Two UFC events in two weeks? It feels like it’s been a while since that’s happened, and after tonight, the next non-Fight Pass card will take place in November. After that, it will be an extremely busy two-month stretch for the UFC, with nine cards in the final seven weeks of the year, plus the New Year’s card.
But first, let’s go over tonight’s UFC 192 card. The loss of Hendricks/Woodley hurts the card, but it’s still a damn good one. The new co-main may be a boring one, but every other fight almost certainly promises to be a fun one. Here are my picks for tonight’s prelim portions of the card.
Fight Pass Prelims (6:30/5:30c, UFC Fight Pass)
Derrick Lewis (12-4, 1NC) vs. Victor Pesta (10-1)
A pair of Heavyweights will open up the card, as clashing styles will meet up inside the octagon. Pesta is a well-rounded fighter who is just as comfortable going the distance as he is finishing it in the opening moments. Meanwhile, Lewis, the former Legacy FC champion, is a true knockout artist. The “Black Beast” has ended 11 of his 12 fights in that manner, and has also been finished by a pair of knockouts in his career.
Both men need a win, although a loss will not get either fighter out of the promotion. Pesta is 1-1 inside the octagon, while Lewis has gone 3-2 for the promotion. He might be a bit more desperate though, as a loss would mean three of the last four have not gone his way. If Pesta can take this the distance, he’s got a good shot. However, I’m going with the local man to get the job done. Prediction: Lewis via tko, round 1.
Chris Cariaso (17-7) vs. Sergio Pettis (12-2)
Up next is a Flyweight tilt between two combatants who are in a similar situation to that of the Heavyweights competing before them. Pettis is 3-2 inside the octagon, but a second-straight loss would be incredibly deflating for him. Meanwhile, Cariaso may be fighting for his job here. A title challenger to Demetrious Johnson just a year ago (albeit an unworthy one,) the nearly five-year UFC veteran may lose his job if he loses his third straight fight tonight.
Pettis is the more skilled fighter, possessing black belts in Taekwondo and Roufusport Kickboxing, a special brand of the discipline designed by his head coach, Duke Roufus. He is also more athletic and has much more upside. Meanwhile, Cariaso is the more experienced fighter. He is also much more worn out. As a result, seeing how both men tend to go the distance more often than not, and the fact that Pettis will not be fighting on the same card as his older brother, I’ll have to go with the younger Pettis here. Prediction: Pettis via unanimous decision.
Sage Northcutt (5-0) vs. Francisco Trevino (12-1)
A pair of former Legacy FC fighters will cap off the Fight Pass portion of the card, as Francisco Trevino battles the surging Sage Northcutt. Trevino is 1-1 inside the octagon, and is looking to avoid losing his second straight fight after kicking off his career with a 12-0 mark. If he were to lose tonight, the fact that he missed weight yesterday may spell his release soon thereafter.
Meanwhile, Northcutt has been the talk of the card of late, as his story is reaching mainstream status. The 19-year-old Karateka is a bright prospect who looks so much like a clothing model, Dana White chuckled when he first saw him. The UFC president then watched him fight at Legacy FC 44 in August, and offered him a contract that very night. He has finished each of his five bouts, four of them via knockout. I see him finishing this one in that very manner. Prediction: Northcutt via tko, round 2.
Televised Prelims (8/7c, FS1)
Rose Namajunas (2-2) vs. Angela Hill (2-1)
Thug Rose is back! After surging through TUF 20, Namajunas was thoroughly and predictably outclassed by former Invicta Strawweight champion Carla Esparza at the finale last December. After her last scheduled fight in May was cancelled, Namajunas was given this fight by the UFC.
Honestly, this is a much more even fight than fans want to believe it is. Both women are young in this sport, and have lost their last bouts. Both are green, and have entertaining styles. Just because Namajunas basically fought for the title in her UFC debut does not mean that she’s above this bout. The fact that Hill is an unbeaten Kickboxer makes it even harder to pick Namajunas. But, while Rose is also young in this sport, do believe she has a wider skillset than Hill does. I see her winning this one via wild finish. Prediction: Namajunas via crazy submission, round 2.
Martins via dominant decision.
Tumenov in an upset.
Hooker via tko.