After a one week absence, the UFC returns action in Rotterdam, Netherlands. This will be the first time the UFC has touched down in the Netherlands, as they continue to try and expand their global reach. Headlining the card, is two top ranked Heavyweights in the form of the Dutchman Alistair “The Reem” Overeem and Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski. Peculiar, as these two men are stablemates at JacksonWink MMA, but have made it quite clear that they are not friends. And, even if they secretly are, once those octagon closes – no one is friends.
Anyways, Overeem will look to build off his recent knockout victory over former UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior Dos Santos. A victory that extended his winning streak to three and has him on the cusp of a UFC Heavyweight title shot. On the other hand, Arlovski will look to get back in the win column, as Stipe Miocic ended a four fight win streak that had “The Pitbull” at the doorstep of a title shot. An opportunity knocks though, as a win over Overeem will put Arlovski right back in the discussion.
The card also features another Heavyweight showdown, as another Dutchman in Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve will look to bounce back against former title challenger Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva. Also, Albert Tumenov takes on Gunnar Nelson, which could very well be your Fight of the Night. O, and Kyoji Horiguchi is on the card against Neil Seery – which will be fireworks! Anyways, to the Predictions!
FOX Sports 1 Main Card (2 p.m. ET):
265 lbs.: Alistair Overeem vs. Andrei Arlovski – Back in September of 2014, Alistair Overeem saw his UFC record drop to 2-3, as Ben Rothwell TKO’d him. Overeem’s future in the UFC seemed bleak, given the expectations, the failed drug test and the purse he makes per fight. However, he got another opportunity and has really seized it, rallying off three consecutive wins. A win over Arlovski, could solidfy a shot a the title next. However, Arlovski is no pushover and certainly made his presence in his second stint in the UFC. As for the fight, we have two of the very best strikers in the Heavyweight division and I can probably assure you that this will be contested on the feet. Overeem since his move to JacksonWink MMA has shown a more patient and technical approach to his striking. It’s another element to his game that has aided him in not taking a punch to give a punch, which has plagued him several times. Arlovski will look to use his athleticism and movement to create angles for his counter punching. Unfortunately though, I don’t think Overeem is going to be pressuring Arlovski and giving him an opportunity to counter punch. I think we could see a long feeling out period, similar to that of Overeem against Junior Dos Santos. If Overeem doesn’t play Arlovski’s game, then I don’t see any reason why he won’t win this. So with that, I’m going to predict that Alistair Overeem will TKO Andrei Arlovski in the third round.
265 lbs.: Stefan Struve vs. Antonio Silva – Both fighters need a win, both have had medical issues and both seem like a shell of their former selves. It’s honestly a toss up here, as both are excellent ground fighters and decent strikers. Silva’s chin seems all but gone and his career hangs in balance, which is why I’m going to pick him. He’s going to be desperate to win and Struve is no longer intimidating because of his size. He’s slow and hesitant and lacks that killer instinct he used to have earlier in his career. I got Antonio Silva via TKO in the 1st round.
170 lbs.: Gunnar Nelson vs. Albert Tumenov – This right here should be the main event, as we got two young talents colliding in what could be your Fight of the Night. Nelson, will look to get this one to the mat, where he undoubtedly holds the grappling advantage. He also can hold his own on the feet, but against a top notch striker like Albert Tumenov, the gameplan certainly won’t be to slug it out. I’m very mixed with a prediction because on one hand, if Tumenov’s takedown defense wards off Nelson, I think he wins. If Nelson is able to get him down, I don’t think he will be able to get back up. So, I’m go with the latter and predict that Gunnar Nelson will be able to take Tumenov down and grind him out with superior top control. Nelson via decision.
135 lbs.: Anna Elmose vs. Germaine de Randamie – I have no idea who Elmose is, but I definitely know who the “Iron Lady” is. She’s a decorated kickboxer, who’s only undefeated with a record of 37-0. Obviously though this is mixed martial arts and that sterling record has only translated into a 5-3 mma record, but since I know squat about Elmose, that’s enough for me to pick de Randamie via decision!
205 lbs.: Francimar Barroso vs. Nikita Krylov – I can’t pick against Krylov, I just can’t! I don’t think I’ve ever picked him, as I’ve always based my predictions off that slopfest of fight against Soa Palelei. I honestly saw no talent, no heart, no cardio, no (you name it). However, he changed his diet and dropped down to Light Heavyweight and has shown real progress. His striking is evolving and he seems to be developing a serviceable ground game. I think the sky’s the limit for Nikita “Al Capone” Krylov and I don’t think Barroso does any one thing to scare in saying that Krylov will win in the third round via TKO.
135 lbs.: Heather Jo Clark vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz – I think Clark is in for a long night here, as the only chance she has rides on her ability to get this one to the mat. Kowalkiewicz has speed, timing and very good kickboxing. I think the volume and her ability to be dynamic is going to give Heather Jo Clark a lot of problems as she tries to get inside. So with that, I have Kowalkiewisz winning by deicision, as she wards of Jo Clark’s grappling and technically picks her apart.
FOX Sports 1 Under Card (12:00 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Rustam Khabilov vs. Chris Wade – I like Wade, but he’s only showed to be wrestler. I haven’t seen anything special in striking department enough to sway me to believe that he can win this. Khabilov in his own right is a good wrestler with an improving striking game. I just don’t see where Wade wins this, so I’m going to side with Khabilov via deicision.
185 lbs.: Magnus Cedenblad vs. Garreth McLellan – Cedenblad might be a little rusty, as he hasn’t fought in more than year. I don’t think rust will matter though, as this is a tailored made match for him. McLellan is decent, but that’s about it. Cedenblad is scary on the feet and on the ground, especially his top control. So with that, I have Cedenblad doing whatever he wants and eventually winning via first round submission!
155 lbs.: Josh Emmett vs. Jon Tuck – I don’t know who Emmett is, but I commend him for taking this short notice opportunity. Unfortunately, I don’t think he’s going to beat Tuck, especially when he goes “Super Saiyan” (See What I Did There?). Anyways, Tuck is surprisingly a decent talent in my eyes and I’ve never gotten why he hasn’t been able to find consistency in winning. Well, here’s a chance to notch two in a row – which will happen as I got Tuck via submission.
155 lbs.: Yan Cabral vs. Reza Madadi – Ehh, I’m a go with the “Mad Dog” Reza Medadi here. Cabral has no striking ability whatsoever and Medadi is decent. Cabral’s game revolves around taking you down and holding you there. I think Medadi’s wrestling will suffice in countering it and earn him a decision victory.
UFC Fight Pass Undercard (10:30 a.m. ET):
125 lbs.: Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Neil Seery – Sick Fight! Horiguchi all day though, as I consider him to be one of the very best flyweights on the planet. In my opinion, besides Joseph Benavidez, Horiguchi is the only real threat left in the division. And, I know Demetrious Johnson dominanted him, but I believe Horiguchi got thrown in there way too soon. Anyways, Seery should stick in this contest and give him a fight, but with Horiguchi now training at ATT, I think we are in store for a more dynamic fighter. So with that, Horiguchi via TKO in the third round
170 lbs.: Leon Edwards vs. Dominic Waters – Poor Waters stepped in on short notice and fought Dong Hyun Kim. Now, he has to fight an up and coming talent who just held his own against a really superior wrestler in Kamaru Usman. Waters is a poor man’s Usman at best…Edwards via KO!
125 lbs.: Willie Gates vs. Ulka Sasaki – No clue who Sasaki is, but he’s undefeated and in phenomenal shape. However, I’m going to side with the explosive and very much in need of a win, Willie Gates.