UFC 211 was a rough round for my bets. After last week I am an overall 23-11 in fight predictions and 18-16 in predicting how the fight will be won. Time to rebound with a good card. UFC Fight Night is in Stockholm, Sweden where two former light heavyweight challengers look to make another run at the title. Alexander Gustafsson and Glover Teixeira were originally supposed to fight back in June of 2015, but Gustafsson pulled out with an injury. In the original fight Teixeira was the favorite but now Gustafsson is the favorite at -315 according to MyBookie.ag.
The preliminary card is not that great and full of a bunch of no-names to the casual fan. So instead of my typical breakdown of each individual fight for the prelims I will just give you my predicted outcome for each.
Welterweights: Nicholas Musoke (13-4) vs. Bojan Velickovic (14-4-1)
Prediction: Musoke (-145) by decision
Lightweight: Reza Madadi (14-5) vs. Joaquim Silva (9-0)
Prediction: Silva (-185) by TKO
Middleweights: Trevor Smith (14-7) vs. Chris Camozzi (24-12)
Prediction: Smith (+170) by decision
Bantamweights: Pedro Munhoz (13-2) vs. Damian Stasiak (10-3)
Prediction: Munhoz (-735) by submission
Middleweights: Jack Hermansson (14-2) vs. Alex Nicholson (7-3)
Nicholson has fought at heavyweight three times and knocked out each opponent. So we know he can take hard hits as well as deliver them. Nicholson will look to control the fight with his kicks. Hermansson is a boxer and that will be where Nicholson’s opportunity lies. Hermansson will want to try and take the fight to the ground and should have some good opportunities to do so with Nicholson only defending 55% of his takedowns in the UFC. As long as Hermansson can avoid the knockout blow that Nicholson will look for throughout the fight, he should be able to control where the fight goes.
Prediction: Hermansson (-160) by decision
Welterweights: Nordine Taleb (12-4) vs. Oliver Enkamp (7-0)
Enkamp is taking this fight on short notice after Emil Weber Meek withdrew due to injury a couple of weeks ago. Enkamp kicks a lot and is pretty accurate, but Taleb is just going to be too much for him. Taleb is going to be a legit contender in the welterweight division, but he will never be a fan favorite as he is not a legit knockout threat. Taleb will control the fight with his kicks and dominate this fight for three rounds. But give credit to Enkamp for stepping in on short notice.
Prediction: Taleb (-520) by decision
Welterweights: Abdul Razak Alhassan (7-0) vs. Omari Akhmedov (16-4)
Alhassan made his UFC debut in November and KO’d Charlie Ward in 53 seconds. In his seven professional fights, Alhassan has won by knockout in the first round in every single one of them. That doesn’t bode well for veteran Akhmedov, who has been knocked out in his last two losses. That doesn’t mean we count Akhmedov out of this fight as he is the experienced fighter and has seven knockout wins himself. Alhassan has never faced an experienced and well rounded fighter like Akhmedov, but his aggressiveness will get Akhmedov to get into a brawl, which is not the proper route to success for Alhmedov.
Prediction: Alhassan (-255) by TKO
Welterweights: Peter Sobotta (16-5-1) vs. Ben Saunders (21-7-2)
Sobatta was cut from the UFC in 2010 after three consecutive losses. He then went on to win five straight in Europe and came back to the UFC in 2014 where he is now 3-1. Sobotta is a submission specialist but has really improved his striking recently. Saunders is another guy who left the UFC back in 2010 and also returned in 2014. Since his return he has gone 5-1 and is making his last title run at 34. Saunders attacks the body and legs with his left kick. Sobotta will look to take the fight to ground where it will be very interesting to see these two compete. This one is a toss-up but I’m going with experience.
Prediction: Saunders (-110) by decision
Light Heavyweights: Volkan Oezdemir (13-1) vs. Misha Cirkunov (13-2)
Two top ranked light heavyweight contenders, the winner will put themselves into a title eliminator fight. Oezdemir is a below average technical fighter. He is a big guy with big hands, nine of his 13 wins are by knockout. He won his debut by split decision to very flat footed Ovince Saint Peux. So not much to take away from that fight. Cirkunov has finished all four of his UFC fights, three by submission. He loves the clinch and is really good at picking his punches from a distance. Cirkunov belongs in the top five and among all the title challenger talk, and he will be right where he belongs after this win.
Prediction: Cirkunov (-460) by submission
Light Heavyweights: Alexander Gustafsson (17-4) vs. Glover Teixeira (26-5)
Gustafsson is the closest anyone has came to defeating Jon Jones, but since then he has struggled to regain that contender glory. Teixeira isn’t fighting for a title shot anymore, with twelve fights in the UFC and a record of 9-3 he is one of the most respected and recognizable names in the division and will continue to be in the UFC until he hangs his gloves up. This is a great opportunity for Gustafsson to get back on track and get himself a third title fight. Of course that’s what the fight against Jan Blachowicz was supposed to be and it turned into a much closer fight than anyone expected. Gustafsson is at his best when he lets his opponent come to him. Gustafsson uses a lot of movement and sometimes gasses himself out. But Teixeira’s better wins come when his opponent gets reckless on scrambles and he ends up catching them in a guillotine or rear-naked choke. Gustafsson won’t get reckless and is a very patient fighter.
Prediction: Gustafsson (-315) by TKO