A UFC doubleheader is upon us and it’s not even International fight week! The Ultimate Fighter 28 Finale live from Las Vegas marks the first event and then the next day, the UFC heads down under to Australia for UFC Fight Night 142.
First things first, we got a hell of a main event at the TUF Finale 28, as Welterweight contenders Rafael Dos Anjos and Kamaru Usman lock horns. The former UFC Lightweight Champion Dos Anjos returns to the octagon for first time since his failed Interim title bout against Colby Convington. Much to everyone’s surprise, he got fairly dominated via Covington’s not-stop pressure and pace. As for the TUF 21 season winner Usman, he looks to remain undefeated in the octagon. Eight have challenged the “Nigerian Nightmare”, eight have fallen. With perhaps some of the best wrestling in the UFC, it’s no secret why he’s faired the way he has.
Anyways, let’s get to the Predictions!
TUF 28 Finale Main Card On FOX Sports 1 (10 p.m. ET):
170 lbs.: Rafael dos Anjos vs. Kamaru Usman – This is really an excellent fight and both men are very similar fighters. I mean, dos Anjos is definitely the better striker due to his ability to mix it up. Usman is more of a boxer and he does have some power despite the lack of knockouts on his UFC record. As far as wrestling/grappling goes, Usman gets the edge. He’s had little problems taking foes down and controlling them thus far. And on the other side of it, he’s yet to be taken down.
On the other end, dos Anjos is excellent in his own right, but Covington kind of showed a weakness in dos Anjos. When pressured with a heavy wrestling game, he can be broken. I mean, dos Anjos has some of the best cardio in the UFC, but Covington’s gameplay zapped dos Anjos earlier than usual. Considering Usman is already a pressure fighter who applies a heavy dose of wrestling, I expect him to follow Covington’s game plan in route to decision victory. PS – I’ve been on the Usman bandwagon for some time, he’s a guaranteed future Champion.
265 lbs.: Juan Espino vs. Justin Frazier – TUF 28 heavyweight tournament final – I really wish I watched TUF so I can make educated predictions…Frazier via KO.
145 lbs.: Pannie Kianzad vs. Macy Chiasson – TUF 28 featherweight tournament final – Oof, I only know Kianzad…so I’ll go with her via decision.
135 lbs.: Bryan Caraway vs. Pedro Munhoz – Caraway is great grappler and has excellent control, but when someone like Munhoz can neutralize that, it comes down to striking. And if I’m being honest, Caraway is formidable, but not that great. Munhoz on the other can hold his own and he’s got a little pop in those hands. So with that, I’ve got Munhoz wining this via decision.
185 lbs.: Edmen Shahbazyan vs. Darren Stewart – The “Dentist” Stewart throws some heavy leather and while he didn’t start his UFC career out well, he’s certainly turned it around with two straight knockout victories. Make it three!
125 lbs.: Ji Yeon Kim vs. Antonina Shevchenko – The sister of Valentina Shevchenko…sign me up! I’ve got big expectations for her and in this fight, she should dominate on the feet in route to a decision victory.
TUF 28 Finale Prelims On FOX Sports 1 (8 p.m. ET):
145 lbs.: Rick Glenn vs. Kevin Aguilar – No clue who Aguilar is, but Glenn is the American Zombie. He’ll eat every punch and just keep coming forward. He’s lanky and has a long reach, so I expect him to pitter patter Aguilar and eventually finish him with his relentless pace via TKO.
125 lbs.: Joseph Benavidez vs. Alex Perez – Joey B looked a little slow and vulnerable in his last fight against Sergio Pettis. I mean, other than Demetrius Johnson, I always thought Benavidez beats anyone in the Flyweight division. However, the last fight and how he was so hittable left a sour taste in my mouth. So with that, I’m going with red hot Perez via decision.
265 lbs.: Maurice Greene vs. Michel Batista – Didn’t really watch TUF this year or for some time, so I’ll coin flip this one…Greene via TKO.
145 lbs.: Leah Letson vs. Julija Stoliarenko – No clue, but going with Letson via decision.
TUF 28 Finale Prelims On Fight Pass (6:30 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Darrell Horcher vs. Roosevelt Roberts – I think Horcher’s best UFC performance thus far was in his loss against now UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. And that was a TKO loss. In other words, he hasn’t lit the world on fire, at least in my eyes. So with that, I have Roberts winning via TKO.
170 lbs.: Tim Means vs. Ricky Rainey – I think Rainey is a pretty formidable foe with good striking, but Means is just as good of a striker with solid cardio. I expect a fun fight early, but when Means gets those standing elbows going, that’s when it’s all downhill for Rainey. So with that, I have Means winning via TKO.
145 lbs.: Raoni Barcelos vs. Chris Gutierrez – Barcelos really impressed me in his debut and he just has way too much power for Gutierrez. So with that, I have Barcelos winning via knockout.