UFC Fight Night 92: Rodriguez vs. Caceres main card preview and predictions

The UFC is in Utah tonight, and the main card looks oddly fun. The headliner isn’t one that will sell tickets, but could help establish a Mexican star at Featherweight. At least four of the six scheduled bouts seem like a lot of fun, and 10 of the 12 fighters on the slate are known names. Hopefully,  the end result is a fun card. Without further ado, here are my picks for tonight’s main card.

UFC Fight Night 92 main card  (10/9c, FS1)

Maryna Moroz (7-1) vs. Danielle Taylor (7-1)

Whenever there isn’t a women’s bout on deck for a UFC card, it feels like something is missing. That’s why a few weeks ago, Moroz was booked to fight the undefeated and oft-injured Justine Kish. Go figure, Kish got injured again, so Moroz will now take on UFC newcomer Danielle Steele, in a fight that could wind up being sneaky good.

Moroz is the boxing coach for Ukraine’s Olympic team,  has terrific striking, but has won five of her seven victories by way of submission. She shocked the masses when she submitted and thoroughly outclassed fan favorite Joanne Calderwood last April, and a win for her tonight could land her in a title eliminator against Jessica Andrade.

Taylor is no joke though. She’s 7-1 as well, the King of the Cage women’s Strawweight champion, and has won her last two fights via knockout. She’s also got quite a gas tank, winding up in the third round in six of her eight career fights. I don’t think she’ll win, but I am expecting a solid performance from her. I think she’ll make it to the finish, but Moroz will come away with the victory. Prediction: Moroz via decision.

Trevor Smith (13-6) vs. Joseph Gigliotti  (7-0)

The next fight is tough to care about, if you don’t know who Gigliotti is. Fresh off a 58-second submission  win at RFA over veteran John Poppie in April, Gigliotti has never gone the distance. He’s got four wins via submission, three via knockout,  and a decent gas tank to boot.

Meanwhile,  Smith is 4-5 in his last nine bouts. He’s 3-3 inside the octagon, has never had a streak in the promotion, and after fighting four times in 2014, this is just his second fight since that year. I wish him luck, and he does have nine submission wins, but he’s also been knocked out four times. I think he’ll suffer bis fifth loss in that fashion tonight. Prediction: Gigliotti via tko, round 2. 

Santiago Ponzinibbio (22-3) vs. Zak Cummings (19-4)

Up next is a Welterweight battle that will establish a contender. Ponzinibbio is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt that has finished 19 of his 22 wins, 13 of which have come via knockout. He’s 4-1 inside the octagon since dropping his debut, and a win for him will likely land him a bout against a top 10 opponent.

Cummings has finished 14 of his 19 victims, nine of them via submission. He’s 4-1 inside the octagon, and this will be his biggest win to date if he’s victorious. I’m a fan of his, but sadly, I think Ponzinibbio is better in every way. I won’t be shocked if Cummings wins, but I’m definitely not going to predict it to happen. Prediction: Ponzinibbio via decision.

Thales Leites (25-6) vs. Chris Camozzi (24-10)

Up next is a Middleweight bout between grapplers that has the potential to be boring. Leites is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt, with 14 wins via submission. He’s also lost five times via decision,  including his last two fights, which snapped an eight-fight winning streak. A loss tonight could result in a release for him.

Camozzi has seven knockout and submission wins apiece,  but also 10 decision wins. He’s 3-0 since losing his UFC return, and has a great shot here. I’ll still pick Leites, but I’m not expecting a great fight by any means. Prediction: Leites via late submission.

Dennis Bermudez (15-5) vs. Rony Jason (14-5, 1 NC)

So here’s the deal with this fight. Bermudez is the better fighter, has underrated wrestling, and will likely win via grinding decision. Add in the fact that Jason is coming off a suspension, and this fight should be all Bermudez.

So of course, I’m going to pick Jason. This just feels like an upset in the making. Nobody is picking Jason, nor should they. But I still think that he can be electrifying without juicing. Plus, he’s got eight submission wins, while Bermudez has four submission losses.  It’s a dumb move, but I’m going to pick Jason. Prediction: Jason via crazy finish, round 2.

Yair Rodriguez  (7-1) vs. Alex Caceres (12-8, 1NC)

Alex Caceres headlining a UFC card? You read that right folks! This is clearly a showcase fight for Rodriguez,  who might be the future of Mexican MMA. He’s got good stand up and wrestling, a black belt in Taekwondo,  and a gas tank to boot.

But Caceres is as good as he’s been in years.  He’s 2-0 since a 3-fight losing skid, prior to which he went 4-0 with a no contest in his previous five. He’s very crafty, and has what it takes to win this one. I’ll pick Rodriguez,  and I won’t be shocked if he wins early. But, if it doesn’t end early, I think he’ll win a decision where both men look great. Prediction: Rodriguez via early knockout or decision.

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