Not many people thought Nate Diaz had a chance to knock off Conor McGregor on Saturday night at UFC 196. The Irishman was jumping up two weight classes and taking on a legitimate contender in Diaz, however it was expected that Conor’s quickness and accuracy would win him the fight.

In the opening frame McGregor looked great. He controlled the center of the octagon and was the aggressor for the majority of the round.  Conor was able to land some solid punches, he didn’t wobble Nate but he definitely gained the veteran’s attention.  That was also the case when McGregor opened up a cut over Nate’s right eye.

Unlike all of McGregor’s other UFC opponents Nate Diaz didn’t allow him to get into his head. Diaz stayed focused and got a late takedown to make the first round close but McGregor probably won it on the scorecards.

In the second Nate continued to pump a strong jab while blood ran down his face and his right eye was nearly swollen shut. Conor landed a few more decent punches but with just over two minutes left in the round all hell broke loose.

Diaz caught Conor with a right-left combination that stumbled him and right at that moment it became a matter of how and when Nate would win the fight. Conor never backed down and kept throwing shots of his own until he’d had enough and made a weak shot for a takedown which allowed Diaz to gain top control.  He is a BJJ blackbelt and McGregor isn’t, it was so obvious when the fight hit the mat.  Nate ran right through McGregor and with just a minute left in the second round he forced the featherweight champion to tapout with a rear-naked choke.

It wasn’t the outcome McGregor or most of the world had predicted and it sent shockwaves through the MMA community. With just eleven days worth of preparation Nate Diaz put on the performance of a lifetime and it likely earned him an even bigger payday the next time he steps into the octagon.  It was a great way to cap off a night of major upsets, including Miesha Tate winning the women’s bantamweight title when she came from behind to choke out Holly Holm in the fifth and final round.

For more coverage of UFC 196 continue to check back with Pro Fighting Fans.

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer

The UFC continues its torrid pace to begin 2016 with UFC 196 this weekend in Las Vegas. The MGM Grand Garden Arena plays host to a Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz welterweight main event.  Not to mention there is also the women’s bantamweight title fight in the co-main with Holly Holm defending her belt against Miesha Tate.  BS Predictions improved our record to 14-6 after last weekend’s UFC Fight Night 84: Silva vs. Bisping.  Hopefully the good times keep rolling this week.

 

Amanda Nunes (11-4) vs. Valentina Shevchenko (12-1)

Amanda Nunes started off her UFC career with two straight stoppage wins but then fell to former bantamweight title challenger Cat Zingano. Since that loss she’s come back with two more wins including a recent submission victory over Sara McMann at UFC Fight Night 73.

Valentina Shevchenko shocked the bantamweight division in her UFC debut with a split decision victory over Sarah Kaufman. She took the fight on short notice but her striking looked sharp and it will need to be Saturday night as well if she has any chance against Nunes.

Nunes has struggled against good strikers In the past but I think she’s hungry for a title shot and she’ll dominate Shevchenko to prove it.

Prediction: Amanda Nunes

 

Corey Anderson (7-1) vs. Tom Lawlor (10-5-1)

For the second straight time, Tom Lawlor will step inside the octagon as a member of the UFC’s light heavyweight division. The former middleweight returned after a two year layoff to earn a “performance of the night” victory over Gian Villante.  The size difference in the last fight was evident but Lawlor may be happier not having to cut weight, and happy fighters can be dangerous.

TUF 19 light heavyweight winner Corey Anderson is riding a two fight winning streak after a loss to Gian Villante. He’ll have a three inch height advantage and a five inch reach advantage.  But size doesn’t always matter.

I see Lawlor being able to get in close and make this an ugly fight. He’s able to generate power from the clinch and if he can do that against Anderson he might have an upset victory to add to his resume.

Prediction: Tom Lawlor

 

Ilir Latifi (11-4-1NC) vs. Gian Villante (14-6)

Ilir Latifi has gone 4-1 in the UFC since his debut, a short notice loss to Gegard Mousasi, with two straight knockout wins over Hans Stringer and Sean O’Connell. Saturday night will mark only the 2nd time Latifi has competed in North America.  It’s a big stage and Villante will not be beaten easily, this fight will give us a good idea of where Latifi stands in the light heavyweight division.

