Category: Predictions

UFC on FOX: Lawler vs. dos Anjos Punch Drunk Predictions

UFC on FOX: Lawler vs. dos Anjos Punch Drunk Predictions

As I said in my column this week for The Province, I think this weekend’s FOX event in Winnipeg is going to be an avalanche of awesomeness that sends people into the Christmas break before UFC 219 on a high.

From start to finish, this event is loaded with combustible matchups that should produce explosive results and add to what has been a really entertaining final couple months in the Octagon.

But who will leave Winter-peg with their hand raised in victory?

Here are my thoughts.

These are the UFC on FOX: Lawler vs. dos Anjos Punch Drunk Predictions.

Robbie Lawler vs. Rafael dos Anjos

This is such a compelling fight to me because Lawler isn’t far removed from being champion, still has tremendous takedown defense and can take apart pretty much anyone in the division in a striking battle on any given night, while dos Anjos put on a clinic against Neil Magny back in Edmonton and has the kind of pressure style with strong grappling at his disposal that could be problematic from “Brutal Bob” Lawler.

People are going to think this is weird when I say it, but I’m picking dos Anjos based on current/recent form, even though he’s 2-2 over his last four and Lawler is 3-1 with a couple successful title defenses in there. But please, hear me out.

I think the Rory MacDonald fight took a toll on Lawler the same way it did MacDonald and after another brawl with Carlos Condit, he got caught by Tyron Woodley. While he rebounded with a good win over Cowboy Cerrone, he wasn’t the same menacing force we’re used to seeing, especially when you consider how good Darren Till looked dispatching Cowboy in the first round three months later.

While dos Anjos dropped back-to-back outings to end his time at lightweight, we’e since heard the horror stories about his weight cut prior to his bout with Eddie Alvarez and going the distance with Tony Ferguson is no easy feat. After a good, not great debut at welterweight against Tarec Saffiedine, he looked scary-good opposite Magny at UFC 215.

I think the likelihood of seeing a similarly strong performance from him here is greater than the potential of Lawler putting it on him early and putting him away. I have a feeling dos Anjos shines here and makes the UFC strongly consider awarding him a title shot in the first half of 2018.

Prediction: Rafael dos Anjos

Ricardo Lamas vs. Josh Emmett

Normally, I would give this a lot of thought and break it down in detail because Emmett is tough and durable, but homeboy missed weight by a couple pounds on Friday and Lamas was already salty about having his original opponent (Jose Aldo) pulled so he could fight for the title, which is the second time that has happened to the Top 5 fixture in four years.

Lamas is out to prove that he’s deserving of another title opportunity and a second bout with Max Holloway and I think he delivers a dominant performance here.

Prediction: Ricardo Lamas

Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Mike Perry

I get that Perry is slightly unhinged and completely unfiltered, which makes him an interesting interview and general curiosity, and that he carries a bunch of dynamite around in his hands, which always makes him a threat. That being said, I’m not sold on “Platinum” being anything more than a middle of the pack wild card in the welterweight division – a guy that collects some highlight reel wins and talks a bunch of nonsense, but ultimately fails to crack the Top 10.

Ponzinibbio is far from unstoppable, but he’s proven himself against quality competition and is the more seasoned, complete fighter of the two. While Perry is always capable of landing that one blow that brings the proceedings to a sudden halt, “Gente Boa” has power in his hands as well and has shown far more poise and patience in the Octagon to date.

As always, Perry will come out of the gate fast and throw smoke the entire time he’s in there, but look for Ponzinibbio to frustrate him with movement and counters until he connects with something stiff and settles things inside the distance.

Prediction: Santiago Ponzinibbio

Glover Teixeira vs. Misha Cirkunov

This is the fight I have had the most trouble with because despite his advanced age and slowly diminishing skills, Teixeira a tough old cuss and capable of putting Cirkunov down with one of his patented clubbing hooks.

Youth and athleticism are on the side of the Latvian-Canadian grappler, but Teixeira is no slouch on the canvas either, so it’s not like Cirkunov can rush in, blast a double and grind out the win from top position. The usual path to beating Teixeira has been to out-work him on the feet and avoid his big punches and I’m not completely sold on Cirkunov’s ability to do that yet.

But I’m gonna roll the dice on the younger, fresher, more mobile fighter and see what happens.

