Ready for some early afternoon MMA? If so, the UFC’s latest Fight Pass card is perfect way for one to satisfy their craving. The main card is chock full of entertaining matchups, and while the prelims lack the big names and intrigue of the main card, the slate is still pretty good, with various fights that may be worth multiple viewings.
Here are my picks for the prelim portion of the card.
Prelims (12:45pm/11:45am CT, UFC Fight Pass)
Martin Svensson (14-5) vs. David Teymur (3-1)
The first fight of the day features a pair of teammates from the last season of the Ultimate Fighter. Neither made it to the final round, and both are making their UFC debuts with this fight.
Teymur is fighting for the fifth time, hoping to win his fourth straight since dropping his October 2013 pro debut via decision, has won twice via knockout. He’s got terrific kickboxing, but is the smaller fighter, and a questionable gas tank to boot.
Meanwhile, Svensson has 14 victories, eight of which have come via submission. An eight-year veteran of the sport, the Swede garnered his signature win in his last pro fight against Dave Hill, a man best known for being the only fighter to ever be submitted by Conor McGregor. He isn’t a great athlete, and has lost to all the other notable fighters he’s faced, including current UFC fighters Jim Alers, recent TUF runner-up Artem Lobov, and recently released UFC fighter Robert Whiteford. Still, I see his experience being the big factor here, and I expect him to win an solid decision here. Prediction: Svensson via unanimous decision.
Teemu Packalen (7-1) vs. Thibault Gouti (11-0)
I had a lot to say about the previous matchup. As for this one, there’s not a lot worth mentioning, although it could be a great fight. Packalen is a submission specialist who has finished everyone he’s beaten, but lost a decision to Mikael Lebout in his UFC debut back in July. Gouti is filling in for the injured Lukasz Sajewski, and is an unbeaten submission specialist who’s known for his chokes, as well as seven first round finishes.
Since both men are submission specialists, this fight could wind up taking place mostly on the feet. If not, it could be a terrific grappling battle. Either way, I believe Gouti has the edge, and I’m picking him to win this fight. Prediction: Gouti via submission, round 2.
Daniel Omielanchuk (17-5-1, 1NC) vs. Jairjis Danho (6-0, 1NC)
After a pair of lighter weight bouts, it’s only fitting that a couple of Heavyweights take the stage. That’s exactly what’ll happen when Daniel Omielanchuk welcomes Jairjis Danho into the octagon. Omielanchuk is a weird one, winning nine times via submission, three times via knockout, and going 5-5 in fights that go the disance. He’s 2-2 inside the octagon, losing a pair of decisions in between a pair of knockout victories. He is occasionally entertaining, but his fights tend to be lackluster.
Meanwhile, Danho has prevailed four times via knockout, and both of his submissions were essentially knockouts as well. That said, he’s basically a bigger and less skilled Soa Palelei. Yeah, that’s not exactly a ringing endorsement. He may win a few bouts here and there, but chances are, he’ll get decisioned in a potentially boring fight. Prediction: Omielanchuk via decision.
Norman Parke (21-4-1) vs. Rustam Khabilov (17-3)
Up next is a fight that on paper, should be on the main card, or at least on the televised portion of any card. However, there’s a reason why that isn’t the case. Simply put, this will likely be an ugly fight between two men who were once viewed as potential contenders.
Parke won TUF: Smashes back in 2012, and went 4-0-1 in his first five UFC bouts. He has since gone 1-2, with all three fights being boring decisions, and only one of his eight fights has ended early. He’s a grind to watch, and while he does have 12 submissions to his credit, the last one came over five years ago, and nobody cares to see him fight anymore.
