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

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