A week after UFC 217, which was one of the best fight cards in mixed martial arts history, the UFC looks to replicate success as it heads to Norfolk, Virginia. The headliner is a banger, as two strikers in Dustin Poirier and Anthony Pettis meet in a pivotal fight in the Lightweight division. The winner undoubtedly will catapult themselves into a top five fight in an increasingly tough division.
Anyways, Let’s get to the Predictions!
UFC Fight Night 120 Main Card (10 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Dustin Poirier vs. Anthony Pettis – I’m really torn on this prediction, as I was all on Poirier leading up to this fight. I thought that the performance against Eddie Alvarez was spectacular and a true sign that Poirier had cracked through the wall that has kept him from title contention. However, while Poirier is an excellent boxer, I feel like Pettis being a more diverse striker is the difference. Pettis has the ability to break Poirier down with leg kicks, just as long as he can establish distance.
Also, if Poirier decides to take Pettis down, it might be a mistake. Pettis has an underrated guard, one in which won him the Lightweight title against Benson Henderson. If you recall, Pettis locked in an armbar from his guard to win it. Anyways, this fight is going to be awesome, but my prediction is that Pettis wins via late TKO.
170 lbs.: Matt Brown vs. Diego Sanchez – Although Sanchez is known for his durability and toughness, I see the former shell of himself getting absolutely destroyed here. And I know Matt Brown has hit a rough patch of him own, but his last fight against Cerrone showed vast improvement. I mean, Brown landed some solid strikes against Cerrone and it was a close fight until Cerrone landed a head kick that ended it in the third round.
When’s the last fight that Sanchez realistically looked solid in the striking department? Maybe against Jake Ellenberger in 2012? Anyways, like I said, I’ve got Brown via complete destruction. I believe the “Immortal” will head into retirement with a vicious knockout victory over Sanchez.
265 lbs.: Junior Albini vs. Andrei Arlovski – Honestly, I have no idea what to expect in this fight. Arlovski has lost five in row and has been stopped in four of the defeats. Rewind to September 5, 2015 and Arlovski was on a six-fight win streak and being discussed to contend for the Heavyweight title. How crazy?
Albini, is coming an incredible UFC debut, as he TKO’d Timothy Johnson. Now, Johnson had only been finished once in his career, via submission in his second professional fight. To finish Johnson in the very first round due to strikes, speaks volumes about the striker that Albini is.
That doesn’t bode well for Arlovski, but call me crazy, I’m siding with Arlovski here. I know his chin is all but deteriorated, but his power hasn’t. I see a young Heavyweight licking his chops, winging punches and being overly sloppy. That’s when Arlovski ends a counter right that ends Albini’s night. So with that, I got Arlovski via knockout!
185 lbs.: Cezar Ferreira vs. Nate Marquardt – Now, I’ll never tell a fighter when it’s time to retire, but Marquardt is 3-7 in his last ten fights. Of those seven defeats, he was knocked out four times. A fight against a veteran would be more beneficial then fighting a physical specimen who will have size and strength advantage in Ferreira. This just seems sacrificial to me, as Marquardt is the Lamb and Ferreira is the Wolf. So without further ado, I’ve got Ferreira via TKO!
135 lbs.: Raphael Assuncao vs. Matthew Lopez – The fact that Lopez missed weight, is enough to side with Assuncao. Often missed weight stems from a sickness or just a poor weight cut, in which the fighter endured a lot of pain attempting to make the weight limit. That doesn’t bode well for me in Lopez’s biggest fight to date, one in which could catapult him into the top five of the Bantamweight division.
Anyways, Assuncao is one of the more underrated fighters in the UFC and this is just way to big of a step up for Lopez. I see Assuncao keeping this on the feet, hitting Lopez with plenty of volume en route to a decision victory.
155 lbs.: Clay Guida vs. Joe Lauzon – This is great matchmaking, as both men are veterans and aren’t being fed to a young lion trying to make him name here. If this fight happened six years ago, this would of resulted in a “Fight of the Night” bonus. However, it happens now and I’ve got Guida winning. I think Lauzon has now become a fast starter, who gasses out after round one. Guida is one of the more conditioned athletes, who’s cardio has never been in question, even as he ages.
