Over the weekend UFC officials announced several fights that will be a part of UFC Fight Night 88, which takes place May 29th, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Former UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao is making the move up to the featherweight division and his first assignment is not an easy one.  He’ll be facing off against Jeremy Stephens.

A former lightweight, Stephens will be making his 8th appearance as a featherweight and is a big power puncher.  He’s had mix results at 145lbs, going 4-3 since dropping down but he still remains a tough out for anyone.  “Lil’ Heathen” has good takedown defense and is usually able to keep his fights standing.  Over the course of his career he’s had notable victories over Rafael dos Anjos, Sam Stout and more recently Dennis Bermudez.  However he is on a 1-3 stretch and in desperate need of a win.

Renan Barao was once the most feared bantamweight in the world. His reign of destruction included wins over Michael McDonald, Eddie Wineland and he’s twice defeated Urijah Faber.  Barao first beat Faber at UFC 149 and won the interim bantamweight championship.  After multiple injuries to then champion Dominick Cruz, the UFC made Barao the official bantamweight champion.  He defended the title three times but after losing to TJ Dillashaw in 2014 he’s seemed to have lost a step.  Jeremy Stephens is going to be a really good test for Barao to see where he stands in the featherweight division.

Barao vs. Stephens will likely be part of the main card for UFC Fight Night 88 taking place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada on May 29th, 2016.  The main event features a bantamweight clash between rising stars Cody Garbrandt and Thomas Almeida.  Broadcasting information is not yet available.  Keep checking back with profightingfans.com for more updates.

 

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer

Over the weekend UFC officials announced that a bantamweight bout between Thomas Almeida and Cody Garbrandt will be headlining UFC Fight Night 88. The event is set to take place May 29th at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The winner of this fight could find themselves in a bantamweight title fight before the end of 2016. They both have perfect records, Almeida is 20-0 while Grabrandt is 8-0, so someone will be tasting defeat for the first time.

It will be Almeida’s fifth fight in the UFC and he has wins over veterans Yves Jabouin and Brad Pickett. In the fight with Pickett, Almeida had to survive an early barrage before he was able to get the TKO in the 2nd round by flying knee.  He’s a very dangerous striker and possibly the best prospect in the UFC’s 135lb division.

Garbrandt is coming off his third straight UFC win and eight overall. He was supposed to face John Lineker in his last fight but the Brazilian dropped out at the last minute due to injury.  Instead Garbrandt faced UFC newcomer Augusto Mendes and he got the win in the first round by TKO.  He trains with Team Alpha Male, led by bantamweight title challenger Urijah Faber, so Garbrandt is definitely well rounded and would be a tough fight for Thomas Almeida.

Along with the main event several other bouts have been announced for the UFC Fight Night 88 card, including, Renan Barao vs. Jeremy Stephens at featherweight, Tarec Saffiedine vs. Rick Story and Lorenz Larkin vs. Jorge Masvidal. It looks like a stacked card, for more coverage of this fight card and everything UFC, check out profightingfans.com.

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Editor/Writer

It’s a rarity when the UFC has two title fights on the same card, but it is Super Bowl weekend, so Dana White is going big with UFC 169.  A Jose Aldo fight always carries the potential for excitement, combine that with Renan Barao vs. Urijah Faber and that potential becomes a guarantee.   B.S. Predictions has been on a serious roll for the last couple of UFC events.  Let’s see if we can keep it going.

Jamie Varner vs. Abel Trujillo

When Jamie Varner returned to the UFC and shocked Edson Barboza, it seemed like he would quickly establish himself as a contender in the UFC’s lightweight division.  Since then Varner has been somewhat inconsistent in his recent fights with Melvin Guillard and Gleison Tibau.  When he steps into the cage at UFC 169, opposite Abel Trujillo, there will be no room for inconsistency.  Trujillo is a massive lightweight with serious power in his hands and is capable of taking out anyone in the 155lb division.  If he doesn’t gas out I see Trujillo’s size being too much for Varner to handle.

Prediction: Abel Trujillo via TKO Round 2

 

Ali Bagautinov vs. John Lineker

At Friday’s UFC 169 weigh-ins all eyes were on John Lineker and surprise, surprise he once again failed to make weight on his initial attempt.  However, unlike in the past, this time Lineker was successful when he stepped on the scale 45 minutes later.  It’s a good thing Lineker did make weight, because his matchup with Ali Bagautinov will likely determine the next challenger for Demetrious Johnson’s UFC Flyweight title.  There is no doubt that the Brazilian is a legitimate knockout artist, but I think Bagautinov’s superior grappling skills will be the difference in this one.  I like Ali Bagautinov to grind out a three round decision.

