Jimmie Rivera vs. Marlon Moraes
These two very talented bantamweight contenders have been circling each other for some time now and they finally get a chance to lock horns in the main event in Utica, New York.
Both fighters are very good strikers, with Rivera being a pressure fighter with very good counter-punching and a high output that others struggle to keep up.
Moraes is a quality muay thai striker in his own right though and has very hard leg kicks that he’ll go to early and often, which will take their toll over the course of a five-round fight.
I expect Rivera to be fighting at a higher tempo in the early stages of this fight, but Moraes is a very experienced fighter and won’t be easily overwhelmed. As the fight goes on Rivera’s pace should start to slow, while Moraes will remain more consistent and in a closely fought battle to the end will be able to edge out a decision victory.
Prediction: Marlon Moraes wins by decision – CHECK ODDS
Gregor Gillespie vs. Vinc Pichel
Gillespie has marked himself out as a serious prospect in the UFC’s lightweight division as he head into this fight with Pichel looking to get his fourth win in the Octagon.
An excellent wrestler, Gillespie’s striking is also coming along nicely too, which is just as well as Pichel certainly could pose some problems for ‘The Gift’ with his own stand-up ability.
Pichel is fairly well rounded in all aspects of MMA, but Gillespie has greater potential and I’d expect his wrestling to be the deciding factor here, landing takedowns and enjoying long periods of control on top to claim a decision victory.
Prediction: Gregor Gillespie wins by decision – CHECK ODDS
Walt Harris vs. Daniel Spitz
Heavyweight action here that’ll see Harris looking to take out Spitz with his heavy-handed striking.
Spitz can box too and has the reach advantage here, but generally doesn’t have the same kind of fight-ending power as Harris. That being said, Spitz does have submissions in his arsenal and Harris’ isn’t the best at defending against that.
Nevertheless, while Harris’ overall record is an indifferent 10-7 and he can be stopped, I do think he has a good chance to land a bomb on Spitz chin here and end the fight early.
Prediction: Walt Harris wins by KO in Rd1 – CHECK ODDS
Jake Ellenberger vs. Ben Saunders
Ellenberger has been having a rough go of things in the UFC for quite some time now, having lost seven of his last nine fights, including being stopped by strikes in his last two outings.
It’s been a shocking decline for a fighter who was once a real contender in the welterweight ranks who had big power in his hands and good wrestling too.
Saunders record isn’t so bleak, but he too has tasted defeat by KO and TKO in his last two outings. Nevertheless, Saunders is still a threat on the feet with his muay thai and strong clinch striking, while he’s extremely active with submissions off his back.
As proven by their recent records, both fighters here are getting long in the tooth, and while I think Saunders still has more urgency about his work, I think here it’s Ellenberger’s power that will be the decider as he lands something big that Saunders can’t recover from inside of 10 minutes.
Prediction: Jake Ellenberger wins by TKO in Rd2 – CHECK ODDS
Julio Arce vs. Daniel Teymur
There’s a good chance this one will play out on the feet, pitting Arce’s boxing against Teymur’s muay thai.
With that in mind I favor Arce, who is the better technician and utilizes movement well, making him far less hittable than Teymur, who has a tendency to overcommit on his strikes and can run out of steam as the fight goes on.
Prediction: Julio Arce wins by TKO in Rd3 – CHECK ODDS
Sam Alvey vs. Gian Villante
Alvey continues fighting at light-heavyweight here and with a KO win last time out he’s proven that he still has heavy hands even though he’s moved up a division.
Villante will be more than willing to engage him in a striking battle, and he’ll be the one that pushes the pace and looks to land more strikes, while Alvey will operate on the counter and look for one big punch to end the show.
This could go one of two ways I think. Villante’s striking defense is poor, so Alvey has a good chance to catch him with a big counter and end the fight, though if he doesn’t then his lack of output overall will really hurt him on the scorecards and as such I’ll take Villante to emerge with the win.
Prediction: Gian Villante wins by decision – CHECK ODDS
(Predicted winners in bold)
Sijara Eubanks vs. Lauren Murphy
Nik Lentz vs. David Teymur
Belal Muhammad vs. Chance Rencountre
Desmond Green vs. Gleison Tibau
Jessica Aguilar vs. Jodie Esquibel
Johnny Eduardo vs. Nathaniel Wood
Jarred Brooks vs. Jose Torres