• UFC 171: Predictions

  • UFC 171 poster 208x300 UFC 171: PredictionsUFC 171 takes place tonight with the card being stacked from top to bottom with quality fights in all divisions but with a particular focus on the 170lb, welterweight division.

    I have been given the task of reviewing the fight card and giving my take on how things will play out later tonight. As with any combat Sport, your predictions shouldn’t be made until all the fighters have weighed in and this was certainly the case last night. I had already prepared most of my selections but thanks to a bizarre 15 minutes last night, some of those definitely changed.

    We saw Renee Forte miss weight and forfeit 20% of his purse, a move that for a lower tier fighter is bound to leave him hurting. Then we saw Kelvin Gastelum struggle to make the welterweight limit, only to make it on his third attempt some time later. The main surprise came as title challenger Johny Hendricks missed weight at the first time of asking and looked to be visibly shaking in the process. This provided fans with a long wait until it was announced some two hours later that “Big Rigg” make the limit and the title fight was back on.

    And so, after a much more anxious night than the fighters, the UFC or the fans would have wanted, UFC 171 is here and here is how I think things will play out:

    Pineda v Whiteford

    My pick: Pineda by Submission.

    I see this as the classic “loser leaves town” scenario and it could lead to an incredible start to the fight card. However, I think Pineda will be the man to keep his UFC dreams alive with a submission victory in this one.

    McDaniel v Strickland 

    My pick: Strickland by Decision

    My overall impression of McDaniel is that he is good but falls short of being of UFC caliber. In this one, I expect a good start but McDaniel to ultimately wilt under the pressure and Strickland will take over towards the latter part of the fight.

    Campuzano v Scoggins

    My pick: Scoggins by TKO

    There is certainly a lot of hype around Scoggins, having never been beaten in either his professional or amateur MMA career. He is certainly in good company on this card with several other fighters taking part from American Top Team. Overall, I think this undeniable ability mixed with the kind of quality training camp he is bound to have had with so many other fighters on this card, will be enough to see him home in this one.

    Campuzano is a good fighter who has made his way back to the UFC after a couple of losses in 2010 and 11’ but I think his return will ultimately go the same way and he will lose his second fight in a row and perhaps his position in the UFC.

    Forte v Trevino

    My pick: Forte by TKO Round 2.

    I think in this one that Forte has fought the better caliber of opponents and that will give him the edge he needs to secure the victory in this one. It seems strange that the UFC would give Trevino this fight for his debut in the UFC. With them looking to make the step into Mexico possibly later this year, you would think they are looking to build up the likes of Trevino for that venture into one of the biggest potential markets for the UFC.

    So ultimately I am picking Forte due to his experience but perhaps the UFC knows something I don’t and have given Trevino the perfect opportunity to step into the UFC.

    Spencer v Garcia

    My pick: Garcia via TKO Round 1.

    Garcia looked incredible in his UFC debut and coupled with the expert coaching he is receiving at TriStar makes for a great recipe for success. Spencer is a good opponent but I don’t think he has the exceptional skills in any one particular area to trouble a rising star in Garcia.

    Bermudez v Hettes

    My pick: Bermudez via TKO Round 1.

    Jimmy Hettes is undoubtedly a great fighter who is on the rise within the UFC and MMA overall. On this occasion, I think Dennis Bermudez has the edge and his striking abilities will eventually catch up with Hettes.

    Pennington v Andrade 

    My pick: Andrade by TKO Round 1.

    In her short UFC career, Jessica Andrade has looked highly impressive and I expect that to continue this weekend. In her fight against Liz Carmouche, Andrade had Carmouche in trouble with a tight guillotine in the first round before ultimately succumbing to a rear naked choke in the second round.

    In her second UFC fight, she put on a bit of a beating of Rosi Sexton which will no doubt have her brimming with confidence as she faces off against the TUF alumni, Pennington.