Prediction: Ali Bagautinov via Unanimous Decision

 

Frank Mir vs. Alistair Overeem

Although a loss won’t necessarily force retirement for either of these heavyweights, the loser will likely have to continue their career outside of the UFC.  Neither Alistair Overeem nor Frank Mir has been super-impressive in any of their recent outings, which is why I’m not too excited for this fight.  Overeem should be able to dominate the stand-up exchanges; he just needs to be careful that he doesn’t get taken down.  If this fight does hit the mat all bets are off, because that is Frank Mir’s world and he is extremely dangerous from top position or off his back.  I just can’t see how Mir will get Overeem down to the ground before he gets knocked out.

Prediction: Alistair Overeem via TKO Round 2

 

Jose Aldo vs. Ricardo Lamas

In my opinion the closest Jose Aldo has come to losing since joining the UFC was in his promotional debut against Canadian Mark Hominick.  It was Aldo’s cardio that caused him to struggle in that fight.  In the later rounds when the Brazilian tired, Hominick was able to take advantage and get takedowns, which is where he did the most damage.  This is the same strategy Ricardo Lamas should go with at UFC 169.  If the “Bully” can withstand Aldo’s initial offensive onslaught, his wrestling could win him this fight.  However, that is one huge “if”, because Aldo is a striking master and can finish a fight at any time.  The only problem is I love an upset story and Lamas is going to get it done on Saturday night.

Prediction: Ricardo Lamas via Unanimous Decision

 

Renan Barao vs. Urijah Faber

Urijah Faber’s 2013 was quite impressive as he went 4-0, most recently submitting a very tough Michael McDonald in December.  That being said, on Saturday night he’ll be taking on the last man to beat him, Renan Barao, with less than 2 months’ notice.  If Faber couldn’t beat Barao with a full training camp, I don’t see anything changing this time around, especially when he’s taking this fight on such short notice.  The one thing that will change is how Barao gets the win.  In the first fight Renan Barao won a hard fought unanimous decision.  At UFC 169 I see him finishing Faber.  He’ll catch “The California Kid” with punches and then submit him on the ground.  Don’t ask me why I’m thinking this way.  I just have a feeling that’s all.

Prediction: Renan Barao via Submission Round 2

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Staff Writer

 

Once again the injury bug has struck, and unfortunately for UFC fans the victim is a familiar one.  Dominick Cruz hasn’t fought since October 2011, when he defended his UFC bantamweight title against Demetrious Johnson.  Since then Cruz has had multiple knee surgeries and looked to finally be on the mend and ready to compete.  He was scheduled to face Renan Barao on February 1st, 2014 in a title unification bout.  Well, as we now know, Cruz has a torn groin and he withdrew from the fight.  Because of this the UFC was forced to finally strip him of the belt and make Barao the official UFC bantamweight champion.  Instead of scrapping the fight altogether Dana White and company have found a replacement for Cruz, it is none other than “The California Kid” Urijah Faber.

Yes, Faber has fought Barao once before, in 2012 the two met for the interim bantamweight title.  In fact Barao is the last man to beat Faber.  Since that fight Faber has gone on an absolute tear through the bantamweight division, winning four straight, three of those by submission.  If there is no title on the line, there is a good chance Faber is going to win, as he’s never lost a non-title fight in his 36 fight career.  It’s the title fights that have given Faber all of the trouble in the past.  This time he looks to snap that pattern with a win over Renan Barao.

If you think Faber’s streak of winning non-title fights is impressive, then Barao’s current run should absolutely blow you away.  He hasn’t lost since his professional debut way back in 2005.  That is 32 straight fights without a loss, including 6 in a row since joining the UFC in 2011.  He’s the first man to defend an interim belt twice, defeating Michael McDonald and Eddie Wineland, all the hard work has paid off for Barao, as he is now the official UFC bantamweight champion.  It’s unfortunate that we won’t get to see him unify the belt against Dominick Cruz, but there is still hope that the bout will happen one day in the future.

When Barao and Faber met the last time it was a very close fight.  Barao won via unanimous decision, but Faber was never completely out of the fight.  Now that Urijah Faber is on such an impressive streak it will be interesting to see if he can figure out the Renan Barao puzzle and finally claim UFC gold.  Faber is arguably the best fighter to never hold a UFC title. That could change come February 1st; however, he is taking the bout on less than a month’s notice, so it won’t be the easiest of tasks.

