UFC Fight Night 166 Predictions
Curtis Blaydes vs. Junior dos Santos
Dos Santos will be feeling lucky to be able to compete on Saturday night given that he suffered an infection late last year that if not treated in time could have seen his leg amputated.
Nevertheless, that’s hardly ideal preparation for a big fight like this with a rising force in the division like Blaydes, who is currently riding back-to-back wins and has only lost twice in 10 UFC fights.
It should be stressed that both of those losses came against Ngannou, whose thunderous punching power proved too much, but generally he’s competent on the feet. It’s really his wrestling that’s his biggest calling card though and that could work out well for him here.
JDS will look to use his boxing and footwork to pick apart Blaydes and hope to land a killer blow along the way, but I don’t think he’ll like the kind of pressure his opponent applies and takedowns will lead to heavy-hitting ground and pound salvo’s en-route to a Blaydes TKO victory in the third round.
Prediction: Curtis Blaydes to win by TKO in Rd3 – Bet Now
Michael Chiesa vs. Rafael dos Anjos
This is an intriguing fight, with Dos Anjos having ruled the roost at one point when both were lightweights, but experiencing mixed fortunes at welterweight, while Chiesa has been thriving there since moving up with two wins under his belt so far.
Certainly Chiesa’s frame seems to be more naturally suited to the 170lb ranks, standing 6ft 1” tall and with a 75.5” reach, compared with RDA’s 5ft 8” and 70” reach and that’s lended itself well to his stifling grappling, but he’s still not the most potent striker.
Nevertheless, despite the physical limitations, Dos Anjos still has big wins over the likes of Robbie Lawler, Neil Magny and Kevin Lee at welterweight and that’s thanks to his well-rounded fight game, with skilled striking, high-level BJJ and unrelenting pressure and cardio.
I do think Chiesa has a chance to use his size to try and bully RDA with his wrestling, but the Brazilian remains the more skilled fighter and will be crafty on the mat if it goes there and has a significant advantage in the stand-up that will help him get the nod from the judges after three rounds.
Prediction: Rafael dos Anjos to win by decision – Bet Now
Jordan Espinosa vs. Alex Perez
This should be a fast and furious flyweight scrap between two former Contender Series prospects who have lost only one fight each in the past few years.
Espinosa will have a four inch reach advantage here, though it’s worth noting that while he’s an active striker with impressive speed, he’s more known for finishing fights by submission than on the feet.
Perez operates at a high pace, is a threat both on the feet and on the mat and with his only loss in the UFC to date being to perennial top contender Joseph Benavidez, I think he’ll prove to have the overall edge in this fight to earn himself a hard-fought decision victory.
Prediction: Alex Perez to win by decision – Bet Now
Hannah Cifers vs. Angela Hill
Hill always appeared to have athletic potential and is a tough customer, but while she did find success in Invicta FC, she’s tended to struggle to put a consistent run together in the UFC.
Cifers own ceiling has still to be established, but this figures to be a close fight with both looking to exchange on the feet with high-volume striking, while getting hit more often than they should.
I don’t think there’s much to choose between them here, but I do think this is the kind of fight Hill can cope with and her movement and aggression will help eek out a decision win.
Prediction: Angela Hill to win by decision – Bet Now
Jamahal Hill vs. Darko Stosic
Another Contender Series prospect, Hill has just six fights to his name so far, but he appears to be a relatively solid striker and he’ll enjoy a 4” height and 3” reach advantage in this fight against the stockier Stosic.
Stosic hasn’t exactly set the Octagon alight so far, with a 1-2 run to date, but though Hill may have the speed advantage, I can see Stosic having the heavier kicks and punches.
Stosic’s clinch work and ground and pound will also offer up different potential looks that will enable the more experienced fighter to work his way towards victory at the fight’s conclusion.
Prediction: Darko Stosic to win by decision – Bet Now
UFC Fight Night 166 Prelims
(Predicted winners in bold)
Arnold Allen vs. Nik Lentz
Justine Kish vs. Lucie Pudilova
Bevon Lewis vs. Dequan Townsend
Montel Jackson vs. Felipe Colares
Lina Lansberg vs. Sara McMann
Tony Gravely vs. Brett Johns
Herbert Burns vs. Nate Landwehr