UFC Fight Night 150 has been through the wringer since it’s first announcement.
From an originally touted Yoel Romero – Paulo Costa main event, removal of its broadcast spot from ESPN in America and a change of venue, UFC Fight Night 150 has finally arrived and it’s in pleasantly surprising condition.
Now headlined by a middleweight title eliminator between Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza and Jack Hermansson, the main card also boasts some exciting bouts like Alex Oliveira vs. Mike Perry and a potential fight of the year nominee between bantamweight bangers John Lineker and Cory Sandhagen.
Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza (26-6, 1 NC) vs. Jack Hermansson (19-4)
Hermansson enters this bout coming off of the biggest win of his career against David Branch and it was a fight that showcased just how dangerous ‘The Joker’ can be.
Despite Branch’s decorated grappling ability, Hermansson essentially bullied his opponent in close and sunk in a guillotine choke in no time at all. Add in Hermansson’s ability to rally back from adversity and still find a finish (a third-round TKO vs. Thales Leites) and an upset here isn’t out of the question.
The underdog will also be buoyed by Jacare getting on in age and a 2-2 record in his last four bouts but the Brazilian is still an elite fighter. With a war against Chris Weidman in which he emerged victorious in his last outing, Jacare showed that he is still as dangerous as ever on the feet and that he can wear a punch.
There’s always the possibility that Hermansson can find a flash stoppage but I think Jacare is still a top fighter and he’s that bit better in every department.
Pick: Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza
Greg Hardy (3-1) vs. Dmitrii Smoliakov (9-2)
The UFC are seemingly going all in on Greg Hardy despite the fact he’s an awful fighter and awful human being.
Hardy looked lost once his promotional debut got out of the first-round and his vaunted athleticism didn’t look anything out of the ordinary in a remarkably thin heavyweight division.
Regardless of his busted flush debut, the UFC have thrown him the softest of balls to knock out of the park as Dmitrii Smoliakov has been re-signed after an 0-2 run in the UFC that ended in 2017.
Smoliakov looks to be a sacrificial lamb offered up by the UFC but I think if he has any smarts about him, he’ll try and drag this fight out like Allen Crowder did and use his grappling to get a win.
Neither man will pull up trees in the UFC’s heavyweight division but I think Smoliakov can get the win here by submission.
Pick: Dmitrii Smoliakov
Alex Oliveira (20-6-1, 2 NC) vs. Mike Perry (12-4)
Both Oliveira and Perry throw caution to the wind in their fights and that should benefit Mike Perry.
Perry has fell short when matched up against patient fighters in the past and his iron chin has allowed him to wade into wars and get the upper hand.
Oliveira however is the more talented out of the two. He’s comfortable in pretty much every scenario and there isn’t a particular area where you would say Perry has the advantage apart from maybe power and toughness.
It could go either way just because of the reckless abandon that both these fighters routinely show but Oliveira’s experience at a higher level and talent means you have to favour him here.
Pick: Alex Oliveira
Glover Teixeira (28-7) vs. Ion Cutelaba (14-3, 1 NC)
Longtime readers of the ‘Preview and Predictions’ may remember that I routinely unfancy Glover Teixeira in fights as I don’t think he’s that particularly good.
It’s clear that he is a talented grappler but a lot of his wins come from stupid mistakes by his opponents and he’s now been a mainstay in the upper echelons of the light heavyweight division.
Cutelaba is a tough customer and a newer face at 205 lbs but I’d be somewhat surprised to see Teixeira lose here with his grappling ability.
Pick: Glover Teixeira
John Lineker (31-8) vs. Cory Sandhagen (10-1)
If Oliveira – Perry is two fighters showing reckless abandon for gameplans, this fight is two men whose gameplan is simply violence.
Lineker and Sandhagen are big, big hitters at bantamweight and their pressure and work rate on the feet is brilliant to watch.
Sandhagen has clear physical advantages here and his ability to transition and scramble through techniques and decisions is really impressive for someone with only 11 professional fights.
On paper, Sandhagen could well cause the upset here but of John Lineker’s losses in the UFC, his only two defeats since dropping his debut have been against patient and methodical fighters.
It should be an excellent watch for however long it lasts, but I’m not ready to believe someone can beat Lineker at his own game just yet.
Pick: John Lineker
Roosevelt Roberts (7-0) vs. Thomas Gifford (17-7, 2 NC)
Roberts and Gifford are two similar fighters both physically and stylistically.
Withlong frames and penchants for grappling and clinch work, this should be a competitive fight to kick off the main card.
Despite their similar standings in the lightweight division, I think Roberts has continued to improve with each outing and his developing skillset will see him be the more successful in their exchanges.
Pick: Roosevelt Roberts
(Last Predictions: 4/5, Total: 44/67, 66% Success Rate)
(2016: 61%, ’17: 60%, ’18: 58% Success Rate)