The prelims for the UFC’s Valentine’s Day card are still going on, but I’m in a rush. So, here are my quick picks for the main card.
Main Card (10/9c, FS1)
Ray Borg (7-1) vs. Chris Kelades (8-1)
The main card’s opener is a Flyweight fight between two potential contenders. Kelades upset Patrick Holohan in October, and has finished five foes. Meanwhile, Borg is a rear-naked choke specialist who has won five times in that manner. He won his most recent fight against Shane Howell in that manner, and nearly upset Dustin Ortiz in his UFC debut last April. The fight is almost a coin flip, but I’ll go with him. Oh, and I expect him to win with his signature finish. Prediction: Borg via rear-naked choke, round 2.
Michel Prazeres (18-1) vs. Kevin Lee (9-1)
Everyone seems to be picking Lee to win this fight. While I do like him as a rising prospect, and I’ve picked him to win all of his UFC fights to date, I do not believe he’s as good as Prazeres. I see the Brazilian pulling it off, and if he does, it shouldn’t surprise anybody. Prediction: Prazeres via unanimous decision.
Dan Kelly (8-0) vs. Patrick Walsh
Dan Kelly is an unbeaten prospect who actually deserves to be in the UFC. Walsh is a TUF: Nations veteran, and missed weight by nearly six pounds. Enough said. Prediction: Kelly via submission, round 2.
Neil Magny (13-3) vs. Kiicki Kunimoto (18-5-2, 1NC)
Kiicho Kunimoto might be unbeaten in the UFC, but has yet to beat anyone of note. Granted, Magny’s hit list is far from loaded. However, he did tie Roger Huerta’s record with five wins over a single calendar year. I’m not a big fan of his, but he should win here. Prediction: Magny via unanimous decision.
Max Holloway (11-3) vs. Cole Miller (21-8)
The co-main event of the evening has been shifted around quite a bit. Still, this matchup is pretty solid, for a fight night co-main. Holloway is an exciting standup fighter, while Miller owns 15 submission wins. If this goes to the ground, he’ll win. However, I believe Holloway will manage to keep it standing, pulling off a finish late in the fight. Prediction: Holloway via tko, late round 2.
Benson Henderson (21-5) vs. Brandon Thatch (11-1)
Boy, oh boy. What a conundrum this fight resents! Henderson is a big Lightweight, who owned the division as a champion from early 2012 until mid 2013, and did the same a few years earlier with WEC. Now, he’s on a two-fight losing streak, and has lost three out of five. And, he’s fighting on short notice against a huge Welterweight in Brandon Thatch.
Thatch has been out of competition since 2013, due to a broken toe. However, he is a straight up killer. Back when he fought in RFA, he was viewed as one of the best and brightest prospects outside of the UFC. His lone loss came via decision in 2008, and aside from that fight, he has never escaped the first round.
As a result, this fight is expected to end via brutal tko for Thatch, or a grinding decision, perhaps even a late stoppage for Henderson. As much as I root for Thatch, and as happy as I would be to see him win such a big fight, my gut says otherwise. Somehow, someway, Bendo will make this a grinding fight. If he cannot, he’ll get his liver blasted. However, I see him winning a grinding decision. Prediction: Henderson via UD.