By: Logan Helfferich
UFC 201 Preview
Flyweight: Ian McCall vs. Justin Scoggins
Ian McCall is looking to earn himself a future title shot against Demetrious Johnson. This will be McCall’s first fight since losing a unanimous decision to flyweight contender, John Lineker. Lineker has since moved up to bantamweight. Johnson was originally scheduled to defend his belt in the co-main event against Wilson Reis, but McCall is hoping to be next in line after that. Reis is now fighting on the undercard on Fox Sports 2. McCall is known for his exciting, fast-paced fighting style. He’s also known for his interesting sense of humor. McCall’s fighting nickname is “Uncle Creepy” and he lists his favorite striking technique on UFC.com as “face punch.” Scoggins is looking for his third consecutive win inside the octagon. He’s won 6 of 11 fights by knockout and also has five first-round finishes. Scoggins is an outstanding kick-boxer and wrestler and will be looking to put his name in the hat for a future title shot as well. At only 24 years of age, Scoggins has a lot of room to grow still and will be looking to take his place higher up in the rankings with a decisive win over McCall. Expect Scoggins to out-strike McCall and land some takedowns here and there to ensure victory.
Prediction: Scoggins defeats McCall via Decision*
*Reports say that Scoggins may be forced to pull out of the fight due to not being able to make weight.
Bantamweight: Francisco Rivera vs. Erik Perez
Rivera is coming off of a split decision loss against Brad Pickett. Rivera is fairly one-dimensional, with 82 percent of his strikes coming from the standing position. Eight of Rivera’s 11 wins have come via knockout. Perez is in his first fight since a unanimous decision victory over Taylor Lapilus back in November of last year. Perez is looking to get himself back into the UFC rankings after this weekend. Expect Perez to dominate with his ground game and grappling after Rivera gets frustrated with the striking. Perez has a striking defense of 71 percent and is known for his superb wrestling. Perez has seven wins coming via submission and four via knockout.
Prediction: Perez defeats Rivera via Decision
Welterweight: Matt Brown vs. Jake Ellenberger
This fight has the makings of being an exciting brawl. Both fighters like to stand and strike, although Brown is the better striker of the two. Brown will likely use his high intensity and look to keep the fight standing and attempt to knockout Ellenberger. Ellenberger is known for his chin though, so that may be easier said than done. Ellenberger should look for takedowns eventually, but he’ll have to defend himself in the meantime in order to avoid a third straight loss. Brown has won by knockout 13 times in his 22 victories.
Prediction: Brown defeats Ellenberger via KO/TKO
Women’s Strawweight: Rose Namajunas vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
This fight is pretty much a title-shot eliminator. Kowalkiewicz will look to stay undefeated and earn herself a shot at fellow Polish fighter, UFC strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Kowalkiewicz is 9-0 with a 2-0 record in the UFC. Namajunas is 3-0 since losing in The Ultimate Fighter finale against former champion, Carla Esparza. Since then, she’s been on a terror. Namajunas made easy work of Angela Hill, defeating her via submission in the first round. After that, she defeated top strawweight fighters, Paige VanZant and Tecia Torres, via unanimous decision and submission respectfully. This will be the classic battle of striker against grappler. Kowalkiewicz will be using her superb takedown defense (96 percent career takedown defense) in order to keep the fight standing. Namajunas is no joke on her feet, but her strength in on the mat. Kowalkiewicz only has one career knockout, but unless Namajunas is able to get her to the ground, expect Kowalkiewicz to dictate the fight and pick apart Namajunas by changing angles and keeping up the pressure.
Prediction: Kowalkiewicz defeats Namajunas via Decision
Welterweight Championship: Robbie Lawler vs. Tyron Woodley