UFC FIGHT Night 90: Dos Anjos vs. Alvarez main card preview and predictions.

If you’re an MMA fan, chances are your mind is still clouded and depressed from the actions of one of the best fighters ever.

Well, what better way to get over it than by enjoying some high-level MMA? The prelim card should be fun, and the main card looks promising as well. Here are picks for tonight’s main card, headlined by a titillating Lightweight title fight that should be gratuitous and violent. The co-main is a surefire Heavyweight slugfest, and the other two bouts should be action-packed as well.  It will all be on Fight Pass, and if it lives up to the hype, then the card should be viewed as must-watch!

Main card (10/9c, UFC Fight Pass)

Joseph Duffy (14-2) vs. Mitch Clarke (11-3)

The first fight of the main card futures arguably the second best Irish fighter in the UFC in Joseph Duffy. “Irish Joe” has only gone the distance teice, once in victory (back in July 2011,) as well as in defeat, which was his last fight, against Dustin Poirier this January. He’s won nine fights via submission, including a 38-second arm-triangle choke over current UFC Featherweight champ Conor McGregor back in 2010. A win tonight will help him recapture whatever hype he lost from that Poirier fight, and make him be viewed as a future contender as well.

Standing in Duffy’s  way is Mitch Clarke. A submission specialist in his own right, the Canadian has seven wins in that fashion, including a stunner over Al Iaquinta in 2014. However, this is just his second fight since that May 2014 upset, and his first since April 2015. Can he win? Absolutely. Do I think he will? Sadly, I don’t. Prediction: Duffy via submission, round 2.

Alan Jouban (13-4) vs. Belal Muhammad (9-0)

This card has been relatively injury free. Hoever, the same can’t be said for this matchup. Jouban was initially supposed to face off against Nordine Taleb, a man who had won four of his last five bouts. But with Taleb hurt, Jouban now faces Muhammad,  an undefeated prospect with six decision wins, but is entering the UFC coming off a Titan FC championship victory over Steve Carl via 4th – round knockout. Make no mistake, Muhammad is no joke.

That said, even though Jouban has been knocked out twice, with the most recent one happening less than a year ago against Albert Tumenov, he’s got nine knockout wins of his own. No, he’s never knocked out anyone as good as Belal might wind up being. But, I still think Jouban will get the job done probably around round 2. Prediction: Jouban via tko, round 2.

Roy Nelson (21-12) vs. Derrick Lewis (15-4)

What better fight to have as the co-main event of a Fight Pass card than a surefire Heavyweight slugfest?

Ok, so maybe Nelson has gone the distance in three straight fights, two of which were losses, one of which was a 25 – minute main event. He’s lost 10 of the 13 fights that he’s gone the distance in, as opposed to winning 18 of the 20 fights that have not gone the distance in his career. He has a hellacious punch, as well as high-level grappling, along with an otherworldly chin. He should be better than 2-5 in his last 7, with four of those five losses coming via decision.

Well, the good news for Nelson is that he’s facing a man who virtually never goes the distance. Lewis lives up to his “The Black Beast” nickname, having finished all 15 of his victories, 14 of them via knockout. He’s 6-2 inside the octagon, with every fight, including his two losses, ending via knockout. The last time he went the distance was in June 2011. Now yes, he can finish fights in the third round. But, my gut tells me that Nelson will finish this one, either on the feet or the ground, in round 2. It needs to be this way. Prediction: Nelson via tko or submission,  round 2.

UFC Lightweight championship: (c) Rafael dos Anjos  (25-7) vs. Eddie Alvarez (27-4)

Man, talk about a tossup! Both men have been fighting for over a decade, with dos Anjos debuting in mid 2004, and Alvarez going at it since December 2003.

Had this fight taken place prior to 2015, I would’ve picked Alvarez 10 times out of 10. He was the face of Bellator, along with Ben Askren, and was long considered one of the best fighters outside of the UFC. The man had won 21 of his first 27 fights via knockout or submission. However, his last four fights, with this being the first time he’s fought twice in a single year since 2012, have all gone the distance. His three wins have come via split decision. He’s no longer the fun fighter he used to be, especially against the elite competition he’s faced in those four bouts – current Bellator Lightweight champion Michael Chandler,  longtime UFC contender Donald Cerrone, former longtime Strikeforce Lightweight champion and UFC title challenger Gilbert Melendez,  former UFC and WEC Lightweight champion Anthony Pettis

Then, there’s dos Anjos. In the lead up to his April 2014 loss against Sambo superstar Khabib Nurmagomedov, RDA had gone the distance in four of five fights. Prior to that five fight winning-strwak, he had gone 4-4 inside the octagon. Simply put, the dominant loss to Khabib had washed away his momentum.

What has dos Anjos done since then? Well, he’s won five straight fights including three via knockout. His two decision wins were dominant displays as well-first against Nate Diaz in December 2014, and then against Anthony Pettis in March 2015 to win the title. His last fight was a shocking 66 – second knockout victory over perennial contender Donald Cerrone, who just so happens to be the last man to beat Alvarez.

Now, MMA math doesn’t usually work. And, anything can happen come fight time. RDA hasn’t fought in eight months, and is coming off a foot injury that resulted in the cancelation of his “super fight” against Featherweight champion Conor McGregor. Also, Alvarez is legit, and has proven he can beat the best Lightweights in the world. It’s a tossup, and I won’t be shocked if either man finishes the fight. After all, the two have a combined 34 finishes to their credit. But, I’ll simply have to go with my gut feeling here. Hopefully it’s a great fight regardless. Prediction: Dos Anjos via unanimous decision.

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