UFC Fight Night 85 features the Super Samoan against former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir, hard-hitting Hector Lomnbard and rising prospects Jake Matthews and Johnny Case. Let’s break down each fight on the card.
We all know that Hunt has some of the heaviest hands in MMA. He can knock out anyone put in front of him, at any time. However, Mir has arguably the best submission game in the UFC heavyweight division, and Hunt has been susceptible to subs in the past. Hunt has lost 10 times in his pro career, with six coming by way of submission. But Hunt has not been submitted since his first UFC fight back in 2010, and Mir hasn’t finished anyone by sub since 2011. Hunt has evolved, and Mir can’t handle the power. It might not be round one, but Mir is getting flattened.
My Pick: Hunt by KO/TKO
Hector Lombard ($9600) vs. Neil Magny ($9800)
It’s safe to say that the UFC isn’t all that thrilled with what Hector Lombard has provided. Signed to a big free agent deal, Lombard has rarely looked like the killer he was in Bellator, going 3-2 with one no-contest, including some real snoozers. Yet, he remains a viable force, capable of ending any opponent with one punch. But not Neil Magny. Magny will use his 9-inch reach advantage and high-volume striking game to keep Lombard at bay. Magny has stellar defense and averages over one more significant strike per minute than Lombard. If Lombard’s gas runs low, Magny could get the finish. But the prediction here is Magny via unanimous decision.
My Pick: Magny by decision
Jake Matthews ($9700) vs. Johnny Case ($9700)
You can have Case or Matthews for the same price, and they both average a bit more than 70 FPPG. They are “nearly identical,” as Mike Goldberg likes to say, in terms of stats. Case has much more experience than Matthews, though both are considered top prospects in the UFC. Case’s game is just better than Matthews’ right now. If we saw this fight two years from now, I might pick differently, but for now look for Case to capitalize on the rawness of Matthews and submit him in the final round.
My Pick: Case by submission
Daniel Kelly ($8300) vs. Antonio Carlos Jr. ($11100)
Kelly is a solid fighter and excellent judoka, but Carlos Jr. is a beast that won’t be tamed. The difference in speed and power will be evident early in this fight, and it will be over just as soon.
My Pick: Carlos Jr. by KO/TKO
James Te Huna ($10500) vs. Steve Bosse ($8900)
Steve Bosse got starched in his UFC debut, stiffed by a Thiago Santos head kick before landing a punch. We know that he has good power, but he’s fought just three times since 2011. James Te Huna has lost three in a row, but they were to big names: Marquardt, Shogun Rua and Glover Teixeira. Te Huna might not be an upper-division talent, but he handles dudes like Bosse with relative ease. Look for a quick KO from Te Huna.
My Pick: Te Huna
Seo Hee Ham ($9900) vs. Bec Rawlings ($9500)
Ham, aka Hamderlei Silva, is 1-1 in the UFC, and should be able to frustrate Rawlings with her movement — both body and head. She’s an excellent counter-puncher, and what she doesn’t have in power, she makes up for with accuracy. Rawlings is a brawler, constantly on the attack, and she will have a considerable size advantage here. Ham beat Courtney Casey, who is even bigger than Rawlings, and I think this fight will go much the same way. Ham will do enough to win each round and her movement will allow her to stay out of harm way. I expect Ham to win, but it will be by decision.
My Pick: Ham by decision
Brendan O’ Reilly ($8200) vs. Alan Jouban ($11200)
I’m not sure I understand this matchup, as O’Reilly is completely over-matched here. Jouban will completely wreck O’ Reilly early in this bout, and with a Hector Lombard loss, Jouban could find himself in top-15 for welterweights when the rankings get updated after this event. $11200 is a steep price, but it’s also a lock for about 120 FPs.
My Pick: Jouban by KO/TKO
Mark Eddiva ($8800) vs. Daniel Hooker ($10600)
Hooker will have a size advantage, but Eddiva is quick and has a nice striking game. Hooker is easily hit, absorbing more than five significant strikes per minute in the Octagon. He has been outstruck in all four of his UFC fights. I like Eddiva for the upset here, based on simple math: he’ll land more and absorb less. It will be a decision win, but for $8800, his 50-60 FPs will be a solid addition to your lineup.
My Pick: Eddiva by decision
Leslie Smith ($10400) vs. Rin Nakai ($9000)
Smith is a high-volume striker who will have a massive reach advantage. She’ll have to watch out for Nakai’s takedown ability, as she was able to get Miesha Tate to the mat twice in their fight. Her 16-1 record isn’t as impressive as it looks, but she went the distance with Tate and has wins over Tara LaRosa and Sarah D’Alelio. The best advice here is to stay away. Smith is much too pricey here, even if I think she will gut out the win. She’ll win the rounds, but a decision win for $10600 isn’t going to help you win.
My Pick: Smith by decision
Richard Walsh ($9400) vs. Viscardi Andrade ($10000)
Walsh is a slight upset pick here. He’ll need to do a better job of pacing himself, unless his cardio has improved. He throws a lot of strikes, averaging almost five significant strikes lander per minute, but in the Steve Kennedy fight he was clearly waning near the end. Still, I envision this going a lot like that fight. Walsh peppering Andrade and scoring, taking this bout with a decision win.
My Pick: Walsh by decision
Ross Pearson ($9300) vs. Chad Laprise ($10100)
After two years and four fights in the UFC, it’s time to see the best Chad Laprise. What does that mean? It means dominating an opponent from first bell to the final one. But Pearson won’t be that guy. Both fighters are coming off losses to Francisco Trinaldo, with Laprise getting knocked out and Pearson making it the distance. It was the first time Laprise has lost, and it will be interesting to see how he bounces back from that, especially a KO loss. Statistically they are similar, but I have a hunch that Pearson makes it back-to-back knockout losses for Laprise.
My Pick: Pearson by KO/TKO
Alan Patrick ($10800) vs. Damien Brown ($8600)
Brown will make his UFC debut as a late replacement. He’s on a five-fight win streak, which has followed a four-fight losing streak. The level of competition might be the reason for the turnaround, with Brown’s last three opponents just a combined 6-6. I look for Patrick to absolutely starch Brown early in this bout.
My Pick: Patrick by KO/TKO