For more updates on UFC 169, continue to check with Profightingfans.com.

Brent Haugh

Pro Fighting Fans Staff Writer

2013 has been a great year for title fights with some of the best in UFC history having taken place in the past 12 months.  Considering the addition of two championship bouts to UFC 169, 2014 could see more of the same.  Featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo will defend his strap against Ricardo Lamas, who has been waiting patiently for the opportunity.  Also, UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz will make his long anticipated return to the cage when he faces interim titleholder Renan Barao in a unification bout.  UFC 169 will take place Saturday February 1st, 2014, in Newark, New Jersey; the event’s main card will air on pay-per-view.

If Ricardo Lamas hadn’t been given a title shot soon, there was a possibility he would fly to Brazil and challenge Jose Aldo to a street fight.  Now the “Bully” can finally relax as it was officially announced he’ll get Aldo in February.  Lamas is on a 4 fight win streak, including an absolute dismantling of former number one contender Erik Koch in his last fight.

Aldo hasn’t lost since becoming the UFC’s first featherweight champion in 2011 and he’s defended the belt 5 times.  He was supposed to face Anthony Pettis in August, but fought Chan Sung Jung instead when Pettis was forced to withdraw due to injury.  Aldo had a bit of trouble with Jung; however, he was still able to stop him in the 4th round.

If anything Lamas promises to bring the fight to Aldo, he has been passed by for a title shot on more than one occasion, so he’ll be ready to pull off the upset.  Jose Aldo is one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world, if Lamas is going to have a chance of beating him he’ll need all of his tools come February 1st.

When the main event was made official, another title fight was announced as the co-main event for UFC 169.  Dominick Cruz hasn’t fought in the octagon since October 1, 2011, for those keeping track that is over 2 years ago.  Meanwhile, the current interim champion Renan Barao has had 5 fights in that same time, including 3 title fights.  Barao won the interim title with a unanimous decision victory over Urijah Faber and then has defended the belt twice against Michael McDonald and Eddie Wineland.

The announcement of this fight brings an end to months of speculation as to whether or not Cruz would remain a UFC champion, or if he would have his belt stripped.  As for now, he’ll remain champion, but obviously that would be in danger if he were unable to fight February 1st in New Jersey.  After being off for so long, a fight with a beast like Renan Barao is not the most ideal situation for Dominick Cruz, however, it is a challenge he is willing to face.

The bout will pit the two best bantamweight fighters in the world; it is possible we could see a changing of the guard, if that hasn’t already happened.  Barao has looked unstoppable since joining the UFC with a record of 6-0.  Cruz is only a combined 2-0 in the octagon with wins over Urijah Faber and Demetrious Johnson.  This could be the fight of the night if it lives up to the hype.

One other fight has been added to the UFC 169 card so far, a heavyweight bout between Frank Mir and Alistair Overeem.  The fight card takes place Saturday February 1st, 2014 from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.  Aldo vs. Lamas will serve as the main event and the co-main will be Dominick Cruz vs. Renan Barao.  The event will air on pay-per-view and the prelims will likely be shown on FOX Sports 1.  Keep checking back with Profightingfans.com for further updates when they become available.

 

Brent Haugh

Profightingfans.com

Staff Writer

With 19 wins and only one loss to Urijah Faber, which he has since avenged, Dominck Cruz has rightfully claimed the title of UFC Bantamweight Champion.  The worst part about this statement is that in 2013, it can’t be said without any given UFC fan shooting you a doubting glance.

It has been a little over two years since the now injured Dominick Cruz last defended his title against Demetrius Johnson.  Yes, that Demetrius Johnson; the current UFC Flyweight champion who has since fought five times and defended his title two of those times since they last met.  Johnson has gone on to not only win and defend his championship, but has become a dominant champion that one might expect to hold on to the belt for years to come.  To even mention his dominance in a division, it is hard to believe that just a little over two years ago he fought for the Bantamweight title.

Renan Barao makes it seem even more damning for Dominick Cruz to claim he is the rightful champion.  Since November 5, 2011 he has fought four times in the Bantam weight division, winning the interim title and subsequently defending it twice.   Renan Barao is not only performing Dominick Cruz’s job for him, by sending the division’s contenders to the back of the line, but he is doing it impressively.    Dominick Cruz won his last four fights by decision.  These were all five-round title fights.    Renan Barao has not only dominated his last two opponents in Michael McDonald and Eddie Wineland (respectively), but has also received post fight bonus honors by submitting McDonald and executing a spectacular spinning back kick to get the KO over Wineland.

