By Lance LeVan
( C) Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson (19-2-1) vs. (#4) Ali “Puncher” Bagautinov (13-2-0)
This is a flyweight (125 pounds) fight for the title. Johnson has been the champion since September 2012. He has defended his title three times and all three were spectacular fights. Johnson is very athletic and likes to push the pace in every single round. Bagautinov is kind of a newcomer to the UFC, with only two fights under his belt in the octagon and both of them were by decision. Bagautinov is a sambo/wrestling fighter coincidentally; Mighty Mouse also has a wrestling background. It will be interesting to see if this fight goes to the ground…and how long it stays on the ground, if it does. This is not a fight that you will want to miss any of the action. In the end…I think Johnson has the experience and the speed to take this fight anywhere he wants to go. I’m sure that Bagautinov is a formidable opponent…I just don’t think he is at Mighty Mouse’s level yet. My Prediction: Johnson via submission in the third round.
(#2) Rory “Ares” MacDonald (16-2-0) vs. (#3) Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley (13-2-0)
This is not a title fight but it is going to be a fight to watch at welterweight (170 pounds). I am a big fan of both of these fighters, so it is going to be extremely difficult to predict this one. I am going to have to rely a lot on the stats for my help. On paper, almost every factor leans in MacDonald’s favor. Not to mention the fact that he is 3” taller than Woodley. MacDonald has fought a “who’s-who” of opponents in the UFC. Woodley has not been in the UFC as long, but he has also fought some big names (and won). With MacDonald holding a black belt in BJJ and Woodley having his brown belt (not to mention, he’s a wrestler), I can definitely predict that, at some point, this fight will go to the ground. Rumor has it that Rory’s chin is made of glass. And Woodley has awesome hands. I think Tyron is just hungry enough to take this fight from standing. My Prediction: Woodley wins this fight via TKO in the second.
(#10) Ryan “Darth” Bader (17-4-0) vs. (#12) Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante (12-4-0, 1NC)
This light heavyweight fight is going to be extremely entertaining. Both of these fighters like to throw punches, even though Cavalcante is a black belt in BJJ and Bader is a wrestler. Neither fighter is scared to go to the ground…but I think that these guys will spend most of their time standing up and trading punches. Even though they are No. 10 and No. 12, I think that Bader has better stand-up and submissions. Cavalcante doesn’t have that many fights in the UFC and I don’t think that he is at Bader’s level yet. Again, I am certain that getting to this level, Cavalcante has awesome skills…seeing how all of his wins are via TKO. I’m just not sure that he’s well rounded enough to handle the likes of “Darth” Bader. I don’t think that Bader will need to use the “force” to win this one. My Prediction: Bader wins by submission in the third round.
Disagree with me? Let me know via Twitter @BlitzWeekly and we’ll see who has better picks the night of the fights.