Well done to the UFC for maintaining a relatively strong fight card even after losing the would-be Light Heavyweight title fight between the injured former champ Jiri Prochaska and Glover Teixiera. Unfortunately, the former champ Prochaska succumbed to a horrific shoulder injury that will see him out for some time, and therefore he relinquished his title. A rematch of the classic first bout between the two would have been great again, but I think birthing some new blood in the stacked LHW division is a great fall-back option. Here are my predictions for the fights tomorrow:
Jan Blachowicz v Magomed Ankalaev (Vacant Light Heavyweight Title)
Glover Teixiera did not want to face Magomed Ankalaev on such short notice. It is a big risk for the Brazilian, however Dana White has already mentioned that the Teixiera will be the next man up for tomorrow’s eventual winner. As for this matchup, I think it is going to be a really good one. You can never count out the former champ Blachowicz. The Polish slugger has some of the heaviest hands in the UFC and is always a threat of knocking his opponents lights out. However, his opponent Magomed Ankalaev is primed to commence his rule on the LHW division. I see an exciting first few rounds, but similar to Blachowicz loss to Glover Teixiera, I think Ankalaev gets him to the ground and becomes the new UFC Light Heavyweight champion of the world.
Prediction: Ankalaev via 3rd round submission.
Paddy Pimblett v Jared Gordon (Lightweight bout)
Paddy ‘The Baddy’ is back. Similar to past superstars Conor McGregor and ‘Suga’ Sean O’Malley, Pimblett is already the coheadliner on a massive PPV card this early in his career, and it just feels like it will be another primetime, highlight reel finish for the brazen Brit. This is a massive opportunity for his opponent Jared Gordon, who finds himself in a similar position to Bantamweight contender Chito Vera who a few years ago handed the fast-rising O’Malley his first ever loss. However, losing three of his last five bouts, I just think Pimblett will be too much for Gordon in this one, getting him to the ground and finishing him in classic Paddy style.
Prediction: Pimblett via 2nd round submission.
Two veterans of the cage face off here in what could be a darkhorse for fight of the night in my opinion. As for the winner of this one, I feel Morono is coming into the fight with more momentum by winning five of his last six bouts. Give me Morono by decision in a barnburner three rounder.
‘The Gorilla’ Darren Till is back for the first time in over a year since losing via submission to fellow MW contender Derek Brunson. It feels like forever since we have seen the Brit, with him appearing more in his training partner Khamzat Chimaev’s corner mostly during that span since his last fight. This fight feels like it could be another highlight reel event, and contender for Fight of the Night. South African Dricus Du Plessis is no easy beat and at just 28 years old, is coming into his prime much like his opponent Till. As for the result, I see Till showing off some new things in a decision victory.
Prediction: Till via Unanimous Decision.
This is my favourite matchup of the night. It is the classic grappler (Mitchell) v striker (Topuria) bout. Both fighters are on massive win streaks in arguably the most talented division in the UFC. As for the result, I just think ‘Thug Nasty’ Bryce Mitchell has fought more talented fighters to this point in both fighters’ careers, and I do not think Topuria has fought someone with Mitchell’s talent in the grappling game. Could Topuria score a highlight reel KO, yes, but I just cannot see it happening against the Arkansas native.
Prediction: Mitchell via Unanimous Decision.
Raul Rosas Jr v Jay Perrin (Bantamweight bout)
Prediction: Rosas via 1st round submission.