I see Guida’s time at Team Alpha Male carrying him to a relatively easy victory, as he takes down Lauzon and controls him in the mat. In the later rounds, Guida will be fresher and I could definitely see a late finish. However, Lauzon has shown insane toughness and I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt to survive. So with that, I got Guida via decision.
UFC Fight Night 120 Prelims On FOX Sports 1 (8 p.m. ET):
135 lbs.: John Dodson vs. Marlon Moraes – This is an incredibly tough fight to call, but I’m going to side with Dodson. I believe that Dodson’s speed and volume striking is the difference here. Moraes, while a dangerous striker, I feel lacks the volume needed to win this fight. He’s a combination striker with legit knockout power, but his periods of inactivity hampered him in his last fight against Raphael Assuncao.
In order for Moraes to implement him game, he must heavily involve leg strikes to slow down Dodson. If he does that, then I believe he wins. However, I don’t see that happening, as Dodson is just too elusive and fast for these Bantamweights. So with that, I got Dodson via decision.
115 lbs.: Viviane Pereira vs. Tatiana Suarez – Kudos to Pereira for remaining undefeated, beating two tough foes in the UFC in Valerie Letourneau and Jamie Moyle. However, I think that O goes here. Suarez, the Ultimate Fighter 23 winner is my darkhorse in this division. She’s a monster wrestler, who’s top control is impossible to escape. Once on the ground, her solid submission game finishes the job.
With a 5′ inch height advantage, I think that Suarez will hit Pereira with some hard jabs, opening up the take down. Once Pereira is matted, Suarez will land some hard ground-and-pound, eventually opening up the submission victory.
Suarez is a future Champion, mark my words!
170 lbs.: Sage Northcutt vs. Michel Quinones – I probably should side with Quinones here, but something tells me that Northcutt’s time at Team Alpha Male is going to win him this fight. I believe that while Northcutt appreciates the fact that Quinones is a striker, he won’t partake in much of that. Instead he will turn into a wrestler here and take Quinones down at will en route to a decision victory.
115 lbs.: Nina Ansaroff vs. Angela Hill – I’m going to side with Hill here. I just believe that Hill has been through the lowest of lows, which came early in her career when she was fed to the wolves while inexperienced. Then she was given a chance to develop herself in Invicta and flourished, which ultimately led to her return as a legit contender. Make no mistake though, this is a tough fight for Hill.
Ansaroff is equally a talented striker, but I believe she’s going to try and take Hill down instead of try to out strike her. While Ansaroff might see some success early in that gameplan, I see Hill attacking from bottom and getting back rather easily. A drained Ansaroff then will be picked apart in the later rounds and my prediction is that Hill wins this via decision.
UFC Fight Night 120 Prelims On Fight Pass (6:30 p.m. ET):
170 lbs.: Court McGee vs. Sean Strickland – I wish Court McGee would just fight veterans, as he’s clearly lost a step. However, he’s still insanely durable and a pressure fighter that just keep on coming no matter how battered he is. Problem is, Strickland is very well rounded and despite getting beat up by Kamara Usman (Future Champion) in his last fight, he was steadily starting to build momentum. So with that, I believe Strickland gets back on track here and I hate to say this, but via a beat down third-round stoppage.
205 lbs.: Jake Collier vs. Marcel Fortuna – Honestly, Fortuna is probably the pick here, but I’m going with the wild and durable Collier. He’s feisty as hell and I just can’t get enough of that combination he finished Alberto Uda with. As long as he can stuff Fortuna’s attempt to take this one to the mat, then I think we got a real shot to win this. So with that, I got Collier via third-round knockout.
185 lbs.: Karl Roberson vs. Darren Stewart – Both fighters are finishers, with Stewart entering this contest at a 71% finishing rate and Roberson at a 80% finishing rate. Stewart is coming off his first career defeat, in which he was taken down repeatedly and controlled while on the mat. Luckily for him, Roberson is a striker. However, Roberson is a more technical striker and unlike Stewart, he won’t fade as the rounds go on. So with that, I’m going to go with the more refined striker in Roberson to win this via knockout.