A consecutive six-week run of UFC events comes to an end this Saturday night as UFC Fight Night 152 is headlined by two former lightweights competing in the welterweight division.
With the current #3 ranked contender Rafael dos Anjos taking on Kevin Lee in his 170 lbs debut, the rest of this New York card is filled with fights that bear no real consequence to their respective divisions.
While UFC Fight Night 152 should boast some fun fights and individual fighters, the UFC won’t look any different by the time this fight night has come to an end.
Rafael dos Anjos (28-11) vs. Kevin Lee (17-4)
‘RDA’ is currently on a two-fight losing after being paired with imposing wrestlers and the UFC have done him no favours by putting Kevin Lee in front of him next.
While the Brazilian offers a ridiculous output and pressuring style, Dos Anjos has struggled to impose his own game plan when pressured back and that’s certainly something that Lee can offer.
Admittedly, Lee doesn’t set a record-breaking pace like Kamaru Usman or Colby Covington can but he is a strong wrestler when on top.
RDA will be buoyed however by Lee’s questionable durability but his ‘chinny’ past may have been a by-product of a taxing weight cut.
I think this fight will be a competitive one like Dos Anjos’ against Covington and the Brazilian may well have more success on the feet but RDA’s past with dominant wrestlers is too much to overlook.
Pick: Kevin Lee
Antonio Carlos Junior (10-2, 1 NC) vs. Ian Heinisch (12-1)
Ian Heinisch is a tough customer and did well in his UFC debut against Cezar Ferreira to negate a similarly styled fighter to Antonio Carlos Junior but ‘Shoeface’ is on a different level to most grapplers in the UFC.
With a year since his last outing, it could take a while for Carlos Junior to shake off the cobwebs but once he presses to ground his opponent, I think it will be a matter of time before ‘Shoeface’ gets a submission win.
Pick: Antonio Carlos Junior
Megan Anderson (8-3) vs. Felicia Spencer (6-0)
While it would have been good to see Megan Anderson’s fight with Cat Zingano play out more to see her improvements, a fight with Felicia Spencer will probably see the same sort of gameplans imposed.
Anderson will look to keep this fight standing, use her range and power to her advantage while her opponent will look to do the inverse and capitalise on Anderson’s past troubles with wrestlers.
As to whether Spencer is as good at getting the fight to the mat as needed is another question however. There isn’t a lot of nuance to Spencer’s takedowns outside of closing the distance linearly and I think if she looks to wade through Anderson’s striking, it could be a lot to overcome.
Pick: Megan Anderson
Vicente Luque (15-6-1) vs. Derrick Krantz (24-10)
Derrick Krantz comes into this fight on less than a weeks notice and while he certainly packs fight ending power, Vicente Luque is durable and fought better at a more consistent level.
Pick: Vicente Luque
Charles Oliveira (26-8, 1 NC) vs. Nik Lentz (30-9-2, 1 NC)
The UFC has gone down the BJ Penn – Frankie Edgar trilogy route here as they’ve bizarrely booked the third meeting despite the last two being won by the same man.
While Oliveira’s first win over Lentz was turned to a no contest, Oliveira’s submission game has proved too much for Lentz to overcome in the past.
Add in Oliveira’s recent form which may be the best of his career thus far and I don’t see how Lentz’s wins this fight.
Pick: Charles Oliveira
Davi Ramos (9-2) vs. Austin Hubbard (10-2)
Hubbard makes his promotional debut here and has proved to be a well-rounded fighter on the regional scenes. Producing a decent output on the feet with little power behind his strikes, Hubbard can easily pick up the two rounds needed to win through his peppering approach.
Employing his fighting style against someone as talented as Davi Ramos will be a huge problem though. Ramos has fought better competition during his short UFC tenure and his grappling ability has allowed him to ground and submit opponents seemingly at will.
While I can see Hubbard winning the first round potentially, I think its a matter of time before Ramos can get the fight on the mat and sink in a submission.
Pick: Davi Ramos
(Last Predictions: 2/5, Total: 52/84, 62% Success Rate)
(2016: 61%, ’17: 60%, ’18: 58% Success Rate)