Angela “Overkill” Hill (6-3) looked great in her return to the UFC even though she lost the fight. Her movement and striking have come along way since she started her MMA career. I feel like she has really found herself as a fighter. Her footwork, though, does take some pop off her strikes as she is always ready to move out of range. Ashley “The Spider Monkey” Yoder (5-2) is a solid southpaw striker but her best work is done on the ground. I doubt she can overcome Hill’s footwork to get any consistent offence.
- Hill via Decision
Marc “Bonecrusher” Diakiese (12-0) is one of my boys and when he fights it’s like his opponents are under water. Diakiese has to one of the best athletes to come into MMA and he has picked up all the tools lightening fast. The only problem is that I haven’t seen him truly tested and I doubt powerhouse Drakkar Klose (7-0-1) will pose much of a problem. I see Klose pushing forward and getting hit for his efforts.
- Diakiese via KO
Teruto “Yashabo” Ishihara (9-3-2) is one of my boys even if he is coming off a deflating loss to Artem Lobov. Ishihara has great movement and power but in no way does he have a complete MMA game. Gray “The Bully” Maynard (12-6-1) is a shadow of his former self since his loss to Frankie Edgar – still two of the best fights of all time – who seemingly took his soul when he stopped Gray in the fourth round. His only wins since then are to Clay Guida, one of the worst fights ever, and Fernando Bruno whoever that is. Gray will pressure but not use all his tools; only his boxing and I think Ishihara easily finishes him in a striking battle.
- Ishihara via KO
Steve “The Boss” Bosse (12-2) is must watch TV. His three UFC fights have more action than most people’s UFC careers. A former hockey enforcer, Bosse really just likes to sling leather but he actually has some skill in this area. You see Bosse is extremely comfortable exchanging and since moving up to light-heavyweight he has both a speed and recovery advantage over most opponents. Jared “The Killa Gorilla” Cannonier (9-2) is another action fighter who likes to throw heavy well timed strikes. Cannonier’s takedown defence has kept him away from breaching the top fifteen but with Bosse he’s not going to have to worry about a takedown. I actually love this fight and I think in a weekend full of amazing fights this is easily going to be the most enjoyable to watch. Cannonier will find early success but Bosse will just keep pulling his head of the centre line and coming back with right hands.
- Bosse via KO
Tecia “The Tiny Tornado” Torres (8-1) took this fight with Juliana “Ju Thai” Lima as a late replacement to help pay for her upcoming wedding. Torres is actually quite the talent in the 115 pound division with her lone loss coming from a split decision to Thug Rose. A fight I thought Torres won. Torres has a great takedown game and can completely shut you down when she gets on top. This fear of her takedowns really opens up her striking and it seems she surprises a lot of her opponents with her hands. Lima will make this a tough outing for Torres but I just don’t see her taking over the fight.
- Torres via Decision
My boy Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje (17-0) is finally making his debut in the UFC and the UFC isn’t pulling any punches on matchmaking this kid. Michael “The Menace” Johnson (17-11) is a top five ranked UFC lightweight for a reason as he is a dangerous striker with some of the fastest hands in the division. Johnson’s speed is aided by his southpaw stance that allows him to work both inside and outside angles on his strikes. Gaethje is a new breed of brawler. The best way to describe how he fights is to look at how a real street fight would go down. In a street fight, once the fighting starts, that’s it; the fight is on and it doesn’t stop until it’s over. This is similar to Gaethje. Once he begins to fight he doesn’t let up or take much of a breather until the fight is over. He goes all out until his opponent cannot continue and up until this point that has worked for him 100% of the time. This is not to say he doesn’t have skills but he is at his best in wild prolonged exchanges where him and his opponent are taking damage. Johnson, with his quick hands, is a poison matchup for Gaethje who is a flat footed slow moving fighter, but there is no way Johnson doesn’t engage in Gaethje’s kind of fight. The thing with these brawls is that Gaethje draws his opponents in. As a fighter you almost can’t back down from those types of exchanges. Otherwise you look weak. I think Johnson will have some moments early but Gaethje will draw him into his kind of fight and Johnson will be broken before too long.
- Gaethje via KO