UFC Fight Night: Mir vs. Duffee could easily have been a fight that took place many moons ago. Can the stud athlete work over the aging, former UFC heavyweight champ? Let’s breakdown that fight and the rest of the event.
Todd Duffee ($10500) vs Frank Mir ($8900)
Todd Duffee is a fantastic athlete and an improving mixed martial artist. He has tremendous power and speed. But I need to see him beat Frank Mir to believe it. Starching Anthony Hamilton and Phil De Fries is one thing. Mir is on a different level. The fight will go to the ground at some point and that’s where the crafty Mir will lock Duffee into a choke or kimura. Duffee will have to decide whether to tap or or let it snap. Mir is a great value play with a submission win at just $8900.
Pick: Mir by submission
Tony Ferguson ($10700) vs Josh Thomson ($8700)
Josh Thomson is an outstanding fighter, and I might be picking him if this was two years ago. But Ferguson has been a man possessed winning five straight fights in a row. He holds numerous advantages over Thomson, power and reach being the two most distinct. Thomson has been on the losing end of three split decisions in his last four fights. He’s an extremely tough out, and hasn’t been finished since 2004. Still, there is something special about the run Ferguson is on. A decision win seems to be the conventional pick, but I like Ferguson to win by submission.
Pick: Ferguson by submission
Holly Holm ($10400) vs Marion Reneau ($9000)
The hype surrounding Holly Holm’s UFC debut was almost impossible to live up to. She needed an insane knockout to match the hype against Raquel Pennington, and that didn’t happen. Holm had to settle for a split decision win in her debut, but rest assured — fireworks are coming. Against Marion Reneau? Maybe. But I wouldn’t count on it. Reneau is a very tough fighter that has never been finished in her career. Expect another performance similar to her first: she’ll win the striking exchanges and stay very busy, but Reneau will make it to the final bell.
Pick: Holm by decision
Kevin Lee ($11200) vs James Moontasri ($8200)
When Moontasri lost to Joe Ellenberger, it was mostly due to being taken down. Kevin Lee should be able to follow that blueprint, as he’s had four takedowns in each of his last three fights. He also throws punches in bunches and we’ll be able to do that with his considerable reach advantage over Moontasri. Everything points to Lee outworking Moontasri, and he’s our pick for the win by decision.
Pick: Lee by decision
Alan Jouban ($11700) vs Matt Dwyer ($7600)
Jouban’s arrow is pointing up after his epic knockout of Richard Walsh at UFC 184. That was just a glimpse of how good Jouban can be. Dwyer is also coming off a highlight-reel win, a Superman punch KO of William Macario back in February. This looks to be a slugfest, as both fighters are known for their power. But Jouban is much more-polished, and we’ll see that Wednesday when he knocks Dwyer out.
Pick: Jouban by KO/TKO
Sam Sicilia ($10600) vs Yaotzin Meza ($8800)
Meza is the submission specialist and Sicilia has the knockout power. So which wins out? I’ve never been the biggest Meza fan, and Sicilia knows he has to keep this standing. Look for him to land a bomb that puts Meza down and out. He’ll be worth the salary.
Pick: Sicilia by KO/TKO
Jessica Andrade ($11200) vs Sarah Moras ($8200)
Andrade would have become a daily fantasy rockstar after she landed over 200 punches against Rosi Sexton in her first UFC win two years ago. She hasn’t been able to replicate that output since then, and Moras is the type of fighter that is more than good enough to hang with Andrade until the final bell. Moras was able to defend against the world-class jits of Alexis Dufresne, and she’ll be able to do that here, too. But Andrade will spend a lot of time in top position, which will propel her to a decision win. There are better ways to spend that $11,200.
Pick: Andrade by decision
Manny Gamburyan ($10300) vs Scott Jorgensen ($9100)
A potentially fun scrap between two grizzled vets, but all signs point to this one going to a decision. I like Gamburyan to get the win, but I’ll be staying away from this one.
Pick: Gamburyan by decision
Rani Yahya ($9700) vs Masenori Kanehara ($9700)
The rare pick ’em in Draft Kings, where two fighters going against each other have the same salary. Rani Yahya, besides having the most fun name to say in MMA, has one of the best ground games in the sport. Kanehara has been around for over a decade, but just came to the UFC recently. He looked good in a decision win against Alex Caceres in his debut. But I like Yahya to do what he does best — work his jits and get the submission win.
Pick: Yahya by submission
Sean Strickland ($11500) vs Igor Araujo ($7900)
Araujo is an aging fighter who a low-volume striker with a good ground game. Strickland is an up-and-comer with all-around skills. He’s got the perfect set of skills to put Araujo away, just like George Sullivan did in his last fight. Araujo will make it to the third and that’s when Strickland will finish the job.
Pick: Strickland by KO/TKO
Kevin Casey ($9900) vs Ildemar Alcantara ($9500)
Kevin Casey is a legit BJJ Black Belt who has improved his striking over the years. He has some deception to his game in both standing and on the ground. Alcantara is a tough out, but Casey has such a great ground game that I think he will be able to submit the Brazilian.
Pick: Casey by submission
Lyman Good ($11300) vs Andrew Craig ($8100)
Lyman Good once ruled the roost in the salad days of Bellator, but he failed in his attempt to make it onto “The Ultimate Fighter.” Craig looked like a legit prospect in his first few UFC fights, but has faltered of late with two uninspiring losses. Good has only lost to top level fighters in Ben Askren, Rick Hawn and Andrey Koreshkov. I think he makes a statement in this fight, finishing Craig for a win in his UFC debut.
Pick: Good by submission