Another weekend, another UFC event.
Emanating from Norfolk, Virginia, UFC Fight Night 120 brings some notable names and some close contests.
Headlining the event is a lightweight bout between former champion Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis and Dustin Poirier with the winner looking to put themselves into title contention at 155 lbs.
In the co-main event, Matt Brown will enter the Octagon for the last time against fellow veteran Diego Sanchez while the rest of the main card promises excitement.
The preliminary card for UFC Fight Night 120 also features the likes of Sage Northcutt vs Michel Quinones, Angela Hill vs Nina Ansaroff and the sublime bantamweight bout between John Dodson and Marlon Moraes.
Dustin Poirier (21-5, 1 NC) vs Anthony Pettis (20-6)
Poirier – Pettis is a great fight with both guys in similar positions and for that reason, it’s a particularly tough fight to predict.
Poirier performed admirably in his last bout with Eddie Alvarez and very nearly brought an end to the bout before the no contest ruling. ‘Diamond’ put his quickness on display in that bout and has always packed a punch behind his impressive boxing.
Pettis meanwhile looked rejuvenated with his return to lightweight at UFC 213 and tried some of his flashier kicks against Jim Miller.
I think the five-rounds will favour Pettis here and with his underrated ground game and toughness – Pettis has only been stopped once in his career – I can see ‘Showtime’ recording back-to-back victories for the first time since 2014.
Pick: Anthony Pettis
Matt Brown (20-16) vs Diego Sanchez (27-10)
I wish both fighters were retiring here but alas.
Sanchez has taken a lot of damage over the years but can still grapple and gets gifted a decision more times than most.
Brown’s lost five of his last six but he still puts up a decent showing despite the result.
I expect Brown to bow out with a win here as Sanchez doesn’t have any business at welterweight.
Pick: Matt Brown
Junior Albini (14-2) vs Andrei Arlovski (25-15, 1 NC)
Another depressing fight here as Arlovski has lost five straight and gets knocked out two out of three times when he loses.
Arlovski still packs power to his credit and will be the best opponent that Albini has ever faced but ‘The Pitbull’s’ chin won’t be able to withstand Albini’s power.
Pick: Junior Albini
Nate Marquardt (35-18-2) vs Cezar Ferreira (11-6)
Yet another fight that puts a dampener on the exciting fights that are present on this card.
Nate ‘The Great’ has been anything but recently and has lost three out of his last four with a 3-7 record in his last ten. His last two losses have been drab affairs against slow paced fighters (Belfort and Alvey) and this fight against Ferreira will be another.
Ferreira does have a suspect chin which will buoy Marquardt but Ferreira had some very decent wins under his belt in 2016 and I’d expect the Brazilian to bounce back into the win column here.
Pick: Cezar Ferreira
Raphael Assuncao (25-5) vs Matthew Lopez (10-1)
Lopez looked to have a tough weight cut for this fight and missed weight which already adds to Assuncao’s case.
Assuncao is an elite fighter at this weight class and while he’s had close decisions in his last two wins, Aljamain Sterling and Marlon Moraes are in my opinion a level higher than Lopez currently despite his impressive grappling.
Pick: Raphael Assuncao
Joe Lauzon (27-13) vs Clay Guida (33-17)
How have these two never fought before?
Anyway, Lauzon has a tendency to slow down in his fights while Guida will keep the pace for three rounds with his eccentric style.
I could easily see Guida hold Lauzon down for the majority of the fight but Lauzon’s finishing instinct and submission skills make me want to side with J-Lau.
Pick: Joe Lauzon
(Last Predictions: 3/5, Total: 88/143, 62% Success Rate)
(2016: 61% Success Rate)