UFC on ESPN 5 Main Card (3 p.m. ET):
170 lbs.: Colby Covington vs. Robbie Lawler – For all the antics and crap Covington says, he’s still a damn good fighter. It’s pretty evident, but his persona shades all his fighting abilities. People focus on his talking and even his opponents get so angered, that I’m not sure they take him serious.
All that aside, I’m going upset here. Lawler looks in phenomenal shape and albeit a controversial loss to Ben Askren, he was on the cusp of finishing Funky in the first round. Lawler looks rejuvenated and as long as he can keep this fight upright and his back away from on the cage, then I seeing him landing a fight ending blow. If he can’t catch Covington early, expect the former Interim Welterweight Champion to grind down Lawler for five rounds. Anyways, I have Lawler winning via knockout.
155 lbs.: Jim Miller vs. Clay Guida – Its pretty crazy that two men who are combined age of 74 are the co-main event. Perhaps it’s more so due to Jim Miller being from New Jersey and the nostalgia of these two veterans going to battle, although the relevancy of this fight in the Lightweight division is non-existent. Despite that, it should be a fun fight.
As for a prediction, I have Miller. In a battle of veterans, I feel like Miller has more pep in step. I know, I know… Guida has energy through the roof and is a maniac. However, he just fought B.J. Penn and was tagged with 64 strikes. You’d need to combine Penn’s last three opponent’s strikes to equal that total. Miller should be able to tag up Guida in the clinch, perhaps rock him and sub him. Matter of fact, let’s go with that. Miller via submission.
155 lbs.: Joaquim Silva vs. Nasrat Haqparast – This is your fight of the night right here. Both men are willing brawlers, but’s it’s Silva who has legit fight ending power. Now, Haqparast has the better all around game, but his striking defense is just too poor for me to pick him here. I mean, his toughness is threw the roof, but wait until Silva connects and we’ll see. So with that, I have Silva winning via TKO.
185 lbs.: Trevin Giles vs. Gerald Meerschaert – I’m really high on Giles, even despite his most recent defeat to Zak Cummings. He’s the complete package if he can just shore up his fight IQ and striking defense. In this particular fight, I expect the tough, durable and no quit Meerschaert to try and get this fight to the mat. Only problem is Giles has yet to be taken down and I don’t see Meerschaert being the first. On the feet, Giles is going to batter Meerschaert and eventually finish him via TKO.
155 lbs.: Scott Holtzman vs. Dong Hyun Ma – I feel like Ma keeps getting matched up with physically bigger fighters. Also, ever since Ma’s early wars, he’s been more gun shy to get into brawls. I’m really not sure if he’s plateaued or what. All I know is that Holtzman shouldn’t have any issues here winning a decision.
205 lbs.: Darko Stosic vs. Kennedy Nzechukwu – I’m going to need to see more of Nzechukwu before I side with him again. His most recent fight against Paul Craig was pretty awful, showing a real lack of fundamentals. Stosic isn’t the most active striker, but he’s accurate and he should be able to edge out Nzechukwu via decision.
UFC on ESPN 5 Prelims Card (12 p.m. ET):
170 lbs.: Mickey Gall vs. Saleem Touahri – I’m not really high on Gall, as I didn’t think we quite ready for someone like Diego Sanchez given his cardio issues. This fight though, is a make or break. Gall should be able to takedown Touahri, but will he be able to continuously do it and grind him down for three rounds? I’m just not sure, but I’m going give the hometown fighter the benefit of the doubt. So with that, I have Gall winning via decision.
125 lbs.: Antonina Shevchenko vs. Lucie Pudilova – Given that Pudilova doesn’t have the wrestling that Roxy halted Shevchenko with, this is going to be a fun stand-up contest. And despite Pudilova’s toughness and forward pressure, it’s the volume of Shevchenko that’s going to swarm the Czech. So with that, I have Shevchenko winning via decision.
125 lbs.: Jordan Espinosa vs. Matt Schnell – I feel like Espinosa is the better all around fighter here, and is very quick, which could be an issue for a rather big Flyweight Schnell. However, Schnell can pack a punch. If he can use his size and trap the elusive Espinosa, I feel like he can put him away. So with that, I have Schnell winning via TKO.
125 lbs.: Lauren Murphy vs. Mara Romero Borella – I really like Murphy, as she’s tough as nails and will keep throwing punches no matter what position she’s in. However, her lack of athleticism hurts her striking defense and takedown defense. Against Borella, who will look to grind her, I can see takedowns being the difference in this fight. So with that, I have Borella winning via decision.
170 lbs.: Claudio Silva vs. Cole Williams – I think it’s time to start giving Silva meaningful fights. He’s 36 years old, has lost four years due to injuries, is currently riding a thirteen fight win streak and hasn’t tasted defeat since 2007. O, and he beat a top five fighter now in Leon Edwards. With all that aside, Silva mops the floor with Williams, winning via submission.
125 lbs.: Hannah Goldy vs. Miranda Granger – Don’t know much about either fighter, but Granger has beaten some really experienced fighters. I give her the nod here, via decision.