This Saturday’s UFC Fight Night from Goiania comes one week after a very exciting night of fights from UFC 187. It’s been tough for this show to build any buzz out of the shadow of last week’s event, but there are still some compelling fights and intriguing prospects on the card. As usual, my statistical model has very different opinions on the fights than the betting public, including picking against most of the Brazilian fighters, as has been the recent trend for fight cards in Brazil.
Thiago Alves vs. Carlos Condit
Condit is back after a 14 month absence caused by a torn ACL suffered in his TKO loss to Tyron Woodley at UFC 171 last year. He’ll be fighting Thiago Alves, who last survived a barrage of strikes to rally and score a TKO win against Jordan Mein at UFC 183. Alves and Condit are very similar in that they’re both strikers who rarely land takedowns. Condit has a number of advantages coming in, including superior striking defense to go along with a height and reach advantage. Alves counters with better knockout power, an excellent chin, and the home-cage advantage. This one looks like a coin flip on paper.
Pick: Carlos Condit by decision
Nik Lentz vs. Charles Oliveira
Oliveira was easily getting the better of Lentz in their original 2011 match, when an illegal knee from Oliveira caused a no contest. The fight was re-booked in September of last year, only for Oliveira to withdraw due to illness. Hopefully the third time will be the charm this weekend. Lentz is the superior wrestler and enters with a slight advantage in significant strikes. Oliveira is extremely slick on the ground and has better finishing skills, but also has a history of being finished in very sudden ways. Nothing would surprise me in this one.
Pick: Nik Lentz by decision
K.J. Noons vs. Alex Oliveira
Oliveira had a very impressive performance on short notice against Gilbert Burns in his UFC debut. Oliveira appeared to win the first two rounds with superior striking but Burns caught and submitted Oliveira late with his stifling jiu-jitsu. Oliveira enters this fight with advantages in both strikes and takedowns, but Noons is the far more accomplished fighter. This has the look of a closely contested striking match.
Pick: K.J. Noons by decision
Francimar Barroso vs. Ryan Jimmo
For all the concerns about how boring Jimmo could be before he signed a UFC contract, his fights have been fairly entertaining recently. Even so, Jimmo could find himself fighting for his job after a series of critical statements about how the UFC has done business lately. I think Jimmo will get the job done here against Barroso, as Jimmo is the superior striker and hits a lot harder. Barroso is more active with takedowns but will probably find it difficult to put Jimmo on his back.
Pick: Ryan Jimmo by KO
Norman Parke vs. Francisco Trinaldo
Parke is a low-power fighter who wins decisions with a combination of striking volume and the occasional takedown. Trinaldo is a skilled striker himself, but fights at a slower pace and his takedown defense is a liability. Trinaldo has superior knockout power but also enters at 36 years old, eight years older than Parke, whose chin has held up very well in his UFC career so far. It’s possible that Trinaldo will crack Parke’s chin, but it’s more likely that Parke will win on points as usual.
Pick: Norman Parke by decision
Wendell Oliveira vs. Darren Till
Oliveira’s only UFC appearance was a short one, as he blitzed Santiago Ponzinibbio and got knocked out in 90 seconds for his trouble. Oliveira now comes back against Darren Till, a debuting English fighter filling in on short notice for T.J. Waldburger. Till is a lanky striker with eight wins by TKO on his record. He’s undefeated at 12-0 but hasn’t fought a high level of competition. Even so, the model sees Till’s nine year youth advantage and Oliveira’s poor performance against Ponzinibbio as signs that the Brit deserves to be favored.
Pick: Darren Till by TKO
- Rony Jason over Damon Jackson, whose grappling style doesn’t match up well with Jason’s abilities.
- Wilson Reis over Jussier Formiga, primarily due to a greater volume of takedowns, but it’s a close fight.
- Nicolas Dalby over Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos
- Mirsad Bektic over Lucas Martins, with Bektic being a very strong favorite if it goes the distance
- Ericka Almeida over Juliana Lima
- Tom Breese over Luiz Dutra