Mike Pyle (26-11-1) vs Sean Spencer (12-4)
This fight will be fun. Spencer is a solid fighter, but Pike Pyle is a 40-year-old who’s one of my favorite fighters. It’ll be a close fight, and I see the veteran prevailing.
Prediction: Pyle via decision or late submission
Alex Nicholson (6-1) vs. Misha Cirkunov (10-2)
The second fight on the main card pits two relative unknowns. In fact, the only thing casual fans know about either one is that Nicholson proposed to his girlfriend during yesterday’s weigh ins.
That said, this fight should be a blast. White has only gone to the second round twice, and has only gone the distance once.
Meanwhile, Cirkunov has won eight of his ten fights via finish, and his last decision came over four years ago.
Nicholson is a good prospect, but Cirkunov is a potential contender. He’s heavily favored, and I see him finishing this fight.
Prediction: Cirkunov via tko, round 2.
(2) Joseph Benavidez (23-4) vs. (10) Zach Makovsky (19-6)
This is a solid fight. Benavidez is clearly the second best Flyweight in the world, after longtime champion Demetrius Johnson. He’s 10-0 against every other UFC opponent, and 23-0 against everyone besides Johnson and Bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz.
Makovsky was the first ever Bellator Bantamweight champion, but after a pair of controversial losses, he was let go in late 2012. Since then, he’s 5-2, including a 3-2 mark inside the octagon. All those fights were decisions, and this one will be too.
Prediction: Benavidez via decision or late submission.
Ovince Saint Preux (18-7) vs. Rafael Cavalcante (12-6)
Of all the main card fights, this is the one that’s guaranteed to end via finish.
Cavalcante has fought 19 times, and has only gone the distance once. Sixteen of those fights, including 11 of his 12 career wins, have come via knockout.
Meanwhile, Saint Preux is 6-2 inside the octagon, and has 14 finishes to his credit.
Simply put, this one will not go the distance. That said, Cavalcante is 1-3 inside the octagon, and has only won twice in his last seven bouts. I see him getting in trouble early, and if he can’t get the early knockout, he’ll get finished tonight.
Prediction: Saint Preux via tko, round 2.
(13) Roy Nelson (20-12) vs. (15)Jared Rosholt (14-2)
The co-main event will either end in sizzling fashion, or will be a bore. Roy Nelson is a fan favorite Heavyweight, with a deadly right hand. However, he’s lost five of his last six fights, and 10 of his 12 losses have come via decision.
Speaking of decisions, that’s why people hate Rosholt. He’s 6-1 inside the octagon, but the UFC barely has him ranked, since he simply blankets opponents and is like a Heavyweight Jon Fitch. He has seven finishes, bit hasn’t been exciting in years.
That said, Nelson is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt, and even if he’s on the decline, I’ll pick him. Hopefully he wins via knockout. Otherwise this could be a dreadful fight.
Prediction: Nelson via ko, round 1
Johny Hendricks (17-3) vs. Stephen Thompson (11-1)
In the main event, Kickboxer Stephen Thompson will take on former champion Johny Hendricks. Hendricks should still have the belt, but he lost a controversial decision to Robb Lawler in December 2014, and lost a title shot after his weigh-in fiasco last October.
Now, he finally got back in shape, and wants to remind everyone what he’s capable of.
Meanwhile, Thompson I’d an underrated stud. He went 57-0 as a Kickboxer, with 37 of those being amateur bouts. He’s got black belts in Shin Ryu Jiu Jitsu and American Kickboxing, as well as a 5th degree black belt in Kempo Karate.
Thompson is 11-1 in MMA, with six knockouts and four decisions. His lone loss also came via decision, which is how Hendricks will likely look to win.
If this fight stays standing, anything can happen. Neither fighter has ever been finished, and both have solid chins. However, Hendricks was once a star college wrestler, and that’s been the key to his last several wins. He’ll try and take Thompson down, en route to a grinding decision win. I hope I’m wrong, but I doubt it.
Prediction: Hendricks via decision.