UFC Fight Night 151 Main Card
Donald Cerrone vs. Al Iaquinta
This should be a fun main event between two of the division’s most established entertainers.
Cerrone is settling back into the groove at lightweight and it’s definitely the best weight class for him as fighting at welterweight seemed to be taking a toll on him. He’s the more versatile striker here, but it’s his kicking from range that’s likely to be his most valuable weapon here.
That’s because Iaquinta is the better boxer and he will be dangerous if he gets inside on ‘Cowboy’ and lets his hands go, so maintaining the distance will be Cerrone’s first priority.
Cerrone does also transition nicely to takedowns from strikes though and Iaquinta has been susceptible to submissions in the past, but generally he’s actually proven to be pretty solid on the mat in recent times.
This is a challenging one to call. Cerrone has more ways to win here, but Iaquinta’s consistent, but not careless forward pressure and durability will force ‘Cowboy’ to engage at a boxing range where he’s not as comfortable, which ‘Raging’ Al will take advantage of and finish him, potentially even with a body shot, in the third round.
Prediction: Al Iaquinta wins by TKO in Rd3 – Bet Now
Derek Brunson vs. Elias Theodorou
This is a somewhat curious choice for the co-main event with both of these middleweights being capable, yet significantly flawed fighters with completely contrasting mindsets.
Brunson is a solid wrestler, but it’s his punching power that’s become his biggest weapon. However, while he’s quick and powerful he can be exceptionally reckless with his punches as he charges forward hoping to land something big with little in the way of set-ups, angles, footwork or defence.
On the other hand, Theodorou is much more cautious, preferring to work on the outside with lots of movement and kicks, but it often seems like he’s purposefully trying to just edge his way to a decision victory rather than trying to finish the fight.
I think that style is going to be problematic for Theodorou here as he’s not going to be landing with enough venom to really put Brunson off, and therefore he’s going to continue to keep wading forward looking to take his head off.
Theodorou might be able to keep him at bay at first, but in the end Brunson’s speed and determination will lead to him connecting with something big that finishes the fight in the second round.
Prediction: Derek Brunson to win by TKO in Rd2 – Bet Now
Cub Swanson vs. Shane Burgos
The 35-year-old veteran, Swanson is coming off a trio of losses for the first time in his career, but they came against top talents in Brian Ortega, Frankie Edgar and Renato Moicano, while Burgos is slowly but surely making a name for himself with a 4-1 run in the UFC so far, but without having fought the same level of competition.
Swanson has always been a talented and creative striker, but he has a real fight on his hands here as Burgos is a skilled and aggressive stand-up technician in his own right, and has less miles on the clock.
Burgos will enjoy a significant reach advantage here and throws a very high volume of strikes, but is open to being hit himself in the process and has been both dropped and finished in recent fights, so that’s a concern here as Swanson is crafty and will exploit any holes in his defense.
Overall I’d expect something of a war to break out between these two and it’s very evenly matched, so either man could emerge victorious as a result.
I’m leaning ever so slightly towards Swanson though. He has a huge amount of experience, is the more versatile striker and let’s not forget that apart from a highlight knockout loss against Jose Aldo back in the WEC many years ago, he’s still never been finished by strikes. I’ll take him to trouble Burgos, but ultimately settle for a close decision victory.
Prediction: Cub Swanson to win by decision – Bet Now
Brad Katona vs. Merab Dvalishvili
This should be entertaining as Katona is a fairly well-rounded prospect with good power, while Dvalishvili is a very tough, all-action fighter on the feet and on the mat.
Katana will be the more technical striker here, but he’ll have to be careful as Dvalishvili is quite wild, keeps a high tempo and has a 3” reach advantage, though he’s not a big finisher.
What makes Dvalishvili such a handful is that he’ll also look for takedowns with the same gusto as he does with strikes and that good stop Katona from establishing his rhythm, though he’s no slouch on the mat himself.
As with a few of the other fights we’ve looked at so far this is a fight in which both fighters have a real chance to emerge victorious from. Katona’s punching power could win out, but I think Dvalishvilli’s work-rate and takedowns will swing at least two of the judges in his favor.
Prediction: Merab Dvalishvilli to win by decision – Bet Now
Walt Harris vs. Sergey Spivak
Spivak comes in to make his UFC debut on Saturday night after building a 9-0 record on the regional circuit, but while he’s got some wins over some ageing veterans he’s likely to find Harris to be a tougher test.
That’s not to say Harris is a world beater by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s physically impressive and is a heavy-hitting striker, though sometimes he doesn’t appear to be making the most of it.
Spivak is also a finisher, but has more of an interest in bringing the fight to the mat and offers up a submission threat.
That could be a way to get the better of Harris, but I think he’ll struggle to take him down and will end up coming off second best in the subsequent fist-fight.
Prediction: Walt Harris to win by TKO in Rd1 – Bet Now
Marc-Andre Berriault vs. Andrew Sanchez
Berriault arrives from the TKO promotion, where he held their middleweight title while improving his record to 11-1.
Berriault has big finishing power, but has other strings to his bow too, so he will present an interesting challenge for Sanchez, who won TUF 23, but has had a so-so record since then.
Sanchez is a wrestler first and foremost and it would definitely be in his best interests to get this fight to the floor early and often as he’s been finished twice in his last three fights by strikes.
A lot of that had to do with Sanchez running out of stream in the final round and it’s something he has to be very wary of here as Berriault can absolutely punish him for it.
It’s tempting to pick the newcomer here as there’s real potential here, but we’ll have to see how he takes to life in the Octagon and I think this time out Sanchez will be able to get him to the mat and not give him time to settle on his way to edging out a decision win.
Prediction: Andrew Sanchez to win by decision – Bet Now
UFC Fight Night 151 Prelims
(Predicted winners in bold)
Sarah Moras vs. Macy Chiasson
Aiemann Zahabi vs. Vince Morales
Nordine Taleb vs. Kyle Prepolec
Kyle Nelson vs. Matt Sayles
Juan Adams vs. Arjan Bhullar
Mitch Gagnon vs. Cole Smith