UFC FIGHT NIGHT: ALMEIDA VS. GARBRANDT PREVIEW

A battle between undefeated prospects Thomas Almeida and Cody Garbrandt headlines UFC Fight Night 88.
A battle between two undefeated prospects in Thomas Almeida and Cody Garbrandt headline UFC Fight Night 88. This is a first in a long, long time.

By Kyler Kuehler

UFC Fight Night: Almeida vs. Garbrandt will air on May 29, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

#7 THOMAS “THOMINHAS” ALMEIDA (21-0-0) vs. CODY “NO LOVE” GARBRANDT (8-0-0)
This is a five round main event in the bantamweight division. In this fight are two warriors who are undefeated in the sport of MMA and are looking to hand their opponent a first professional loss while remaining undefeated. Almeida brings Muay Thai and jiu-jitsu that not only helped him remain undefeated, but also a well-rounded striker who has won 16 of his 21 victories by knockout. Garbrandt brings boxing and wrestling that have also helped him remain undefeated as well as being efficient in striking and grappling techniques. With both fighters being skilled in striking the fight will be a test of who has the better striking combination and chin to withstand the blows. In that case the fight will probably got to Almeida as he has plenty more experience inside the octagon and knows what it takes to stand up to the competition that the UFC has to offer. I do not think Garbrandt has the experience to stand up to that level yet. Though Garbrandt has shown some impressive skills for not being in the sport for long and could still have plenty of tricks up his sleeve that he is waiting for the right moment to show and prove why he is the next contender in the bantamweight division to keep an eye on. But in order to do so he will have to be defense of Almeida’s striking power and try to put pressure Almeida to keep him from setting up a deadly knockout combination that could leave Garbrandt lying out cold inside the octagon. My prediction: Almeida wins via unanimous decision.

RENAN “THE BARON” BARAO (35-3-0, 1 NC) vs. #9 JEREMY “LIL’ HEATHEN” STEPHENS (24-12-0)
This is a three round fight in the featherweight division. In this fight are two fighters from two different weight classes, but are meeting each other in the featherweight division to see who is really in the right division of the UFC. Barao brings striking and jiu-jitsu that has made him efficient in all three methods of victory as well as being a former UFC Bantamweight Champion. Stephens brings striking, jiu-jitsu and wrestling that has made him efficient in striking. With both fighters having the striking aspect of the fight mastered it looks to come down on who has more experience in the other areas, which in that case falls in the favor of Barao. With Barao’s intense striking and well-rounded ground and pound game, he looks to be able to take this fight with ease as he has many wins in the sport and is far beyond any opponent that Stephens has ever faced before. For all that Barao possesses in this fight, Stephens really does not look to stand much of a chance, but what could be at his advantage is the fact that the fight will take place in his own weight class and in the UFC the individual weight classes are a whole different level of competition and could show to be very useful for Stephens. However, Barao is a really aggressive fighter and know that he will have a new set of competition. Barao will look to show just why he is considered to be one of the most dangerous fighters to ever compete inside the octagon with the hopes of regaining UFC gold someday. My prediction: Barao wins via knockout in Round 1.

#10 TAREC “SPONGE” SAFFIEDINE (16-4-0) vs. #11 RICK “THE HORROR” STORY (18-8-0)
This is a three round fight in the welterweight division. In this fight are two scrappers at the bottom of the leader board that are planning to make a jump by putting on a great performance and thus move closer to fighting top contenders in the welterweight division. Saffiedine brings kickboxing, taekwondo, karate, Muay Thai, jiu-jitsu and wrestling making him well-rounded in all aspects of fighting as well as having great cardio to outlast many of his opponents and win by dominating decisions. Story brings boxing and wrestling that has made him well-rounded on his feet and in the ground game while also possessing some great cardio as well. Both fighters are set to fight, Saffiedine looks to have the greater advantage in this fight as he contains more techniques in the sport where Story is much more limited. I also do not think Story will be able to stand up to Saffiedine’s style of fighting as it is more advanced than that of his own. Unless Story were to take the fight to the ground and remain in control, it looks like the win might not be in his favor. Then again, this is MMA and anything can happen in this sport. My prediction: Saffiedine wins via unanimous decision.