At UFC Fight Night 95, the Baddest Woman on the Planet Cris “Cyborg” Justino steps into the Octagon for the second time. Her first, lasted a mere 81 seconds, as she demolished Leslie Smith. Her combatant comes in the form of Lina Lansberg, who will be making her promotional debut and a very tough one to say the least. Lansberg comes into this bout with a 6-1 record, including four wins by knockout. She’s got a wealth of kickboxing experience, but her lack of mixed martial arts experience doesn’t spell well.
In the Co-Main event, former UFC Bantamweight Champion Renan Barao returns for his second go around in the Featherweight division against TUF 8 alum Phillipe Nover. Barao, made his Featherweight debut last May against Jeremy Stephens. In a back-and-forth battle, the judges awarded Stephens the decision victory. Nover, who during TUF was dubbed “The next Anderson Silva”, has not quite lived up to those expectations. In fact, he lost his first three UFC bouts, was released and then signed back five years later. He’s 1-1 in his second stint, but is coming off a split decision defeat to Zubaira Tukhugov. In other words, this is a huge step up and opportunity for Nover.
There are some other solid bouts on this card like Roy Nelson vs. Antonio Silva, Francisco Trinaldo vs. Paul Felder, Jussier Formiga vs. Dustin Ortiz. Anyways, let’s just get to the Predictions!
FOX Sports 1 Main Card (10 p.m. ET):
140 lbs.: Cris Cyborg vs. Lina Lansberg – At this point, it’s more time consuming to break Cyborg fights down, then they last. So I’m going to take the opportunity to pick Cyborg to win via knockout, as Lansberg just doesn’t have the experience to even come close to having a shot at winning. Again, Cyborg via KO!
145 lbs.: Renan Barao vs. Phillipe Nover – As I previously mentioned, this will be Barao’s second fight in the featherweight division. It will be his first “Cookie” of a fight though since fighting in Jungle Fight back in 2010. I mean, Nover’s last defeat to Zubaira Tukhugov says it all. It doesn’t help either that his cardio is super suspect. Barao should eat this one up, in route to a knockout victory.
265 lbs.: Antonio Silva vs. Roy Nelson – I’m going to be as brief as this fight. Nelson via KO!
155 lbs.: Francisco Trinaldo vs. Paul Felder – Quietly Francisco Trinaldo has staked claim to a six-fight win streak. Oddly, he hasn’t gotten the notice from the UFC brass. What I mean is, why isn’t he fighting someone in the top ten? Anyways, his combatant Paul Felder is one of the more dynamic strikers in the divisions and is coming into this bout on a two-fight win streak. As for a prediction, I’m going to be brief. I had high hopes for Felder, but he for whatever reason doesn’t dominate like I think he should. So, with Trinaldo’s ever improving striking, heavy hands and suffocating grappling abilites, I’m going to have to side with him. Trinaldo keeps his win streak rolling via decision.
185 lbs.: Thiago Santos vs. Eric Spicely – Poor poor Eric Spicely. First, he makes his UFC debut against a heavy handed veteran in Sam Alvey, who beat submitted him in round one. Then he has to face Thiago Santos??? The same guy who’s been knocking heads clean off? So with that, give me Thiago Santos here to collect another knockout victory
145 lbs.: Mike De La Torre vs. Godofredo Pepey – I’m not terribly high on either guy. De La Torre is well rounded and Pepey is a wildman. It actually reminds me of the Alan Patrick vs. Stevie Ray fight, which I sided with the more well rounded Ray. This time I’m switching it up and going with the wildman Pepey. I’m thinking flying armbar!
FOX Sports 1 “Prelims” (8 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Gilbert Burns vs. Michel Prazeres – This is either going to be a grappling heavy contest or an iffy striking contest in which I favor Burns in. In fact, I favor Burns in the grappling department too, which leads me to my quick prediction. Burns via late submission!
145 lbs.: Rani Yahya vs. Michinori Tanaka – Despite Yayha holding a 7-2 record in the UFC, I must admit that I’m not quite sure he’s that good. I think it’s a product of his opponents and also there lack there of grappling. Tanaka is a good enough grappler to either avoid Yayha or shrug him off. On the feet, Tanaka’s high pace and volume is going to be a problem for Yayha, who’s gas tank has look suspect at times. So with that, I got Tanaka pulling this one out in the third round via TKO!
125 lbs.: Jussier Formiga vs. Dustin Ortiz – Another fun fight, but also one I think that Jussier Formiga should handily take. I only say that because Ortiz’s paths to victory are all nullified by Formiga’s improving striking and world class grappling. And if Ortiz was a better striking and not very reliant on wrestling, I would favor him. However, he’s not and Formiga is one of the very best talents in the flyweight division. He’ll show that in route to an easy decision victory.
170 lbs.: Erick Silva vs. Luan Chagas – Man have times fallen on Erick Silva. The once regarded “Next Big Thing” in the Welterweight division has had quite the fall from grace. And I’m not going to make accusations, but it’s clear since the UFC ramped up it’s drug testing, that his body completely changed. His cardio is no longer existent and his chin is slowly deteriorating. So after all that, I’m still going to pick him because I have no idea who Luan Changas is, nor do I believe that Silva is that incapable of beating Changas. Silva via vintage KO!
UFC Fight Pass “Prelims” (6:30 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Alan Patrick vs. Stevie Ray – Fun fight! You got a wild man in Alan Patrick, who also might have the poorest fight IQ in the UFC and you have a heavy handed, yet well round Stevie Ray. Patrick comes into this bout fresh off a victory over Damien Brown, meanwhile Stevie Ray has tallied off five straight wins, three of which come in the UFC. As talented and physically imposing Patrick is, I can side with someone who is wild and puts himself in bad situation. Especially when it’s against a hot-handed Stevie Ray. So with that I have Ray taking this on via late TKO!
170 lbs.: Vicente Luque vs. Hector Urbina – This is a setup fight, as Urbina is being used as fodder here. Luque is a up-and-coming talent, meanwhile Urbina is a veteran that’s been stuck at mediocrity. It might have something to do with his lack there of cardio, which will work in the favor of Luque. So with that, I have Luque via late submission.
155 lbs.: Glaico Franca vs. Gregor Gillespie – I’ve only seen Glaico Franca fight, as he lost by decision to James Vick. In other words, Franca wins…by decision!