By: Logan Helfferich
Welterweight: Johnny Hendricks vs. Stephen Thompson
Hendricks is coming off a dominant victory over Matt Brown. Before that, he lost the welterweight title to Robbie Lawler after a tight split decision loss in a fight that many people felt he won. He’ll be looking to get back into title contention win another victory over a top opponent in Thompson. Thompson is facing a huge jump in competition and will have to use his range and six-inch reach advantage in order to keep Hendricks from using takedowns and the clinch.
Prediction: Hendricks def. Thompson via TKO
Heavyweight: Roy Nelson vs. Jared Rosholt
Nelson is coming off a disappointing three-fight losing streak, but a victory against Rosholt could put him right back into contention. Rosholt on the other hand defeated Stefan Struve in his last fight via an impressive unanimous decision. Rosholt should be able to keep Nelson at bay with his superior size and reach, but if the fight goes to the ground, he needs to be aware of Nelson’s high-level jiu-jitsu.
Prediction: Rosholt def. Nelson via decision
Light Heavyweight: Ovince Saint Preux vs. Rafael Cavalcante
OSP will be looking to avenge his tough submission loss to Teixeira where he showed he still needed some work on his ground game. Cavalcante doesn’t have any notable UFC victories (losses to Ryan Bader, Patrick Cummins and Thiago Silva), but will be looking to make a statement against the powerful up-and-comer.
Prediction: Saint Preux def. Cavalcante via KO
Flyweight: Joseph Benavidez vs. Zack Makovsky
Benavidez is hoping to get another shot at the champion, Demetrious Johnson, but is also looking for a finish as his last three victories have all come by way of decision. Makovsky is coming off a tough loss to top contender, John Dodson. He’ll need to avoid Benavidez’s takedowns and maintain pressure in order to get the upset victory.
Prediction: Benavidez def. Makovsky via submission
Light Heavyweight: Misha Cirkunov vs. Alex Nicholson
Cirkunov is looking for another UFC victory after dominating Daniel Jolly in his debut and winning by TKO. Nicholson will be making his own UFC debut. Nicholson needs to use his striking and keep the fight standing to avoid Cirkunov exploiting his lackluster jiu-jitsu.
Prediction: Cirkunov def. Nicholson via decision
Welterweight: Mike Pyle vs. Sean Spencer
Pyle is hoping to bounce back from consecutive losses, while Spencer is coming off a loss of his own against Cathal Pendred. Spencer needs to keep the fight standing and hope to out-strike the veteran Pyle.
Prediction: Spencer def. Pyle via KO
Preliminary Headline Fight
Lightweight: Josh Burkman vs. KJ Noons
This could be Burkman’s last fight in the UFC as he has lost his last four fights (loss to Lombard was changed to a no-contest) in the octagon. Noons will look to keep the fight standing and strike, while Burkman will likely look to take the fight to the ground.
Prediction: Burkman def. Noons via decision