Ladies and gentlemen, there’s a UFC card this week. It’s the seventh card in eight weeks, and yet, it’s not being talked about much. Sure, it’s a foreign Fight Night on Fight pass, and the main event doesn’t seem too appealing, but it’s still a pretty fun card on paper. The main card is pretty great, and what’s more is that the prelims should be pretty fun as well. Yes, some of the bouts are lackluster, but a lot of them should be fun. And so, without further ado, here are my predictions for the nine-fight prelim card slate, which will air entirely on Fight Pass later today.
Fight Pass prelims (1:30/12:30pm CT, UFC Fight Pass)
Lina Lansberg (6-2) vs. Lucie Pudilova (6-1)
The card’s opening bout is also its only female bout. Both women have roughly the same amount of experience in MMA, but Lansberg’s the only one to be in the UFC before, and is also a former Kickboxer with 48 career bouts in that sport. Lansberg has four knockout wins, and actually made it to the second round in her UFC debut against the vaunted Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino, before succumbing in that very round via tko. Meanwhile, Pudilova has two knockout, submission and decision wins apiece, and has won three straight. This one’s not very easy to pick, and anything can happen. I’ll pick Lansberg, but no result will be shocking here. Prediction: Lansberg via decision.
Bradley Scott (10-4) vs. Scott Ashkam (14-3)
Up next is a bout between fighters who had great starts to their careers, but are 2-3 inside the octagon, with all of their UFC losses coming via decision. A loss for either could send them packing up and looking for another promotion. Scott, the runner-up of 2012’s TUF: Smashes, has finished all ten of his victories; five via knockout and five via submission. As for his losses, all three of his losses in the UFC have come via decision, while his only loss via finish came back in 2009. As for Ashkam, the Brit debuted in the UFC with a 12-0 record, and in the UFC, he either loses via decision, or wins via first round knockout. Nine of his 14 wins have come via knockout, and if he wins today, it would likely come via first round knockout. This one’s really a coinflip, and I guess I’ll go with Ashkam, but via decision this time. Prediction: AShkam via decision.
Brett Johns (13-0) vs. Ian Entwistle (9-3)
Johns is 13-0 with four submissions and a pair of knockout wins, but has gone the distance in seven of his fights, including five of his last six, three of which were five round championship bouts. He’s facing a guy who has an affinity for heel hooks, having won three times due to them including once in the UFC, and has win seven times via submission, but tends to get tagged and knocked out whenever that doesn’t happen. In two if his three UFC bouts, the latter has happened. So, either Entwistle pulls off another heel hook win, or gets tagged and potentially knocked out. That said, seeing how he’s facing a guy who tends to go the distance, I’ll say that Entwistle won’t get the heel hook win, but won’t get knocked out either. I’ll pick Johns to win, in the fashion that he usually tends to win by. Prediction: Johns via decision.
Leon Edwards (12-0) vs. Vicente Luque (11-5-1)
Often times, Fight Pass cards will have a rare gem buried deep within the prelims. This time, it could very well be this fight. Luque’s career record is far from impressive, but his UFC career has been quite something. He came to the UFC with a 7-4-1 record, and lost a dispiriting decision to fellow TUF competitor Michael Graves. Since then, he’s 4-0 with each win coming via finish, three in the first round, two in the opening 79 seconds, and has racked up a pair of Performance of the Night bonuses to boot.
Meanwhile, Edwards is a former BAMMA Welterweight champion with a 4-2 UFC record. Four of his six fights have gone the distance within the promotion, but he’s still mostly a finisher, with eight of his 12 career wins coming early, including five knockouts. Amongst those knockout wins was a whopping eight-second knockout of Seth Baczynski in his UFC debut, which proves that he can finish folks in the big show as well. I’m not sure if he’ll get it done today, and my gut tells me he’ll win a decision, but I’ve picked enough decisions as is. Something’s gotta give in the finishing department, so I’ll stray from my gut and predict a finish in this one. Prediction: Edwards via tko, round 2.
Mark Diakese (11-0) vs. Teemu Packalen (8-1)
Packalen has finished all of his victories, including six via submission. He’s won six fights in the first round, including his last bout, a shocking 24-second submission won over Thibault Gouti to earn his first UFC win. Diakese has five knockout wins, but also five via decision. Three of his wins may have come in the opening 90 seconds of fights, but still, he’s won a fair share of fights via decision, didn’t look to great in his last bout, and is facing someone who’s never been finished. This could be a very fun fight, but conventional wisdom points to a decision win for Diakese. Prediction: Diakese via decision.