There are a few questions that begged to be asked:  Should Dominick Cruz be stripped of the title? Is he even in a position where he can beat Renan Barao, returning after such a critical injury?  It is hard to answer either of these questions with a definitive yes or no, but it should seem fairly obvious that a dominant interim champion like Barao could easily deliver Cruz his second loss.  In that instance, not only does Cruz embarrass himself, but he also makes the statement that Barao has been the rightful champion all along.

In a perfect world, for the perfect fan, we’d see Cruz give up the title with a bit of grace, take one or two tune-up fights and return in prime form.  I’d like to direct your attention to our current UFC Heavyweight champion, Cain Velasquez.  Coming off of an injury, he came back to lose his title Junior Dos Santos in less than impressive fashion.  To quote Joe Rogan, we saw the “real Cain Valasquez” regain his title after fully recuperating and returning to his best physical ability to easily hand Junior Dos Santos the most embarrassing loss of his career.

Why cheat the fans and the fighters out of a proper title fight? Rushing the Bantamweight star, Cruz into a bout with Renan Barao is the worst possible decision that Dana White and the UFC can make.  Cruz should be stripped of the title and have to prove that he is who he once was.  Barao should be recognized as the proper champion.  As often as we’ve seen titles change in two years, it is just a little too long for my taste, that we go without seeing the champion defend.

 

Brian Johnson

Profightingfans.com Staff Writer

 

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Pat Healy

The UFC’s lightweight division is stacked and this matchup is evidence of that.  Pat Healy entered the UFC as a solid contender, but he was always known for being a guy who couldn’t win the big fights.  In his promotional debut he took out Jim Miller, and it appeared that the tide was changing for Healy. Then he failed his post-fight drug test thanks to Marijuana.  That means Pat Healy might have to prove himself all over again and at UFC 165 he faces a huge test in unbeaten Russian phenom Khabib Nurmagomedov. “The Eagle” hasn’t lost in 20 professional fights.  He has looked spectacular each time we’ve seen him in the Octagon, whether it was stopping Thiago Tavares or dominating Abel Trujillo in his last fight.  I think this one could end up being a three round war.  But, it will be Nurmagomedov’s unusual striking attack that will keep Healy guessing.  Now, if Healy can find a way to outwrestle his opponent he might get a decision win.  I just don’t see the fight going down like that.  I like Nurmagomedov to remain undefeated and get a unanimous decision victory.  The Russian may only be a couple of wins away from a title shot.

Prediction: Khabib Nurmagomedov via Unanimous Decision

 

Constantinos Philippou vs. Francis Carmont

For some reason it feels like forever since I’ve seen either of these guys in a fight.  Maybe, it’s because they’ve become forgettable among the current pack of middleweight contenders.  Sure they are both on winning streaks and that’s good, but something is missing.  Constantinos Philippou does have a win over Tim Boetsch, however if you saw the fight you will recall that Boetsch was basically a one-legged, one-eyed, human punching bag.  And then there is Francis Carmont, the guy is an impressive physical specimen, but his UFC appearances haven’t always been thrilling.  He should try and use his size to beat up Philippou against the cage.  If Carmont can remain aggressive I actually think he could get a TKO stoppage.  He needs to keep Costa immobilized, if he doesn’t, superior boxing could be the story in this one.

Prediction: Francis Carmont via 2nd round TKO

 

Matt Mitrione vs. Brendan Schaub

This is a matchup between two members of season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter.  It’s kind of funny, because I used to love both of these guys, and now, not so much.  I wasn’t excited the first time this fight was announced.  When it was cancelled I was hopeful I’d never have to see it happen.  But, the MMA Gods are spiteful and now we must be witness to the heavyweight showdown that is Mitrione vs. Schaub.  Of course, there is a decent chance of a knockout in this one, so not everything about this fight stinks of pointlessness.  Although they exchanged heated words at the weigh-ins, I see the fight being a clinchfest.  Mitrione will win by unanimous decision unless Schaub lands a lucky punch.

