CURRENT RECORD 147-81-3
This week it’s the turn of Melbourne, Australia as Fight Night 101 rolls into town. Unfortunately injury has deprived us of the standout main event between Luke Rockhold and Jacare Souza but Robert Whittaker and Derek Brunson will now fill that void. Whittaker is currently on a five fight winning streak and will be keen to add to get another win, fighting in his home country. Brunson comes here on the back of his own five fight win streak; with the last four being first round TKO’S. Not the main event many had hoped for but nonetheless this should be a thrilling fight. In the co-main event another local boy Jake Matthews steps into the Octagon as he takes on Andrew Holbrook in a lightweight clash. Elsewhere on the card, there are exciting fights between Dan Kelly and Chris Camozzi, Ben Nguyen and Geane Herrera and Tyson Pedro and Khalil Rountree to name but a few. Make SUre you’re tuned in so you don’t miss out.
As always, I will now break down all the main card fights, give my predictions and of course, put my own “Armchair Expert” title on the line.
ROBERT WHITTAKER vs. DEREK BRUNSON
Since suffering his first and only KO loss at the hands of Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson, Whittaker made the step up to middleweight and has been on a tear. Dominant victories over Uriah Hall and Rafael Natal have propelled the Aussie native up the rankings. Derek Brunson has also been running through the division, going one better than Whittaker and stopping Uriah Hall in one round. Brunson is a fearsome striker with dynamite in his hands, when he swings he is looking for that one punch KO. Brunson also has a highly regarded ground game; he is excellent at holding an opponent down and unleashing some ground and pound. Robert Whittaker is one of the best athletes in the sport, he is versatile and doesn’t waste a punch and he is technically gifted but doesn’t have the same power as Brunson. If Whittaker can take this fight into the later rounds he could take control and win this but Brunson has looked outstanding of late and I think he swarms him early and gets the stoppage.
Brunson by KO.
JAKE MATTHEWS vs. ANDREW HOLBROOK
At only 22 years of age, Jake “The Celtic Kid” Matthews has let his potential shine through. In his four UFC victories to date he has finished all four prematurely, his two losses have come against James Vick and the ultra-talented Kevin Lee. Andrew Holbrook has a record of 11-1; he has 9 submission victories to his name and has also finished 9 fights in the first round. Holbrook is a great submission artist with a solid ground game but on the feet is where he lacks the killer bite. Holbrook’s weakness is Matthews’ strength, Matthews has shown decent takedown defence and should have enough to prevent the takedowns. Once the fight remains on the feet this should be easy pickings for “The Celtic Kid”.
Matthews by KO.
KYLE NOKE vs. OMARI AKHMEDOV
Both these fighters come here on back to back losses and knowing a third could bring an end to their UFC tenure. Kyle Noke is an experienced fighter who has competed in 32 contests; winning 22 and losing 9. Noke isn’t the same fighter he once was, age and wear and tear have begun to take hold but he still has powerful hands and is dangerous when in top position. Akhmedov had gone 13-1 before joining the UFC since then he has gone a disappointing 3-3. “Wolverine” is a master of Sambo and is handful on the feet or on the mat, despite a three inch reach advantage for Noke, I think Akhmedov will be too fast and close the distance quickly. Noke is resilient; he’s only been knocked out once in his career, so I think he may last the three rounds and require the judges’ scorecards.
Akhmedov by decision.
YUSUKE KASUYA vs. ALEX VOLKANOVSKI
Yusuke Kasuya makes his comeback after spending 13 months on the side-lines. His last outing was in September 2015 when he lost his UFC debut to Nick Hein. Kasuya is a submission specialist with a record of 9-2, 8 of his victories coming by submission. Alex Volkanovski is a heavy handed Aussie, with a record of 13-1, “The Hulk” is currently on a ten fight win streak and making his first appearance for the UFC; he will be keen to put on a show for his home crowd. Volkanovski has been a lot more active and has a better all round game than Kasuya, I expect he will want to make a statement and could finish Kasuya early.
Volkanovski by KO.
TYSON PEDRO vs. KHALIL ROUNTREE
Another Australian fighter making his first Octagon bow is Tyson Pedro, a talented but raw mixed martial artist. Having only had four professional contests (albeit all four ended in the first round) Pedro will be making a big step up from the local circuit. Khalil Rountree is built like a tree, he has crazy power; as he demonstrated on the Ultimate Fighter and is always looking to land the haymaker. Rountree isn’t vastly more experienced than Pedro but he has had the benefit of fighting and training with more skilled fighters. Rountree can sometimes leave his chin exposed but I think his explosiveness and power will overcome Pedro.
Rountree by KO.
SEO HEE HAM vs. DANIELLE TAYLOR
Danielle Taylor certainly lives up to her nickname “Dynamite”. Standing only five feet tall, she has some lethal stand up and is so light and quick on her feet that her movement is outstanding. Seo Hee Ham isn’t one of the tallest in the division either but she will have a slight reach advantage for this contest. Ham is tremendously well rounded and versatile; she is the queen of grinding out decision victories. She has far more experience and has held her own with some of the best in the division, beating Cortney Casey and giving Bec Rawlings and Joanne Calderwood plenty of trouble despite losing to both. This will certainly be an exciting match but I give the edge to Hee Ham who should do enough to get another decision win.
Hee Ham by decision.
Best of the Rest.
Dan Kelly vs. Chris Camozzi
Camozzi to win.
Damien Brown vs. Jon Tuck
Tuck to win.
Richard Walsh vs. Joe Meunier
Meunier to win.
Ben Nguyen vs. Geane Herrera
Nguyen to win.
Dan Hooker vs. Jason Knight
Hooker to win.
Marlon Vera vs. Ning Guangyou
Guangyou to win.
Yao Zhikui vs. Jenel Lausa
Lausa to win.
Bet of the Day.
The adventurous bet: all 13 predictions in an accumulator is about 675/1.
The inbetweener bet: Brunson, Matthews, Volkanovski and Rountree all to win is 5/1.
The conservative bet: Brunson by KO is 2/1.
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