A day before UFC 206, the UFC first hosts UFC Fight Night 102 in Albany, New York. This will be the second card held in New York in less than a month. Headlining this card, is a pair of heavyweights in Derrick Lewis and Shamil Abdurakhimov. It’s an odd fight in terms of matchmaking, as Lewis is coming off his biggest win to date against Roy Nelson and in the midst of a four-fight win streak. Abdurakhimov, has won two straight fights since dropping his UFC debut to Timothy Johnson. A win over Lewis, would instantly catapult Abdurakhimov close to the top ten.
Co-Headlining the card, is another pair of heavyweights in Francis Ngannou and Anthony Hamilton. Ngannou, a winner of seven straight fights has been nothing but spectacular since joining the UFC almost a year ago. He’s 3-0 in the UFC with three finishes. As for Hamilton, he’s coming off a 14 second knockout victory over Damian Grabowski. He’s been a mixed bag in the UFC, trading wins and losses in his six fights.
Anyways, let’s get to the Predictions!
UFC Fight Pass Main Card (9 p.m. ET):
265 lbs.: Derrick Lewis vs. Shamil Abdurakhimov – Odd main event. I mean, I’ve known about Abdurakhimov from the times he beat Jeff Monson and Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou. I’ve always thought he was a UFC-caliber fighter, and it’s refreshing to see that he finally arrived and has been fairly consistent since. However, this fight is going to be his toughest to date. Lewis is no joke, as he’s one of the heaviest hitters and is just an extremely strong person in general. He’s won four straight fights, including three by knockout. He’s coming off a win over Roy Nelson and before that a Performance of the Night against Gabriel Gonzaga. Lewis is battle tested and I can’t see him losing this fight. The only route to victory that Abdurakhimov has is wrestling and grinding out Lewis into the later rounds. And I just can’t see that happening… So with that, I have Lewis via first round KO!
265 lbs.: Anthony Hamilton vs. Francis Ngannou – Aww yeaaaa, some Heavyweight action in which I can assure that somebodies going to sleep. Ngannou, is a rare commodity in the Heavyweight division. He’s a fresh face, a prospect if you will and only 30 years old. The average age among Heavyweights is probably 36, so he’s a spring chicken in this division. As for Hamilton, he’s coming off his biggest win to date, as he recorded a 14 second victory over Damian Grabowski. Name-sake not the biggest, but just the destruction and quickness to it makes me more giddy when he collides with Ngannou. Unfortunately for Hamilton though, I favor Ngannou in every aspect of this fight. Plus, Hamilton hasn’t shown a bit of consistency in the UFC and he’s had a pattern of wins and losses…and if the trend continues, this one should result in a loss. I agree, as I have Ngannou via KO!
205 lbs.: Corey Anderson vs. Sean O’Connell – Now we’re talking! This is a fun fight, but an easy one to pick. It all comes down to technique and Corey Anderson has it. O’Connell is a fan favorite fighter, as he’s willing to brawl with no caution at all. Anderson also happens to be an excellent grappler, which he could use in this fight if O’Connell comes at him too aggressively. So, in my opinion Anderson has more routes to win. However, I think he just touches up O’Connell on the feet with his technical striker. So with that, I have Anderson carving up O’Connell before finishing him off late in the third.
205 lbs.: Gian Villante vs. Saparbek Safarov – These fights are just like “Really”. I mean, who is Safarov and what did he do with a person on the UFC roster I know? Villante, a New Yorker, should have no issues with this fight and is going to have the crowd on his side. I can’t even continue to break this down…Villante via KO!
UFC Fight Pass “Prelims” (6 p.m. ET):
115 lbs.: Justine Kish vs. Ashley Yoder – I know both are TUF alums, but I only saw TUF 20 in which Kish was in. She was injured during the season, but I know she’s a solid striker. That’s good enough for me to side with her. So with that, I got Kish via decision.
170 lbs.: Randy Brown vs. Brian Camozzi – Brown, is basically now a veteran of the UFC, which is crazy to say given he was found on Dana White’s show “Looking for a Fight” not long ago. He’s 2-1 in the UFC, most recently defeating Erick Montano via submission in a fight in which he was probably losing. His combatant, Brian Camozzi is the brother of UFC veteran Chris Camozzi, but that’s all I know. So obviously I’m not picking him. I’m siding with Brown, who’s an ever improving striker and fighter in general. He’s had growing pains since joining the UFC, but he’s young and he’s already shown improvement since his debut. Anyways, I got Brown taking this via decision.
185 lbs.: Joseph Gigliotti vs. Gerald Meerschaert – O come on, another pair of fighters that I barely know. Um…the coin flip goes to Gigliotti via decision.
185 lbs.: Andrew Sanchez vs. Trevor Smith – “Hot Sauce” Trevor Smith is one of the oddest fighters I’ve seen. He’s steadily improved in the striking department and his grappling is solid. He’s actually been…um…consistent. Also I don’t who Andrew Sanchez is, so with that, I have Smith via decision.
155 lbs.: Shane Burgos vs. Tiago Trator – Never heard of Burgos and I’ve seen multiple fights of Tiago Trator. You know how this goes…Trator via decision.
155 lbs.: Frankie Perez vs. Marc Diakiese – Fun fight, as you got a recently unretired Frankie Perez against a highlight real striker in Marc Diakiese. As for a prediction, I’m siding with Perez, despite being a rather decisive underdog in this fight. I just wasn’t overly impressed with Diakiese in his UFC debut against Lukasz Sajewski. His opponent was already 0-2 in the UFC and just didn’t look the part of fighter to begin with and Diakiese struggled with him early. Perez trains with Frankie Edgar, Eddie Alvarez among other guys. Perez is going to use a heavy dose of grappling and neutralize Diakiese striking by having him on his back. So while everyone is high on Diakiese, I’m not sold yet. Maybe this fight turns me into a believer, but for now, I got Perez winning this via decision.
185 lbs.: Keith Berish vs. Ryan Janes – Wait, isn’t Berish the dude that got sacrificed to Robert Drysdale? That was like 2 years ago…which is why I’m not picking him. So with that analytical breakdown, I got Janes via decision.
115 lbs.: Juliana Lima vs. J.J. Aldrich – Not Sure who J.J. Aldrich is, but I do know Juliana Lima. So the way this prediction goes, is that I’m siding with the one I know…Lima via decision.