UFC Fight Night 112: Chiesa vs. Lee main card preview and predictions

Even though the UFC has held events in each of the last five weeks, it’s felt like it’s been a slow period in the company. Then again, when four of those fives card are Fight Night cards, and each of the first four cards of that period are overseas cards, thereby including a lot of unknown names and very few relevant fights over that span? That’s when it will like a slow period, even when there’s a card every week.

Well, there’s a card tonight as well. Like most of the recent cards, it’s a Fight Night card with few fights that will make a mark in the rankings. However, unlike those cards, this one is full of notable names, is taking place on Sunday evening, and is full of notable names!

The prelims are meh, but the main card includes MMA legend BJ Penn, former Welterweight champion Johny Hendricks, a pair of firefights which every Fight Night card should have, and is headlined by a fierce top 10 Lightweight showdown between former TUF winner Michael Chiesa and Kevin Lee. It should be a fun main card, and here are my predictions for the entire six-fight slate.

UFC Fight Night 112 main card (9/8c, FS1)

BJ Penn (16-11-2) vs. Dennis Siver (22-11, 1 NC)

The main card opener could be a sad one. BJ Penn is a legend and arguably the best Lightweight in MMA history, but shouldn’t have returned after getting thoroughly outclassed and embarrassed by Rory MacDonald in December 2012. Alas, he fought again in July 2014, and got utterly beat down by a man who had already beaten him twice in Frankie Edgar, after a mediocre TUF season in which the two were coaches. Penn then retired, but decided to un-retire, had a UFC 199 bout against Siver scrapped, and got predictably eviscerated by Yair Rodriguez this January. Now, the initial fight with Siver is on again, and this could be a really sad fight to watch.

As for Siver, the Taekwondo black belt is 38-years-old, and hasn’t fought since June 2015. He’s 12-8 with a no contest in the UFC, but is just 1-3 with a no contest dating back to the start of 2013. As a result, while Siver winning shouldn’t shock anyone, and many are predicting it to happen, I’ll pick Penn. It’s not smart, I know, but picking anyone in this fight is tough. I just hope it’s not a terribly depressing fight. Prediction: Penn via controversial decision. 

Tim Means (26-8-1, 1 NC) vs. Alex Garcia (14-3)

While the main card opener is likely to be depressing, this Welterweight showdown should be really fun. Means is 6-3 with a no contest in his latest UFC stint, has 18 knockouts and four submissions to his credit, and is always ready to scrap. Garcia fights out of Tristar, has finished 11 of his 14 wins, is 4-2 in the UFC, and also always brings it. This will be a tough, gritty and entertaining fight. Garcia has the ground edge, but Means has the edge on the feet. I’ll pick Means, but nobody should miss what should be a close and fun fight while it lasts. Prediction: Means via tko, round 2. 

Joachim Christensen (14-5) vs. Dominick Reyes (6-0)

While the previous fight is a Welterweight firefight, this next bout is a Light Heavyweight firefight. Christensen just fought last month at UFC 211, losing to Gadzhimurad Antigulov via first round submission. He didn’t take any damage though, so he got the green light to fight tonight. He’s a 38-year-old, ten-year veteran of the sport, Has five knockout and submission wins apiece, and is 1-2 in the UFC. The latter is a very important statistic, since a loss here won’t necessarily get him cut (due to the short notice,) but it will put him deep on the edge.

As for Reyes, the man is a finisher. He’s only fought six times, but five of those wins came via finish, including four via knockout, all in the first round, and three within the opening minute. If Christensen can escape the early fury, he’s got a shot of tiring Reyes out and winning. Sadly, I feel like Chirstensen is in the twilight of his career, that will be evident tonight, and Reyes will finish him quickly. Prediction: Reyes via tko, round 1. 

Felice Herrig (12-6)  vs. Justine Kish (6-0)

A pair of TUF 20 contestants will face off next, as Felice Herrig battles Justine Kish. Kish may be an unbeaten second degree black belt in Kenpo Karate, and an experienced Kickboxer with an 18-2 kickboxing record, but there’s still questions about her. She was on TUF 20, but injuries forced her out early. She’s unbeaten in MMA, but her UFC debut against Nina Ansaroff was a controversial decision, and she hasn’t exactly looked great in her pro career. Slight nitpicks, but that’s why she’s not as well known as she could be.

As for Herrig, the once 5-4 scrappy fighter has now won seven of her last nine, is 3-1 in the UFC, and finally has her head on straight after working with a sports psychologist. It’s clearly helped her out, and despite being in her 30s, her best may be yet to come in this sport. In her last two fights, she defeated a pair of hyped up prospects in Kailin Curran and most notably, the then unbeaten Alexa Grasso. Kish is good and has some advantages over Herrig, but Herrig might be the one to topple her. This could be a very close fight, but I’m leaning towards Herrig to get the job done. Prediction: Herrig via decision. 

Tim Boetch (20-11) vs. Johny Hendricks (18-6)

The co-main event of the evening just, ugh. This one doesn’t feel good at all. Hendricks was once the Welterweight champion, known for quick knockouts and amazing wrestling. After winning the title, been consistently  downhill since. He’s lost five of his last eight and three of his last four, had to move up to Middleweight due to missing weight too much, and now missed weight at Middleweight! A loss could result in him getting cut, and it’s been an insane slide for Hendricks over recent years.

Meanwhile, Boetch has lost seven of his last 11, and when he’s not pulling off upsets or comeback knockouts, he’s stinking it up. Basically, this is a depressing fight. I would’ve convincingly picked Hendricks had he not missed weight, and still will I guess. I have zero faith in this fight being any good though, unless someone gets a knockout. Prediction: Hendricks via controversial decision.  

Michael Chiesa (14-2) vs. Kevin Lee (15-2)

In the main event, Kevin Lee and Michael Chiesa will settle their grudge. Lee is 8-2 in the UFC, Chiesa is 7-2 in the UFC, and both are submission artists, especially Chiesa.

Everyone seems to be harping about Lee’s success, and it feels like they’re overrating him. Why? Because they’re talking about his power, despite the fact that he has one knockout in his career. He might win, and neither man winning should shock anyone, but by knockout? No way. This one will either go the distance or end via decision, and I’m going with Chiesa to get the job done tonight. Prediction: Chiesa via submission, round 3. 

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