Tom Breese (9-1) vs. Oluwale Bambgose (6-2)
Up next is a Middleweight bout that’s too easy to call. Breese is a prospect who began his career with nine straight wins, all via finish, including six in the first round. Since then, he’s 1-1 with both fights going the distance, and is probably itching for a finish again. Well, he’s facing a guy who has gone the distance only once with each of his first seven bouts ending via first round knockout. He doesn’t have a very good gas tank at all as evidenced by his last bout, and if a fight doesn’t end early, he looks like an absolute shell of himself. In this one, I see Breese staving off an early onslaught, tiring Bambgose out, and winning via finish in the second round of what could be a pretty fun fight while it lasts. Prediction: Breese via tko or submission, round 2.
Timothy Johnson (10-3) vs. Daniel Omielanchuk (19-6-1, 1 NC)
There are only two prelim bouts on this card that I can say I’m honestly not looking forward to, and this is one of them. Johnson began his career with each of his first ten bouts ending via finish, including his UFC debut. Since then, all three of his bouts inside the octagon have been dispiriting decisions. He’s got a cool mustache and a unique style, but it doesn’t make for a very fan-friendly style. He’s also lost two of three, so a loss could spell a release for him. That said, his opponent is even less appealing.
Omielanchuk has gone the distance in almost half of his 27 UFC bouts to date, and while he does have nine submission wins and three knockout wins, his fighting style is flat out ugly. I can definitely appreciate technical fights and tend to love them more often than not, but Omielanchuk’s fights aren’t even technical! They’re just boring. He’s had six fights in the UFC in three and a half years with the promotion, with only two of them ending in the first two rounds. He’s 3-3 in the UFC, so this could end his UFC career if he loses. I’d say Johnson would win via knockout, but Omielanchuk has never been knockout out. I’ll still hope for a finish, although I’m not confident we’ll get one here, unless it’s late in the fight, when both men are gassed and someone just collapses from exhaustion. Hopefully I’m wrong, and we wind up being treated to a great fight. Prediction: Johnson via decision or late tko.
Darren Stewart (7-0, 1 NC) vs. Francimar Barroso (18-5, 1 NC)
What’s a great way to follow up what should be a terrible fight? Not by having Francimar Barroso fight next, that’s what. Barroso may have a black belt in both Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and kickboxing, as well as 14 finishes in 18 career wins, but his UFC career has been a bust. Each of his first four UFC bouts went the distance in what turned out to be terrible fights, before he got submitted by Nikita Krylov in the second round of a fight last year. Then, he faced Darren Stewart for the first time, with the bout ending via no contest due to an inadvertent headbutt just 94 seconds into the fight. So basically, he’s 3-2 with a no contest inside the octagon, with the sole high point being a quick no contest. The sooner he gets cut from the UFC and goes back to the regional circuit, the better. It’s better for his record, and for the fans as well.
As for Stewart, he’s s unbeaten with five knockout wins. He came into the UFC against Barroso, in a bout that, as mentioned, ended via quick no contest. He’s a solid prospect, and hopefully, he takes care of business today. Light Heavyweight needs more legitimate prospects, and less aging decision machines. If all goes right, Stewart should remain unbeaten come Sunday. Hopefully, that’s exactly what will happen Prediction: Stewart via tko, round 2.
Joe Duffy (16-2) vs. Reza Madadi (14-4)
While the previous two prelim bouts could be relatively lackluster, the headlining prelim could and should be quite fun. “Irish” Joe Duffy is entering the final fight of his UFC contract, after going 3-1 in his first four UFC bouts, with all three wins coming via first round finish. The man who was best known for quickly and easily submitting Conor McGregor back in the day, Duffy has black belts in both Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Taekwondo, with 12 first round finishes and 15 finishes in 16 career wins.
In his final UFC bout under his current contract, Duffy will take on Reza Madadi, a former Sweedish Freestyle Wrestling champion. Madadi is 3-2 in the UFC, with both his losses coming via decision, and each of his last two wins coming via third round finish. Of the five fighters he’s faced inside the octagon, the only one who’s still in the UFC is Michael Johson, whom Madadi faced back in April 2013. He’s won eight times via submission, as well as three times via knockout and submission wins apiece. He’s also never been finished. That said, he’s never faced anyone like Duffy before. I believe Duffy is clearly better than anyone Madadi has ever faced, and he’ll also be looking to make a statement in his final UFC bout under his current contract. Madadi may have never been finished prior to this bout, but I see that changing today. Prediction: Duffy via submission, round 2.