In the second leg of the UFC doubleheader, we got ourselves an excellent card from down under in Adelaide, Australia. Headlining the event is former UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior Dos Santos and rising Aussie superstar Tai Tuivasa.
Dos Santos is a staple in the UFC Heavyweight division, accumulating a total of 13 wins in his UFC career thus far. However, after winning the first nine fights inside the octagon, Dos Santos has fell into a win one, loss one pattern. The most recent fight being a decision win over UFC newcomer Blagoy Ivanov.
Tuivasa enters this contest undefeated and is fresh off the biggest win of his career. In an entertaining fight, he took on former UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei Arlovski and edged him out via decision. A fate that his previous seven opponents hadn’t faced, as Tuivasa knocked them all out. With the home crowd behind him and another former UFC Heavyweight Champion standing across the octagon, the stars have aligned for Tuivasa to take the leap to Heavyweight contender.
Anyways, Let’s get to the Predictions!
UFC Fight Night 142 Main Card (10 p.m. ET start time)
265 lbs.: Junior dos Santos vs. Tai Tuivasa – Great matchmaking, as this is the ole changing of the guard fight. However, I have the old dog holding off the young upstart. Now, I think Tuivasa has a bright future, but his last fight against Arlovski showed me he isn’t ready for the like of Dos Santos. I mean, Tuivasa looked good in that fight, but Arlovski had his moments and his usually suspect chin held off. And that’s no knock on Tuivasa power, as he could definitely put Dos Santos to sleep.
However, I just believe Dos Santos is the better technical striker, has the ability to absorb punishment and has way more experience in every aspect including five round fights. In what should be an all striking battle, it’s Tuivasa who looks good early, but the veteran Dos Santos adapts and adjusts to take it late. So with that, I have Dos Santos winning via decision.
205 lbs.: Tyson Pedro vs. Mauricio Rua – I love Rua, but his last fight showed the game has past him by. Also Pedro’s size and length trump over the legend. I hope Rua can turn back the clock, but I’ve got to go with Pedro via TKO.
265 lbs.: Mark Hunt vs. Justin Willis – This will be Hunt’s last fight on his UFC contract and most likely one inside the octagon unfortunately. However, he looks fired up and it’s all because Willis has been talking some trash. That’s a mistake, a big mistake. Expect Willis to try to wrestle Hunt, but be met with a fight ending, walk-off knockout.
170 lbs.: Tony Martin vs. Jake Matthews – I’ve been very impressed with both men of late. The way Matthews beat Li Jingliang was eye opening, however Martin has been on another level. He’s handling wrestlers, even blending in his own takedowns with his really improved striking. I think I’m what should be a close back-and-forth fight, Martin eeks out a split decision victory.
135 lbs.: Suman Mokhtarian vs. Sodiq Yusuff – Mokhtarian has fought no one on the regional scene and is in for rude awakening against a real striker like Yusuff. Expect a big difference on the feet with Yusuff landing often and with authority. Possible early, but eventually Yusuff wins this via knockout.
205 lbs.: Paul Craig vs. Jim Crute – Craig has one trick up his sleeve, catching you with a submission. Other than that, his game is less to be desired. He’s tough though, but I’m not willing to put my marbles on toughness and one trick. So with that, I’ll go with Crute via late TKO.
UFC FOX Sports 1 ‘Prelims’ (8 p.m. ET start time)
170 lbs.: Alexey Kunchenko vs. Yushin Okami – Either Okami is going to find success in taking down Kunchenko and eek out a decision victory or Kunchenko is going to shrug off Okami’s takedown attempts and pick apart the veteran on the feet. I’ll go with the latter. I wasn’t impressed in Kunchenko’s debut, but he looked to have a good base and legit power in his hands. So with that, I have Kunchenko winning via decision.
125 lbs.: Ben Nguyen vs. Wilson Reis – This is a tough fight to call. Reis is a solid wrestler with even better grappling. He’s going to get this fight down to the floor, but can he sustain holding down Nguyen for three rounds? Also, in the little time I assume Reis will be striking, he’s bound to get dropped. He does every fight. The problem this time around though is Nguyen is probably the heaviest hitter in the Flyweight division. So with that, I believe that Nguyen either knocks Reis out early or in the third round when Reis is gassed.
170 lbs.: Keita Nakamura vs. Salim Touahri – Nakamura is underrated and will prove that by using his superior grappling abilities to sink in a fight ending submission victory. Lock it up.
125 lbs.: Kai Kara-France vs. Elias Garcia – Why the UFC let Kara-France walk after his showing on TUF 24 escapes me, but he picked up three wins on the regional scene and finally will make his octagon debut in his home country. Unfortunately his division’s in limbo, but fortunately he should tear up late notice foe Garcia. Expect Kara-France to pick apart Garcia on the feet and eventually put him via knockout.
UFC Fight Pass ‘Prelims’ (7 p.m. ET start time)
155 lbs.: Christos Giagos vs. Mizuto Hirota – Fun fight and a real toss up. Giagos has youth and size on his side, as well as a fairly well rounded game. Hirota too is well rounded, but his lack of volume in the striking department has cost him in several close fights. Most of his opponents are bigger than him, which he’s overcome or been dominated due to it. In a coin flip, I’m going with the veteran Hirota via decision.
155 lbs.: Alex Gorgees vs. Damir Ismagulov – The UFC has a special talent in the Kazakh Ismagulov. The former M-1 Champion has reeled off eleven consecutive wins and hasn’t tasted defeat in over three years. Considering Gorgees never tested himself on the regional scene, he’s in for a rude awakening. Expect Ismagulov to easily take down his foe and ground-and-pound him in route to a TKO victory.