The main card for tonight’s “Fight NIght” card is pretty damn good. ON paper, it registers at a seven out of ten, at the very least. The headliner will determine which Light Heavyweight is a fight or two away from a title shot, the co-main is an outstanding clash of styles within the Lightweight division, and a pivotal Women’s Bantamweight bout adds to it.
“Smilin” Sam Alvey and Derek Brunson will battle to see which Middleweight is more legit, and Ray Borg will welcome Geane Herrera to the UFC’s Flyweight division, despite weighing in nearly a pound over the limit. Oh, and a pair of Heavyweight grinders are there too.
This main card should be a lot of fun. Hopefully, it lives up to expectations. That way, I don’t fall asleep before it ends at midnight, or even later than that! Alas, here are my picks for the six-fight slate. set to air on FS1.
Main card (10/9c, FS1)
Ray Borg (8-1) vs. Geane Herrera (8-0)
The opening fight of the main card may not have many expectations from many fans, but it should be a blast nonetheless. The reason behind the lack of chatter is that not many people know about either fighter. Borg is the more well-known name, having fought three times already. Since dropping his debut via controversial decision to Dustin Ortiz in April 2014, Borg has rebounded by submitting Shane Howell and Chris Kelades.
While Borg’s finishes were impressive, and he has won six times in that fashion, Herrera is better than both of those men. He’s an unbeaten prospect with six finishes, five via submission, all in the first round. Without a doubt, he has a chance to win this fight. Unfortunately, Borg is the better wrestler, and I believe he’ll utilize that, en route to securing a decision victory. Prediction: Borg via unanimous decision.
(7) Amanda Nunes (10-4) vs. (4) Sara McMann (8-2)
A pivotal Women’s Bantamweight matchup takes center stage next, as American Silver Medalist Sara McMann will try to utilize her wrestling to take on brawler Amanda Nunes, with the winner potentially finding themselves a fight or two away from a title eliminator. She is well liked, and is the best wrester in the division.
That said, she’s probably not going to get another shot any time soon. He’s lost two straight fights, and has not been very exciting since entering the UFC. She was the first woman to fall via tko to Ronda Rousey last February, barely edged out faux Invicta champion Lauren Murphy last July, and did not look very good in a decision loss to Miesha Tate this past January. She’s lost two of her last three, and a loss tonight, despite the shallowness of her division, will put her on the edge of possibly being cut.
That said, it would be harder for the UFC to sell a potential title fight involving Nunes, than it would be for McMann. Nunes may be more entertaining to watch, more well rounded, and much more of a finisher, but she just got mauled by Cat Zingano last September. Granted, she dominated the opening round, but was thoroughly starched throughout the remainder of the fight. She’s only 4-3 since beginning her professional career 6-1, with losses to Alexis Davis, Sarah D’Alelio, and then Zingano. Her other loss was her MMA debut to a lady named Ana Maria, back in March 2008.
Nunes is clearly the more well-rounded fighter. She possesses a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, yet has won nine of her ten career bouts via knockout. She has the edge tonight, and while I’d love to see McMann bounce back tonight, for the sake of normalcy, I have to roll with the Brazilian here. I can’t wish for McMann to ever be finished, so I’ll go with a decision. Prediction: Nunes via unanimous decision.
Jared Rosholt vs. Timothy Johnson (9-1)
Up next is the one low point of this main card. That’s because Jared Rosholt is in it. Now, he is a Texan, so that’s cool. However, nobody can deny that his fighting style is, well, lackluster. He’s like a Heavyweight Ben Askren, without the annoying attitude. He’s won half of his fights va decision, and the majority of the finishes were relatively boring before the finish.
Meanwhile, Johnson has never gone the distance. Seven of his finishes have come in the opening round, including a few in the final seconds of it, such as his UFC debut against highly-regarded prospect Shamil Abdurahimov in April. He can win tonight, and I’ll be rooting for him. However, Rosholt will probably grind him down, and either get a late tko, or boring decision. I hope I’m wrong, but I highly doubt it. Prediction: Rosholt via unanimous decision.
