The UFC continues it’s eleven events in eleven consecutive weeks with it’s fifth event down under in Sydney, Australia. Originally the headliner of this card was supposed to be Mark Hunt against Marcin Tybura, but Hunt was removed from the main event stemming from an interview where he revealed to have some concerning health issues. In stepped Fabricio Werdum, who is coming off a 65-second submission victory over Walt Harris just a little over a month ago. The new main event offers an excellent opportunity for both, as a victory for Werdum puts him one fight away from fighting for the title again and for Tybura, an opportunity to catapult himself into the top five.
Let’s get to the Predictions!
FOX Sports 1 Main Card (10 p.m. ET):
265 lbs.: Fabricio Werdum vs. Marcin Tybura – So, I don’t want to completely dismiss Tybura’s chances in this fight, but this is just too big of a step up in competition. It’s also a nightmare of a matchup, as Werdum is going to have the height and reach advantage. He’s also a better striker, grappler, submission artist and anything else you can think of. Tybura doesn’t throw lots of volume, he’s not the most athletic Heavyweight and his route to victory is only knocking out Werdum. Possible, but implausible. So with that, I’ve got Werdum winning this fight via submission in round one.
125 lbs.: Jessica-Rose Clark vs. Bec Rawlings – Fun fight and it’s good to see Rawlings fighting at her natural weight of 125 lbs. Also, it’s about time “Jessy Jess” got her shot in the UFC. As for the fight, this should be an exciting scrap, as both women are strikers. Rawlings will rely on her sharp boxing and sheer size advantage, while Clark will look to chop down her opponent with combinations that feature heavy leg kicks. As for a prediction, I’ve got Clark. She’s going to have the speed advantage, she’s durable as hell, she has better cardio and those leg kicks are going to slow down Rawlings tremendously. So with that, I’ve got Clark via decision.
170 lbs.: Tim Means vs. Belal Muhammad – This might be your “Fight of the Night”, as both men have contrasting styles, but a glutton for punishment. Means, is one of the best strikers in the UFC and uses standing elbows like no other. Means does his best when he can maintain distance with his opponent, but he’s not afraid to work inside with said standing elbows. Muhammad has legit power in his hands, but an opponent like Means will require him to get inside. From there, he could also work in some takedowns, in which could be the difference in this fight. If there’s a weakness of Means, it’s wrestlers.
However, Muhammad isn’t a lock down wrestler and even if he keeps Mean’s down, he’s going to take a litany of strikes from the bottom. Mean’s length only makes it worse too, as he can hit you from anywhere, probably even totally postured. So with that, in a fun and entertaining fight, I’ve got Mean’s via decision. I think that Muhammad’s takedowns, toughness and cardio keep him in the fight though for all three rounds.
170 lbs.: Jake Matthews vs. Bojan Velickovic – Originally I had Velickovic based on the downward trajectory of Matthews and the fact that he’s exponentially a better striker than Matthews. But, Matthews is still a prospect and his wrestling abilities are solid. This fight really comes down to if Matthews can secure takedowns and I believe he can. So with that, I have Matthews via decision.
185 lbs.: Daniel Kelly vs. Elias Theodorou – “Don’t Pick against Dan Kelly”, “Don’t Pick against Dan Kelly”, “Don’t Pick against Dan Kelly”… I’ve got Dan Kelly via upset. I think that Theodorou is the more talented fighter, but also he lacks strength in any martial art. He’s well rounded, but a watered down version if you know what I mean. And not that Kelly is anything special, but he’s hard to take down, he throws with volume and he’s not afraid of the brawl. Minus his Judo, he too isn’t special anywhere, but his toughness and volume gets it done here via decision.
145 lbs.: Alex Volkanovski vs. Shane Young – I give Young a lot of credit for stepping up on short notice. However, this is going to be a nightmare of a fight for him, as Volkanovski is just too big of a step up in competition. A fantastic wrestler with brutal ground-and-pound, Volkanovski is the real deal. Expect this one to end early, as Volkanovski wins via TKO.
FOX Sports 1 Prelims (8 p.m. ET):
125 lbs.: Ryan Benoit vs. Ashkan Mokhtarian – This is an odd prelim headliner, but I’m siding with Benoit in this fight. He’s got legit power in hands, perhaps the best in the division. He’s also a solid wrestler and has shown to have a hell of chin. So with that, I believe that Benoit finishes this one inside the first round via knockout.
155 lbs.: Will Brooks vs. Nik Lentz – I still can’t fathom how Will Brooks is 1-2 in the UFC. After defeating Michael Chandler twice and coming into the UFC on an eight-fight win streak, it seemed inevitable that Brooks would be fighting for the UFC Lightweight Championship at some point. However, it’s been the complete opposite, but I still believe in the talent. I also like this matchup, as Lentz clearly is past his prime and is going against a more athletic, bigger and equally if not better wrestler. So with that, Brooks gets back on track with an emphatic third-round TKO.
265 lbs.: Rashad Coulter vs. Tai Tuivasa – I can tell you one thing about this fight, this one ain’t going the distance. Coulter comes into the bout at an 8-2 record, with a 100% finish rate and has never been to a decision. Tuivasa is making his promotional debut with a 5-0 debut, with a 100% finish rate. Someone’s getting finished here and my prediction is that it’s Tuivasa. So with that, I got Coulter via KO.
155 lbs.: Damien Brown vs. Frank Camacho – This could be a fun brawl, as both guys like to throw hands. However, I’ve been more impressed with Brown of late, despite being finished in his last fight against Vinc Pichel. Before that, he pulled off an impressive upset against Jon Tuck. He’s also the more well rounded fighter, as Camacho has no grappling abilities and can easily be smothered into defeat. So with that, I’m going with Brown via 3rd-round TKO.
UFC Fight Pass Prelims (6:30 p.m. ET):
115 lbs.: Alex Chambers vs. Nadia Kassem – I have no idea who Kassem is, but she’s fought four girls with a combined 0-4 record. None of those opponents have a win to date. Chambers has fought her fair share of talent and despite the two-year layoff, I expect her to lock in a submission victory.
125 lbs.: Jenel Lausa vs. Eric Shelton – I got Shelton all day here. With an 0-2 UFC record and both defeats coming via split decision, I expect the killer to come out in Shelton. Arguably he could of won both fights, be a ranked fighter and be targeted to fight a top ten flyweight. The rise of Shelton starts here, as he defeats a rather untested Lausa via submission.
265 lbs.: Anthony Hamilton vs. Adam Wieczorek – Anthony Hamilton retired after being finished for the third consecutive time. However, he un-retired to book a fight a little over a month later, only for it to get pushed back an extra month to this card. I have no idea who Wieczorek is, but I can’t get behind Hamilton coming back to fight. I’ve said it before, Hamilton is one of the most talent strikers, but he’s hindered by a disintegrated chin. It fails him again, as Wieczorek knocks out Hamilton in the first round.