Meanwhile, Khabilov entered the UFC being viewed as a terror. A Sambo superstar with a black belt in Gaidojutsu and elite Hand-to-Hand combat skills, Khabilov won his UFC debut over Vinc Pichel via suplex knockout in 2012, and followed up with a win over Yancy Medeiros in April 2o13. After decisioning Jorge Masvidal in November of that year, many felt that he could soon contend for a title. He looked great for three rounds against former champion Benson Henderson the following June, before getting submitted in the fourth round. After that, he lost a split decision to Adriano Martins, in a fight where he looked truly dispirited. If he looks lackluster today, the once terrifying Russian may soon receive his walking papers. That’s why I see him bouncing back in this fight, somehow, someway, to win a dominant decision. Prediction: Khabilov via decision.
Brad Scott (10-3) vs. Krzysztof Jyotko (16-1)
Middleweights take the stage next, as Brad Scott welcomes Krzysztof Jyotko to England. Scott is a finisher with five knockouts and submissions apiece, having split his four UFC bouts. He’s lost a pair of decisions, while choking out his opponents in his two octagon victories, including his most recent fight against Dylan Andrews last May.
Meanwhile, Jyotko is a decision machine. That’s why he isn’t viewed as a title contender yet. He’s 3-1 inside the octagon, but has ten decision wins, and his last finish came back in September 2012. I see him winning this bout as well, once again, via decision. Prediction: Jyotko via decison.
Arnold Allen (10-1) vs. Yaotzin Meza (21-10, 1NC)
Up next is a Featherweight battle. Allen is a finisher, prevailing eight times in that manner, with five submissions. He won his UFC debut against Alan Omer last June in that manner, and his lone loss came via decision against recent TUF contestant Marcin Wrzocek in June 2014.
Meza is a true veteran, having fought 32 times in ten years as a pro. He’s 5-3 in fights that end via knockout, 7-3 in fights that end via submission, and 9-4 in fights that go the distance. Simply put, he has experience in every sort of fight. He’s struggled inside the octagon however, having gone 2-3 with a no contest for the UFC, and a loss here could end his UFC career, possibly leading to retirement. I’ll pick Allen, who can finish this fight, but I’ll go with a decision instead. Don’t be surprised to see a washout in his favor. Prediction: Allen via decision.
Scott Ashkam (13-2) vs. Chris Dempsey (11-3)
Scott Ashkam is an enigma. He began his career 12-0, and entered the UFC as a potential superstar in the making. However, he’s gone 1-2 inside the octagon, and a loss here could spell the end of his UFC tenure. Meanwhile, everything about Dempsey screams decision. He’s won six of his eleven wins, including his only UFC victory, via decision. He has a degree in Political Science. His team is called “The Mat Factory.” Either he decisions you, or gets finished within a few minutes. Seeing how Ashkam has eight knockouts to his credit, seven in the first round, including a head kick four seconds into his second career fight, I’ll pick the Brit to win via first round knockout. Prediction: Ashkam via tko, round 1.
Marlon Vera (7-2-1) vs. Davey Grant (9-2)
Remember Davey Grant? If not, allow me to refresh everyone’s memory. Grant was a finalist for the 18th season of the Ultimate Fighter, and took on Chris Holdsworth in a battle of submission specialists in the Finale on November 30, 2013. He got submitted that night, and neither man has fought since. That is, until now.
Grant is a submission specialist, who has seen 10 of his 11 career fights end via submission; eight wins, and two losses. He may be rusty, but he’s still very skilled. Meanwhile, Vera is also a submission specialist. He’s won five times in that fashion, including an inverted triangle choke in his last fight back in August 2015. He’s clearly the fresher of the two fighters, so he stands a legitimate shot in this one. I’ll go with Grant though, just because. Prediction: Grant via submission, round 2.
Mike Wilkinson (9-1) vs. Makwan Amirkhani (12-2)
Mr. Finland is back! Everyone loves him, and a win here will likely earn him a ranking, as well as some high-profile bouts. Mike WIlkinson is solid, and has a shot here. But, Rony Jason submitted him in 84 seconds a couple years back, and this is his first fight since October 2014. Simply put, if Amirkhani loses this bout, it’s on him. But, seeing how his two UFC fights have lasted a total of 1:49, I see him winning with relative ease, whether that’s feasible or not. Prediction: Amirkhani via submission, round 1.