CURRENT RECORD: 124-75-1
This week marks the UFC’s annual International Fight Week, taking place in the home of fighting; Las Vegas. Kicking of proceedings this weekend is the Ultimate Fighter Finale on Friday night. Headlining this card is a lightweight matchup between the heavy hitting Michael Johnson and former WSOF lightweight champion Justin Gaethje. Acting as co-main event on the night will be the final of the Ultimate Fighter; and as tradition now, I won’t be predicting the outcome of that contest instead wishing both competitors the best of skill. Elsewhere on the card there are interesting contests between the always exciting Marc Diakiese and Drakkar Klose, Jared Cannonier and Steve Bosse clash in a light-heavyweight bout and UFC veteran Gray Maynard takes on the star of Japanese MMA Teruto Ishihara. There are some fun fights in store so be sure to be 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.
MICHAEL JOHNSON vs. JUSTIN GAETHJE
Having defeated everyone put in front of him on his way to winning the WSOF lightweight belt, Justin Gaethje now looks to take his talents to the octagon. An undefeated fighter, with 17 career victories; 14 coming by knockout, Gaethje is one of the biggest names outside of the UFC. Now that he has joined the promotion expect him to hurdle towards a title shot. Michael “The Menace” Johnson was last seen when losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 205, prior to that he had knocked out the resurgent Dustin Poirier in just one round. Johnson has a record of 17-11 with eight of those victories coming by knockout. I expect there will be fireworks in this one and I don’t see it needing the judges’ scorecards. One punch from Johnson can change the fight in an instant but I believe Gaethje is far to accomplished to allow himself to be caught.
Gaethje by knockout.
MARC DIAKIESE vs. DRAKKAR KLOSE
Marc “Bonecrusher” Diakiese is one of the best talents in the UFC ranks right now. He is currently undefeated with 12 straight victories and he is coming off of a 30 second annihilation of Teemu Packalen. Drakkar Klose impressed in his UFC debut when overcoming Devin Powell to keep his own undefeated record intact. Klose is well equipped in most aspects despite only turning professional three years ago. This will be another stiff test for Diakiese but I expect him to come through it with flying colours and continue to build his name.
Diakiese by knockout.
JARED CANNONIER vs. STEVE BOSSE
Jared Cannonier successfully made the drop from heavyweight to light-heavyweight when defeating Ion Cutelaba. He couldn’t follow that up last time out when dropping a decision to Glover Teixeira. He has a record of 9-2. This will be Steve Bosse first fight since defeating Sean O Connell in June 2016. Bosse is a product of the Tri-Star gym and has amassed a record 12-2; nine victories coming by knockout. This will be a fun fight and I feel they are both evenly matched but I’m giving a slight edge to Jared Cannonier on this one and think he claims a decision.
Cannonier by decision.
BRAD TAVARES vs. ELIAS THEODOROU
Brad Tavares joined the UFC way back in 2010 as an undefeated middleweight. Since then he has gone 7-4; 14-4 overall. The Hawaiian native has only fallen to the top tier fighters but continues to grind his way past the reminder of the division. Elias Theodorou is an undefeated kickboxer and has only the one loss in MMA; 13-1. “The Spartan” is extremely versatile and is a handful on the feet or on the mat. This fight should be quite technical and tactical with both fighters aiming to gain an advantage. I believe Theodorou should inflict enough damage to get the win here.
Theodorou by decision.
JORDAN JOHNSON vs. MARCEL FORTUNA
Jordan Johnson is a big light-heavyweight with an undefeated record. He successfully defeated Henrique da Silva in his octagon debut last time out and will have his hands full against another Brazilian on Friday night. Marcel Fortuna is 9-1 thus far, he stepped up to heavyweight for his UFC debut and knocked out Anthony Hamilton in the first round; the first KO victory of his career. Both these fighters have sound ground games and are decent on the feet but I think it is Fortuna who possess the vaster array of skills. I don’t think he will get the finish but he should be able to claim a decision.
Fortuna by decision.
Best of the Rest.
Angela Hill vs. Ashley Yoder
Hill to win.
Ed Herman vs. C.B Dollaway
Herman to win.
Jessica Eye vs. Aspen Ladd
Ladd to win.
Gray Maynard vs. Teruto Ishihara
Ishihara to win.
Tecia Torres vs. Julian Lima
Torres to win.
Bet of the Day.
The adventurous bet: all 10 predictions in an accumulator is about 200/1.
The inbetweener bet: Hill, Theodorou, Diakiese and Gaethje to win is 7/1.
The conservative bet: Justin Gaethje to win at 11/8.
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