On August 18th, 2012, Jacare Souza welcomed a very raw Derek Brunson into the Strikeforce cage. Brunson, came out relatively patient, keeping distance from the former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Souza. However, an aggressive lunging move towards Souza resulted in a perfectly timed right hand counter that dropped Brunson. While attempting to get up, Brunson got clipped and dropped again, ultimately getting knocked out with some follow up ground-and-pound.
Since that fight, Brunson accumulated a 9-3 record with seven of those wins coming via finish. Meanwhile, Souza went 8-2, also finishing seven of those victories. Oddly enough, both men have lost to common foes in Yoel Romero and current Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker. Obviously nothing to be ashamed of, as those are two of the very best in the Middleweight division. Anyways, these are two different fighters since their first outcome and it should be interesting to see how each approach this all important Middleweight bout.
Enough talk! To the Predictions!
UFC on FOX 27 Main Card (8 p.m. ET):
185 lbs.: Ronaldo Souza vs. Derek Brunson – This is an excellent fight and I’m interested to see what Brunson we get here. Of late, the last two fights in particular, Brunson showed a more reserved and patient striking attack. It worked wonders, resulting in two brutal knockouts. Or will we get an overly aggressive Brunson, who leaves his chin exposed while head hunting? The one thing I know though, is that Brunson has never been taken down in his 12 UFC fights. That’s remarkable, especially given the fact that he fought Yoel Romero.
As for a prediction, despite the 100% takedown defense and this newly patient Brunson, I still got Souza. I believe mentally, Brunson could grow frustrated and force the action if their are lulls with both men keeping distance. Souza on the other hand is too seasoned for those mental lapses. And even though Souza is recognized for his world class BJJ, he’s got solid striking abilities and power of his own. Souza may not be able to take Brunson down initially, but the later the fight goes, the easier it will be. So with that, Souza drags this one out and finishes Brunson via submission.
145 lbs.: Dennis Bermudez vs. Andre Fili – Despite Fili having a 5′ inch height and 8′ inch reach advantage, I strongly favor Bermudez. The “Menace” is just physically stronger and Fili doesn’t have the best takedown defense. Bermudez has solid top control and submission defense, so I don’t expect Fili to pull off a triangle choke or armbar from guard. On the feet, Fili could have success constantly pumping the jab to keep Bermudez at a distance. However, if Bermudez can get inside, his power can put away the shaky chinned Fili. So with that, I think it’s clear I have Bermudez winning this fight via decision.
155 lbs.: Gregor Gillespie vs. Jordan Rinaldi – Don’t know much about Rinaldi other than he’s a stepping stone for a future contender at Lightweight in Gillespie. I mean, I just don’t see an avenue in which Rinaldi wins this. So with that, I have Gillespie winning via submission.
155 lbs.: Frank Camacho vs. Drew Dober – This has all the makings of your “Fight of the Night”. Camacho doesn’t take a step back, taking whatever is thrown at him and countering with haymakers of his own. On the other hand, Dober is a volume striker who is more technical in his approach. His striking is complemented by well timed takedown’s, which could be very useful in this fight.
As for a prediction, Dober needs to avoid getting into a brawl, something in which he has chosen to participate in the past. However, I feel like mentally he won’t shy away from brawling. Against a pocket trader with power in Camacho, Dober is going to end up on the wrong side of a knockout.
UFC on FOX 27 Prelims on FOX Sports 1 (5 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Bobby Green vs. Erik Koch – Despite not winning in three years, Green showed in his last fight against Lando Vannata that he’s not done quite yet. As for Koch, ever since losing out on a scheduled title fight with Jose Aldo, it’s been been downhill. A lack of success mixed in with countless injuries have plagued a career that had real Championship potential. Koch just isn’t the same fighter anymore and I believe Green is going to outclass him, eventually finishing him via TKO.
145 lbs.: Mirsad Bektic vs. Godofredo Pepey – Despite getting upset in a comeback for the ages against Darren Elkins, Bektic showed just how talented he is. I mean, Elkins has made a career off weathering early storms, but he’s never been manhandled and beaten to a pulp like Bektic did. And given that Elkins is perhaps two fights away from fighting from the belt, I’d say Bektic should have no issues re-rising up within the division. Poor Pepey has to be the victim of Bektic revenge… Bektic via TKO.
125 lbs.: Mara Romero Borella vs. Katlyn Chookagian – I actually really like Romero Borella’s skill set. She’s got excellent grappling abilities and definitely can hold her own on the feet. However, Chookagian is dropping down from Bantamweight in this contest and minus the Carmouche fight, her takedown defense is good. Chookagian’s bread and butter though is her speed and kickboxing. Against Lauren Murphy and Irene Aldana, Chookagian definitely showed off those abilities, picking apart her foes en route to decision victories. I feel more or less the same happening here, as I got Chookagian winning via decision.
115 lbs.: Juliana Lima vs. Randa Markos – My darkhorse of the division Markos hit a minor speed bump, as she was defeated in her most recent fight via split decision to Alexa Grasso. However, I fully expect her to get back in the win column here. I believe Lima is too predictable, avoiding striking and solely looking for takedown’s. And despite somewhat shaky takedown defense, Markos is highly active on bottom, throwing strikes and looking for sweeps. It be wise though for Markos to keep this one standing though, as she might another split decision and the fact that she’s got a big advantage on the feet. So with that, I got Markos via decision.
125 lbs.: Justine Kish vs. Ji Yeon Kim – Both women are making their UFC Flyweight debut, as Kish moves up from the Stawweight division and Kim cuts down from Bantamweight. Kim, while obviously being the bigger fighter on fight night, will also enjoy a massive 8′ inch reach advantage. Normally, with those advantages I’d side with Kim. However, she’s not a very fluid striker and had some really sloppy punches in her UFC debut.
As for Kish, she’s a decent striker, definitely more fluid. Her strength’s are more so in the area’s of being a physical brute in the clinch, eventually taking opponents down. Given that Kim is the bigger fighter, she might not be able to implement her strength. Regardless though, even if this stays on the feet, Kish should have no issues. So with that, I have Kish via decision.
155 lbs.: Vinc Pichel vs. Joaquim Silva – I’m favoring Pichel in this fight due to his cardio and ability to win a fight either by grinding out opponents with flurries of takedown’s or simply knocking them out. With injuries in his past, I firmly believe that Pichel has the skill set to make a serious run at 155 lbs. So with that, I got Pichel taking this via late knockout.
UFC on FOX 27 Prelims on Fight Pass (4 p.m. ET):
170 lbs.: Niko Price vs. George Sullivan – This fight just heavily leans Price. I mean, Sullivan hasn’t fought in nearly two years, he’s eight years older than Price, his last fight resulted in being knocked out by a non-finisher in Alexander Yakovlev, he’s less athletic, etc… So with that, I have Price via knockout.
145 lbs.: Austin Arnett vs. Cory Sandhagen – Honestly no clue – coin flip – Arnett via decision.