The UFC’s second event Saturday night takes place in Tulsa, Oklahoma when former lightweight champion Benson Henderson takes on Rafael Dos Anjos.
I’m going to give quick predictions over the undercard, and a more in-depth prediction over the fights featured on our main card.
Let’s get started.
Wilson Reis vs. Joby Sanchez (135 lbs): Sanchez by KO/TKO in the 2nd round.
Ben Saunders vs. Chris Heatherly (170 lbs): Saunders by Unanimous Decision.
Aaron Phillips vs. Matt Hobar (135 lbs): Hobar by Unanimous Decision.
Beneil Dariush vs. Tony Martin (155 lbs): Martin by Submission in the 3rd round.
Neil Magny vs. Alex Garcia (170 lbs): Garcia by Submission in the 1st round.
Chas Skelly vs. Tom Niinimaki (145 lbs)
Featherweights kick off our main card. Skelly is a strong wrestler who’s added jiu jitsu in to his game to make him a prolific ground fighter. Niinimaki is about as well-rounded as they come. He’s good everywhere. He’s 21-6, 7 wins by knockout, 8 by submission, and 6 by decision. Yeah that’s pretty well-rounded. I feel though if Skelly can get him to the ground he will win the fight, but if Niinimaki can keep the fight standing, he’ll be too much to handle.
Prediction: Niinimaki by Unanimous Decision.
James Vick vs. Valmir Lazaro (155 lbs)
I love this next fight. It’s always fun to see a striker take on a grappler. Vick is undefeated (just 5-0) and 3 of those wins are by submission. He might only be a blue belt in jiu jitsu, but he knows how to make a guy tap. Lazaro on the other hand is making his UFC debut. He’s on an 11-fight win streak, with 9 of his overall 12 wins coming by knockout. If Lazaro can avoid the takedown, he’ll be having his hand raised for sure.
Prediction: Lazaro by KO/TKO in the 1st round.
Max Holloway vs. Clay Collard (145 lbs)
Max Holloway welcomes Clay Collard in to the octagon in this featherweight bout. Collard is on a 3-fight win streak, all 3 of the fights coming by decision. Before that he had nothing but KO/TKO and submission wins. He has decent wrestling, but shines in the striking department mostly. Holloway on the other hand has strung together a couple of wins and is looking to build up a winning streak and throw his name in a crowded contenders bucket. He’s a solid striker with very impressive cardio and generally looks to just wear his opponents out.
Prediction: Holloway by Unanimous Decision.
Francis Carmont vs. Thales Leites (185 lbs)
The middleweights are at in our next fight. Carmont is in desperate need of a win, as he has lost back-to-back fights, and when you lose 3 fights in a row, you put your head on the chopping block. Leites is on a solid 6-fight winning streak, 3 of them being in the UFC. Carmont is solid all around, with good technical striking, and good wrestling and jiu jistu. Leites on the other hand is a ground specialist. His striking is good, but only to set up takedowns, where he can finish his fights there.
Prediction: Leites by Submission in the 2nd round.
Mike Pyle vs. Jordan Mein (170 lbs)
Our co-main event is set for these welterweights. It’s gotten to a point where every fight in the welterweight division is an important one. If you win, you throw your name in to a large batch of contenders, but if you lose, it’s back to the bottom of the pile. Is it weird to say that a 24-year-old kid is a MMA veteran? That’s exactly what Jordan Mein is with 37 professional fights to his name. He’s young, fast, and powerful. He’s apart of that “new breed” of fighters we’ve been seeing in the UFC where he doesn’t just nail down one art, but rather takes the best pieces of all practices. Mike Pyle on the other hand is a veteran of the UFC. Basically, Pyle will string together a lot of wins and throw his name in to the contenders bucket, and then he’ll lose before he gets his shot. He’s prolific on the ground and is always looking for the submission, hence his nickname “quicksand.”
Prediction: Mein by KO/TKO in the 1st round.
Benson Henderson vs. Rafael Dos Anjos (155 lbs)
Our main event pits two lightweight contenders against one another. Benson Henderson is the former lightweight champion and is desperately wanting his rematch. He’s very good everywhere except in the finishing fights department. He’s got great striking and brutal leg kicks, with some great wrestling and ground game. He really is all around, a really good fighter. He’s just not the most exciting to watch. Sure he submitted Rustam Khabilov in his last fight, but his 8 wins prior were all decisions. Generally what he does is out strike you, out wrestle you, and wear you out. Dos Anjos on the other hand has been on the rise despite his loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov. He was on a 5-fight winning streak before he was derailed by the Russian monster. Another win here would throw him right back in to title contention. Ever heard this before? A Brazilian fighter who has really good jiu jitsu. Yeah, I’ve never heard of that either. That’s what Dos Anjos has though, really, really good jiu jisu. If Henderson can keep the fight on the feet, he’ll more than likely get the win and his title rematch. But if Dos Anjos gets this fight to the ground, I think he’ll be to much Henderson to handle, even though he is good on the ground.
Prediction: Henderson by Unanimous Decision.
UFC Fight Night: Henderson vs. Dos Anjos can be seen starting at 6:30 pm CST for the Fight Pass prelims, 7:00 pm CST for the Fox Sports 2 prelims, and at 9:00 pm CST for our main card on Fox Sports 1. It’s free, so you should definitely check it out.