The UFC’s latest FOX card is underway, and before the stacked main card with major implications can take place, the televised prelims will take place. Normally, televised prelims slates for FOX cards are six-fight slates that air on FS1. Sometimes, however, FOX cards get four-fight televised prelim slots, with the block airing on FOX instead of FS1. Tonight, that’s exactly what will happen.
On tonight’s four-fight FOX prelim slate, a pair of heavyweights will duke it out, a standout French prospect will finally make his UFC debut, one of Lightweight’s most underrated prospects makes his return, and Demetrious Johnson’s last opponent will have his first fight since then, Without further ado, here are my predictions for tonight’s FOX prelim card.
Televised prelims (6/5c, FOX)
(9) Tim Elliott (13-7-1) vs. (12) Louis Smolka (11-3)
How do you go from just returning to the UFC, to ranked in the top 10 despite losing your first fight since returning? Simple! You fight at Flyweight, return by winning last season’s TUF which pitted Flyweight champions from around the world, and follow up by actually putting up a fight against pound-for-pound king Demetrious Johnson! At least, that’s what Tim Elliott did. He first came to the UFC with an 8-2-1 record back in May 2012. He lost his promotional debut, but after winning his next two fights, he had to face Ali Bagautinov, Joseph Benavidez and Zach Makovsky, all of whom are really tough, and lost all three fights. He then got cut, followed up by winning Titan FC’s Flyweight title and defended it twice, before going on TUF, winning the show, and then fighting Johnson to a tough decision.
Now, Elliott faces Louis Smolka, a fighter who’s finished nine of his 11 wins and started his pro career with an 11-1 record including 5-1 UFC record, before losing his last two fights. In the last six months, Smolka has gone from potential contender, to needing to win in order to save his UFC career. It’s sad, but that’s the truth. And while I’d love to see him win, Sadly, I think Elliott will smother him and beat him via decision. Prediction: Elliott via decision.
Bobby Green (23-7) vs. Rashid Magomedov (19-2)
A pair of Lightweights take the stage next. Magomedov doesn’t get talked about much, but he’s really good. He’s a Master of Sports in Boxing, Hand-to-hand combat, Sambo, and other disciplines. He’s never been finished, has 10 finishes as opposed to nine decision wins, and the only man to beat him out of his five UFC bouts was Beneil Dariush. Basically, unless you’re great, you’re not beating Magomedov.
Well, Green was great. After losing his Strikeforce debut via split decision to GZ Cavalcante in July 2011, Green went on an eight-fight winning streak, including winning his first four UFC bouts. Sadly, his last win came in July 2014, and since then, he’s only fought twice, first losing a decision to Edson Barboza in November of that year, and then getting knocked out by Dustin Poirier after a year and a half long absence. Now, if he loses this fight, he’s likely getting cut. It would be incredible to see an upset here. Green can finish fights, as he’s got eight knockout and nine submission wins. Sadly, I son’t see it going his way tonight. Prediction: Magomedov via decision or late TKO.
Tom Duquesnoy (14-1, 1 NC) vs. Patrick Williams (8-4)
Up next is a bout that no MMA fan should miss. Patrick Williams is a fighter who hasn’t gone the distance in nearly six years, has had seven fights end in the first round, and always brings it. His opponent, none other than revered French blue chip prospect Tom Duquesnoy, who’s finally making his long-awaited UFC debut. Only 23-years-old, Duquesnoy has incredible power, great wrestling, has finished 11 of his opponents, and his only loss came over four years ago against current UFC prospect Makwan Amirkhani, in what was just Duquesnoy’s fifth fight. He’s 10-0 with a no contest since then, and now, it’s time to see what he can do in the big show. Williams will be a tough, but passable task. This should and likely will be a fun scrap as long as it lasts, and in the end, I see Duquesnoy getting a finish in the second round. It very well could be Fight of the Night, no doubt about it. Prediction: Duquesnoy via tko, round 2.
Alexander Volkov (27-6) vs. Roy Nelson (22-13)
It would’ve been awesome if the last fight was the headlining prelim. Instead, we’ll get a Heavyweight bout that has the potential to end via highlight reel knockout, but might also wind up being a snoozer. Volkov has finished 21 of his 27 career wins, including 18 via knockout, but has also gone the distance in three of his last five fights.
As for Nelson, the once beloved knockout artist and rebel still has incredible knockout power and chin, but has gone the distance in six of his last eight bouts, with the only ones to end via finish being against Bigfoot Silva (who has no chin left whatsoever,) and Mark Hunt, who actually knocked Nelson out. Nelson has lost six of his last nine bouts, and turns 41 in three months. It feels like retirement is knocking at his doorstep, and while it’d be great to see him get another brutal knockout, I think we’ll see Volkov win a dispiriting decision. Prediction: Volkov via decision.