Hey, fight fans! I hope you’ve recovered from The Conor McGregor Show last Sunday, because we’re back in action again this week. Last week, I went 7-3 (for a total of 14-4 on the year), but in Georges St-Pierre’s words, I’m not too impressed by my performance. I was a little off on who I thought would pick up decisions and who would get the stoppages. I’m hoping to do better this time out.
This weekend, the UFC moves to Sweden. As is common with the European cards, a lot of these fighters are real unknowns. We’ve got a bunch of guys who aren’t very well known outside of their home countries, so it’s time to break out the grainy YouTube videos and get to the scouting reports.
Got comments? @tchanpoker is where you send ‘em. Now, on to the fights!
The resurgence of Anthony Johnson at 205 lbs is truly something to behold. The former welterweight (170 lbs) is on a tear fighting at his proper weight class. Very few people have KO power like “Rumble”, and he can definitely turn the lights out on the Gustafsson if he connects. However, I think the Swede’s fight IQ is too high. He showed great game-planning and lateral movement against Jon Jones. His long arms deliver major power of his own, and his grappling is criminally overlooked. In fact, I think if the fight does not go to decision, the most likely outcome for a stoppage might just be a submission victory for “The Mauler”.
Prediction: Gustafsson by submission
The fan in me wonders why they keep booking the legendary Henderson against elite-level strikers. “Hendo” has lost four of his last five, and even in his win against Mauricio Rua, he was badly hurt before turning the tables on “Shogun”. Yes, Mousasi was routed by “Jacaré” Souza in his last outing and has shown questionable takedown defence historically, but Henderson is not the Olympic level wrestler he once was. The only question about this fight is whether it will be the last in Henderson’s amazing career.
Prediction: Mousasi by KO/TKO
Is there an elite fighter in the game more inconsistent than “Mr. Wonderful”? Once touted as the future of the 205-pound division, Davis seems to find a way to lose fights he’s supposed to win, and win fights he’s supposed to lose. With Bader, you know what you’re getting: powerful wrestling, huge punches, but questionable cardio. The issue here is that the style matchup favors Davis’ technical wrestling and fighting at range. I could see Davis getting a late submission, but the safe play is that the fight goes all 15 minutes.
Prediction: Davis by decision
Both fighters are in a bit of a downward spiral. Corassani has been stopped in three consecutive fights (although the third was a disqualification win after being illegally kneed) and Sicilia has lost two of three by stoppage. Fighting at home, I can see Corassani being up for this fight, but his chin has shown serious issues of late, so I think Silicia is the guy more likely to get a stoppage here.
Prediction: Sicilia by KO/TKO
Musoke is likely the more well-rounded fighter here at range, in the clinch, and on the ground. But Tumenov is the guy with serious power, and from a fantasy perspective, that’s what you like to see. Tumenov opens himself up and makes a lot of defensive errors, but he’s also a threat to win by knockout. I favour Tumenov to actually win the fight, but there could be some hometown judging bias here if it goes all three rounds.
Prediction: Musoke by decision
This fight is a near coin-flip, but the antagonists’ skill sets are very different. The Dagestani fighter is a major-league power puncher with numerous one-punch KOs to his credit. He also shows a strong wrestling game as well when he needs it. Robertson is a wrestler who has strongly embraced the submission game. Robertson will have a big advantage on the ground, and Aliev is the bigger threat on the feet. Expect Robertson to rush into the clinch and try to drag this fight to the ground immediately.
Prediction: Robertson by decision
This is another close one since while Ogle is coming off three straight defeats, he’s been given some very tough opponents in his tenure. The newcomer Amirkhani is a powerful wrestler-grappler, but he is a bit careless in his takedowns and submission game. I don’t think Ogle has the dynamism to make him pay for that, but the Englishman is very tough to finish and should last the distance.
Prediction: Amirkhani by decision
I’ll be honest – it’s been so long since I’ve seen Nedkov fight, I actually forgot he was still in the UFC. He’s coming off multiple knee surgeries, and that should give anyone some pause. But on paper, he’s more skilled than the still-developing Krylov, whose embarrassing Von Flue submission loss to Ovince St. Preux showed that he is still very weak on his back, and the wrestler Nedkov certainly threatens to put him there.
Prediction: Nedkov by decision
Both men have high career finish rates, but both have primarily fought in Europe and Asia where the level of competition is not as high. Taisumov is a wild swinging puncher, willing to take one to eat one. Christodoulou does his best work inside the clinch, and his best chance here is to slow the fight down and take it to a decision.
Prediction: Taisumov by KO/TKO
Bektic is a blue-chip prospect who won over an even more highly touted prospect in Chas Skelly last time out. Bektic is a legitimate triple threat (striking, grappling and wrestling). But Redmond has a crafty leglock game and Bektic did get himself in some leglock trouble against Skelly. I expect Bektic to look dominant here, but if he makes a mental mistake, a flash submission from the crafty Irishman is not out of the question.
Prediction: Bektic by KO/TKO