In his last fight Villante bounced back from a loss with a knockout of Anthony Perosh. Overall Villante has probably faced the tougher competition and he should be able to stop Latifi inside the distance.  Watch for Villante to make it a dog fight and he’ll be the one with his hand raised Saturday night.

Prediction: Gian Villante

 

Holly Holm (10-0) vs. Miesha Tate (17-5) (for UFC women’s bantamweight championship)

This might be the fight of the night. These two girls are going to bring it.  Holm will want to prove her victory over Rousey wasn’t a fluke and Tate wants it to be known that she’s still a factor at 135lbs.

Tate believes she has the perfect skillset to defeat Holly Holm, and I’m going to agree with her on that. Tate is a better striker than former champ Ronda Rousey, although “Rowdy” had been showing improvement.  Miesha should be quick enough to dodge the awesome striking of Holm, landing her own shots and always looking for the takedown.

Although Ronda Rousey couldn’t submit Holly Holm, I truly believe Miesha Tate can.

Prediction: Miesha Tate

 

Conor McGregor (19-2) vs. Nate Diaz (18-10)

Ok, so we’re not getting the champion vs. champion super fight we were promised, since lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos dropped out due to injury. What we are getting, is a unique experience in its own right.  145lbs champion Conor McGregor, who was supposed to fight for the 155lbs title, is moving up to 170lbs to face Nate Diaz.  It takes a second for that to sink in, but once it does it is all the more enticing.

It seems crazy that McGregor is jumping up two weight classes, however the name of the game is speed. McGregor’s speed will most definitely be too much for Diaz, it really comes down to a matter of when he’ll finish the fight.  I do expect Diaz to be able to take some punishment before the final blow is landed, what I’m more interested in is whether or not he’ll land any significant shots of his own.  McGregor all the way and don’t be surprised if he’s soon facing Robbie Lawler for the UFC’s welterweight title.

Prediction: Conor McGregor

 

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer

 

 

 

This week we’ll take a good look at the UFC 196 main event between Conor Mcgregor and Nate Diaz. We know the history, we know the talk, now we just want to see the fight.  Will McGregor run right through Diaz?  Or will Diaz use his length and strong boxing skills to keep out of harm’s way?  Each guy has things he can do in the cage that will give him a distinct advantage over his opponent.  The winner will be the one who puts together all of the keys to victory.

Nate Diaz:

  • Use a strong jab

When he is on, Nate Diaz is capable of beating anyone the UFC puts in front of him. When he’s off, like he was against Rafael dos Anjos, it can get ugly.  Diaz is a great all around fighter, but one of his biggest strengths are his boxing skills.  He has a great jab and that was evident in his last fight with Michael Johnson.  That matchup was southpaw vs. southpaw, much like the one on Saturday night, and Nate was able to keep Johnson honest.  Obviously McGregor is a completely different striker than anyone Diaz has ever faced, but if Nate can keep the fight at his preferred distance he would have a good chance of  earning a decision victory.

  • Be willing to look for a takedown at the first sign of danger

Both Nate and his brother Nick love to go toe to toe with their opponents, they rarely take a backwards step inside the octagon. However, Conor McGregor is not the kind of guy you can stalk around the cage.  His kicking game is on another level and Nate Diaz will definitely get hit on Saturday night.  The outcome of the fight will be determined by what Diaz does after he gets hit.  He needs to remember that his Judo and BJJ skills likely give him an advantage in those areas of the fight.  He can’t be afraid to it to the ground and look for submissions, it is probably his best option to win the fight.

  • Find the balance between trash talking and following the gameplan.

To be effective at welterweight against Conor McGregor, Diaz has to do what he does best, talk some smack. He just needs to make sure that he’s also focused on what he needs to do to win the fight.  It will be hard to resist the temptation to talk when McGregor is also trash talking.  But when McGregor is talking is when Diaz needs to stay focused and pressure the Irishman to make a mistake.

