I’m a bit tired at the moment, so I’ll expand the article when I wake up. For now, here’s some quick picks!
Main Card (1/12p.m. CT, FS1)
Dustin Poirier vs. Carlos Diego Ferreira
The first fight on the main card features former Featherweight contender Dustin Poirier moving up to Lightweight to take on the enticing Carlos Diego Ferreira. While I don’t know whether the weight difference will help or hinder Poirier’s chances here, I’m still going to pick “The Diamond” to pull through. Prediction: Poirier via decision/late tko.
Clay Guida vs. Robbie Peralta
Clay Guida, this early on a Fight Night card? That’s quite a step down from where he used to be. Then again, his prime was back in 2007, with a short resurgence around 2011. However, he’s been a shell of himself since losing a tough battle on the headlining prelim bout of the first ever UFC on FOX card back back in 2011, and is 2-4 in his last six. Basically, he’s lucky to still be in the UFC.
Peralta is a very good striker, with belts to boot. He can catch Guida and win in that fashion, but his takedown defense is subpar. As a result, I’m expecting a grinding victory for “The Carpenter.” Prediction: Guida via grinding decision.
Juliana Pena vs. Milana Dudieva
Up next is the second and final female fight on the card. TUF 18 co-champion Juliana Pena returns to the octagon after a hellacious training injury, and takes on a game opponent in Dudieva, who defeated Elizabeth Phillips her UFC debut. On paper, this is a clear-cut win for Pena. However, her injury was scary, and Dudieva does have a chance. Still, I expect “The Venezuelan Vixen” to pull out the victory. Prediction: Pena via tko, late round 2.
Michael Chiesa vs. Mitch Clarke
Ah, yes. Two terrific choke specialists, who’ve each bested Al Iaquinta at one point in the UFC. Chiesa did it to win TUF 15 in mid-2012, while Clarke did it in his last fight. This will be a tough, hard-fought battle, but I’ll go with Chiesa. Not sure if it’ll be via choke or not, so I’ll just go way against the grain here. Prediction: Chiesa via unanimous decision.
(14) Jorge Masvidal (28-8) vs. (15) Al Iaquinta
In the main event of the evening, we have a solid, compelling matchup. Both fighters have terrific wrestling, solid striking, and the ability to zone out during fights. The latter is why I believe Iaquinta has a shot here. Still, I believe Masvidal will pull through, if by no other means than his takedowns. Prediction: Masvidal via decision.
(1) Chad Mendes vs. (4) Ricardo Lamas
What a sensational main event! Two exciting fighters with excellent wrestling, finishing ability, and the last two contests against Featherweight champion Jose Aldo. That said, I believe Mendes has better striking, slightly better wrestling, and much more power. As a result, I see him winning this Fight of the Year candidate with a late finish. Prediction: Mendes via tko, round 4.