UFC on ESPN 6 Predictions
Dominick Reyes vs. Chris Weidman
Weidman follows in the footsteps of another former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold when he attempts to reignite his career with a move up to light-heavyweight on Saturday night.
He’ll be hoping he fares better than Rockhold did, but that will surely be in the back of his mind as he’s moving up after having lost four of his last five fights, and all by way of strikes – many in brutal fashion.
It doesn’t help that he’s also going to be taking on a man know as the ‘The Devastator,’ who is a powerful striker with a perfect 11-0 record, including five in the UFC so far.
Along with his stopping power with both punches and kicks, Reyes is also a very good athlete and has shown in recent times that he can go the distance if required.
All of this suggests that Weidman would be wise not to rely too heavily on his own boxing and weakened chin here and should instead lean on the fact that he has a strong grappling base as that’s not something that Reyes has had to deal with much in his UFC run to date.
This is a tough one to call. Weidman’s recent form is troubling, but it has to be noted that even against the best the middleweight division has to offer he’s not gone down quickly, tending to be finished later in the fight.
Moving up a division to fight a heavy-handed striker might be a recipe for disaster, particularly if his chin has gone, but I’m if he can survive long enough to get this fight on the mat then he can still showcase his strong wrestling and submission skills to put Reyes outside of his comfort zone and earn a victory.
Prediction: Chris Weidman wins by submission in Rd2 – Bet Now
Yair Rodriguez vs. Jeremy Stephens
What was an interesting fight between two featherweights who will be happy to engage in a striking battle has intensified after their original headliner recently was declared a no-contest just 15 seconds into the fight due to an unintentional eyepoke from Rodriguez.
Bad blood between the two has boiled over since then and both will be going all out to take the others head off in the Octagon.
Rodriguez in particular is naturally inclined to look for a finish and will throw all kinds of exotic and eye-catching techniques in search of another highlight reel knockout to add to his collection.
Stephens is more measured in his approach these days, but he still carries significant stopping power in his fists and with his years of experience he won’t be overawed by Rodriguez’s offense.
That leaves us with an intriguingly balanced fight. Stephens could well take advantage of Rodriguez’s wilder attacks to find an opening for a single big punch that ends his night, but with his higher output and good cardio I think it’s the more dynamic ‘El Pantera’ who will be making the bigger impact here and will deliver a late stoppage victory via strikes.
Prediction: Yair Rodriguez to win by TKO in Rd3 – Bet Now
Greg Hardy vs. Ben Sosoli
He may not be popular, but Hardy hasn’t let that stop him from showing off his heavy hands to earn first round TKO victories in his past two fights.
The standard of opposition remains low though and he faces a late replacement newcomer on Saturday night in Sosoli, a former TUF and Contender Series fighter.
Sosoli has punching power too and may have the edge in terms of staying power if the fight goes into deeper waters, but instead it’s likely that they’ll look to slug it out, and with his athletic gifts I expect that it’s Hardy who’ll be standing with his hand raised at the end of the first round.
Prediction: Greg Hardy wins by TKO in Rd1 – Bet Now
Joe Lauzon vs. Jonathan Pearce
A true veteran of the UFC, Lauzon has spent 18 months on the sidelines after a rough slump in form that saw him lose three fights in a row – the last two by TKO.
With only three wins from his last nine fights that could have spelled the end for his career, but at 35 he still feels he has something more to give.
In Pearce he is fighting a 27-year-old who has made his way into the UFC via the Contender Series and has a proven finishing record, with eight of his nine wins to date coming inside the decision, and all but two of them coming via strikes.
Lauzon is a crafty player on the mat and it’s vitally important that he pursues that as on the feet he’s vulnerable as he has a bad habit of just covering up and not using footwork and head movement when he’s under attack.
Peace has been tapped out in the past, so don’t be surprised if Lauzon does find a way to submit him, but I think the younger, fresher Pearce is going to make his mark on the feet and come away with a second round stoppage here.
Prediction: Jonathan Pearce to win by TKO in Rd2 – Bet Now
Maycee Barber vs. Gillian Robertson
So far Barber has lived up to her ‘The Future’ nickname with a perfect 7-0 record, and at just 21-years-old there’s still plenty of room for development.
What Barber does have right now is good skills on the mat, together with natural athleticism, aggression, strength and toughness. She’s definitely still a work in progress though and that’s particularly apparent on the feet, though she is a willing striker and carries power, even if she can be worryingly hittable and lacks finesse.
To be fair, Robertson has even less to offer on the feet, but she is strong in the clinch and on the mat and has dangerous submissions that she’ll be hoping she can catch Barber off-guard with.
Barber will have to be careful not to be careless and overenthusiastic and neglect Robertson’s submission threat here, but I think her forward drive and offense, whether on the feet or the mat will overpower her opponent and lead her to a second round TKO stoppage.
Prediction: Maycee Barber to win by TKO in Rd2 – Bet Now
Deron Winn vs. Darren Stewart
Winn has some added interest surrounding him due to being mentored by Daniel Cormier and like the UFC great he’s a short, stocky fighter who has excellent wrestling, but can also make his impression felt on the feet.
Winn will be at a 5” height and 4” reach advantage against Stewart, who will be happy to engage on the feet and will threaten in that regard, though he’s also heavy handed when it comes to ground and pound too.
If Winn is fighting strategically then he’ll avoid getting into a slugfest and instead use his strongest suit, his wrestling, to bring Stewart down and keep him there, potentially finding a finish with strikes on the mat, but more likely earning himself a decision victory.
Prediction: Deron Winn to win by decision – Bet Now
UFC on ESPN 6 Prelims
(Predicted winners in bold)
Manny Bermudez vs. Charles Rosa
Diana Belbita vs. Molly McCann
Kyle Bochniak vs. Sean Woodson
Brendan Allen vs. Kevin Holland
Randy Costa vs. Boston Salmon
Sean Brady vs. Court McGee
Daniel Spitz vs. Tanner Boser