UFC on FOX 14 – My Preview and Picks
The UFC is off to a HUGE start in 2015. Saturday night marks the third event of the month, with one more PPV event still to come. UFC on FOX 14 includes pay-per-view quality fights all for FREE. Below is my preview and predictions for a few of the fights.
Coming off the Jones vs. Cormier ppv at the beginning of the month, and another electric performance from Connor McGregor last weekend, the UFC heads to Stockholm, Sweden on Saturday night. This card features a couple former TUF contestants...a couple light heavyweights trying to stay relevant...an MMA legend trying to make a final run...and a guaranteed title shot for the winner of the main event.
Akira Corassani vs. Sam Sicilia
Both of these two featherweights (145 lbs) have been on past seasons of The Ultimate Fighter series. Despite not winning their seasons, these guys have done enough to stick around the UFC. Carassani has a UFC record of 3-2, while Sicilia's UFC record is 3-4. I gotta think both guys might be on the bubble with this fight.
My prediction: Sam Sicilia likes to stand and bang, and he has 7 career knockouts. All of Akira Corassani's losses have come by way of knockout. The logical pick for me will be Sicilia by KO (which means that absolutely won't happen).
Ryan "Darth" Bader (#7) vs. Phil "Mr. Wonderful" Davis (#5)
Bader and Davis are both top-10 fighters in the UFC Light Heavyweight division (205 ilbs)...both come from very successful wrestling backgrounds...both have won 4 out of their last 5 fights...and both have shown flashes of brilliance in the past. Do either of them have a title run in them? More importantly, can either guy take the belt from the champ?
My prediction: Both guys are great wrestlers, so they might cancel each other out when it comes to grappling. I see this fight going to the judges...and for some reason I see Ryan Bader wining this fight by decision.
Dan "Hendo" Henderson vs. Gegard Mousasi (#8)
Two long-time MMA vets with over 80 fights between them. The questions I'm curious about for this fight are...can Dan Henderson still beat ranked fighters in his division...how many fights does he have left in him...and should he continue to fight? Hendo has fought, and won, longer than most mortal humans could hope for, and I've learned to never underestimate him. His overhand right has finished many a fights over the years. But Hendo has lost 4 of his last 5 fights, and it's not getting any easier against Mousasi. Gegard Mousasi has had a lot of success outside of the UFC. His UFC record, however, is just 2-2. He is a really well-rounded fighter who can knock you out or submit you - and he had yet to be knocked out in his career.
My prediction: If you look at stats and records and age and rankings and all the tangibles, all things point to Mousasi winning this fight. Having said that, I just have a feeling Hendo is going to pull out a win. It would be awesome if he could hand Mousasi his first KO loss, but I think Hendo is going to grind out a decision victory.
Alexander "The Mauler" Gustafsson (#1) vs. Anthony "Rumble" Johnson (#3)
What a fight this should be! This is without a doubt a fight worthy of a PPV main event. The winner of this fight has been guaranteed a shot at the UFC Light Heavyweight champ Jon Jones. Alexander Gustafsson lost a close decision to Jones back in 2013 and most of the world thought he deserved an immediate rematch. He hasn't gotten it yet. He has to get past "Rumble" Johnson, and that will be no easy task.
When you see Anthony Johnson now, it's hard to believe that he once fought at 170 lbs. He was big then, but he is a BEAST now at 205 lbs. Johnson had 11 fights in the UFC from 2007-2012. He left the UFC and went undefeated in six fights for other organizations before returning to the UFC in April of 2014. He convincingly won his last two UFC fights and has vaulted to the top of the division. This fight against Gustafsson is by far the toughest of his career though.
My prediction: I really don't have a strong opinion for this fight. I do know I'm super excited to see it, and I think either guy will make for an exciting title fight with Jon Jones. Maybe Gustafsson will have a slight hometown advantage, and maybe his past big fight experience will make the difference. I think Gustafsson will take the fight into the champion rounds where he'll get the win by submission.