 

Conor McGregor:

  • Keep doing what you are doing, it is working

Maybe it’s his mysterious movement coach or his incredible ability to back up his talk but Conor McGregor is definitely doing something right every time he steps in the octagon. It’s likely a combination of many things, regardless it’s working and McGregor is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

  • Kicks, kicks and more kicks

“The Notorious” Conor McGregor might be the most creative kicker we’ve ever seen in the cage. When he’s throwing a kick his body is so fluid, the movements so natural yet completely unpredictable to his opponents.  He uses kicks as a jab to setup other strikes and it’s a gameplan that would likely work well against Diaz.  Plus, Josh Thomson knocked out Nate Diaz with a head kick and surely Conor McGregor kicks as hard as if not harder than “The Punk”.  It could be an early night for Diaz.

  • Have fun out there

March 5th was supposed to be the night Conor McGregor attempted to become the first man to hold two UFC titles simultaneously.  Instead lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos dropped out of the fight with a broken foot and once again the UFC was scrambling to find someone willing to step in the cage with McGregor.  Surprisingly there were a lot of volunteers but it was Nate Diaz who got the short notice call.  Now McGregor is going to be fighting two weight classes up from 145lbs where he is the current champion, and it’s against a natural 155lb fighter.  The fight means nothing, so there really shouldn’t be any pressure on either one of them, especially McGregor.  He has nothing to lose and he needs to fight that way, if he’s going to win he may as well make it entertaining.

 

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer

        

After an excellent showing at last weekend’s UFC Fight Night 83, B.S. Predictions has an overall record of 11-5. This week we have another Fight Night installment and another opportunity to continue improving our record. Predicting these fights is just one reason why you should tune in Saturday afternoon, Anderson Silva is the other.

 

Brad Pickett (24-11) vs. Francisco Rivera (11-5)

This one is going to be a war, and the winner will be determined by who lands the big shot first. It’s not going the distance or to the ground, so what we’re left with is a one round stand up scrap. They are both coming off losses in fights where they had opportunities to win but ultimately fell short.

Pickett has lost 3 straight and Rivera has lost 3 of 4. Based on this and the fact that Pickett will be fighting at home, I see the Englishman landing the finishing blow early.

Prediction: Brad Pickett

 

Tom Breese (9-0) vs. Keita Nakamura (31-6)

Tom Breese is undefeated, fighting at home and training out of Tristar Gym in Montreal. He’s fighting someone with way more experience but the advantages end there for Keita Nakamura. Breese wins this one and makes it look easy.

Prediction: Tom Breese

 

Thales Leites (25-5) vs. Gegard Mousasi (37-6)

This will be a matchup of saavy veterans. For most of his career Leites was a BJJ type fighter, since he returned to the UFC he’s become a well-rounded fighter with a much improved striking game. Mousasi is capable of finishing a fight no matter where it goes.

I see this one going the distance and the busier fighter will get the nod. Seeing as Leites says he’s learned from the mistakes he made against Michael Bisping, I’m going with the underdog in this one.

Prediction: Thales Leites

 

Anderson Silva (33-6) vs. Michael Bisping (27-7)

I like the underdog in this fight too. Michael Bisping has wanted this matchup for a really long time and he’s never lost a professional fight in the U.K. As long as Bisping can keep busy and push the pace he should be able to keep Silva from moving forwards.

Silva is definitely near the end of his legendary career but regardless of that he’s not getting easy fights. Unless he can create some distance and get a crazy knockout I really believe Michael Bisping has his number today.

Prediction: Michael Bisping

 

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer

 

 

After every UFC event we here at Pro Fighting Fans love to play matchmaker. In this column we’ll tell you who we think the winners and losers of each fight should face next.  So check back with Pro Fighting Fans after a UFC event to see what we think the next step is.

Donald Cerrone (29-7-1NC)

Who he should face next: Thiago Alves (21-10)

Donald Cerrone made a successful welterweight debut, but the one thing we must keep in mind when thinking about who he should face next is just that, it was his debut in a new weight class. Cerrone was a longtime lightweight contender, however he could never seem to win the big and one get that belt around his waist.

So let’s be realistic, he beat Alex Oliveira, a guy who is nowhere near the top ten in either of the weight classes he fights in, lightweight or welterweight. That being said Oliveira was a short notice opponent and that should mean something, plus Cerrone is always to fight anyone. The UFC should give him someone in the top 15 in the welterweight division and Thiago Alves seems like a perfect candidate. The Brazilian returned last year after a long layoff and lost an exciting fight to Carlos Condit. If he and Cerrone met in the octagon it would probably be a standup war, and neither guy has ever backed away from one of those.

