It’s been since 2014 since the UFC last touched down in Albuquerque, New Mexico. However, the promotion returns with six locals and a main event that could catapult the winner to face the Light Heavyweight kingpin, Jon Jones.
UFC Fight Night 167 Main Card on ESPN+ (8 p.m. ET):
205 lbs.: Corey Anderson vs. Jan Blachowicz – This is a great main event and I was very conflicted in my prediction. Ultimately, I believe Anderson takes it. While Blachowicz has solid striking with pop, even ever improving takedown defense, I just feel like Anderson has a complete game and with an angry chip on the shoulder confidence to boot. The one area of concern, is his chin. It’s failed him several times, so Blachowicz definitely can flip this bout on its head with one punch, but Anderson has found a smart range of late to avoid being finished. In the end, I got Anderson earning himself a title shot with a TKO victory.
170 lbs.: Diego Sanchez vs. Michel Pereira – Either Pereira gasses out and gets wrestled to oblivion or he smokes Sanchez in the first round. I’m going with the later. I just feel that Pereira is so dangerous in that first round and Sanchez’s chin is always there for the taking. Antics aside, Pereira gets it done via some crazy knockout.
205 lbs.: Devin Clark vs. Dequan Townsend – Clark is very undersized for Light Heavyweight, but Townsend just hasn’t showed any physicality to make me believe he holds off Clark’s wrestling attacks. So with that, I have Clark winning via decision
125 lbs.: Montana De La Rosa vs. Mara Romero Borella – Despite losing your Andrea Lee, De La Rosa is a tough out for anyone. Credit that to her toughness and excellent ground game. If any foe plays around in De La Rosa’s guard, they understand their is a legitimate chance they get submitted. Borella will find that out the hard way, as De La Rosa wins via submission.
155 lbs.: Kazula Vargas vs. Brok Weaver – I gotta say, Weaver is a dog. The man is on you from start to finish, peppering you with shots along the way. This will be his UFC debut and I think it’s going to be impressive, as his aggression eventually leads to a TKO victory.
155 lbs.: Yancy Medeiros vs. Lando Vannata – This is going to be an epic fight to start off the main card. Two strikers, whom are the epitome of a fighter that takes a punch to give a punch. In the end I believe Vannata is more dynamic on the feet and he’s yet to be finished by strikes. Meanwhile, Medieros has lost his last two fights via strikes. So with that, I have Vannata winning via TKO.
UFC Fight Night 167 Prelims Card on ESPN+ (5 p.m. ET):
170 lbs.: Tim Means vs. Daniel Rodriguez – Means is a bad man, and it’s always a treat to see him. Especially against a debuting fighter, who has no idea what he’s in store for him with Means. Expect to see Means pour on the volume striking, followed by some standing elbows and eventually finish Rodriguez via TKO.
135 lbs.: John Dodson vs. Nathaniel Wood – I could break down this fight, but the Dodson that has fought the past few years is a shell of his former self. That scary power he once held is no longer a threat. He no longer offers volume striking, often coasting rounds. It’s just not the same Dodson. So until further notice, I’ve got Wood winning via decision.
155 lbs.: Scott Holtzman vs. Jim Miller – It’s crazy how long Miller has been around and even crazier I guess that I’m siding with him in this fight. I feel like Miller’s grappling is going to be a problem for Holtzman, who’s had problems fending off takedowns. So with that, I got the veteran Miller edging out a hard fought decision win.
125 lbs.: Rogerio Bontorin vs. Ray Borg – It’s a shame Borg can’t make weight because he’s a fun talent at Flyweight. However, these failed weight cuts are racking up and he’s too compromised in these fights. I’m liking what I see thus far in Bontorin and it’s only a matter of time before he outworks a gassed Borg via decision.
135 lbs.: Merab Dvalishvili vs. Casey Kenney – Interesting fight, but I’m going with Dvalishvili. Kenney has been taken down at will, which is something that Dvalishvili is relentless at. While Kenney has gotten up and battled back, I think the cardio and aggression of Dvalishvili is going to earn him the decision victory.
125 lbs.: Macy Chiasson vs. Shanna Young – Kudos to Young for stepping up on short notice, but this is a tough fight. Chiasson should physically be able to control Young wherever she wants this fight to be. In the end, Chiasson wins via late TKO.
135 lbs.: Mark De La Rosa vs. Raulian Paiva – Despite starting out 0-2 in the UFC, I still believe Paiva has a bright future in the Flyweight division. With an iron chin, good striking, excellent scrambles and ever improving takedown defense, Paiva is a tough out for anyone. And the upward trend begins with a decision victory.