For the first time in what seems like an eternity, the UFC will be promoting a genuine, actual event, from Stockholm, Sweden. There are a total of 12 fights scheduled for the event; the last four will be broadcast on Fuel TV starting at 3:00 ET/12:00 PT. The first eight will be broadcast on Facebook. The UFC’s website currently lists the Facebook stream as starting at 12:30 ET/9:30 AM PT, but that would allow for just two and a half hours to put on eight fights. As always, if you want to see all the action, tune in early just to be sure.
Because there are eight preliminary fights in all, I’ll be separating the previews for those fights into two posts, each looking at four fights. Let’s get to it.
145 lbs: Eric Wisely (19-7, 0-1 UFC) vs. Jason Young (8-5, 0-2 UFC)
The first scheduled fight features featherweights who are a combined 0-3 in the UFC, in Jason Young and Eric Wisely. At 8-5, Young’s record might not look very good, but his first two UFC fights were each very competitive. In his first UFC fight, he lost a competitive decision to highly-ranked Dustin Poirier, and in his subsequent fight, he lost another competitive decision, to Michihiro Omigawa. Of course, at some point, a fighter has to actually win to demonstrate he belongs in the UFC.
That means, to keep his UFC career going, Young will probably need to beat Eric Wisely. We didn’t see much of Wisely in his debut, as he lost to Charles Oliveira by submission in just 1:43, but he does bring a very respectable fight history into the cage. Along with two wins over former UFC title challenger Hermes Franca, Wisely has defeated tough competitors like Matt Veach and Scott McAfee.
Wisely is a fairly well-rounded fighter; he isn’t spectacular at anything, but he’s at least decent in all areas. That means he’ll probably want to take the striker in Jason Young to the ground, as three of Young’s five career losses are by submission. If it turns out to be a striking match, Wisely won’t be a pushover, but Young will have the advantage.
SILVA PREDICTION: ERIC WISELY (52.40) OVER JASON YOUNG (39.85)
According to Fight Metric, Jason Young was taken down nine times in his two UFC fights so far, and had to escape three submission attempts in his fight against Michihiro Omigawa. As a result, I feel comfortable picking Wisely to win this one, as he should be good enough to get Young to the ground, where Wisely will have a distinct advantage.
170 lbs: Simeon Thoresen (16-2-1, 0-0 UFC) vs. Besam Yousef (6-0, 0-0 UFC)
This fight features two debuting Scandinavian welterweights in Norwegian prospect Simeon Thoresen and Swedish fighter Besam Yousef. Thoresen has built a reputation for being a very aggressive submissions fighter; 14 of his 16 professional MMA wins have come by submission. This includes four wins by rear naked choke in particular in his last five fights. Thoresen’s goal when he fights is simple: take the opponent down, pass his guard, and win by submission.
Thoresen’s opponent, Besam Yousef, has three submission wins of his own, but is very light on meaningful MMA experience. Just one of Yousef’s fights was against an opponent with at least five fights on his record. This means Yousef does not qualify for a SILVA score. Limited YouTube scouting shows that Yousef is an aggressive striker who likes knees in the clinch.
SILVA PREDICTION: SIMEON THORESEN (35.41) OVER BESAM YOUSEF (N/A)
It’s hard to draw conclusions on Yousef as a fighter because of his lack of meaningful opposition in MMA. If he can keep this fight from going to the ground, he should have a decent chance, but Simeon Thoresen is a pretty clear favorite to take this one.
155 lbs: Yoislandy Izquierdo (6-0, 0-0 UFC) vs. Reza Madadi (11-2, 0-0 UFC)
The fight between debuting fighters Thoresen and Yousef is followed by another fight between debuting fighters in Yoislandy Izquierdo and Reza Madadi. And like Besam Yousef, Yoislandy Izquierdo is a fighter with a 6-0 overall record and just one fight against an opponent with at least five fights on his record. Izquierdo has good striking and some power to go along with it, but his takedown defense is somewhat lacking.
That’s bad news against Reza Madadi, who has a strong takedown game and is very aggressive with it. His nickname is “Mad Dog,” so you can imagine how he goes after his opponents. Madadi also has a strong record, having defeated fighters like Rich Clementi and Carlo Prater (and Junie Browning…).
SILVA PREDICTION: REZA MADADI (59.75) OVER YOISLANDY IZQUIERDO (N/A)
If Izquierdo surprises me and shows the ability to stop Madadi’s takedown, he’s a threat to score a KO with his striking, although Madadi is hardly deficient in the striking game himself. I just see this fight as being tailor made for Madadi to win, as I expect him to impose his wrestling game on Izquierdo and end up winning by submission or decision.
185 lbs: Francis Carmont (17-7, 1-0 UFC) vs. Magnus Cedenblad (10-3, 0-0 UFC)
The fourth preliminary fight will feature French striker Francis Carmont against Swedish middleweight Magnus Cedenblad. Carmont looked fairly impressive in his UFC debut against Chris Camozzi, as he landed a good number of brutal strikes while completely thwarting Camozzi’s attempts to take him down. To top it off, Carmont landed three takedowns of his own, so he showed off quite the skill set.
Cedenblad has some striking and some takedowns as well, and as a very tall middleweight at 6’3″, it’s not hard to see him giving Carmont a fairly stiff test. There are a couple problems, though. One is that Cedenblad can be a bit sloppy with his defense, doing things like dropping his hands while throwing kicks. The other is that he’s shown somewhat deficient cardio. These are not good weaknesses to have in a fight against Francis Carmont.
SILVA PREDICTION: MAGNUS CEDENBLAD (61.65) OVER FRANCIS CARMONT (47.05)
Ignore SILVA’s prediction here. Cedenblad has three losses, and all of them were to inexperienced opponents, so none of them are factored into his SILVA score. I do think Cedenblad could give Carmont some fits with his height and aggression, but Carmont really should be the pick to win this fight.