 

Derek Brunson (15-3)

Who he should face next: Uriah Hall (11-6)

Derek Brunson has won five of six fights since joining the UFC, yet he is somehow still flying under the radar in the middleweight division. After a fourth straight win and third straight by stoppage, Brunson is oh so close to the top ten. That should mean that next time out he should get an opponent who is also close to or in the top ten.

Uriah Hall has been up and down in his UFC career. He’s coming off a loss to Robert Whittaker at UFC 193 but one fight before that he got the biggest win of his life, beating Gegard Mousasi by TKO. Sometimes Hall has been accused of lacking a killer instinct, Brunson is someone who would force Hall to bring his best if he wishes to come out on the winning side.

 

Cody Garbrandt (8-0)

Who he should face next: John Lineker (26-7)

Cody Garbrandt’s original opponent at UFC Fight Night 83 was supposed to be John Lineker. Unfortunately Lineker had to withdraw from the bout due to injury. There isn’t much need for an explanation, this fight should still happen. Garbrandt made it look pretty easy against short notice opponent Augusto Mendes, but he still needs a signature win before he’ll be taken seriously in the UFC’s bantamweight division. A win over Lineker would be a big statement, the UFC needs to make this happen.

 

Dennis Bermudez (15-5)

Who he should face next: Charles Oliveira (21-5)

After two straight stoppage losses to Ricardo Lamas and Jeremy Stephens, TUF 14 veteran Dennis Bermudez was in desperate need of a win against Tatsuya Kawajiri at UFC Fight Night 83. Bermudez wasn’t able to get a finish but it was still a dominant win and it keeps him around the top ten of the featherweight division.

Charles Oliveira is a UFC veteran and has faced a who’s who of top fighters in both the lightweight and featherweight divisions. Oliveira is coming off an impressive win over Myles Jury and is likely hungry to put together a winning streak. Bermudez tends to rely on his grappling when he’s in the cage against tough opponents, it would be interesting to see how he would handle a submission ace like Oliveira.

 

Chris Camozzi (23-10)

Who he should face next: Josh Samman (12-3)

In the fall of 2014 Chris Camozzi found himself being cut from the UFC roster after four straight losses. But when the UFC was looking for a replacement opponent for top middleweight Jacare Souza, Camozzi was willing to take a rematch with him on short notice. He lost the second fight with Souza faster than he did the first but because he stepped up the UFC gave him another shot. He’s since won two straight against Tom Watson and Joe Riggs.

Camozzi will likely never be a UFC champion, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be used as a measuring stick for up and coming fighters. Josh Samman is coming off his first UFC loss, to Tamdan McCrory, but he’s been impressive enough so far that job security isn’t an issue just yet. Samman should be put up against another veteran to see if he’s ready for bigger things, and Chris Camozzi is the perfect option.

 

James Krause (23-7)

Who he should face next: Alex Oliveira (12-4-1)

James Krause has finally put together a winning streak in the UFC after a unanimous decision victory over Canadian Shane Campbell at UFC Fight Night 83. He showed a lot of promise after a debut win over veteran Sam Stout but then stumbled against the likes of Bobby Green and Jorge Masvidal. A fight with Alex Oliveira would give Krause a legitimate chance at a three fight winning streak.

Oliveira did the UFC a huge favour by taking a short notice fight with Donald Cerrone in a weight class he thought he had left behind. It’s likely that “Cowboy” will move back down in weight now and Krause would present a well-rounded challenge for the Brazilian. It also doesn’t hurt that the two are on the same schedule after they both fought last week.
Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer

After his first seven professional fights it would have been acceptable to give Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (29-7-1NC) the nickname “The Triangle King”. Five of his first seven victories came via the triangle-choke submission, but before Sunday night he’d only used it twice since 2007.  Well it was definitely worth the wait.

Cerrone met fellow “Cowboy”, Alex Oliveira (14-3-1-1NC) in the main event of UFC Fight 83 at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was Cerrone’s welterweight debut while the bout marked a return to the weight class for Oliveira after dropping to lightweight for his last appearance.

Although Cerrone is often known as a slow starter it was expected that when the two met in the octagon there would be fireworks. They certainly didn’t disappoint and wasted no time getting down to business.

