Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua vs. Anthony Smith
Smith recently moved up to light-heavyweight and KO’d Rashad Evans into retirement and now he’s going up against another grizzled veteran in ‘Shogun’ Rua.
Shogun is certainly another fighter who is past his best, being markedly slower and more vulnerable to being stopped than he was in the past, but he’s still dangerous offensively, has solid cardio and his good cage craft that is enabling him to still be a threat despite the limitations of being some way beyond his athletic prime.
Like Rua, Smith is a big threat offensively from a muay thai standpoint, with kicks, punches, elbows and knees all being potential fight-enders, and he likes to come forward aggressively and unleash barrages of strikes that can overwhelm his opponents.
Smith is coming in on short notice for this fight and is fighting a crafty veteran who is unlikely to be overawed by his aggressive approach and may be able to find holes in his defense, but I do think it might only take a few strikes to get ‘Shogun’ in trouble and I think the younger man will bring an end to the Brazilian’s recent resurgence by way of second round TKO.
Prediction: Anthony Smith wins by TKO in Rd2 – BET NOW
Glover Teixeira vs. Corey Anderson
A battle-hardened veteran against a younger contender still looking to fully make his mark in the division, this should be an interesting 205lb scrap.
On the feet I think Teixeira has the edge here. He applies a lot of pressure, is the heavier hitter and s a ruthless finisher, which is a concern for Anderson, who has been KO’d in two of his last three Octagon outings.
Anderson is good athletically and can put together a good volume of strikes, but though Teixeira’s own chin has started to crack, I’m not convinced he has the stopping power to put him away.
Anderson does also mix in his wrestling into the equation nicely, but again I think he may find himself struggling with that as Teixeira is a very good wrestler in his own right and can either opt to stuff his takedowns or potentially even get Anderson on his back and threaten with big ground and pound.
So, overall I like Teixeira here to get the job done, more than likely on the feet via TKO in the second round.
Prediction: Glover Teixeira wins by TKO in Rd2 – BET NOW
Vitor Miranda vs. Abu Azaitar
Germany’s own former WSOF fighter Abu Azaitar gets his chance in the UFC, but he’s coming in off a two-year layoff and stepping up to middleweight to fight Miranda, which doesn’t inspire confidence.
Miranda is 39-years-old at this point, but he’s still a durable kickboxer with his kicks being his best weapon and though both his striking and takedown defense isn’t the best, he can take a punch and can generally get himself out of trouble on the mat, so I think he’ll be able to do enough here against the solid but not spectacular Azaitar to emerge with a decision victory.
Prediction: Vitor Miranda wins by decision – BET NOW
Marcin Tybura vs. Stefan Struve
Both Tybura and Struve are coming off back-to-back losses here, so someone’s about to climb back onto the win column on Saturday night.
Struve is still very much the fighter he’s always been – an extremely lanky striker who struggles to use his range effectively, but also poses a threat from submissions on the mat.
Tybura isn’t spectacular in any one facet of MMA, but he is a solid all-rounder and is particularly good on the mat.
As such I think he can hold his own on the feet against Struve, but will have most success taking advantage of his vulnerability to getting taken down and will be able to outwrestle him on the mat and have the skill necessary to steer clear of submission attempts and secure a decision victory.
Prediction: Marcin Tybura wins by decision – BET NOW
David Zawada vs. Danny Roberts
Germany’s own Zawada gets a chance to impress on home soil against Roberts, but he’ll be making his UFC debut on just a week’s notice.
Zawada is a solid enough fighter, recently competing in the KSW promotion and riding a five-fight winning streak, so he has a chance here, particularly as Roberts chin has been cracked a couple for times in recent years.
Nevertheless, Roberts matches up fairly well with Zawada skill-set wise and with his experience advantage, punching power and the benefit of a full training camp under his belt, I think he’ll be a step ahead in the later rounds and take a decision victory.
Prediction: Danny Roberts wins by decision – BET NOW
Nasrat Haqparast vs. Marc Diakiese
Two promising talents square off the main card opener, though both are looking to return to winning ways.
These are two fast, athletic lightweights with Haqparast having shown good finishing power in his fights so far, while Diakiese also has knockout potential too and is the more diverse, creative striker of the two.
Diakiese can also grapple too which could be a notable factor here too, and though his flashy style perhaps flatters to deceive at this stage in his career, I think he’ll prove to have the edge in a competitive fight and emerge with a TKO stoppage in the third round.
Prediction: Marc Diakiese wins by TKO in Rd3 – BET NOW
Prelims (FOX Sports 1)
(Predicted winners in bold)
Nick Hein vs. Damir Hadzovic
Emil Meek vs. Bartosz Fabinski
Khalid Taha vs. Nad Narimani
Justin Ledet vs. Aleksandar Rakic
Fight Pass Prelims
Davey Grant vs. Manny Bermudez
Jeremy Kimball vs. Darko Stosic
Damian Stasiak vs. Liu Pingyuan