UFC Fight Night: Dos Anjos vs. Fiziev Predictions
Rafael dos Anjos vs. Rafael Fiziev
Former lightweight champion dos Anjos has settled back into the division nicely after a 4-4 run up at welterweight, picking up back-to-back wins so far, while Fiziev is one of the weight-classes most in-form fighters with five wins in a row.
The 37-year-old RDA is undoubtedly the more experienced and well-rounded fighter here, doing a good job of mixing up technical striking on the feet with takedowns, solid top control and a proven submission threat, enhanced by the fact he can maintain a high tempo for five full rounds.
At 170lbs, RDA had some notable successes, but found himself being manhandled at times by bigger, stronger wrestlers, so he’s definitely more at home at 155lbs, though he won’t have to worry about a takedown threat here as Fiziev is very much striking-orientated.
And what a striker the 29-year-old Fiziev is, with a decorated background in muay thai being the foundation of his game. He’s a truly dynamic stand-up technician with fight-ending power in his punches and kicks and backs that up with very good clinch work and strong takedown defense.
RDA is a challenging fight for anyone at 155lbs and if he can get his ground game going here then he will cause lots of problems for his opponent. However, he’s not getting any younger and is outgunned on the feet against the harder-hitting, sharper Fiziev, who I’m taking to keep this one upright and come away with a third round TKO victory.
Prediction: Rafael Fiziev to win by TKO in Rd3.
Caio Borralho vs. Armen Petrosyan
Two Contender Series recruits here, with Barralho extending his career record to 11-1 with a win in his UFC debut back in April, while Petrosyan edged out a split-decision win in his first Octagon appearance to go 7-1.
A narrow debut win like that might not seem like too big of a deal, but when it comes against a respected opponent like Gregory ‘Robocop’ Rodrigues, then it’s a significant feather in Petrosyan’s cap.
Oddly, while the 6ft 3″ tall Petrosyan will have a major 6″ height advantage he will actually be at a 4″ disadvantage when it comes to reach here. I don’t think that will trouble him too much though, as while Petrosyan isn’t related to the well-known kickboxing brothers of the same name, he is actually a talented, well-conditioned kickboxer in his own right who stays very active and has stopped all but one of his wins to date inside the distance via strikes.
Borralho can also give a good account of himself on the feet, operating a karate-based style that’s a bit more aggressive than other proponents with that background tend to be, but he might be more tempted to use his skills on the mat here where he’s likely to have a clear advantage with his grappling ability.
Pesrosyan might win the striking battle if given the chance, but I think Borralho will be able to implement his ground game to come out on top on the scorecards.
Prediction: Caio Borralho to win by decision.
Douglas Silva de Andrade vs. Said Nurmagomedov
Both Andrade and Nurmagomedov head into this fight with almost identical outcomes from their past two outings, with each having had back-to-back wins, the first by KO and the second by submission.
If you look at their UFC records as a whole though then there’s some stark differences in their level of success, with the 37-year-old Andrade having compiled a 6-4 run, while the 30-year-old Nurmagomedov is 4-1 so far.
Despite his surname, Nurmagomedov isn’t a relation of Khabib’s, and he tends to favor a more kickboxing-orientated approach, working well from range and showing good speed along with a solid arsenal of kicks. That being said, he is also a very capable wrestler who will also present a submission threat.
Andrade is much more of a fight-ender on the feet with his heavy-handed boxing ability, though he’s not quite as active offensively as Nurmagomedov and will load up on his strikes more, while being less defensively sound.
Power aside, I feel Nurmagomedov is just the better all-round fighter here and as the younger, fresher man he’ll push a higher pace and secure a decision win here.
Prediction: Said Nurmagomedov to win by decision.
Jared Vanderaa vs. Chase Sherman
These two heavyweights records make for grim reading, with Vanderaa having won just once in his five Octagon outings so far, while Sherman is remarkably still clinging onto a spot on the roster despite an overall 3-9 run from three separate stints in the promotion.
Of the two, Sherman is the better, more potent striker here, coming out the gate fast with high-volume kickboxing and fight-ending power.
However, he does also eat a lot of strikes in return and if he can’t get a fast finish or is going up against someone with a broader skill-set then things don’t tend to go his way as there’s not a whole let else to his game other than striking.
As for Vanderaa, he’s certainly not a physical specimen, but he’s the more well-rounded of the two and will likely be looking to exploit Sherman’s weaknesses on the mat here.
I’ll take him to do just that, beating Sherman by submission in the second round.
Prediction: Jared Vanderaa to win by submission in Rd2.
Michael Johnson vs. Jamie Mullarkey
Johnson ended a four-fight losing slump last time out by notching up a KO victory and now opens up the main card of this weekend’s show against Mullarkey, who was TKO’d in his last fight after having won two fights prior to that.
Johnson’s career record stands at 20-17, but he’s a better fighter than that suggests and has picked up big wins over the years over the likes of Dustin Poirier, Tony Ferguson and Edson Barboza to name but a few.
Johnson has good striking with fast hands and footwork together with solid power, while he can wrestle too, though he’s more likely to utilize it to keep the fight upright. He’s 36 now though and has been in a lot of wars, so he’s not as sharp or durable as he once was, while he’s also been submitted a number of times during his career.
The 27-year-old Mullarkey is an aggressive striker when he gets on the inside and he’s heavy-handed, with 10 of his 14 career wins coming inside the distance via strikes. He’s no stranger to being hit himself though and has been finished by strikes a few times himself in the past, including his last Octagon outing.
Despite coming off a win there’s still concerns over Johnson’s reliability at this stage in his career and I think Mullarkey’s gritty work on the inside will trouble him and lead to a second round TKO stoppage.
Prediction: Jamie Mullarkey to win by TKO in Rd2.
UFC Fight Night: Dos Anjos vs. Fiziev Prelims
(Predicted winners in bold)
Cynthia Calvillo vs. Nina Nunes
Aiemann Zahabi vs. Ricky Turcios
Antonina Shevchenko vs. Cortney Casey
Kennedy Nzechukwu vs. Karl Roberson
Ronnie Lawrence vs. Saidyokub Kakharamonov
Ross Cole is one of the most prolific mixed martial arts writers in the world, having written more than 17,000 MMA news stories for MMA Insight, which he founded in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts, and reaching millions of die-hard MMA fans in the process.
You can read more of Ross’s work at MMAInsight.com.