Prediction: Misha Cirkunov

Preliminary Card Picks

Jan Blachowicz def. Jared Cannonier
Julian Marquez def. Darren Stewart
Chad Laprise def. Galore Bofando
Nordine Taleb def. Danny Roberts
Abel Trujillo def. John Makdessi
Alessio Di Chirico def. Oluwale Bamgbose
Jordan Mein def. Erick Silva

UFC Fresno: Punch Drunk Predictions

UFC Fresno: Punch Drunk Predictions

As per usual when it’s fight week, but not pay-per-view fight week, there have been lots of cracks about “UFC Fresno” being an actual thing and how all these Fight Night events are problematic.

As per always, I think it’s mostly a bunch of noise from people who want every show to be the best show ever and prefer to complain about just about everything rather than accepting there are five different types of UFC events.

When we’re headed into a Level 2-type show like we are this weekend in Fresno, it’s about enjoying the opportunity to see more from a few solid prospects (Hello Eryk Anders! Greetings Merab Dvalishvili!) with a couple really good fights tossed in there too.

Seriously – there are two Top 10 pairings, plus a Top 15 matchup and the return of “Hick Diaz.”

That’s a nice little Level 2 Saturday night fight card if you ask me.

Here are my thoughts on who will emerge victorious.

These are the UFC Fight Night: Swanson vs. Ortega Punch Drunk Predictions.

Cub Swanson vs. Brian Ortega

This is a classic “veteran vs. upstart” battle similar to the one we got in Gdansk, Poland earlier this year between Darren Till and Donald Cerrone, but while the young Scouser got the better of “Cowboy,” I think we see the veteran get the best of it in this one.

Ortega has looked pretty good throughout his five-fight UFC run and earning four straight fights by third-round stoppage is crazy and speaks to the way he’s always working to get the finish, rather than happily coasting to the cards. But in his last two bouts – wins over Clay Guida and Renato Moicano – he’s needed those finishes in order to avoid going to the cards in a close fight that could produce his first career loss.

Given the way Moicano was able to have success on the feet against him, I just don’t see how Ortega manages to survive the offensive onslaught Swanson will bring from the jump. “Killer Cub” has more power, better movement and more creativity than Moicana and while I remain high on Ortega’s overall potential, I’m still leaning towards this being the wrong matchup at the wrong time for the laid back prospect from Torrence.

Prediction: Cub Swanson

 Jason Knight vs. Gabriel Benitez

First and foremost, I love that Knight is completely down with the “Hick Diaz” moniker; it makes me feel comfortable using it knowing that he self-identifies as a hick.

Secondly, I think he rolls here and shows that he should be considered alongside guys like Ortega, Yair Rodriguez and Mirsad Bektic as one of the top twenty-something talents in the featherweight division. He had his “face a veteran” fight last time out, lost to Ricardo Lamas and pulled out a bunch of positives from that performance, all of which will help him a great deal going forward.

It won’t necessarily show here because I think he’s head-and-shoulders better than Benitez and should handle him with relative ease, but still. Knight will be a Top 10 fixture pretty soon.

Prediction: Jason Knight

Marlon Moraes vs. Aljamain Sterling

This is a terrific fight between the No. 7 and No. 8-ranked fighters in the bantamweight division and if you can’t get hyped for that, I’m not sure you can honestly identify yourself as a fight fan.


Moraes just collected a win over John Dodson on November 11 and jumped the opportunity to get right back in the cage when Sterling’s original opponent, Rani Yahya, was forced to the sidelines. That was a good matchup for “Aljo,” but this one isn’t so favourable.

Listen – I like Sterling, but I still haven’t seen enough from his standup to think he’s able to hang on the feet with a dangerous striker like Moraes. While the possibility is there for him to take the “Human Jansport” approach and wrestle Moraes, the former WSOF champ trains with dudes like Frankie Edgar and Eddie Alvarez, so I’m not sure he’s going to just get completely controlled in the grappling department.

My guess is that Moraes keeps this in kicking range, beats up Sterling’s lead leg and out-strikes him over the course of 15 minutes.

Prediction: Marlon Moraes

As for the rest of the card… 

Scott Holtzman def. Darrell Horcher
Eryk Anders def. Markus Perez
Benito Lopez def. Albert Morales

Alexis Davis def. Liz Carmouche
Luke Sanders def. Andre Soukhamthath
Alex Perez def. Carls John de Tomas
Merab Dvalishvili def. Frankie Saenz

Iuri Alcantara def. Alejandro Perez
Davi Ramos def. Chris Gruetzemacher
Trevin Giles def. Antonio Braga Neto

UFC 218: Punch Drunk Predictions

UFC 218: Punch Drunk Predictions

Everything old is new again; that’s the saying, right?

For the first time on this site, but the 487th time since I first started writing on any site emblazoned with the name Keyboard Kimura, it’s time to dive into my picks for a UFC event.

