Just a day after a solid Bellator card and MFC 40: Crowned Kings, the UFC is putting forth a fairly decent card for fans. By decent, I mean slightly above Fight Pass category. Don’t get me wrong, I think there are some very interesting bouts on the card.
However, the main event would be better served on a PPV prelim card, and while some of these fights raise eyebrows, they are far from big fights. Then again, “Fight Night” cards aren’t supposed to be stacked like the August 17th card that opened FS1. Moreso than anything, they’re supposed to be fun, and that’s why this card has definitely grown on me of late. I just want to see some entertaining MMA, and for the third time in two nights, I expect the same.
No odds will be provided this time around, but I’ll still give you a preview, background and prediction for each fight. I went a solid 8-3 for UFC 172, whixh followed a near perfect 11-1 mark for the last Fox card, my UFC prediction record for the year is 82-32-1 with a no contest. Hopefully, I do as well on this card.
FIght Pass Prelims (UFC Fight Pass, 6:30/5:30c)
Albert Tumenov (12-2) vs. Anthony Lapsley (23-6)
Opening up the card is a matchup of tow different types of finishers who lost their UFC debuts. Tumenov has nine knockouts, while Lapsley has an impressive 16 submissions. That said, Tumenov is a future star, in my book. I picked him to defeat Ildemar Alcantara in his UFC debut, which he lost. Not only is he fierce, but he’s angry as well. Lapsley is a good fighter, but TUmenov will somehow finish him. Prediction: Tumenov via tko, round 2.
Ben Wall (7-1-1) vs. Justin Salas (11-5)
Up next is a lightweight matchup for which there isn’t much to talk about, in my book. Salas is good, but Wall shouldn’t be in the UFC. He was a cast member of TUF: Smashes, and got into the UFC with some success in regionals. I don’t think he’s ready for the UFC yet, and after he loses tonight, he should be back in the regionals. Prediction: Salas via unanimous decision.
Manny Gamburyan (13-7, 1NC) vs. Nik Lnetz (24-6-2, 1 NC)
Closing out the FIght Pass portion of the card is a featherweight bout between two grapplers. Manny is good, but Lentz is better. I don’t see this fight being a great one, but it is essentially one that will decide who’s a top 10 featherweight, which Lentz basically is. Prediction: Lentz via unanimous decision.
Televised Prelims (8/7c, FS2)
#4 Eddie Wineland (21-9-1) vs Johnny Eduardo (26-9)
Why the UFC keeps disrespecting Wineland is beyond me. I get that he got smoked by Renan Barao, but who doesn’t? Granted, Eduardo has won 12 of his last 13, but the Brazilian is five days short of a full two-year absence! I think he’ll be too rusty, and I see Wineland finishing him at some point. Prediction: Wineland by knockout or submission, round 2.
Zak Cummings (16-3) vs. Yan Cabral (11-0)
Up next is a fun fight between two finishers from recent TUF seasons. Cabral was a cast member of TUF Brazil 2, while Cummings was a Team Sonnen member of the famed TUF 18. Cummings didn’t fight on the finale, because he was injured. However, in his UFC debut last August, the Gracie jiu-jitsu brown belt garnered an impressive submission win over Benny Alloway, his ninth such victory.
Cabral, however, is a different type of animal. Until his UFC debut last October, Cabral had won every one of his fights by submission. When two submission specialists fight, one of two things usually happens: a standup battle, or a ground struggle. I don’t know how this will go, but I’m picking Cabral nonetheless. Prediction: Cabral via split decision.
Kyoji Horiguchi (12-1) vs Darrell Montague (13-3)
Up next is a flyweight battle sure to please MMA fans. Montague got a rough welcome when he had to fight top contender John Dodson in his UFC debut at UFC 166, while Horiguchi was all sorts of impressive against Dustin Pague on the same card. Both are former champions, as Montague was once a Tachi Palace Fights flyweight champion, while Horiguchi held the Shooto 132 pound title. Honestly, this fight is a coin flip for me, but I’ll pick Horiguchi in a fun battle. Prediction: Horiguchi via unanimous decision.
