By Benjamin Bieker
Roland Delorme vs. Alex Caceres
Two of the bantamweight divisions rising stars will face off. Caceres is an all around decent fights, but the mostly relies on his striking to win fights. Delorme is a finisher having only one of his nine wins go to decisions, and he mostly finishes by submission. Caceres has four out of his five losses by submission. Delorme will use his Judo to take this to the ground and submit Caceres in the first round.
John Makdessi vs. Renee Forte
Makdessi has done well with his striking in the UFC, but he can be beaten there and his ground game has prohibited him from reaching the top of the division while Forte looked decent in his debut at lightweight. Makdessi will continue his beating of middle level fighters when he beats Forte by decision.
Mitch Gagnon VS. Dustin Kimura
Gagnon has a chance of winning this fight, but it takes place on the ground where both have been proven to be dangerous. Unfortunately Gagnon has been seen to be submitted while Kimura has never been beaten. Kimura has that footage to figure out the puzzle while Gagnon doesn’t which will lead to a victory for Kimura.
Ivan Menjivar vs. Wilson Reis
Reis usually losses by knockout, but Menjivar has only one TKO win in the past eight years. Menjivar is tough, but he has shown to be slowing down in the last few years. While it will be a slight upset Reis does just enough to win this fight by decision.
Mike Ricci vs. Myles Jury
In a match between TUF veterans, Ricci looks for a second win since losing TUF, and Jury remains unbeaten through three fights. Jury is tough, but what makes him even tougher is he has never been broken while Ricci has. That ability to be broken will be Ricci’s downfall as he is beaten by TKO in the third.
Pat Healy vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov
Healy has a tough fight in his return from suspension in Khabib. Healy has a good wrestling game, but the combo of sambo and judo from Nurmagomedov may be too much for him. With the most takedowns in any UFC fight ever, Nurmagomedov will use that to take Healy down repeatedly to a decision victory.
Costa Philippou vs. Francis Carmont
Carmont has won a lot of fights, but he generally uses his size to make his opponent tired. Philippou has the size to reverse that affect on Carmont. The downfall for Philippou is he lost his best training partner in Chris Weidman when he left his camp. Carmont trains at Tristar so you know he is not short on training partners. That will not change the outcome of this fight though as Carmont wins by decision.
Brendan Schaub vs. Matt Mitrione
Mitrione and Schaub are two of the better heavyweights to come off of their season of TUF. The bad part is both have suffered some bad losses. The problem for Schaub is he does not have the best chin since all of his losses are by knockout. For Mitrione, he has only been knocked out once and that was a fight he took on short notice. Mitrione will outlast Schaub in this fight by finishing him by TKO in the second.
Renan Barao vs. Eddie WIneland
Wineland has to keep this fight standing if he wants to win, because he has the power to knockout any fighter. He has proven he has excellent takedown defense in recent fights, but he has only fought one five round fight which he lost. Barao has not lost in 30 fights which seems like it will be hard to be the first in a long time to do so. Wineland seems hungry though, and that belt was originally his which will make his win all that much greater. Wineland takes the fight by decision through standup ability and solid takedown defense.
Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson
Does anybody think that Gustafsson can beat Jones? Yes, he is a good fighter, but he has been submitted by Phil Davis and could not finish Thiago Silva or Mauricio Rua. Chael Sonnen finished Rua. Gustafsson will not submit Jones, he probably will not take him down, and while their reach is even his striking is not as dynamic. Look for Jones to retain his belt and finish Gustafsson by submission in the second.
What are your thoughts?