Formiga, Wilson Reis, and Joseph Benevidez. All three of those fighters are ranked in the top-5 of the weightclass and he took them all to a decision. Moreno comes in winning his last ten fights, six by submission. The winner of this fight will move up in the rankings and be involved in title discussions, so a lot is on the line. Moreno lacks stamina, if he can get this fight to the ground within the first two rounds he should be able to pull off a submission victory. But if the fight makes it to the third round, Ortiz might be able to pull off another split decision that he is so infamous for, six in this last 13 fights.
Prediction: Moreno (+165) via submission
Middleweights – Thales Leites (26-7) vs. Sam Alvey (30-8)
After winning eight in a row, Leites has a 1-3 record since. Those losses were to some good fighters and he took current champion Michael Bisping to a split decision. But Leites will look to reestablish himself in the middleweight division with this fight against Alvey. Alvey has won four straight and looks to continue his climb up the rankings. This will be his sixth fight in less than a year. Alvey has been a machine and is determined to crack the top-10. These fighters will be standing for most of the fight if not for the entire fifteen minutes. Alvey relies on counter-punching but tends to stand still and straight up in exchanges, which is perfect for the heavy hands of Leites. Alvey has to be able to move and counter, but you can’t counter when you are getting hit.
Prediction: Leites (-125) via TKO
Welterweights – Jake Ellenberger (31-12) vs. Mike Perry (9-1)
Ellenberger has lost six of his last eight fights and might find himself fighting for a new promotion soon. Ellenberger still has great knockout power, but as Perry showed in his last fight, his chin can take knockout power. Perry lost in a unanimous decision and was dominated by Alan Jouban. But he still pushed the pace when he was able to and ate everything Jouban hit him with. This fight is bound to end with a TKO as these fighters will stand the entire time, but as I stated before, the TKO isn’t going to come from Perry’s chin.
Prediction: Perry (-185) via TKO
Lightweights – Joe Lauzon (27-12) vs. Stevie Ray (20-6)
Lauzon loves to finish the fight, and finish it quick. He has 17 career first round wins, but if he can’t finish the fight that usually means he loses. He has only won by decision twice in his career. Ray has many finishes to his name as well, but he has also shown discipline. He was able to win his last fight by decision and fought intelligently. Doing exactly what he needed to do to win, he didn’t chase the crowds approval. Lauzon has shown vulnerability against lefties and he will continue to be vulnerable against Ray. If Ray can stay on his feet and not allow Lauzon to get him on the ground he should be able to win standing with him. But if Lauzon can get the fight to the ground, especially early, his ground game is still some of the best in the business and that could be very bad for Ray.
Prediction: Ray (-205) via TKO (+260)
Bantamweights – John Dodson (18-8) vs. Eddie Wineland (23-11-1)
Dodson is one of my favorite fighters in the UFC. From his time on The Ultimate Fighter to his title losses to Demetrious Johnson, I am always rooting for this guy. He is someone who has fun doing what he loves. Since he lost twice to Johnson and no one has been able to beat Johnson since 2011, Dodson decided to move up a weightclass, and who could blame him. Before his loss to John Lineker in October, Johnson was the only person that could beat Dodson. Dodson looks to get back on track against Wineland. Wineland has looked impressive in his two straight TKO wins after getting manhandled by Mr. Miesha Tate, Bryan Carraway. Both of these fighters have knockout power, but Wineland is the better striker. Wineland has the second-highest number of knockdowns in UFC bantamweight history behind Cody Garbrandt. Dodson is a fighter who runs when he can’t get the knockout. When I say run I mean he uses his speed to go in-and-out and uses his kicks to score points without taking damage. But when facing an opponent who has a four inch reach advantage that is a little harder to do.
Prediction: Wineland (+325) by decision (+400)
Light Heavyweights – Ovince Saint Preux (19-10) vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima (14-3-1)
Saint Preux has been rolling downhill after his title fight loss to Jon Jones. He has since lost to Jimi Manuwa and Volkan Oezdemir and has not looked good in either fight. De Lima hasn’t really fought anyone and this will be his first big name fight, so how he will rise to the occasion is unknown. De Lima is a powerhouse kickboxer, something that Saint Preux did not handle very well against Manuwa. Neither of these guys will attempt to take the fight to the ground. A weird fact, Saint Preux has lost every fight he has earned a takedown since 2014. Nine of De Lima’s last ten fights have ended in the first round. That doesn’t bode well for an aging and slowing Saint Preux.
Prediction: De Lima (+150) via TKO (+200)
Lightweights – Al Iaquinta (12-3-1) vs. Diego Sanchez (27-9)
Iaquinta is one of the success stories from The Ultimate Fighter. He has a 7-2 record in the UFC and is rising in the lightweight rankings. He has four straight wins and three against some pretty known names in the UFC in Jorge Misvidal, Ross Pearson, and Lauzon. Sanchez has been in the UFC since 2005 and was the winner of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter. He has fought in four different weightclasses and really hasn’t found a “home” in either one. He has since returned to lightweight, which is the only weightclass he earned a title shot in. Iaquinta is a real problem for Sanchez. He is a good boxer and very hard to takedown. Sanchez will want to get the fight to the ground but Iaquinta hasn’t been taken down since 2014. If you do get Iaquinta on the ground this is by far his weakness. Iaquinta’s only losses in the UFC were to submission grapplers, but the last time Sanchez submitted an opponent was in 2008.
Prediction: Iaquinta (-400) by decision (+120)
Featherweights – Cub Swanson (24-7) vs. Artem Lobov (13-12-1)
Not sure why this is a main event. I know it a Fight Night event, but what impact will there be in the rankings after this fight? Swanson has nothing to gain from this fight. I think Dodson and Wineland is more of a headline than this fight. The good thing about this fight is that it will be an entertaining one, even if we don’t really care who wins. Conor McGregor must have threatened Dana White again to get his training partner Lobov a main event fight. Swanson is coming in on a three fight win streak and currently in the top-5 in the weightclass. He is waiting for his shot at the title against the winner of Jose Aldo and Max Holloway. Swanson should be able to win this fight pretty easy. It is however the UFC and one punch can change everything. but only Jose Aldo has been able to knockout Swanson. Swanson makes his opponent miss on 63% of their attempts. He can frustrate the opponent into bad decisions. Lobov’s record isn’t really a good reflection of his fighting career. Most of those fights are from Europe where he would fight six times a year on short notice. But being only 2-2 in the UFC and against a bunch of no-names, this fight is just too much too soon for Lobov.
Prediction: Swanson (-750) via decision (+220)