By Lance LeVan
(#1) Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson (15-2-0) vs. (#11) Jimi “Poster Boy” Manuwa (14-0-0)
This light heavyweight fight is going to be a battle of who can take the most punishment. Both of these fighters are striking experts. Gustafsson is a relentless striker/boxer and Manuwa who is 14-0 with 13 by way of KO/TKO. BUT…he (Manuwa) has also never gone past the 2nd round. Also Manuwa has never fought in the UFC. Gustafsson has 9 fights in the UFC and has been on the main card for most of those fights. Even though Manuwa has that impressive 14-0 record…I don’t think he has the experience or the “heart” to handle Gustafsson and his aggressive striking. In the end, Gustafsson will wear him out from standing, then take him down and submit him.
My prediction: Gustafsson wins by submission (rear naked choke) in the 2nd round.
(#14) Michael “The Menace” Johnson (15-8-0) vs. Melvin “The Young Assassin” Guillard (48-13-3, 2NC)
When you look at these 2 fighters on paper, this is a very VERY close match up. Both of these guys are strikers and they like to throw punches-in-bunches. They also both have stamina for days and they do not tire easily. Johnson is a wrestler but he likes to strike. Guillard is a boxer/brawler. I don’t see this fight spending too much time on the ground. And if it does then expect a LOT of ground-and-pound. Usually when one of these guys fights…someone gets cut and there is a lot of bleeding. Johnson has plenty of experience in the Octagon, but Guillard has been fighting in the UFC since 2005 and has over 60+ fights under his belt. Neither of these fighters will be backing down and both of them will be looking to impose their will in the fight. However, in the end, there can be only one. Guillard is a little too arrogant about his abilities.
My prediction: Johnson wins via unanimous decision.
Brad “One Punch” Pickett (24-8-0) vs. Neil “2Tap” Seery (13-9-0)
This is a flyweight fight that promises a lot of action. You are not likely to see either of these fighters sitting back and stalling. However, Seery has never fought in the UFC. This makes a huge difference in the fight. Seery is a boxer, but seems to be pretty comfortable on the ground, fighting. Picket has numerous wins by TKO as well as submissions. On paper, both of these fighters are pretty evenly matched. But at the end of the day, you have to look at two things. First, Pickett has more experience with some very impressive names in MMA (Demetrious Johnson, Renan Barao, Michael McDonald). Secondly, Seery has never been under the bright lights of the Octagon. I think Seery is a good up-and-coming fighter. Though I can’t count on him until he gets his first win in the UFC.
My prediction: Pickett wins via unanimous decision.