A week after UFC 208 in Brooklyn, which was a dud, the UFC is back in action in Halifax, Canada. Speaking of UFC 208, the headliner of this card was originally slated for Brooklyn. The UFC was forced to pull Derrick Lewis vs. Travis Browne off that card after the original headliner of Junior Dos Santos vs. Stefan Struve fell off due to an injury.
Lewis, comes into this bout on a five-fight win streak. He’s finished four of those five fights, with the his lone decision victory coming over Roy Nelson. This will be his second headliner in a row, a sign to come that the “Black Beast” is riding some momentum towards a title shot. As for Browne, it’s been a tough go of late, as he’s dropped two straight. However, his last two fights have been against Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum. In other words, murderer’s row. Anyways, if Browne wants to prove he belongs in the upper echelon of the Heavyweight division, he needs to win this fight.
In the co-headliner, a pair of ex-Welterweights lock horns, as Johnny Hendricks takes on Hector Lombard. Hendricks, the former UFC Welterweight Champion has fallen of hard times of late. Paired with his inability to make 170 lbs, he’s lost three fights in row. A change was obviously needed, as he now heads up to the Middleweight division in hopes to revive his career. His combatant is in the form of Hector Lombard. The former Bellator Middleweight Champion has not exactly lit the UFC on fire. He’s however provided some memorable knockouts and fights. Following two straight losses, both in which could of been stopped in his favor early, Lombard perhaps has his UFC fate on the line. His last win was against Jake Shields back in 2014, although did defeat Josh Burkman in 2015, only for it to be overturned after Lombard tested positive for anabolic steroids. Obviously, this is a dire match for both.
Anyways, let’s just get to the Predictions!
Find my predictions here: Tapology Predictions
FOX Sports 1 Main Card (9 p.m. ET):
265 lbs.: Derrick Lewis vs. Travis Browne – Usually I’ll breakdown main events longer than other fights, but this one isn’t going to the judges. This one doesn’t particularly involve technique more so than who I think is going to connect with the knockout punch. Browne, while athletically gifted has squandered his UFC career ever since training at the Glendale fight club. It’s sad too because I labeled him as a future Champion back in the day, but he looks nothing more than a gatekeeper. One whom won’t do a good job at stopping the “Black Beast”. Lewis is going to connect and put Browne to sleep, mark my words!
185 lbs.: Johny Hendricks vs. Hector Lombard – Fun fight! This one should be fireworks, as you got two heavy hitters! Well, actually, Hendricks hasn’t quite been the heavy hitter he used to. In fact, his last knockout win was in 2012 over Martin Kampmann. He’s also lost three fights in a row and has been forced up to the Middleweight division in part because of the losing streak and his failure to make weight. As for Lombard, he’s on a two fight skid and it’s a tough one to swallow. He arguable could be on a two fight win streak, as he knocked down and had his opponents in serious trouble, only to later get finished himself. My heart tells me that Hendricks isn’t washed up yet, but I just can’t pick him against the heavy slugger Lombard. I think Hendricks goes night night, as Lombard wins via KO!
145 lbs.: Sam Sicilia vs. Gavin Tucker – I used to think that Sicilia was a dangerous fighter, but he’s more so reckless. He gets into brawls and throw away his wrestling, often finding himself on the wrong end of a knockout. Tucker, although a debuting fighter, I’ve seen some great things from him on youtube. He reminds me Dominick Cruz, as he’s got excellent footwork, is elusive and throws strikes coming from odd angles. He’s got more skills than Sicilia and at some point, I see Tucker dropping Sicilia and jumping on him for a submission victory.
185 lbs.: Cezar Ferreira vs. Elias Theodorou – Interesting fight, although it could be an ugly one viewing wise. Theodorou likes to grind opponents against the cage and take them down, unleashing some decent ground and pound. He’s not a finisher, so I don’t suspect him to starch “Mutante”. Speaking of which, Ferreira has really turned it around, winning three straight fights. His counter punching and grappling have been carrying him in fights, especially in his most recent win over Jack Hermansson. His chin is always suspect, but he doesn’t have to worry about that in this fight. As for a prediction, I’m conflicted, but I have Theodorou by decision on the account that it’s in his home country Canada!
135 lbs.: Sara McMann vs. Gina Mazany – Eek! McMann is going to dominant this fight, either winning by a finish or just giving out the beatdown of a lifetime. Unfortunately, I think the latter…McMann via dominant decision.
155 lbs.: Paul Felder vs. Alessandro Ricci – I feel like I know Ricci from the regional scene, but this is a rough debut. Felder is a dynamic striker that really needs to step it up in this fight, as he’s been beatable despite having a superior edge in the striking department. He never seems to finish guys, so I got him winning this via decision.
FOX Sports 1 “Prelims” (7 p.m. ET):
170 lbs.: Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Nordine Taleb – I’m conflicted in this fight. Ponzinibbio has been super impressive thus far, with a 5-2 UFC record. He’s riding a three-fight win streak, using his ever improving takedown defense, athleticism and precise striking. As for Taleb, the TUF Nations alum has also been successful, with a 4-1 UFC record. He’s a physically imposing 170 lbs., often overpowering opponents with his strength. At 35 years old, it’s due or die to make the climb and although I believe Ponzinibbio has more ways to win this and is probably more skilled, I’m siding with Taleb. He’s a cerebral fighter, which could be due to training at Tristar and also his strength could overpower Ponzinibbio. If he could push Ponzinibbio to cage and wear him down, keeping him from striking, then I think he can pull off a decision victory. So with that, I have Taleb via decision.
115 lbs.: Carla Esparza vs. Randa Markos – This is an intriguing fight, but I feel like Esparza isn’t really looking to be a contender here. Why not take the Claudia Gadelha fight? It was a fight that was scheduled to happen in Invicta FC, they have beef and Gadelha is the number one contender. Seemed like a no brainer, but maybe she isn’t quite ready for those fights, but I don’t think scheduling a fight against Markos was smart either. I really believe Markos is the darkhorse of the Strawweight division. If you saw TUF 20, the potential is there, just waiting to get tapped into. With a 2-3 UFC record, I think it’s time Markos makes a statement. So with that, I believe that Markos will outwork Esparza on the feet and deny Esparza of using her wrestling en route to a upset decision victory.
135 lbs.: Reginaldo Vieira vs. Aiemann Zahabi – Never seen either of them fight, but I do know that Aiemann Zahabi is the brother of Tristar coach Firas Zahabi. That’s all I need to know…Zahabi via KO!
185 lbs.: Jack Marshman vs. Thiago Santos – This is a really fun fight! Two strikers, but both with different styles. Marshmann is a pure boxer, meanwhile Santos is a Muay Thai specialist. I really can’t see this one needing judges and I firmly believe that Santos will get the job done. He’s got massive leg kicks that will pierce your shins, haunt your liver or shut out your lights. His hands are heavy too and I know Marshmann likes to go punch for punch, but it’s not going to be ideal in this fight. So with that, I got Santos via KO!
Fight Pass “Prelims” (6:30 p.m. ET):
185 lbs.: Ryan Janes vs. Gerald Meerschaert – Never seen either fight, but looking at their recent fights, I’d say I edge Meershaert. He’s heading into this on a six fight win streak, finishing all six of his opponents. He also seems to be a submission expert, which is what I’ll pick him to win by in this fight.