Unfortunately I haven’t really invested the proper amount of time in doing tape study for a lot of the fighters on this card, especially the debuting fighters. It’s a shame because some of the newcomers are very intriguing. Three in particular have standout records: Kevin Lee, Tony Martin, and Andy Enz. Not only are these fighters all undefeated, a majority of their career opponents have winning records – so their undefeated records were not earned against a bunch of tomato cans.
The following predictions are all based on statistics only. Wish me luck.
John Makdessi vs. Alan Patrick
I feel like this is a fight Joe Silva put together because he believes Alan Patrick is ready for an opponent as tough as John Makdessi. Both fighters like to strike although Patrick is definitely more inclined to go for takedowns. I think Makdessi can out-point Patrick over the course of three rounds, but this is not an easy fight for him.
Pick: John Makdessi by decision
Chris Cariaso vs. Danny Martinez
Martinez makes his UFC debut with experience against some very tough opponents like Joseph Benavidez and Jussier Formiga. However Martinez has yet to show he’s capable of winning against UFC-caliber competition. Cariaso is a quality striker with decent grappling and I’m puzzled at why he’s only a -140 favorite.
Pick: Chris Cariaso by decision
Nick Catone vs. Tom Watson
Catone is a very flawed fighter… but his strength is wrestling and that matches up perfectly with Watson’s weakness (takedown defense). Watson has been taken down 15 times in 40 minutes of UFC action. Watson also has almost no submission game… and yet he’s the betting favorite. I don’t buy it.
Pick: Nick Catone by decision
Al Iaquinta vs. Kevin Lee
Trust me when I say this will not be a walk in the park for Iaquinta. “Raging Al” has shown good, aggressive striking in the UFC and trains with the Serra-Longo team, which is always a plus. That’s enough for me to favor Iaquinta, but Lee’s quality undefeated record suggests that he will not be an easy out… and has the potential to score an upset here.
Pick: Al Iaquinta by decision
Andy Enz vs. Clint Hester
Enz was on the same season of The Ultimate Fighter as Hester was, but got defeated by Uriah Hall in the preliminary round. Enz should be a tricky opponent for Hester; he has a good submission game and could really test Hester’s ground abilities. I don’t think that out-weighs Hester’s punishing strikes but it does make Enz a live underdog.
Pick: Clint Hester by TKO
Rashid Magomedov vs. Tony Martin
Magomedov has a 15-1 record with only a split decision loss to a tough opponent in “Frodo” Khasbulaev. Martin is one of the three debuting fighters with a quality undefeated record on this card. If Martin’s opponent wasn’t as good as Magomedov I would be very tempted to pick him to win. As it is I think Martin will give Magomedov a stiff test.
Pick: Rashid Magomedov by decision
Neil Magny vs. Gasan Umalatov
There’s not much upside to Magny’s game. He’s a volume striker without much KO power and his takedown defense is a weakness. Umalatov’s record isn’t as impressive as the other debuting fighters on this card but I feel he should be able to take Magny down and potentially get a finish.
Pick: Gasan Umalatov by submission