Prediction: Matt Mitrione via Unanimous Decision

 

Renan Barao vs. Eddie Wineland (For UFC Bantamweight Championship)

This is for the interim UFC bantamweight championship and will serve as the evening’s co-main event.  It’s a very important matchup, because it is still unconfirmed as to when injured champion Dominick Cruz will return.  If Cruz doesn’t return, which is a possibility, the winner of this fight could become the permanent bantamweight champ.  Now that you understand the importance of this fight, let’s look at the possible outcomes.  Wineland is known for his quick hands and solid chin, but he often strguggles against the sport’s elite.  Meanwhile, interim champ, Renan Barao is an absolute wrecking ball.  In his last title defense, Michael McDonald gave him a stiff test and forced Barao to dig deep to get a 4th round submission victory.  In my opinion Barao is better than Wineland everywhere this fight may take place, on the mat or the feet.  And if anyone is going to win by stoppage it will be the interim champion.  If Wineland wants to win, he’ll have to find a way to outpoint Barao and steal rounds.  In a perfect world Renan Barao will wear Wineland down and submit him late in the third round, that’s my prediction!

Prediction: Renan Barao via 3rd round submission

 

Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson (for UFC Light Heavyweight Championship)

I remember when many in the MMA world thought Alexander Gustafsson had a legitimate shot at beating UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.  If you look at the odds for UFC 165’s main event it becomes apparent that the opinions have changed, as Jones is as much as a 12-1 favorite.  That doesn’t mean Gustafsson can’t win, it’s just likely he’s got no more than a puncher’s chance.  The six foot five Swede looked rather pedestrian in his last fight against Mauricio Rua, and talk of his size giving Jones trouble has quieted down quite a bit.  Jon Jones is on the verge of setting numerous records and I don’t see him being stopped anytime soon.  It may take Jones longer than usual to get comfortable inside the cage, seeing as he is fighting someone closer to his size.  But, once he gets going you can expect him to make a statement, he might be getting a little tired of hearing people talk about how evenly matched this fight is.  I see Jones winning by knockout, just to prove that size doesn’t always matter inside the octagon.

Prediction: Jon Jones via 3rd round KO

 

Brent Haugh

Profightingfans.com Staff Writer

 

Here we go again fight people. We’re back with another edition of the B.S. Predictions, and this time around we’re discussing the UFC on FUEL TV 7 fight card.

Let’s get right into the predictions shall we?

Che Mills vs. Matthew Riddle

Brent: I’m the greatest! Well, at least compared to Scott I was with my UFC 156 predictions.  Anyways, let’s get down to business.  Matthew Riddle will take on Che Mills at UFC on Fuel TV 7.  If it wasn’t for a positive Marijuana test, Riddle would be on a three fight win streak.

Meanwhile, Mills’ only setback since 2010 was against Rory MacDonald.  In respects to size these guys are almost identical.  However, I think Riddle’s wrestling ability wins him this fight.  He’ll grind out a decision and then he will take a trip to Jamaica, instead of Disneyland.

Prediction: Riddle via unanimous decision

Scott: I’m going to ignore the halfhearted trash talk from Mr. Brent and get right into my pick for this fight. I’m not concerned about Riddle’s THC levels, but what does concern me is the grinding style that he brings to every one of his fights. That could spell trouble for one Che Mills.

Mills brings an exciting style to the octagon and will try to use that aggressiveness to his advantage against Riddle. His best chance of winning this fight is by keeping Riddle at a distance – that’s no easy task. If Riddle can take Mills down early on it might be a long night for the Brit.

Prediction: Riddle via unanimous decision (lay and pray/ground and bound/etc.)

Ryan Jimmo vs. James Te Huna

Brent: This fight has “war” written all over it.  I am psyched to see Jimmo back in the octagon and hopefully it’s longer than seven seconds this time (funny enough, that’s the same amount of time Scott had to celebrate his lone correct prediction at UFC 156).

It will be, because James Te Huna has never been knocked out.  Jimmo has been KO’d but that was his only career loss and it was way back in 2007, now he has won 17 straight.  I actually think Te Huna will give Jimmo a run for his money, but the Canadian will squeak out a close decision win.  Let’s just hope there is no “robot” dancing, I was embarrassed by my countryman’s lack of rhythm.

Prediction: Jimmo via unanimous decision

Scott: There are two words to describe this fight: Barn burner. Both Te Huna and Jimmo possess power, speed and love to bang (the ever popular “let me bang bro” comes to mind) so you know this fight will provide fireworks. Te Huna is riding an impressive three fight win streak, but the question going into Saturday for Te Huna is how will he manage against a guy who’s as fast, powerful and is game to stand and trade punches?

