Well MMA fan, UFC 201 is here! It’s my first post since UFC 200, since I made an idiotic mistake by saving all my articles between then and now as drafts, and forgetting to publish them! I realized this just minutes ago, since I wrote this article in the morning, but forgot to publish it until now. Alas, here are my picks for tonight’s prelim bouts.
Fight Pass prelims (7/6c, UFC Fight Pass)
Damien Brown (15-9) vs Cesar Arzamemdia (7-2)
Opening up the card is a Featherweight bout between a pair of relative unknowns. Brown has eight submission wins to his credit but has also been submitted four times. He lost his UFC debut in March, thus ending a five-fight winning streak. Arzamemdia has four submission wins, and got knocked out in his UFC debut last November. He doesn’t have nearly as much experience, but I see him finding a way to win this one. Prediction: Arzamemdia via decision.
Bojan Velickovic (14-3) vs. Michael Graves (6-0)
Velickovic has eight submission and three knockout wins, with all three of his losses coming via decision, although three of his last four fights have been decision victories. Those four fights were at RFA and the UFC, so he’s not exactly inexperienced. He’s got almost three times as many fights to his credits than Graves does, and is also much more entertaining. It would be awesome to see him win, but my head disagrees. Prediction: Graves via decision.
Televised prelims (8/7c, FS2)
Hector Sandoval (12-2) vs. (8) Wilson Reis (20-6)
Poor Wilson Reis. He went from being an unworthy challenger for Demetrius Johnson’s Flyweight title, to opening the tv prelims on FS2, all in the matter of a month. He’s a very good fighter, with a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu that has helped him garner nine submission and 11 decision wins. He’s 4-2 inside the octagin, and didn’t deserve a shot in the first place, but it’s still a sad situation for him.
The man who will have to deal with the brunt of Reis’ emotions will be Hector Sandoval. Sandoval has gone the distance in seven of his 12 career wins. That said, his only two losses happen to have come against the only UFC-caliber opponents he’s ever faced. Both of those fights ended early in the first round, and while he has won four straight bouts, I see him getting dominated tonight. Prediction: Reis via submission, round 1.
Damian Grabowski (20-3) vs. Anthony Hamilton (14-5)
The Heavyweight division is as wonky as ever these days. Either a fight in that division will be a slugfest that will wind via brutal knockout, or see both men gas out and suck all the momentum out of the building. Sadly, if Hamilton has his way, this fight will likely follow the latter route.
Grabowski has eleven submission and six knockout victories, and needs a win to avoid potentially getting cut. Meanwhile, Hamilton has won almost half of his fights via decision. He’s 2-3 inside the octagon, and unless he’s the one getting finished, tends to be in boring fights. For the fans’ sake, I’ll go with Grabowski to end the misery. Prediction: Grabowski via submission, round 2.
Jorge Masvidal (29-11) vs. Ross Pearson (19-11, 1NC)
While the first few prelim fights features mostly unknowns, the latter two prelim bouts feature four veterans, the first of which is a Welterweight contest between Jorge Masvidal and Ross Pearson.
Masvidal, who’s 6-4 inside the octagon, has had some terrible luck lately. He’s 1-3 in his last four, but all three losses have come via split decision. As for Pearson, the man just fought 22 days ago, in a losing decision against former Bellator Lightweight champion Will Brooks. He hasn’t had a streak of any kind since April 2013, has alternated win and losses since then, and a loss will put him on the verge of getting cut. Sadly, I see Masvidal playing it safe, and winning a decision in the process. Prediction: Masvidal via decision.
Ed Herman (23-11, 1NC) vs. (11) Nikita Krylov (20-4)
Herman is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt who has 13 submission and six knockout wins, but has not had a winning streak since 2012. He won his last fight, which is bad news for him against Krylov.
Krylov is a Master of Sport in Kyokushin karate, submission fighting and Hand-to-hand combat. He’s never gone the distance, going 13-3 in fights that ended via submission, and 7-1 in those that ended via knockout. Since losing two of his first three UFC fights, he’s four straight. He’s a couple wins away from contendership and if he keeps winning he’ll be a contender within a year. Herman can beat him for sure, but I won’t bet on it, for the sake of the future of the Light Heavyweight division. A Krylov win would be best for business, and I see him winning in the second round. Prediction: Krylov via submission, round 2.