Saturday’s UFC 218 pay-per-view in Detroit is one of the best cards from top-to-bottom that the company has delivered in years, excluding the over-the-top attractions that dotted the calendar over the last couple years. All five main card fights feature competitors ranked in the Top 10 (the Top 6 if you want to be hyper-specific) and we could have a couple new title contenders emerge depending on how things shake out.

On a way more basic level, they’re all great fights that should be exciting and action-packed, so sit back, buckle up and keep reading.

These are the UFC 218 Punch Drunk Predictions.

Max Holloway vs. Jose Aldo (for the UFC featherweight title)

I never thought I would get to a point where I was picking Jose Aldo to get blown out of the water, but I’m picking Jose Aldo to get blown out of the water here. Max Holloway is that good.

Coming off a third-round stoppage win over Aldo in Rio earlier this year, the rematch tilts things in Holloway’s favour even more because he’s already been able to get his read on what Aldo brings to the table and as we saw in their first meeting, once “Blessed” felt comfortable, the Brazilian got trucked.

The champion still needs to be careful, but I fully expect him to start pressuring forward behind combinations and hurting Aldo to the body in the late stages of the first, making it clear that the belt isn’t going anywhere. If the challenger makes it out of the opening round, I don’t think he’ll get through the second.

Prediction: Max Holloway

Alistair Overeem vs. Francis Ngannou

Ngannou is a scary proposition, man – a massive physical specimen who has shown both devastating power and an incredible ability to learn and improve at a rapid rate. Four years after starting his professional career, he’s favoured against one of the most decorated heavyweights of all-time… and I’m pretty sure he’s going to beat him handily.

This is one of those fights where my pick is dictated by the thing I know, instead of the thing that remains a question mark.

We don’t know how well Ngannou can take a big shot because no one has really anything too serious on him to this point in his UFC career, but we do know that Overeem has a suspect chin and I’m positive that “The Predator” is going to find it, probably before the first round is over.

Prediction: Francis Ngannou

Henry Cejudo vs. Sergio Pettis

This is a great fight and I’m glad Pettis was afforded the chance to develop over a couple years instead of getting hustled up the ladder like a few previous flyweight prospects. That said, this fight feels a little like the fight between Frankie Edgar and Yair Rodriguez to me, with Cejudo playing the Edgar role, showing he’s still a level or two above the young upstart.

Here’s the thing: Cejudo hasn’t even been fighting for five years yet and he’s already one of the best flyweights in the world. Not only is his wrestling game excellent, but his hands are quick and dangerous too; ask Wilson Reis.

Pettis likes to control the distance and win technical fights from range, but I don’t think Cejudo will give him the space to operate. We’ve seen Pettis get clipped and finished before and I think Cejudo will continue to showcase his hands and get another stoppage here.

Prediction: Henry Cejudo

Eddie Alvarez vs. Justin Gaethje

Making a pick here is tough because it basically comes down to trying to figure out which of these two savages will be able to endure more punishment and land the blow that brings this Fight of the Year contender to a close?

I think both guys will catch some big shots, but my money is on Gaethje pulling off something similar to what we saw in his debut against Michael Johnson, where he eats some doozies, but still manages to respond and ultimate finish Alvarez.

All I really hope is that this fight is 80% of what I’ve built it up to be in my mind. If we get that, we’ll get an instant classic.

Prediction: Justin Gaethje

Tecia Torres vs. Michelle Waterson

This feels like one of those fights where once it’s done, a lot of people will kick themselves for getting sucked into the Michelle Waterson hype again, kind of like after she got trounced by Rose Namajunas.

The UFC has been pushing the Jackson-Wink staple since she returned to action a year ago and while she’s a solid depth piece in the strawweight division, I don’t think she’s as good as Torres or anyone else in the Top 5.

Torres keeps a quick pace, is better on the ground than people ever give her credit for and is coming off a very good performance against Julianna Lima. Plus, the only person to beat her to date is the new champion and if you don’t think that adds an extra dose of motivation heading into this one, you’re crazy.

I thick the constant pressure and pace of Torres eventually gets to Waterson and the TUF 20 alum gets a third-round finish.

Prediction: Tecia Torres

Preliminary Card Picks

Paul Felder def. Charles Oliveira
Alex Oliveira def. Yancy Medeiros
Drakkar Klose def. David Teymur
Cortney Casey def. Felice Herrig
Abdul Razak Alhassan def. Sabah Homasi
Dominick Reyes def. Jeremy Kimball
Allen Crowder def. Justin Willis
Amanda Cooper def. Angela Magana