Ed Herman (21-10, 1NC) vs Raphael Natal (17-5-1)
Headlining the prelims is a bout between a pair of Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelts, when “Sapo” meets “Short Fuse”. Herman needs the win, because a loss would make him 1-3 with a no contest in his last five fights. Still, I don’t see Natal losing. Prediction: Natal via unanimous decision.
Main Card (10/9c, FS1)
#10 Chris Cariaso (16-5) vs. Louis Smolka (7-0)
Opening up the main card is, well, the wrong flyweight fight. Horiguchi/Montague is much more appealing, in my opinion. Anyways, Chris Cariaso is a gatekeeper. He beats low level fighters, but can’t compete with any contenders. In other words, he’s te perfect litmus test for Louis Smolka.
If Smolka fights the way he did in his first six fights (all finishes) or in his UFC debut against Alptekin Ozkilic, he should win this fight and become a contender. I think it’ll be a fun fight, which is what the UFC wants as well. I don’t know if he’s good enough to be a contender just yet, but if he finishes Cariaso, he’ll be considered one. I say, why not? Prediction: Smolka via submission (gulp!) round 2.
Soa Palelei (20-3) vs. Ruan Potts (8-1)
Up next is a heavyweight fight that may get ugly. I like Palelei, and have for several years, but if he doesn’t get a quick KO, it gets ugly. Potts is a former EFC champion, so he’s no slouch. Basically, this fight is designed to turn someone into a heavyweight contender. I’ll go with the guy who’s got three UFC fights under his belt, over the one who is making his promotional debut. Prediction: Palelei via tko, round 2.
Tim Means (20-5-1) vs. Neil Magny (10-3)
While Means may have been given his UFC return on short notice, I believe he should’ve never been cut in the first place! He didn’t get dominated by either Jorge Masvidal or Danny Castillo, and he’s finished his two opponents since.
As far as Magny goes, while I admit his last outing was impressive, Gasan Umalatov isn’t Tim Means. If Magny wants to win, he’ll have to much things up, and while the TUF veteran can do that here, I think the “Dirty Bird” will turn his lights out first. Prediction: Means via tko, round 2.
Eric Koch (14-3) vs. Daron Cruickshank (14-4)
It really says something about the value of a card when Koch vs. Cruickshank is perhaps the most worthy fight on it to that point. That said, this fight should be a burner. Both guys are entertaining strikers, but the fact that Koch was a featherweight makes it harder for me to pick him. He has won his lone lightweight fight, but I’m picking Cruickshank here. Prediction: Cruickshank via unanimous decision.
Costas Philippou (12-4, 1NC) vs Lorenz Larkin (14-2, 1NC)
Larkin, Philippou, Dolloway, Carmont. These are four names who have been relegated to Fight Night co-mains for some time to come, it seems. Alas, this fight should be an entertaining one. Both guys are in need of a win, seeing how Costas has lost two straight since being labeled a faux contender, and Larkin has lost two of three, even if one of those was a robbery.
For some reason, seemingly everybody is picking Larkin here. The masses did the same when he fought Brad Tavares. I picked against Larkin then, and since I believe Philippou isn’t a complete bum with no heart, I’ll go with him here. Prediction: Philippou via UD.
Matt Brown (19-11) vs. Erick Silva (16-4, 1NC)
This fight, if anything, should be exciting quickly. Brown gets fast knockouts, and Silva gets quick finishes period. Silva is known as the quickest fighter in the UFC, as far as fight duration goes-4:24 is his average UFC fight length. Both guys can brawl, and while Silva is a favorite due to his ground game (BJJ and judo black belt), he can’t seem to string together wins since entering the UFC.
Granted, he should’ve gotten a no contest instead of loss for the Carlo Prater fight, but still, the kid is inconsistent. He beat a can last time, and that is not how I would describe Matt Brown. Brown is a killer in the UFC cage, and while I like Silva to the point that I may be rooting for him, I think he gets knocked out again. Prediction: Brown via tko, round 3.