Derek Brunson (13-3) vs. Sam Alvey (26-6)
“Smilin” Sam Alvey is back! The man who provided the few shining moments in TUF 16 has come to the UFC with a vengeance, knocking out each of his last three UFC opponents inside of the opening round. The former MFC champ has knocked out 17 opponents, and has never had a losing streak. A win toinght could finally earn him a UFC ranking.
As for Brunson, the guy’s pretty good. The former Strikeforce member has won four of his five fights inside the octagon, with the lone loss coming in the final two minutes against rising contender Yoel Romero in late 2013’s Fight for the Troops card. Like Alvey, a win tonight will likely earn him a ranking within the Middleweight division.
Honestly, Brunson can win this fight. He’s the more athletic guy, and unlike Alvey, he looks good throughout his fights. However, Alvey has a history of pulling out stunning knockouts, and Brunson has fallen victim to one inside the octagon before, after winning the fight to that point. Don’t be surprised to see a similar tale again. Prediction: Alvey via tko, round 3.
(5) Michael Johnson (16-8) vs. (12) Beneil Dariush (11-1)
The co-main event of the evening should be an entertaining clash of styles, as star grappler Dariush takes on the striker Michael Johnson. Simply put, Johnson has been one of the best comeback stories in recent memory. Having lost two straight in 2013, going into the first main card fight in FS1’s history in August 2013, Johnson was expected to lose to grappling wizard Joe Lauzon, and subsequently get cut from the promotion. He did anything but that, stunning Lauzon with a striking clinic, prevailing via unanimous decision.
Two years later, Johnson finds himself at the number five position in one of the sport’s deepest, if not the deepest division. He has won four straight, including decisions over Edson Barboza and Melvin Guillard, as well as a stunning knockout of the grinding Gleison Tibau. A win tonight could land him in a top contender bout, with a title shot hanging in the balance.
Meanwhile, Dariush is like an Iranian Joe Lauzon; a grappling wizard with solid striking skills. He has black belts in both Muai Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, is 5-1 inside the octagon in less than two years with the promotion, and is continuing to surge.
Honestly, both fighters can finish this fight. Dariush is a grappler with great submission skills, and Johnson has been submitted six times already! However, he has not succumbed to a submission in two years. Meanwhile, Dariush’s lone loss came last April to Ramsey Nijem, via tko. So, anything can happen. That said, Johnson gets submitted every two years. Since falling prey to two of them in 2008 and 2009, he’s suffered one in that manner every two years. Guess what that means? He’s clearly due. Prediction: Dariush via submission, round 2.
(4) Glover Teixeira (22-4) vs. (6) Ovince St. Preux (18-6)
The main event of hte evening is an exillarating Light Heavyweight fight between two finishers. St. Preux is 14-1 in fights that end early, but just 4-5 in bouts that go the distance. He can punch opponents out within the opening round, as he did against the likes of Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Patrick Cummins. Or, he can submit opponents via Von Flue choke, as evidenced by his bout against Nikita Krylov last March. He’s 15-2 in his last 17 bouts, 6-1 inside the octagon, and is worthy of his spot.
Meanwhile Teixeira desperately needs the win tonight. He had won twenty straight fights from May 2006 to September 2013, but has lost his last two via unanimous decision. loss tonight would end any chance he has of eventually getting another title shot.
That said, each of those losses came against wrestlers. The first was against then (and for some people, still) the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones last April, and the second was a smothering loss to recent contender Phil Davis in October. OSP is not a wrestler. He is a striker. The ground game favors Teixeira, who not only possesses a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt, but also has won six fights via submission. He is more of a knockout artist, prevailing 13 times in that fashion. Sixteen of his career finishes have come in the opening round.
Regardless of how this fight goes, I see Teixeira winning. I know St. Preux is the favorite, but I don’t see it. I believe Teixeira is better, not only on the feet, but on the ground as well. Whether it goes the distance or ends early, I’m picking the Brazilian. Either way, it should be an absolute war. Prediction: Teixeira via unanimous decision or late finish.