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We have a showdown in the Middleweight division, as Joaquin “New Mansa” Buckley takes on Albert “Machete” Duraev. A winner of two straight and four of the last five, Buckley comes into this bout with solid momentum. Usually known for his knockout power, in Buckley’s most recent victory, he used a new wrinkle to his game, wrestling. Meanwhile, Duraev is coming off a successful UFC debut victory over Roman Kopylov. Unbeaten in eight years, with ten straight wins, Duraev is presented an opportunity to make some legitimate noise here with a victory.

This should be a fun fight, as both men are finishers. Buckley, while trying to evolve in the wrestling department, is a powerful striker. Often willing to eat some strikes to land his own offense, Buckley more often than not, leaves his opponents unconscious. Which is as evident by eight of his twelve wins coming via knockout. While Duraev too has some striking abilities, notably good power and footwork, he can leave himself exposed with his wildness at times. Where he makes his money is within his grappling. A known threat on the mat, Duraev has snatched up nine of his fifteen victories via submission.

As for a prediction, I’m siding with Buckley. Obviously working on implementing wrestling into his game, Buckley has recognized the benefits that come with that. If he can evolve into a two-way threat, there is potential for Buckley to make some noise at Middleweight. The reason that I believe New Mansa wins, is simply because Duraev is wild on the feet and tires the later the fight goes. Both areas in which I can see Buckley capitalizing on. However, there is a real concern that Buckley may not be able to fend off Duraev’s takedown attempts. A risk that I’m willing to see through. So with that said, I predict that Buckley wins via TKO.

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