Volkan Oezdemir vs. Anthony Smith
Both of these fighters have risen up fast from relative obscurity over the last couple of years, and so it will be interesting to see who emerges on top when they clash in the main event on Saturday night.
Oezdemir put together some big and surprisingly swift wins at the start of his UFC run, but they do leave some questions as to whether luck had a little to do with it. He’s not the most technical striker and can be a little reckless at times, but he certainly has finishing power and his kicks could pose Smith problems.
Smith is also dangerous offensively, though defensively he has his flaws. He’s sharpened his skills over time though and appears to have settled in well so far at 205lbs, albeit against ageing opposition.
There’s certainly the potential for either fighter to win here, but I’m leaning towards Oezdemir to be the tougher of the two and start stronger to put Smith on the back foot, leading to a second round TKO stoppage.
Prediction: Volkan Oezdemir wins by TKO in Rd2 – BET NOW
Artem Lobov vs. Michael Johnson
Even although this is a late-notice fight for Johnson, it still feels like a good match-up for him against a fighter in Lobov who has struggled to really make an impact beyond his notoriety as a member of Conor McGregor’s camp.
In all fairness, Johnson’s recent record is dismal too, but I believe he’s still operating at a higher level than Lobov, and his better reach and range management, plus his hand speed and athleticism should give him the edge in the striking department, while he’s also the better wrestler too.
Prediction: Michael Johnson wins by decision – BET NOW
Misha Cirkunov vs. Patrick Cummins
Cirkunov has had some unfortunate losses recently that have killed his momentum, but he’s still only 31 years old and could yet return to form in the 205lb ranks.
He should have a significant stand-up advantage against the almost 38-year-old Cummins here, who has been vulnerable to strikes in the past.
However, Cummins is a very capable wrestler and will be looking to that to make the difference in this fight.
Cirkunov would offer up a submission threat should the fight hit the mat, but I think he will mostly be looking to get back to his feet if his takedown defense is broken down, and it’s his striking that will make the difference on the scorecards, emerging with a decision victory.
Prediction: Misha Cirkunov wins by decision – BET NOW
Andre Soukhamthath vs. Jonathan Martinez
Martinez comes in on short notice to make his UFC debut against Soukhamthath, who has only mustered one win from four Octagon appearances so far.
Nonetheless, Soukhamthath is a talented kickboxer, though he lacks ground skills to go along with it which could be a problem as Martinez does pose a threat with submissions.
Martinez is also capable on the feet, but he’s been fighting on a lower level, has been out of action for over a year and is moving up in weight to take this match-up with no real time to prepare, so I have to favor Soukhamthath to come out on top via a third round TKO stoppage.
Prediction: Andre Soukhamthath wins by decision – BET NOW
Ed Herman vs. Gian Villante
This threatens to be somewhat of a plodding encounter on the fight, with Herman always having been a very slow-footed striker even in his prime, never mind at the tail-end of his career, while Villante is definitely the more dangerous and hard-hitting of the two, but is one-paced, predictable with his offense and lacks any meaningful defense.
Herman does have a solid grappling game, but I think this one will be won and lost on the feet, with Villante’s power being too much for the slowing down, past-his-best Herman.
Prediction: Gian Villante wins by TKO in Rd2 – BET NOW
Court McGee vs. Alex Garcia
In this fight the UFC pits a hard-working fighter who tries to get the best out of his limited physical gifts in McGee against the stocky Garcia, who has the physique and athletic talent, but doesn’t always utilize it to it’s full potential and has proven to be somewhat inconsistent.
McGee will fight at a higher tempo, while Garcia will take his time and picks his shots more, which could be a dangerous strategy here, but I think he will land the bigger, more telling blows and will be the stronger of the two when it comes to clinch work and grappling, which will be just enough to edge him to a decision victory.
Prediction: Alex Garcia wins by decision – BET NOW
(Predicted winners in bold)
Nordine Taleb vs. Sean Strickland
Thibault Gouti vs. Nasrat Haqparast
Chris Fishgold vs. Calvin Kattar
Talita Bernardo vs. Sarah Moras
UFC Fight Pass Prelims
T’e’Jovan Edwards vs. Don Madge
Arjan Bhullar vs. Marcelo Golm
Stevie Ray vs. Jessin Ayari