UFC Fight Night 148 Main Card
Stephen Thompson vs. Anthony Pettis
This is a somewhat puzzling match-up, but despite it not appearing to be in Pettis’ best interests, he was actually the one that asked for it.
It comes after the former lightweight champion was in a thrilling battle with Tony Ferguson back in October of last year that was highly entertaining, but by the end saw him being badly beaten up before his corner threw threw in the towel.
Pettis’ record in recent times stands at just 3-6 and that includes a brief stint dropping down to featherweight, where he was TKO’d by Max Holloway.
Now he’s moving up to 170lbs for the first time and has immediately called out one of the division’s best strikers in ‘Wonderboy.’ It’s a ballsy move given that Thompson is far more suited to that weight case and will have a 2” height and 3” in reach advantage over ‘Showtime.’
As good of a striker as Pettis can be, Thompson can match him and he is very comfortable operating at range, which will allow him to make full use of the size differential.
The lack of a real takedown threat from Thompson will be appealing to Pettis and the fact that he won’t be constantly pressured and put on the back foot will also give him more room to be creative and unleash his full arsenal of strikes, but ‘Wonderboy’ is such a well versed striker that I don’t see him being caught by surprise here and he’ll get the better of the stand-up action to emerge with a decision victory.
Prediction: Stephen Thompson to win by decision Bet Now
Curtis Blaydes vs. Justin Willis
Francis Ngannou may be Blaydes nemesis, but that aside he’s passed every test in the cage so far in his 12-fight career.
I like him to continue to build-up his resume here. Blaydes has proven to be a strong wrestler and I don’t expect that Willis is going to have a great deal to offer off his back.
Blaydes can also stand and trade if need be and Willis isn’t the heaviest-handed striker, despite his size.
Blaydes is also the better conditioned fighter here and has the height and a slight reach advantage into the bargain, so I fancy his chances of getting Willis down repeatedly and eventually finishing him off with ground and pound.
Prediction: Curtis Blaydes to win by TKO in Rd3 Bet Now
John Makdessi vs. Jesus Pinedo
At just 22, Pinedo will be 11 years Makdessi’s junior in this fight, but while his game still requires polish he is a threat both on the feet on the mat.
Pinedo will have a 6” reach advantage over the shorter, stockier Makdessi and is likely to be the more aggressive of the two.
That won’t phase Makdessi though as he’s an accomplished, technical striker who will mix up basic punches and leg kick combos with more exotic spinning attacks, and though he’s never been much of a knockout artist he’ll certainly be able to pick holes in his opponents defense if he starts getting reckless.
Pinedo can also threaten with ground and pound and submissions, but I’m not convinced his wrestling is going to be good enough to bring Makdessi down in the first place.
So this one is likely to be decided on the feet and Pinedo’s pace and reach could be an issue for Makdessi, but overall I feel he’ll be able to use his higher level experience and technical ability to gradually pick apart his opponent and secure a close decision victory.
Prediction: John Makdessi to win by decision Bet Now
Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Jussier Formiga
It’s a shame for these two fighters that the flyweight division might be on the way out as they were hovering right on the verge of title contention.
Formiga is a formidable force on the mat and that’s helped him reach No. 1 contender status in the weight class, for what that’s worth. He’s strong on top and is a proven finisher via submission, being something of a rear-naked choke specialist.
As dangerous as Formiga is on the mat, Figueiredo is just as fearsome on the feet. For 125lbs he packs a hell of a punch and his natural athleticism helps him burst into moments of brutality that can make break down opponents.
What makes the fight more interesting is that Formiga isn’t completely out of his depth on the feet, and neither is Figueiredo on the mat.
Nevertheless, the two men’s gameplans are still fairly clear cut due to the advantage they each have and I think Figueiredo is going to be the stronger, more athletic fighter who will press the action more and certainly be the harder hitter, leading to a TKO stoppage in the second round.
Prediction: Deiveson Figueiredo wins by decision Bet Now
Luis Pena vs. Steven Peterson
It’s somewhat surprising to see the already exceptionally tall (6ft 3”) lanky lightweight Pena moving down to featherweight, but he insists that he’s just naturally skinny and that it’s a weight class that’s better suited for him.
Pena can use his reach advantage on the feet, but he’s at his best as a grappler, with his long frame makes him tricky to deal with on the mat and he’s good in the scramble too.
Peterson is the more aggressive of the two and will be looking to get in close and land big strikes that could topple Pena like a tree.
Peterson can also mix it up on the ground too, but I think that Pena is markedly better fighter on the mat and though there are concerns his weight cut will make him even more vulnerable to being starched on the feet, I’ll take him to bring Peterson down and lock up a sub in the second round.
Prediction: Luis Pena to win by submission in Rd2 Bet Now
J.J. Aldrich vs. Maycee Barber
Barber is already a hotly tipped prospect and it’s easy to see why. At only 20-years-old she already has a fairly well-rounded skill-set, excellent athleticism and is extremely competitive by nature.
In all fairness she is still something of a work-in-progress, particularly with her striking, and that will be where Aldrich will be looking to make her mark as she’s the more technical fighter in that regard.
Nevertheless, I don’t see Aldrich having the kind of power of physicality to really stop Barber’s pace, pressure and strong wrestling, leading to a late TKO stoppage on the mat.
Prediction: Maycee Barber to win by TKO in Rd3 Bet Now
UFC Fight Night 148 Prelims
(Predicted winners in bold)
Bryce Mitchell vs. Bobby Moffett
Frankie Saenz vs. Marlon Vera
Alexis Davis vs.Jennifer Maia
Angela Hill vs. Randa Markos
Chris Gutierrez vs. Ryan MacDonald
Jordan Espinosa vs. Eric Shelton