UFC On FOX Sports 1 aka ‘UFC Fight Night 26: Shogun Vs Sonnen’ goes down tomorrow night in Boston and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Mauricio Rua vs. Chael Sonnen
We’ve got a pretty clear case of Striker Vs Grappler here. It’d be a bad idea for Sonnen to engage for long spells on the feet with ‘Shogun’ who’s by far the harder hitter and all-round better striker, but it’s unlikely that it will cross his mind to do so anyway.
Sonnen’s gameplan will undoubtedly be to take ‘Shogun’ to the mat where his wrestling advantage will pay dividends. Rua’s takedown defense isn’t the best so that shouldn’t prove too difficult, though he will need to be careful once he’s got him on his back as the Brazilian could surprise him with submission attempts.
I doubt it though. Sonnen should be able to keep him down and chip away at him with ground and pound. In the later rounds it’ll get easier as ‘Shogun’ tires, but I don’t think he’ll get a stoppage and will instead have to make do with a solid decision victory.
Chael Sonnen to win by decision.
Travis Browne vs. Alistair Overeem
This should be an interesting fight to see where both men stand at this moment in time. Browne’s being doing fairly well in his UFC career so far, but Overeem’s definitely a step up for him and will be the most dangerous striker he’s faced to date.
Overeem got cocky / lazy in his last fight against ‘Bigfoot’ and paid the price, but I expect him to have learned his lesson. look for him to go back to implementing a solid defense with his hands up protecting his potentially fragile chin and a slightly more measured approach as he did during his successful run to the K-1 title.
Browne hits hard and has surprising speed and movement for a big man, but if Overeem brings his A-game – and I think he will – then he should be the more dangerous striker overall and can finish this fight inside of two rounds.
Alistair Overeem to win by TKO in Rd2.
Iuri Alcantara vs. Urijah Faber
Generally there’s a feeling that outside of the absolute best in either the 135lb or 145lb division, Urijah Faber is a good bet to come out on top, and I think that’s probably going to prove to be true against Alcantara.
Part of the reason for that is that Faber’s very well rounded with particularly good wrestling and effective in scrambles on the mat, coupled with a dangerous guillotine choke and excellent cardio. His striking is pretty solid too – not enough to get the better of a Jose Aldo or Dominick Cruz perhaps, but a handful for most others.
Alcantara is a good striker and poses a submission threat, but he doesn’t have Faber’s wrestling ability and overall isn’t anything that the former WEC champ hasn’t seen before. Faber might have a tough time finishing him, but I like him to earn a convincing decision win.
Urijah Faber to win by decision.
Matt Brown vs. Mike Pyle
Two wiley veterans enjoying solid winning streaks meet in this main card welterweight match-up. Brown in particularly has been on a particularly impressive run thanks to his vicious, all-action striking style.
Pyle is not so much of a scrapper, but he’s still capable on his feet and will also hold the advantage if the fight hits the mat – and if he has anything to do with it there’s a good chance it will.
In the past Brown has been susceptible to submissions and that will be Pyle’s best route to victory. Look for him to defuse Brown’s early threat with takedowns and I’m picking him to control the pace before forcing the tap sometime in the second round.
Mike Pyle to win by submission in Rd2.
Uriah Hall vs. John Howard
Hall made a big impact on the TUF show, but then appeared to freeze in front of the big lights in the final so he’s got a lot to prove here, as does Howard who finally makes his way back to the big show after a stint in the regional circuit.
Howard’s a decent enough fighter, but has often faltered when facing a certain level of competition. I’d hesitate for sure that Hall fits into that upper level, but I do think he’s got a lot of potential and as things stand is a more dangerous striker than Howard.
It’s definitely a concern that Hall might not show up again, but the pressure of expectation will be greatly reduced this time around and I think we’ll see him making effective use of his reach advantage to outstrike Howard over the course of three rounds.
Uriah Hall to win by decision.
Michael Johnson vs. Joe Lauzon
Johnson’s developed as a fighter during his tenure in the UFC, adding improved striking to an already solid wrestling game, but his performances have remained inconsistent overall.
Lauzon’s win/loss record may be a little patchy too, but in terms of his overall output he’s a much more consistent fighter and offers up solid boxing and a dangerous ground game that are both enhanced by his high-tempo approach to fighting.
Johnson’s submission defense isn’t the best and that’s bad news against Lauzon who’s a specialist in that regard, and I think that’s going to lead to him getting gradually worn down and then tapped in the third round.
Joe Lauzon to win by submission in Rd3.
Michael McDonald vs. Brad Pickett
Max Holloway vs. Conor McGregor
Mike Brown vs. Steven Siler
Diego Brandao vs. Daniel Pineda
Manny Gamburyan vs. Cole Miller
Cody Donovan vs. Ovince St. Preux
Ramsey Nijem vs. James Vick