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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Johnny “Hollywood” Case (22-5) will be looking to bounce back after his thrilling third round submission loss to Jake Matthews with win over Tony Martin (11-3). Case brings a well rounded MMA game to the octagon with his best moments coming as he mixes things up. Though he isn’t the best physical specimen to have ever fought in the UFC. Martin on the other hand is one of the biggest lightweights on the UFC roster who is now doing his weight cuts with the same team as Joanna Champion. This will hopefully keep Martin’s gassing issues from popping up. This should be a fun match-up with a real feeling each guy is actually working on the issues that have plagued their careers till this point.
Erik Koch (15-4) has lacked consistency with his career while his opponent on Sunday Clay “The Carpenter” Guida (31-17) has lacked consistency in his career. Koch has only fought three times in the last 3 years, two of those in 2014, but showed serious promise when he first stepped onto the scene. With years lost to injury it will be interesting if he can get his club and sub game going again. Guida is making a smart move coming back up to 155 pounds but this won’t fix the fact that he cannot take punishment the way he used to.
Felice Herrig (12-6) is in the beginnings of a actual title run while Justine Kish (6-0) is still looking for a name to help make her mark in the UFC. I heard this fight discussed as “a underrated fighter versus a overrated one” and I can’t help but agree. Herrig has been putting in serious work both on her tools and mind. I think that pays off yet again though that may make for a tepid fight. Kish should look to make this a brawl on the feet and avoid the same type of exchanges on the ground.
Despite blowing weight Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks (18-6) will be the superior fighter when he steps into the octagon against Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch (20-11). Boetsch is a bruiser who looks to get in close and land big bombs which has lead to his many comeback wins. Now I know he is a shell of his former self but look at the range Johny fought Robbie Lawler and then tell me he can’t take out Boetsch. I hope to see a relaxed/smooth Johny because all weight jokes aside this guy has serious skills.
Kevin “The Motown Phenom” Lee (15-2) will get a real chance to throw down with Michael “Maverick” Chiesa (14-2) and I am sure it will bring more fireworks than their press conference scuffle. Chiesa has one of the best rear naked chokes in MMA with some calling it “The Million Dollar Dream” though it’s his toughness and commitment to the move that are to be admired. Chiesa is a tall slow southpaw and I think Lee’s speed will play a big factor on the feet because of this. Lee is one of my boys so take me with a grain of salt but I see him hurting Chiesa on the feet and getting a RNC of his own.
Naoki Inoue (10-0) is making his UFC debut against CJ de Tomas (6-0) where his superior grappling skills will overwhelm Tomas. It should be noted Inoue is the brother of Invicta strawweight Mizuki.
Kwan Ho Kwak (9-1) is one of my boys and after a hard fought loss to Brett Johns in his debut I think he’ll put pick up a win in a fun back and forth striking battle with the tough Russell Doane (14-7).
Jinliang Li (12-4) sometimes known as “The Leech” will be going to war with the undersized Frank Camacho (20-4) who will look to start early but will give into Li’s pressure as the fight goes on.
Justin Scoggins (11-3) is one of my boys I consider myself a huge fan but his losses all come from his own mental mistakes and his weight bundlers don’t help with his reputation. All and all he is a young kid still putting it together and easily made the 125 pound limit this time around. Yuta Sasaki (19-4-2) is a dangerous scrambler and someone who can exploit the grappling holes in Scoggins game. This is great matchmaking and I’m pulling for Scoggins but Sasaki is badass in his own way.
RDA (25-9) will be coming into his fight against Tarec Saffiedine (16-6) having exactly the thing Tarec has always needed POWER. Also RDA looked massive at the weigh ins and considering he is moving up that doesn’t bold well for Tarec.
Colby Covington (11-1) really gets MMA and has tons of tools and ways to use them to win any match-up at 170 pounds. Dong Hyun Kim (22-3-1) is a older version of himself and much more wild. I hope he can at least make Covington work for a round before gassing. Kim’s wildness is something to watch out for cause he can surprize anyone. Nah fuck it Kim is one of my boys gotta pick him.
Marcin Tybura (15-2) only needs to land one shot of his improved striking repertoire to put Andrei Arlovski (25-14) which is sad to say.
Bethe Correia (10-2-1) will be putting hands on Holly Holm (10-3) early Saturday morning and will give Holly her fourth straight loss in a row.
Note: I skipped last weeks UFC cause there just wasn’t much I personally wanted to write about. I will be doing another long form version of my picks for UFC 213 but expect only quick picks for smaller cards or a breakdown of a specific fight/fighter.