The UFC continues it’s travels overseas, as in the last two weeks, they’ve touched down in Sweden and Brazil. Now, the UFC touched down in Auckland, New Zealand with a hell of a headliner. Said headliner, features two of the hardest hitting Heavyweights on the planet, as Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis locks horns with hometown favorite Mark “The Super Samoan” Hunt. This is an important fight for both, as Lewis is riding on six fight-win streak and a victory over Hunt could very well mean a title shot. As for Hunt, this is a career defining moment. At 43 years of age, a victory over Lewis would instantly catapult Hunt back into contender status. A loss, could mean the end.
Co-Headlining the card, a pair of ranked Middleweights collide, as Derek Brunson takes on hometown favorite Dan Kelly. It’s been rough sledding for Brunson his last two fights, as his overly aggressive gameplan got him knocked out by Robert Whittaker and most recently, he fell defeat to Anderson Silva in a very controversial decision. A victory here, is much needed. As for Dan Kelly, at 39 years old and with basically one leg, he’s getting the job done somehow. Seemingly an underdog in every fight, Kelly has amassed a 6-1 UFC record. In his last fight, he edged out former Light Heavyweight Champion Rashad Evans via split decision. Nevertheless, Kelly proved he belonged and broke the top 15 Middleweight rankings. A victory over Brunson could very well catapult the unlikely contender into the Top 10.
Anyways, let’s get to the Predictions!
UFC Fight Night 110 Main Card On FOX Sports 1 (10 p.m. ET):
205 lbs.: Derrick Lewis vs. Mark Hunt – I can tell you this, we don’t need five rounds to decide your winner. These are two sluggers with one goal in mind, knock the other out. The man that’s going to be putting the lights out of his opponent, is going to be Mark Hunt. Technique wise, he’s far superior to Derrick Lewis. If Lewis though Travis Browne’s leg kick to the body hurts, then wait till he feels a “Super Samaon” leg kick to the shin or simply a punch to the body. However, predicting Heavyweight fights is like playing Black or Red on roulette. You have a 50-50 shot of winning…
Anyways, Lewis has been very impressive on this six-fight win streak, finishing all of his opponents except Roy Nelson. But, he’s still too wild of a striker for my liking and it’s cost in the past. I mean, Shawn Jordan lit him up and Mitrione knocked him out in 41 seconds. Hunt might be on a skid, but it’s not due to being wild, it’s more so the competition. Lewis is tough competition, but he’s never fought someone like Hunt and he’s going to find that out in the very first round. Hunt via KO!
185 lbs.: Derek Brunson vs. Daniel Kelly – Gosh, I really hate to do this…but I can’t see how Dan Kelly wins this fight. Keep in mind, I’ve said this about Kelly in just about everyone of his fights. I’ve been pretty much wrong, as Kelly has amassed an impressive 6-1 record. However, Brunson is heavy handed striker and an excellent wrestler. So what in the world is Kelly going to offer??? Add that with the fact that Brunson is on a two fight skid and there is going to be a wrath. So with that, I got Brunson via knockout!
155 lbs.: Dan Hooker vs. Ross Pearson – This has potential “Fight of the Night” written all over it. Two strikers, who will go toe to toe. I’d say Pearson has the edge in striking just based off technique, but Hooker is going to have a 6.5 reach advantage. That’s huge and if Hooker can use his distance, he could pick apart Pearson. However, I’m siding with Pearson here. I think he’s just too good of a striker to let that reach advantage disrupt him. Pearson’s going to find a way to get inside and pick apart Hooker en route to a decision victory.
205 lbs.: Ion Cutelaba vs. Henrique da Silva – I used to think that Henrique da Silva was going to potentially be a contender in the Light Heavyweight division. However, he’s lost two straight fights and his cardio looks to be nothing to write home about. On the other hand, Cutelaba is very durable and keeps a strong pace. I believe that once this fight hits deep waters, Cutelaba is going to finish da Silva. So with that, I got Cutelaba via third round knockout.
125 lbs.: Tim Elliott vs. Ben Nguyen – Aww yeaaa! I love how Flyweights get no respect, especially when you get matchups like this. Tim Elliott is one of the most exciting fighters in all of the UFC, which is funny considering this is his second UFC stint. However, with a very competitive fight against Champion Demetrious Johnson and a highly entertaining victory over Luis Smolka, it’s safe to say he’s going nowhere. As for this fight, Nguyen would like to keep this on the feet, where he probably holds a striking advantage, especially in the power department. Then again though, Elliott is such an awkward striker and is often unpredictable. The big edge in this fight goes to Elliott in the grappling department, as he’s just so crafty and slick. So with that, I got Elliott via decision.
145 lbs.: Mizuto Hirota vs. Alex Volkanovski – Man, I really like Hirota and I think the odds in this fight are a little crazy. He proved he could handle a striker in Teruto Ishihara and a huge Featherweight in Cole Miller, who is an exceptional grappler. But, Volkanovski has a lot of hype heading into this match and he looked fairly solid, especially grappling wise in his debut. So, I guess I’ll side with him via decision in a closely contested fight.
UFC Fight Night 110 “Prelims” On FOX Sports 1 (8 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Damien Brown vs. Vinc Pichel – Been impressed with Brown, as I didn’t expect him to stick around the UFC. I just didn’t see the talent, but his heart has proved to be that of a lion. However, I’m picking Pichel here. Since getting suplex city’d by Rustam Khabilov, he’s has vastly improved his grappling abilities to go along with his already good striking. This should be relatively competitive, but again I got Pichel here via decision.
170 lbs.: Luke Jumeau vs. Dominique Steele – Jeez, another newcomer…I guess I’m siding with Steele here. Albeit wild, he does pack a hell of a punch and he’s also got a hell of a chin. So with that, I’m thinking Steele gets it done early via knockout
125 lbs.: Ashkan Mokhtarian vs. John Moraga – Never heard of this Mokhtarian cat, but he’s definitely got a shot here. Moraga, a former title challenger has been in a terrible downward spiral. With three straight losses, he could be facing a pink slip with another loss. However, I’m not picking against Moraga here. His boxing is crisp and he’s got serviceable grappling. Think he makes a statement here and wins this via submission.
170 lbs.: Kiichi Kunimoto vs. Zak Ottow – So far, Ottow has had two UFC fights, both of which were split decisions. He was awarded the victory in one of them, which happened to be a solid win over Josh Burkman. I probably should be siding with him here, but Kunimoto is going to grab the upset here. I believe he’s got better grappling abilities and despite a long layoff, his cardio and durability have always been solid. So with that, I got Kunimoto via decision.
UFC Fight Night 110 “Prelims” On Fight Pass (7 p.m. ET):
115 lbs.: J.J. Aldrich vs. Chan-Mi Jeon – Don’t know…I guess Mi Jeon via decision.
155 lbs.: Thibault Gouti vs. Dong Hyun Kim – Think I’ve seen Gouti get starched three times in a row, make it four as little “Stun Gun” knocks him out in round one.