After a brief exchange in the Thai clinch, that saw both men land some knees, Donald shot for a takedown. His wrestling has always been underrated and he was able to get Oliveira to the mat without much trouble.  Cerrone established top control and was very methodical in his approach.  Once he found the opening he made a beautiful transition into mount then almost immediately he locked in the triangle choke.  Oliveira quickly tapped and before three minutes had gone by in the first round the fight was over.

It was a spectacular welterweight debut for “Cowboy” Cerrone and it also earned him a performance of the night bonus. Now it will be interesting to see where Cerrone goes from here.  It’s conceivable that he could bounce between both the lightweight and welterweight divisions, as he’s always been known as a guy who’s willing to fight anytime, anywhere and against anyone.  Donald made that very clear in his post-fight interview when he said “If anyone at 170lbs wants to get hurt, I know a guy”.  The victory was also the perfect rebound for Cerrone after a failed attempt to capture the UFC lightweight title last December against current champ Rafael dos Anjos.

For further coverage of UFC Fight Night 83 and everything MMA keep checking back with Profightingfans.com

 

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer

 

 

Thanks to a decent effort with our UFC Fight Night 82 predictions, BS Predictions is now 6-4 since returning to the world of MMA journalism. This week we have another opportunity to improve that record when UFC Fight Night 83 rolls into Pittsburgh with a main event featuring Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone taking on Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira. So let’s rustle up some predictions and see how we do!

Shane Campbell (12-3) vs. James Krause (22-7)

Canadian fighter Shane Campbell has an impressive kickboxing record of 62-9, but when he’s standing across the cage from James Krause at UFC Fight Night 83 it’s going to be a whole different story.

Krause has been inconsistent since joining the UFC however he’s coming off a submission victory over Daron Cruickshank and will be looking to keep the recent success going. Campbell won a unanimous decision over Elias Silverio this past August so he too will want to put together a winning streak.

I think Krause has faced the better competition and he’s superior in all aspects of the MMA game. Whether it’s on the feet or ground Krause wins this fight.

Prediction: James Krause

 

Chris Camozzi (22-10) vs. Joe Riggs (41-16-1NC)

Both of these guys are currently in their second stints with the UFC. Riggs had been away from the octagon since 2006 when he finally returned in 2014.  Camozzi was only gone for less than a year before he took a short notice fight against Ronaldo Souza last April and lost by first round submission.  He’s since bounced back with a unanimous decision win over Tom Watson. Riggs first fight back in the UFC was against Ben Saunders at UFC on FOX 13, he was on a six fight win streak before losing to Saunders that night.

Two of the three fights Joe Riggs has had in his UFC comeback have ended in odd fashion. The loss to Saunders was due to a neck injury suffered by Riggs, while his most recent win over Ron Stallings came via disqualification when Stallings used an illegal upkick.

This fight is not going to end in a weird way. Camozzi is the better fighter.  Riggs is at the end of a career that never quite reached its potential and he won’t have much to offer against Camozzi.

Prediction: Chris Camozzi

 

Dennis Bermudez (14-5) vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri (35-8-2)

Bermudez has won five post fight bonuses since he joined the UFC in 2011 as a member of the Ultimate Fighter 14 cast. He lost in the finale to Diego Brandao and then went on a 7 fight winning streak beating some solid competition including Max Holloway and Clay Guida.  Kawajiri on the other hand lost to Clay Guida via unanimous decision.  He’s since won two straight against Dennis Siver and Jason Knight.

I think that despite Bermudez’s wild striking style this could end up being a grappling heavy affair. Kawajiri might be the stronger of the two and if he can get top position he’ll likely grind out a victory against Bermudez.

Prediction: Tatsuya Kawajiri

 

Cody Garbrandt (7-0 vs. Augusto Mendes (5-0)

This will be a battle of young undefeated fighters trying to make an impression on the UFC brass. Cody Garbrandt UFCGarbrandt was expected to face John Lineker, a big step up in competition, now he’ll face UFC newcomer Augusto Mendes.

Mendes was supposed to make a short notice debut in January, but two days after taking the fight he dropped out due to an injury. Now he’ll make his first octagon appearance against Garbrandt, who is on the cusp of breaking into the UFC bantamweight division’s top 10.  Another factor in this fight is the fact that Mendes didn’t make weight for this bout.