Jimmo is a stud. The guy needed less than 10 seconds to finish Anthony Perosh at UFC 149. On Saturday night he’ll need more than that to defeat Te Huna, but if all goes according plan Jimmo could send a message to the rest of the light heavyweight division with an impressive win in England.

Predictions: Jimmo via 2nd round TKO

Gunnar Nelson vs. Jorge Santiago

Brent: Other than the fact that he has a pretty cool name, Gunnar Nelson is deadly on the mat.  Seven of his ten career victories have come by submission.  When he meets Jorge Santiago on Saturday, I don’t think Nelson gets a submission.  Santiago has 35 career fights and has never been submitted, and has thirteen submission wins.

This fight will probably take place on the ground.  It is Santiago’s first fight in the UFC since a 2011 loss to Demian Maia.  I think Jorge outpoints Nelson and wins by split decision, as long as Nelson doesn’t get a dominant position on the ground.

Prediction: Santiago via split decision

Scott: Let me make this easy on everyone – especially Brent since he’ll be sore from the hypothetical beating he’s going to take on Saturday- this has Gunnar Nelson written all over it.

Predictions: Nelson via 2nd round TKO

Cyrille Diabate vs. Jimi Manuwa

Brent: I am going to get right to the point with this one.  There is no way that this fight does not end by knockout. Both Diabate and Manuwa are excellent strikers.  I think that Diabate’s height and reach advantage are going to be the difference.  As long as Cyrille can keep his opponent at a distance he will find success, but if Manuwa gets inside, it could be lights out for the Frenchman.

When I visualize this fight in my head, I see Diabate winning by front kick knockout.  So, I’m running with that one.  And when I visualize the entire UFC on Fuel TV 7 card, I see my hand being raised as the undisputed champion, again!

Prediction: Diabate via 2nd round KO

Scott: Are you serious right now Brent? This fight is another easy one for me to pick, and I can’t believe you used that many words to describe this ridiculousness.

Predictions: Manuwa via 1st round TKOOO MY GOSH!

Dustin Poirier vs. Cub Swanson

Brent: I thought Cub Swanson vs. Dennis Siver was an amazing fight.  When Siver backed out due to injury, and Poirier was announced as his replacement, my skin began to tingle.  This is my pick for fight of the night. Poirier followed up his “fight of the year” loss to the Korean Zombie by submitting Jonathan Brookins.

Meanwhile, Swanson has won three in a row, and all three of those victories came by way of knockout.  I don’t see him winning this fight with a KO.  I imagine Poirier will be able to get this one to the mat, where he will show his superior submission skills.  I like Swanson, a lot, but Poirier will win.  Maybe Poirier will get a rematch with the Zombie or a potential match-up with Ricardo Lamas also sounds good.

Prediction: Poirier via 2nd round submission

Scott: Sorry Brent but I didn’t feel any “tingles” when this fight was announced. Poirier had a nice bounce back win against Jonathon Brookins by submission, but I definitely don’t consider Brookins a top 10 featherweight. Poirier’s only chance for a win is by taking this fight to the mat and keeping it there, for a while.

Swanson on the other hand has had impressive victories over three top featherweights. His confidence is at an all-time high, and come Saturday night you’ll see why Swanson is a rising star within the featherweight division.

Prediction: Swanson via unanimous decision

Renan Barao vs. Michael McDonald

Brent: I hate the term “Interim Championship”.  I will get over it long enough to predict the main event for UFC on Fuel TV 7.  I could see either of these two fighters giving champ Dominick Cruz a great fight.  When I look at Barao’s record, I wonder if he even remembers his lone career loss, way back in 2005.

Michael McDonald has half as many fights as his opponent.  Plus, I was already picking up girls by the time he was born, which scares me to death and makes me feel old at the same time.  I like the kid’s aggression.  I do think he will need to tone that down against the dangerous Barao.  This fight should be pretty entertaining for the wild British fans.  I am unsure about who to take in this one, so just like Scott did for his UFC 156 predictions; I’ll pick a name out of a hat.  And, that name is…Renan Barao by second round submission.

Prediction: Barao via 2nd round submission

Scott: I want to start by saying that this is going to be a great fight! Then I’ll finish by saying that I have no idea who’s going to win this thing. I could detail their last couple of fights and give you a breakdown of their strengths and weaknesses, but I’m going a different rout. One that has more science behind it then blind luck – if you’re unsure of what blind luck is it’s what Brent used to win last time.

Prediction: McDonald via 4th round TKO

By Scott Levesque (@scottlevesque)

ProFightingFans.com Staff Writer