Last night, the world lost the greatest legend in combat sports history. Today, less than a day removed from Muhammad Ali’s passing, UFC 199 is taking place.
Alas, the show must go on, and surely, there will be several tributes made to the man. As for the card itself, it’s pretty damn good. Sure, it’s headlined by a rematch of a thoroughly one-sided beatdown, but the rest of the main card is very interesting.
The prelim card is pretty good to boot. The only fight with notable names on the Fight Pass portion of the card is likely to be a snoozer, but all four FS1 bouts will likely end via finish. I could go on, but I’ll leave that for when I address the fights individually. Without further ado, here are my predictions for today’s prelims.
Fight Pass prelims (7/6c, UFC Fight Pass)
Polo Reyes (5-2) vs. Dong Hyun Kim (13-7-3)
Woah! Stun Gun Kim has been relegated to Fight Pass? Worry not MMA fans, this is a different Dong Hyun Kim. He may not be at Stun Gun’s level, but he’s still very skilled. His record isn’t pretty, but he is a finisher, winning 11 of his 13 victories early. He’s 0-1 inside the octagon though, so he needs a win tonight.
Meanwhile, Reyes was a Tuf: Latin America contestant and won his UFC debut last November. He’s never gone the distance, and has won all but one of his fights via knockout. He definitely has a shot here, but my gut tells me that the South Korean will prevail tonight. Prediction: Kim via tko, round 3.
Elvis Mutapcic (15-4):vs. Kevin Casey (9-4, 2 NC)
The next fight is intriguing on paper, but likely won’t be very entertaining. Mutapcic has finished 12 of his 15 wins, but has also gone the distance seven times. The former MFC champion and WSOF contender looked awful in his UFC debut loss against Francimar Barroso in January, but is still a very capable fighter.
Meanwhile, Casey will be fighting with a heavy heart. He was Muhammad Ali’s son in law, so there will be extra emotion and motivation for him. While he does have finishing ability, his UFC record is an odd 1-2 with two no contests. He also has four knockout losses. If this fight goes to the ground, maybe he’s got a shot. I have a feeling he’ll get finished tonight. Prediction: Mutapcic via tko, round 2.
Luis He rique da Silva (10-0) vs. Jonathan Wilson (7-0)
Its not often that a pair of undefeated knockout artists get overlooked. Heck, we had two undefeated Bantamweights headline a UFC card last week! This week, we have two on the Fight Pass prelims.
Jonathan Wilson is an unknown knockout artist who won his UFC debut in that fashion last August. Silva is 11-0 with 10 knockout wins. Someone will land, and finish the fight. I’ll pick Silva, but it’s essentially a coin flip. Prediction: Silva via ko, round 2.
Tom Breese (10-0) vs. Sean Strickland (16-1)
It’s not often that a card features a pair of fighters with a combined record of 26-1 on the Fight Pass prelims. Alas, that’s the case here. Strickland is 4-1 inside the octagon, while Breese is 10-0. Breese has only gone the distance once, and while Strickland has finished 12 of his 16 victims, he has gone the distance in three of his last four fights. I have a feeling that he’ll make this one grimy, and win via grinding decision. I hope I’m wrong and that it’s a good fight, but I highly doubt it. Prediction: Strickland via decision.
Televised prelims (8/7c, FS1)
Cole Miller (21-9, 1NC)
The TV opener is an intriguing Featherweight bout between two veterans who’ve fallen on hard times. Miller began his UFC career winning seven of his first 10 fight with the promotion, but is just 3-4 eith a no contest since. He has 15 submission wins, but his opponent is no slouch on the ground.
Initially, Miller was supposed to headline the prelims against former Lightweight Champion and MMA legend BJ Penn. However, USADA is a mess, and he was removed from the card. Now, Miller faces Alex Caceres, a fun fighter, with tough luck lately. After losing three of his first four UFC bouts, he went 4-0 with a no contest, but then lost three straight. He saved his job by defeating Masio Fullen in January, but my gut tells me he’ll suffer his sixth submission loss tonight. Prediction: Miller via submission, round 2.
Jessica Penne (12-3) vs. Jessica Andrade (13-5)
The only women’s bout on the card is quite a unique one. Andrade has 18 fights to her credit, but all of them came in the Bantamweight division. She garnered a 4-3 record in the UFC as a part of that division, but is dropping down in weight now.
Meanwhile, Penne is a former Atomweight champion. So, she spent a decent amount of her career fighting at a weight class 30 pounds lighter than Andrade. She’s got great Jiu Jitsu, possessing a black belt in the discipline, and seven submission wins to boot. A lot of people believe that will get her the win. But, my gut says Andrade, so I’ll go with the Brazilian. Prediction: Andrade via tko, round 3.
(10) Beneil Dariush (12-2) vs. James Vick (9-0)
The next fight is a rare case of a replacement bout that’s insanely better than the original. Originally, this slot belonged to a bout between UFC veteran Evan Dunham and TUF: Brazil 2 “winner” Leonardo Santos. Both are hurt, and as a result, fans will be rewarded with a high-level bout that could be a grappling clinic.
Dariush is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as well as Muai Thai, has eight wins via finish, a 6-2 record inside the octagon, and is one of my favorite Lightweights. Meanwhile, Vick is unbeaten overall, and 5-0 inside the octagon. After sustaining various injuries over the past few years, he’s fighting just over a month after his last bout. However, he’s never fought anyone near the caliber of Dariush. Vick is very good, but I believe Dariush is borderline elite, and that will show tonight. Prediction: Dariush via submission, round 2.
Brian Ortega (10-0, 1NC) vs. Clay Guida (32-16)
On paper, this fight isn’t hard to predict. Ortega is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt with five submission wins, while Clay Guida is a veteran of 22 UFC fights, but has lost nine times via submission. In those 22 UFc fights, Guida is 12-10, and hasn’t had a win streak since five years ago to this day. Also, his most iconic fights tend to be losses. Maybe he can run and/or grind out a win here, but I don’t see it happening. You never know with him though. Prediction: Ortega via submission, round 2.