Garbrandt will make quick work of Mendes and most likely he’ll get a top ten opponent the next time we see him.

Prediction: Cody Garbrandt

 

Derek Brunson (14-3) vs. Roan Carneiro (20-9)

This will be the second time Carneiro will step into the UFC’s octagon since being away from the organization for almost 8 years. In his return he took out Mark Munoz in the first round at UFC 184.  He’s now on a six fight win streak and Brunson has won three straight including two straight TKO victories over Sam Alvey and Ed Herman.

Derek Brunson is actually 5-1 since he became a member of the UFC, he might be ready to break through the fog and enter the top ten in the UFC’s middleweight division. Roan Carneiro will put up a good fight but Brunson should be able to keep the distance and keep the fight standing on his way to a decision victory.

Prediction: Derek Brunson

 

Donald Cerrone (28-7) vs. Alex Oliveira (14-2-1-1NC)

Originally Donald Cerrone was supposed to make his welterweight debut against Tim Means in the headliner of UFC Fight Night 83. Means was since dropped from the card due to a failed drug test so he’s being replaced by another “Cowboy”, Alex Oliveira.

I expect this to be a wild one, Oliveira loves to push the pace and Cerrone loves to stand and bang. Cerrone is one of the most exciting fighters on the UFC roster and he never disappoints. He’s looking to rebound after a failed title bid in 2015 when he lost to lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos.  Oliveira has won three straight and seems to be ready for a bigger challenge.

Well Oliveira will definitely get a challenge against Cerrone but I don’t think he’s ready for this one. Donald Cerrone will be patient and calculated, one way or another he’ll finish this fight on the feet.

Prediction: Donald Cerrone

 

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer

Mike Pyle (27-11-1)

Who he should face next: Ben Saunders (19-7-2)

After Mike Pyle’s impressive TKO victory over Sean Spencer at UFC Fight Night 82 it is clear the 40 year old veteran still has some gas left in the tank. Mind you it’s likely a very limited tank at his age.  However he’s still a great measuring stick for up and coming welterweights looking to make a name for themselves in the UFC.

Yet sometimes it’s fun to see veterans of the sport face off against one another, especially when they’ve had long careers without ever crossing paths. That’s why it seems like a matchup with Ben Saunders (19-7-2) could produce some fireworks. Saunders is coming off a TKO loss to Patrick Cote in January so he should be on the same schedule as Pyle.

The matchup would determine whether or not Saunders has what it takes to make an actual title run while it would give Pyle an idea as to whether or not retirement is a viable option.

 

Misha Cirkunov (11-2)

Who he should face next: Francimar Barroso (18-4)

Canadian light heavyweight Misha Cirkunov is riding high on a six fight win streak including two victories in the UFC. After making a mess of Alex Nicholson’s jaw at UFC Fight Night 82 he should be in for a step up in competition next time out.

Cirkunov’s most recent win should have put him close to the top 20 in the division so another top 20 opponent would be ideal. The only issue is that there are very few top tier light heavyweights that are actually coming off a win in their last fight.  One guy around the top twenty who is currently on a two fight winning streak is 35 year old Brazilian Francimar Barroso (18-4).

Barroso is 3-1 inside the octagon with victories over Ryan Jimmo and Elvis Mutapcic. Both men are finishers with nine of Cirkunov’s wins having been finishes while the same goes for 14 of Barroso’s 18 career wins.  The winner of this bout should be ready for a top ten opponent and the loser would be looking to refocus.

 

Joseph Benavidez (24-4)

Who he should face next: John Dodson (17-7)

When a guy has won 11 of 13fights in the UFC it’s hard to argue against giving him a title shot. Unfortunately when the two losses in that run have come against current UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson a title shot is unlikely.  That is the case right now for Joseph Benavidez who won yet again this past Saturday when he dominated Zach Makovsky for a unanimous decision victory.

I don’t think it’s time just yet for Benavidez to move up to the bantamweight division. However one more victory as a flyweight has got to get him a third crack at “Mighty Mouse”.  Another flyweight looking for a third crack at Johnson is none other than John Dodson (17-7).  He lost his last fight, to Johnson, but before that he had won three straight against legitimate flyweight contenders.

