UFC Fight Night 21: Preview And Predictions

Main Card:

Kenny Florian Vs Takanori Gomi

After a convincing win over Clay Guida at UFC 107 Kenny Florian now gets the opportunity to welcome Japanese star Takanori Gomi to the UFC in the main event of UFN 21.

Gomi is a former PRIDE lightweight champion and at one stage was considered one of the best lightweights in the world, though his stock has slipped since and he’s 2-2 in his last four fights.

He’s still a worthy addition to the UFC’s already well developed 155lb division though, and Florian has admitted that Gomi is someone he’s wanted to fight for a long time.

Florian may have fell short in his title fight with BJ Penn at UFC 101 last August but he is still one of the best lightweights in the world at this time, possessing a well-rounded, ever-evolving game punctuated by solid muay-thai skills, good movement and dangerous submissions.

Gomi has a loss to BJ Penn in common with Florian but their skill-sets differ.  Gomi’s is always more than happy to stand and trade and his boxing skills ensure that he can certainly pack a punch.  His other main asset is his wrestling, an area in which he should have an advantage over his opponent.

Prediction:

At this stage in their careers I believe Florian is the better fighter of the two.  I like him to outsmart Gomi on the feet, maintaining distance with superior movement while also posing a serious threat from submissions on the floor, something Gomi has been susceptible to in the past.

I’m picking Kenny Florian to win by submission in the second round.

Roy Nelson Vs Stefan Struve

After winning The Ultimate Fighter season 10 the headache for the UFC was what exactly to do with Roy Nelson, the overweight 33 year-old veteran with legitimate skills.  In the end they decided to place him in a mid-table clash with one of the heavyweight divisions up and coming young talents Stefan Struve.

Despite being just 22 years old, some 11 years younger than his opponent, Struve is no newcomer to the sport.  In fact due to a string of fights around Europe before joining the UFC ‘The Skyscraper’ actually has 22 fights on his record while Nelson has just 18.   He is also currently enjoying a three-fight win streak in the octagon.

Even disregarding the age-difference you could hardly get two fighters who are look less alike physically. Nelson is 6ft, tips the scales at 265lb and looks like he’s never skipped a meal in his life.  Struve on the other hand looks very slender standing 6ft 11″ and 248lbs.

As you might expect that’s going to be a significant factor in the outcome of this fight.  Nelson showed in his TUF 10 finale fight with Brendan Shaub that he does possess KO Power, but against a considerable height and reach advantage I think he will look to negate them both by doing something similar to what Shane Carwin did against Frank Mir, using his weight to press him up against the cage and engage in some dirty boxing.

If necessary he can also take it to the floor.  Struve does hold a good submission game himself, but Roy Nelson is a very talented grappler, and his weight advantage could well come into play once again.

Prediction:

Overall I definitely see Nelson coming out on top here, and I think he can finish Struve inside the distance.  The only difficulty I’m having is deciding which method he’ll do it with. Despite Struve’s BJJ skills I think Nelson can get the better of him and get the submission, but in this case I don’t think he’ll need to as his first will do the talking.

I’ll go for Roy Nelson via TKO in the first round.

Nate Quarry Vs Jorge Rivera

Two legitimate veterans Nate Quarry (38) and Jorge Rivera (38) are set to do battle on the main card of UFN 21.  Both fighters have had an up and down career, but at this stage are heading into this fight off the back of back-to-back wins in the UFC.

No prizes for guessing how this fight is likely to play out.  Both fighters are all but certain to want to slug this one out on the feet, and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top.

I believe Quarry is the heavier handed of the two, but at the same time he has some of the slowest movement and least graceful striking your likely to encounter in the UFC.  Age does seem to be taking some kind of toll on him, but to tell the truth his stand-up has always been awkward, yet he still somehow manages to get his fair share of victories.

Rivera’s stand-up will be slicker and more precise, but on the down-side I don’t think he can withstand the same kind of punishment that Quarry can, and that could be an important factor in a bruising encounter like this.

Prediction:

It could go either way, but for his ability to look awkward, take punishment, survive, and then drop a bomb from out of nowhere I’m going to have to side with Quarry on this occasion.

I’ll take Nate Quarry to win by TKO in the second round.

Ross Pearson Vs Dennis Siver

Ross Pearson hasn’t been met with the biggest fanfare after winning TUF season 9, but against Aaron Riley in his octagon outing he showed the kind of improved striking that could quickly get him noticed in the competitive lightweight division.

His opponent Dennis Siver has also started to gain a little attention after racking up three victories in the prelims, the last one ending after a brutal spinning back kick to the ribcage of Paul Kelly that earned him his second ‘Knockout Of The Night’ award.

Despite his awards it’s actually submissions that have earned Siver most of his wins in his career to date and it will be interesting to see if he reverts back to that, or continues with his success in the stand-up realm on this occasion.

Pearson is a strong, robust opponent though and he well look to dictate where this fight takes place.  Aside from his previous fight with Riley he has shown an aptitude for getting close to his opponents, working in the clinch, and applying some dirty boxing tactics.  When faced with a fighter like Siver who needs range to work his most effective strikes this may well prove to be a good tactic for the Brit.

Pearson also has shown some good ground and pound and he may well risk Siver’s submission threat by taking him down and looking to wear him down in this manner.

Prediction:

This is an interesting fight and it could unfold in a number of ways.  I like Pearson to get the ‘W’ on this occasion though – not in the eye-catching fashion of his win at UFC 105, but rather by the relentless close-range warfare he employed to outpoint Andre Winner to win the TUF finale.

I’m opting for Ross Pearson to emerge victorious via decision.


Undercard: (Predicted Winner In Bold)

Andre Winner Vs Rafaello Oliveira
Yushin Okami Vs Lucio Linhares
Jacob Volkmann Vs Ronys Torres
Rob Emerson Vs Nik Lentz
Caol Uno Vs Gleison Tibau
Gerald Harris Vs Mario Miranda
Charlie Brenneman Vs Jason High

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