    Whilst Pennington may be known as a striker, from what I have seen I expect Andrade to show complete disregard for the skills of her opponent and move forward from the beginning. I expect Andrade’s overwhelming style to throw Pennington off her own game with Andrade getting the stoppage as a result.

    Gastelum v Story

    My pick: Story by decision.

    This is a late change, as I was originally going to go with Gastelum to continue his impressive streak by decision.

    However, with Gastelum seemingly having trouble making the weight I think this hands over the advantage to Rick Story. Story has been known for the kind of style that you do not want to face off against if you have had a hard weight cut. Story will press you from the opening bell and not give you much breathing room.

    I think Story will come on strong in this one to end Gastelum’s streak if by no other means than pure determination and nonstop aggression.

    Ovince St. Preux v Krylov

    My pick: OSP by TKO Round 3.

    Nikita Krylov entered the UFC in a somewhat embarrassing fashion, looking like we should be surprised his cardio allowed him to walk to the cage under his own steam. However, in his second UFC outing he managed to silence any doubters for the time being at least thanks to a 25 second demolition of Walt Harris back in January.

    Now as he makes his Light Heavyweight debut in the UFC, you would expect his cardio to have vastly improved and he is going to need it against OSP.

    OSP has been in with the likes of Gian Villante and Gegard Mousasi in recent times and this will stand him in good stead for this fight, enabling him to control the fight to get the victory in the later rounds.

    Shields v Lombard 

    My pick: Shields by decision.

    This is perhaps the most intriguing fight on the card when it comes to styles. You have the grappling ace Jake Shields who’s achilles heel is his standup and you have the ferocious Hector Lombard, who at 170lbs is looking to live up to the hype that surrounded his entrance into the UFC.

    Overall, I think Jake Shields has the amazing ability of finding a way to win when on paper there might not seem to be one. In this fight, I think he will be able to impose himself on Lombard and control the fight to take the decision on the Judges’ scorecards.

    Sanchez v Jury

    My pick: Myles Jury by decision.

    This is a difficult one to pick as the aggression of Sanchez is always a factor in his fights. Some fighters who he faces simply freeze when he comes forward with a reckless abandon whilst others thrive on it and pick their moments to capitalise on the openings left for them.

    Jury is rising through the rankings quietly but effectively. In this one I think if Jury can weather an early storm then he will be able to take the decision victory thanks in large part to him being the fresher man of the two.

    Condit v Woodley

    My pick: Condit via TKO in Round 2.

    For much the same reason as above, I feel that Condit’s striking and movement will take its toll on Woodley. I expect a first round from Condit that mirror’s his game-plan against Nick Diaz for the most part. Woodley will be looking to close the distance from the beginning with hard punches to allow an effective transition into a takedown.  However, Condit has been in with better strikers than Woodley and has been able to control the distance and manoeuvre away from the power more often than not.

    As the fight plays out, I expect Condit to come on strong into the second and third round if it were needed and will catch Woodley as he over commits on one of his strikes.

    Hendricks v Lawler

    My pick: Lawler via TKO in Round 3.

    I see this being a battle that primarily takes place on the feet, as despite Hendricks’ incredible wrestling pedigree Lawler has trained with some of the best Wrestlers in the world for years and for a long time trained with the most dominant wrestler in the Welterweight division. There is the possibility that Hendricks could control Lawler for large portions of the rounds but I think eventually Lawler will find a way to work out of the bad spot, given he has been in a similar spot in training many times before.

    I think that Hendricks will always have the punchers chance to knock Lawler out if he catches him but overall, I would give the technical striking edge to Lawler. When it comes to technique or power, I always go for technique as I believe that technique will last the test of time whereas power will eventually fade.

    About The Author – Greg Byron

    Greg started training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu after his brother introduced him to a local MMA fighter/coach when he was just 16 years old. Greg has trained for nearly a decade in both BJJ and MMA, competing in several grappling events within the UK. In addition to MMA, Greg possesses a law degree and works for a firm in northern part of England.

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