Jeremy Stephens vs. Cub Swanson
Stephens and Swanson are pretty similar fighters. Both fighters like to stand and strike but both will mix in takedowns when they feel it’s an advantage to do so. Stephens has better punching power but Swanson has the more effective ground game. I would slightly favor Stephens as long as this fight is standing, but I think Swanson is the slightly better fighter overall.
Pick: Cub Swanson by decision
Kelvin Gastelum vs. Nicholas Musoke
Gastelum is the welterweight version of Michael Chiesa: he’s surprised me so many times that at some point I have to acknowledge he’s pretty good. I like Musoke as long as he’s not facing a strong wrestler, but that’s what Gastelum is. I like Gastelum to land takedowns and grind out a fairly lopsided decision win here.
Pick: Kelvin Gastelum by decision
Andrew Craig vs. Cezar Ferreira
Craig strikes with better volume and I believe will have the advantage at standing distance, although Ferreira is more likely to hurt Craig and win by knockout. I also think Ferreira will have a decisive edge in takedowns – which is enough for me to favor him overall. But it’s a close and tough fight for both guys.
Pick: Cezar Ferreira by decision
Hacran Dias vs. Ricardo Lamas
I think Dias is the kind of fighter whose striking will look good against a poor striker, and whose takedowns will look good against a poor wrestler. Against Ricardo Lamas, the definition of a fighter who is good in all areas, I don’t like the matchup for him. I think Lamas is just a bit better than Dias in all areas.
Pick: Ricardo Lamas by decision
Clint Hester vs. Antonio Braga Neto
Hester has performed very well against a series of opponents who like to stand and strike. When Hester fought a grappler in Jimmy Quinlan on The Ultimate Fighter, it was a real struggle for him. Antonio Braga Neto is going to give Hester’s overall grappling a hard test and until Hester can prove he can defend submissions, I can’t pick him in this type of fight.
Pick: Antonio Braga Neto by submission
Joe Ellenberger vs. James Moontsari
Hopefully by the time the fights happen, James Moontsari hasn’t injured himself like 47 other opponents set to fight Joe Ellenberger.
Pick: Joe Ellenberger by TKO
Carlos Diego Ferreira vs. Colton Smith
Pick: Carlos Diego Ferreira by submission
Johnny Bedford vs. Cody Gibson
Bedford and Gibson are both grinder types. Gibson’s debut was against a very tough opponent in Aljamain Sterling, but I was lukewarm on Gibson as a prospect leading into that fight. I see Bedford as being just a better version of Gibson.
Pick: Johnny Bedford by decision
Andy Enz vs. Marcelo Guimaraes
Enz performed admirably in his UFC debut against Clint Hester. I actually like Enz as a prospect quite a bit and think he’ll do well against Guimaraes, who has been far too easy to hit in two UFC fights.
Pick: Andy Enz by decision
Ray Borg vs. Shane Howell
Pick: Ray Borg by submission
Anthony Hamilton vs. Oleksiy Oliynik
Oliynik is 48-9-1 and has fought since 1997 but somehow has never competed for the UFC, PRIDE, Strikeforce, or any other major organization. He’s coming off a win over the smoking husk of what used to be Mirko Cro Cop. The point is: I wouldn’t expect big things out of Oliynik in the long run.
Pick: Oleksiy Oliynik by submission