After an impressive last couple of weeks in the states, UFC moves to Sydney to see two top 10 ranked heavyweights clash in the main event. Fabricio Werdum is always a big draw as many believe that he is the best heavyweight of all time, submitting Fedor and Cain in their primes, something that no one else has been able to achieve. Here are my predictions for all 13 fights.
Rashad Coulter (8-2) vs Tai Tuivasa (5-0): I am expecting a big performance from Rashad after his brilliant effort on short notice against Chase Sherman. Tai Tuivasa makes his UFC debut, and will be looking for that early knockout. I expect Rashad to weather the early storms until Tuivasa gasses out, leaving his weaknesses exposed in the latter rounds
Prediction: Rashad Coulter by KO, Round 2.
Jenel Lausa (7-3) vs Eric Shelton (10-4): Shelton has an effective takedown rate and also a great ground game. For me, Shelton will dominate Lausa, with most of the fight being spent on the floor, a submission victory for Shelton is not out of the picture but Lausa will hang in there.
Prediction: Eric Shelton by Decision.
Alex Chambers (5-2) vs Nadia Kassem (4-0): All of Kassem’s victories have been first round knockouts, against weak opposition but impressive never the less. Chambers doesn’t look a match for Kassem who should continue her streak when she steps into the UFC octagon for the first time.
Prediction: Nadia Kassem by KO, Round 1.
Damien Brown (17-10) vs Frank Camacho (20-5): This lightweight bout starts the undercard prelims, I can not see past Camacho. His stand up game is considerably better than Brown’s who will be looking to take this to the ground, something he will struggle to do in my opinion.
Prediction: Frank Camacho by KO, Round 2.
Anthony Hamilton (15-8) vs Adam Wieczorek (8-1): Respect to Hamilton for stepping in on short notice, but I don’t see how he wins this one. Wieczorek is effective on the feet, and brilliant on the ground. I can see this being stopped early as Wieczorek continues to gain confidence early on in his career.
Prediction: Adam Wieczorek by Submission, Round 1.
Nik Lentz (29-8-2) vs Will Brooks (18-3): Will Brooks is a real talent, a very well rounded fighter who destroyed the Bellator lightweight division, Lentz will look slow compared to Brooks. If Brooks can push the pace, Lentz will not be able to cope.
Prediction: Will Brooks by Decision.
Ryan Benoit (9-5) vs Ashkan Mokhtarian (13-2): This is an incredibly close match up, Benoit for me has the upper hand unless this game goes to the ground. I would not be shocked if Mokhtarian snatched a victory here, but for me Benoit will outstrike Mokhtarian for 3 full rounds.
Prediction: Ryan Benoit by Decision.
Alexander Volkanovski (15-1) vs Shane Young (11-3): Volkanovski is a beast, he will continue his impressive MMA career this weekend, he has sheer power which opponents will struggle to deal with. Young does not have the ability to come into the octagon and neutralize his power in my opinion.
Prediction: Alexander Volkanovski by KO, Round 1.
Elias Theodorou (14-2) vs Dan Kelly (13-2): This middleweight matchup is incredibly even, fight experts will do well to pick the winner of this one as it is straight down the middle. I predict that Theodorou will edge this, a draw would not be a bad bet for money value. Kelly will look to take this fight to the ground where he will fancy himself to have an advantage.
Prediction: Elias Theodorou by Decision.
Jake Matthews (11-3) vs Bojan Velickovic (15-5-1): Both welterweights look in tremendous shape, in what should be another incredibly even match up, the two are exciting well rounded athletes who can finish the fight at any time. The Serbian Steel is slightly the bigger of the two, which could give him the type of advantage that swings a even matchup like this.
Prediction: Bojan Velickovic by Decision.
Tim Means (27-8-1) vs Belal Muhammad (11-2): I can see this being the fight of the night, both fighters will look to keep the fight off of the ground, due to this I can see Tim Means running through Muhammad early on with his sheer strength and knockout power.
Prediction: Tim Means by KO, Round 1.
Bec Rawlings (7-6) vs Jessica-Rose Clark (7-4): Not the most exciting fight on the card, and not worthy of being the fight before the main in my eyes. Both fighters are a long way from the title shot and do not carry any momentum into this fight. Despite this, Bec Rawlings certainly knows how to finish a fight on the ground, which is her most likely option for winning.
Prediction: Bec Rawlings by Submission, Round 3.
Fabricio Werdum (21-7-1) vs Marcin Tybura (16-2): Main event time. This fight holds the most meaning on the card as the winner could stake a claim for a future title fight as long as the UFC resolve the contract disputes they have with current heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic. Both fighters are incredible on the ground, with the submission specialist Fabricio Wedrum probably having a slight edge. However, I think Tybura has the better stand up game and will grind his way through the fight in order to come away with the victory, which will place him in the top 5 of this division.
Prediction: Marcin Tybura by Decision.