The winner of this fight would get the ever illusive third title shot while the loser would likely be forced to move up a weight class.

 

Ovince Saint Preux (19-7)

Who he should face next: Short Notice Opponent or Quinton Jackson

In the past Ovince Saint Preux has stumbled against opponents in the top five of his division, but after another solid dominating win at UFC Fight Night 82, it looks like Saint Preux should get another chance to prove himself against the best of the best.

Saint Preux’s biggest problem is that all of the guys he could face he’s either lost to or they are already scheduled to fight. That’s why it might be in his best interest to wait by the phone for an injury replacement opportunity.  But, if he isn’t interested in taking a replacement fight he could ask for a fight with veteran light heavyweight Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (36-11).

It’s unclear whether the 37 year old Jackson will fight again inside the octagon. It’s been close to a year since he returned to the organization.  If he does return he’d be the perfect name for Ovince Saint Preux’s impressive resume.

 

Roy Nelson (21-12)

Who he should face next: Derrick Lewis (14-4)

Roy “Big Country” Nelson was in desperate need of a win when he met Jared Rosholt at UFC Fight Night 82. Although it wasn’t one of his classic knockout victories it was a unanimous decision win against a young and tough wrestler.

Assuming he’s not going to hang his gloves up before he fights again, the UFC would be wise to put Nelson in a potentially fun fight. There is no reason to put him in a title eliminator or anything like that at this point in his career, so a fight that has the potential for entertainment is the way to go.

Although he’s on the rise, fellow heavyweight Derrick Lewis (14-4) is nowhere near ready to fight for a UFC title. But, he does pack an explosive punch and most likely he wouldn’t be afraid to stand in the pocket and trade with Nelson.  Plus, a win for Lewis would be a huge accomplishment and a win for Nelson would be a feather in his cap to say he took out an up and comer at his age.

 

Stephen Thompson (12-1)

Who he should face next: UFC Welterweight Champion Robbie Lawler (27-10)

There is no doubt that after taking out Johny Hendricks at UFC Fight Night 82 Stephen “Wonderboy” Thomspon is ready for superstardom. Seeing as Hendricks probably would have received a trilogy bout with current champ Robbie Lawler had he won, it’s only fair that Thompson get the same reward.

Thompson looked fantastic on his way to a dominating first round TKO of the former champ and other than a stumble against Matt Brown he’s been flawless in his pro MMA career. A bout with Lawler might play out the similar to the one with Hendricks, and it’d be interesting to see how a true veteran like “Ruthless” would handle the unpredictable karate style of Stephen Thompson.

 

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer

Heading into UFC Fight Night 82 most people were picking Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks (17-4) to beat Stephen “Wonderboy” Thomspon (12-1). With a win Hendricks would have kept his hopes of a title shot alive.  Well apparently Thompson didn’t get the memo and had plans of his own on Saturday night.

Thompson came out and almost immediately looked to establish distance by using his karate style kicking game. It definitely worked because after the very first kick landed it was obvious Johny Hendricks didn’t have an answer.

Hendricks was able to close the distance once but it resulted in an unsuccessful takedown attempt. That seemed to take all the confidence right out of “Bigg Rigg” and it was the beginning of the end.  Thompson set the tone with kicks and then landed some really nice combinations with his hands that kept Hendricks constantly guessing as to what was coming next.

There was less than two minutes left on the clock in the first round when Thompson landed a spinning back kick to the body of Hendricks while he was against the cage and that was all it took. “Wonderboy” landed a few more punches before the referee was forced to jump in and stop the fight.

Although Hendricks is the former UFC champion it was Thompson who looked like a champion at UFC Fight Night 82. Once Thompson smelled blood he never took his foot off the gas.  It remains to be seen as to how Thompson will handle an opponent who can get him to the ground.  But until then it’s tough to argue that with a six fight winning streak in one of the UFC’s toughest divisions Stephen Thompson isn’t deserving of a title shot, or at the very least a number one contender fight with fellow welterweight Tyron Woodley(15-3).

For more coverage of UFC Fight Night 82 keep checking back with profightingfans.com.

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer

 

 

The return of BS Predictions for last week’s UFC Fight Night 81 was a major disappointment. We went 1-3, only predicting the main event correctly.  Thankfully the UFC’s busy schedule gives us the opportunity for redemption only a week later, plus there are 6 fights on the main card!  So let’s see if we can get it right this time around.

