The doomed month of August is finally gone and this Friday one of the biggest cards of the year is happening. It’s being headlined by a huge middleweight match up between Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Gegard Mousasi, and oh yeah, it’s completely free on Fox Sports 1. How awesome is that?
Here I am going to give you my predictions for all 10 fights we get to see, so let’s get started.
Sean Soriano vs. Chas Skelly (145): Skelly by Submission in Round 2.
Chris Beal vs. Tateki Matsuda (135): Beal by Unanimous Decision.
Rafael Natal vs. Chris Camozzi (185): Camozzi by Unanimous Decision.
Al Iaquinta vs. Rodrigo Damm (155): Iaquinta by Unanimous Decision.
John Moraga vs. Justin Scoggins (125)
The little man they call Tank is getting his biggest test yet when he faces John Moraga to kick off our main card. Moraga is honestly much better than his #5 ranking in the UFC’s flyweight division. His 3 losses have only been against the 2 best flyweights in the world, John Dodson (twice) and the current champ Demetrious Johnson. Moraga is one of the best wrestlers and submission artists this division has to offer, and is going to want a win here to put his name right back in to title contention. Scoggins on the other hand, was rising up the flyweight ranks before he lost a controversial split decision to Dustin Ortiz in his last fight. Tank is this rare breed of flyweight who wants to knock you out. He’s not just a great striker though, he’s also developed a really good ground game. I feel like the smart pick here is to go with Moraga, but my gut is telling me otherwise.
Prediction: Scoggins by KO/TKO in Round 2.
Nik Lentz vs. Charles Oliveira (145)
The featherweights are up next. Both of these fighters have been in the UFC for quite some time, and are attempting to throw their names in a pot full of contenders in a growing featherweight division. Lentz has won 4 of his last 5, and has leaned heavily on his wrestling background to do so. Oliveira’s last 6 wins (dating back to 2010) have all come by way of submission. He’s only lost 4 fights in his career and they’ve all come against Jim Miller, Donald Cerrone, Cub Swanson, and Frankie Edgar. That’s some pretty heavy company right there. If this fight somehow stays standing, I do think Lentz will take it as Oliveira’s stand up game has proven to be a weakness at times. Unfortunately for Lentz, I don’t think that will happen.
Prediction: Oliveira by Submission in Round 2.
Joe Lauzon vs. Michael Chiesa (155)
Joe Lauzon is tied for the most post-fight bonuses in the UFC (12). Who does he share that honor with? Anderson Silva. That’s a pretty big deal. Lauzon just knows how to put on a great fight, or even snag a great finish. 18 of his 23 wins have all come by submission. He’s a master on the ground. What Lauzon lacks though is consistency. He wins 2 and loses one, he wins 1 and loses 2. He’s most definitely in the upper echelon of the lightweights as far as I’m concerned, but he can’t seem to string together enough wins to get a real shot. Chiesa on the other hand could possibly be just as good on the ground. 8 of his 11 victories have come by way of submission. What’s happened is his opponents underrate his ground game, and quickly realize they made a mistake when the fight ends up there. If Lauzon doesn’t make that mistake, he could win this fight. I’m expecting a fight-of-the-night here, because Joe Lauzon doesn’t know how to fight without receiving a bonus.
Prediction: Chiesa by Unanimous Decision.
Matt Mitrione vs. Derrick Lewis (265)
You don’t get a nickname “The Black Beast” by mistake. Derrick Lewis in my mind is one of the scariest human beings on the face of the earth. What he lacks in real technical ability, he makes up for with sheer aggression and brute strength. You can be as technical as you want, but when a man of his size and strength is bearing down on you, not giving you room to breathe, and beating your face in, you can throw all that technical ability out the window. The self-proclaimed “camouflage belt in awesome” Mitrione is a former New York Giants defensive tackle turned UFC fighter. He has heavy hands too, and isn’t afraid to brawl with his opponents, but that might be his biggest problem. He has come out on the better end of many of these exchanges, 6 of his 7 wins by KO/TKO, but it’s when he brawls with someone who’s better at that than he is that he winds up on the losing end.
Prediction: Lewis by KO/TKO in Round 1.
Alistair Overeem vs. Ben Rothwell (265)
When Alistair Overeem came in to the UFC in 2011 and kicked Brock Lesnar’s liver in, everyone was expecting him to take the heavyweight division over. That is until he got knocked out by Big Foot Silva and Travis Brown. He seems to have gotten back on track though after a dominating decision win over Frank Mir. The Reem has changed up his training camp and taken in to Albuquerque where he can train with probably the best in the business, Greg Jackson. He has some of the most devastating kicks and knees in all the UFC, and we might finally be seeing the heavyweight monster we have been longing to see. Ben Rothwell on the other hand can’t seem to get a rhythm going in the UFC. He wins, he loses, he wins, he loses, and that pattern has been going on for his last 8 fights dating back to before he was in the UFC. There is no denying his skill though, he too posses the power to put you to bed. I do think that this fight will be a little closer than possibly expected. It really is all depending on if Overeem gets backed up against the cage or not.
Prediction: Overeem by KO/TKO in Round 2.
Jacare Souza vs. Gegard Mousasi (185)
We’ve reached our main event. I truly believe that this fight has real title implications, more so for Jacare than Mousasi though. Jacare is one of the, if not the best Jiu Jitsu artist we have in the UFC right now. He’s a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Judo, which means he’s a master at taking you to the ground, and making you tap. He came in to the UFC much like Alistair Overeem did. He was the Strikeforce Middleweight Champion, and there was a lot expected of him. The difference between him and Overeem is that Jacare has delivered consistently. He has yet to lose in the UFC and has won all of his fights in dominating fashion. Gegard Mousasi though has been flying under the middleweight radar. He’s been a champion everywhere except the UFC, and I believe if he hadn’t lost to Lyoto Machida back in February, this would be a true #1 contenders match. Mousasi has devastating striking, in fact he knocked out Jacare when they first fought in Strikeforce. This is going to be a truly great fight and one of those classic striker vs. grappler matches.
Prediction: Jacare by Submission in Round 3.
This free fight card that is far and away better than the last pay-per-view gets kicked off at 6:00 pm CST with the prelims on Fox Sports 1. The main card gets under away at 8:00 pm CST in the exact same place, Fox Sports 1. I highly recommend watching this card if you have the chance to.
[h/t: UFC.com, Sherdog]