After a wild last weekend, in which whatever could go wrong to a stacked UFC 223 card went wrong, the UFC is right back at for an exciting card on big Fox! Headlining the event is a pair of Lightweight contenders in Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje. Poirier enters this fight on a productive 2017, which saw him defeat Jim Miller and Anthony Pettis. Sandwiched between those wins is also a no contest against Eddie Alvarez, which was a wild fight and one that Poirier was winning up until the illegal knee that halted the fight. As the Lightweight slugger Gaethje, he most recently suffered his first defeat at the hands of the aforementioned Eddie Alvarez. The fight itself was a contender for Fight of the Year, as the two traded back-and-forth for two plus rounds. A knee in the clinch from Eddie Alvarez however would end it, as Gaethje’s seemingly invincible chin finally gave way to a knockout. Make no mistake about it though, despite suffering his first career defeat, Gaethje is still right there in the Lightweight title picture. As for this fight, expect pure chaos and don’t blink!
Anyways, let’s get to the Predictions.
UFC on FOX 29 Main Card (8 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje – This is such a wild fight and I’m not sure it’s even worth it to break down. Both men come to fight and will go toe-to-toe with each other. Now, Poirier is more technical in his striking, but often gets involved in brawls. Gaethje lives for the brawl and his live by the sword, die by the sword style has gotten far in his career. Will it work here? I think yes.
Poirier has wrongfully been dubbed “chinny”, as two of his last loses have come via knockout. That’s further from the truth, as those knockouts and the times he’s been rocked have been a direct result of being lured in to either due to frustration or to get into a brawl. And in a brawl, it’s Gaethje who will put out Poireir’s lights. So with that, I have Gaethje via KO.
170 lbs.: Carlos Condit vs. Alex Oliveira – Look, Condit is rightfully an underdog in this fight even though Oliveira is stepping in on short notice. However, I feel like Oliveira’s aggressive striking will bring out the best in Carlos Condit. When in danger and getting tagged, a switch goes off in Condit. We’ve seen it countless times, most notably against Robbie Lawler. Now, Condit has never been finished and has a granite chin. Oliveira on the hand can absolutely dish it out for two rounds, but once that third rolls around he faded. If Condit can survive, I believe he’ll weather the storm and put away the Brazilian “Cowboy” via TKO.
185 lbs.: Israel Adesanya vs. Marvin Vettori – I think Vettori is actually a pretty good Middleweight, but Adesanya is simply something special. And unless Vettori has takedowns up his sleeve, I believe Adesanya will systematically pick Vettori apart on the feet and eventually put him away. Perhaps maybe via a spinning back kick? Either way, Adesanya Ive got Adesanya in this one via knockout.
115 lbs.: Michelle Waterson vs. Cortney Casey – This is a tough one to call. On one hand, Casey is perhaps the feistiest Stawweight in the division. No matter if the fight is standing or if she’s on her back, she’s always working and landing strikes. Then you got Waterson, who’s a dynamic striker and an excellent grappler. If she wants to win this fight, she’s got to keep distance with Casey on the feet and use kicks to slowly chop her down. Will that happen, maybe. Do I think it happens? No.
I believe a combination of Casey’s output on the feet, non-stop three round pace and granite chin will easily lead her to a late stoppage victory.
UFC on FOX 29 Prelims (6 p.m. ET):
185 lbs.: Tim Boetsch vs. Antonio Carlos Junior – It seems that Carlos Junior is finally tapping into his true potential. He’s won four consecutive fights, three of which came via rear-naked choke submission victories. Up next, the veteran test. That said veteran comes in the form of the “Barbarian” Tim Boetsch. Winner of three of his last four fights, Boetsch is a tough out for anyone. With solid wrestling and legit knockout power, Boetsch can grind out opponents or simply knock them out.
As for a prediction, I have Boetsch. While Carlos Junior is an excellent grappler, his striking abilities are less to be desired. Now, I don’t doubt he will get Boetsch to the ground at some point, but I also see him expending his cardio in order to do so. Once Boetsch survives the initial onslaught, I see him take over and winning via late TKO.
170 lbs.: Muslim Salikhov vs. Ricky Rainey – Rainey is better than given credit for, but Salikhov is a legit talent on the feet. Given Rainey is mainly a striker and a technical one at that, he could outpoint the Salikhov on the feet. However, I find that unlikely and in fact, I think Rainey being technical will allow Salikhov to throw all sorts of unorthodox arsenal. So with that, I believe Salikhov eventually finds Rainey’s chin and wins this via knockout.
125 lbs.: Wilson Reis vs. John Moraga – Despite Moraga’s recent resurgence, I have to interject that it hasn’t been against the stiffest of competition. The last victory over Magomed Bibulatov definitely is noteworthy, but Bibulatov while talented, has never fought any real competition in his career up until Moraga. On the other hand, Reis has fought Champion Demetrius Johnson and seemingly number one contender Henry Cejudo in his last two fights. Prior to that, Reis had won three straight. So with that, I have Reis grappling his way to a decision victory.
185 lbs.: Krzysztof Jotko vs. Brad Tavares – Tavares is an excellent fighter, with good cardio and the ability to grind out wins. He is however very hesitant on the feet, which is partly due to his technical approach. In this particular fight, I just don’t see his output being enough to get the nod. Jotko, despite being on two-fight skid is a very well rounded fighter who’s pace breaks fighters. He on the other hand is not hesitant on the feet and strikes in volume. Over the course of three rounds, I see Jotko’s out-landing and mixing in takedowns to edge out Tavares via decision.
UFC on FOX 29 Prelims on Fight Pass (3:30 p.m. ET):
170 lbs.: Gilbert Burns vs. Dan Moret – Brutal debut fight for Moret… Burns via submission.
125 lbs.: Shana Dobson vs. Lauren Mueller – No clue… Mueller via decision.
170 lbs.: Dhiego Lima vs. Yushin Okami – This is a toss up. Lima is a skilled striker, who just seems to fold under the bright lights of the octagon. With a 1-4 UFC record, this being Lima’s second stint, a win is a must if he wants to stay around. As for his combatant Okami, let’s be honest, he’s a shell of himself. However, Okami is still a very good wrestler and capable of grinding out victories over three rounds. As for this fight,I edge Okami. He’s massive for the weight class and will obviously hold a sizable strength advantage against Lima, who has brutal takedown defense. So with that, I have Okami via decision.
265 lbs.: Arjan Bhullar vs. Adam Wieczorek – I like Wieczorek’s skill set and I think he has a place in the Heavyweight division, but the wrestling grinder that is Bhullar is going be too much. So with that, Bhullar via decision.
135 lbs.: Matthew Lopez vs. Alejandro Perez – I must say I’ve completely underestimated Perez, and again I will. Not because he’s not talented, but I see exceptional talent in Matthew Lopez. A top notch wrestler, who throws absolute bombs in top control, Lopez is seemingly a striking game away from being the complete package. And after fighting a perennial top five Bantamweight Raphael Assuncao in his last fight, only four fights into his UFC tenure, he’s already got a taste of what it takes to be a contender. Fighting in his home state Arizona is also a boost. So with that, I have Lopez via decision.
135 lbs.: Luke Sanders vs. Patrick Williams – Sanders hasn’t quite lived up to the hype, but this seems like perfect matchup to get back in the win column. Williams is a one round fighter, who’s got legit explosiveness and power to end a fight. However, if you survive the first, all his abilities dissipate and iffy chin often gets connected with. So with that, I have Sanders via second round KO.