Mike Pyle (26-11) vs. Sean Spencer (12-4)

If we are only looking at the experience factor Mike Pyle should win this fight. However, the outcome of this fight will have a lot more to do with skills than it will experience.

Sean Spencer will be entering the Octagon for the first time in over a year. He has alternated wins and losses in his last four fights.  He lost to Cathal Pendred and Alex Garcia while the wins came against Drew Dober and Paulo Thiago.  The victory over Thiago is probably the biggest win of his career.

Mike Pyle on the other hand has lost three of four coming into Saturday night. But, he’s definitely faced the tougher competition over the years.  He holds UFC wins over Ricardo Almeida and Rick Story.  He also had an early career win over former welterweight title challenger Jon Fitch.

Pyle is too crafty, both on his feet and on the ground for Spencer. He could win this one either way.  I’m thinking he’ll win by submission off his back in the 2nd round.

Prediction: Mike Pyle via submission round two

 

Misha Cirkunov (10-2) vs. Alex Nicholson (6-1)

I have a soft spot for Canadians, I am one. Naturally I think Canadian light heavyweight Misha Cirkunov is going to win on Saturday night.  He’s facing UFC newcomer Alex Nicholson who stole the show at Friday’s weigh-ins when he proposed to his girlfriend on stage.

That may be the only highlight of Nicholson’s weekend in Vegas. Cirkunov is coming off a first round knockout of Daniel Jolly at UFC Fight Night 74 last August.  In fact, Cirkunov is on a five fight win streak with all of the wins coming by way of stoppage.

Five of Alex Nicholson’s six career wins have been TKO’s so he does have a puncher’s chance. Unfortunately that won’t matter much when he’s the one getting punched.

Prediction: Misha Cirkunov via TKO round one

 

Joseph Benavidez (23-4) vs. Zach Makovsky (19-6)

The only times Joseph Benavidez has lost inside the UFC octagon have been when he’s faced current flyweight champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson.

Sure Zach Makovsky is a former Bellator bantamweight and RFA flyweight champ but none of that will matter come Saturday night.

Joseph Benavidez will get the submission victory and might even make it look easy. This will once again prove that he’s the second best flyweight in the world.

Prediction: Joseph Benavidez via submission round one

 

Rafael Cavalcante (12-4) vs. Ovince Saint Preux (18-7)

Cavalcante has lost two straight fights and those losses came against solid competition in Patrick Cummins and Ryan Bader. Ovince Saint Preux lost his last fight to Glover Teixeira but before that he had won two straight against Mauricio Rua and Patrick Cummins.

This should be an exciting matchup that is likely to take place standing up. As of late “OSP” has shown some devastating knockout power against some of the best light heavyweights in the world.

However, I think this one will be a back and forth battle and goes the distance with Saint Preux getting a unanimous decision victory. He should be ready for another step up in competition the next time he fights inside the octagon.

Prediction: Ovince Saint Preux via unanimous decision

 

Roy Nelson (20-12) vs. Jared Rosholt (14-2)

Both of Jared Rosholt’s career losses have come by way of TKO. Therefore, I’m not going to waste much time predicting his co-main event matchup against Roy “Big Country” Nelson.

Roy will come out swinging and land one of his patented bombs, putting the lights out for Jared Rosholt very quickly.

Prediction: Roy Nelson via knockout round one

 

Johny Hendricks vs. Stephen Thompson

Now we are at the main event for UFC Fight Night 82 which pits former welterweight champ Johny Hendricks against up and comer Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson.

On paper this is a very intriguing stylistic matchup. You have the raw power and world class wrestling of Johny Hendricks against the unpredictable karate style of Stephen Thompson.

If you take a closer look what you have here is a former UFC champion taking on a guy who might be a little in over his head. Yes Thompson has a win over Jake Ellenberger, but at this point a win over Ellenberger doesn’t mean as much as it used to.

Hendricks might have trouble finding his range on the feet, seeing as Thompson’s standup style is so unique. That’s why we’ll see Hendricks go back to his wrestling roots Saturday night and get a ground and pound TKO win.

Prediction: Johny Hendricks via TKO round two

 

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer