UFC Fight Night 125 takes place tomorrow night in Brazil and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Main Card (FOX Sports 1):
Lyoto Machida vs. Eryk Anders
At the peak of his career, Machida was a riddle that his peers struggled to solve, but now aged 39, the trouble is that far too many fighters seem to have an answer to slay ‘The Dragon’.
Machida’s style relies so much on remaining elusive and relying on quick reflexes to counter-strike at the perfect moment, but in the twilight years of his UFC run he’s simply not as sharp as he used to be, and now that he’s more hittable it’s taken a toll on his chin, with his last two fights ending in a KO loss.
So, Machida will be heading into this fight with his back against the wall and his confidence low, Which is diameterically opposed to his opponent, the 30-year-old Anders, who is undefeated in his 10-0 career, including two wins inside the Octagon so far.
A former college football linebacker, anders will push the pace, but doesn’t do so with reckless abandon and hits hard enough to pose problems for ‘The Dragon’s’ fragile chin, while he could also use his wrestling to neutralize his opponent’s still potent offense.
Overall, this doesn’t look to be a good match-up for Machida and I think he succumbs to another loss due to strikes in the second round.
Eryk Anders to win by TKO in Rd1
John Dodson vs. Pedro Munhoz
As athletically and technically gifted as he is, Dodson has been alternating between wins and losses for the last couple of years as he struggles to find consistency at bantamweight, while Munhoz is riding a four-fight winning streak.
That doesn’t tell the full story though as two of Dodson’s losses during that period resulted in split-decision verdicts against leading contenders, and his speed and power will be significant factors in his fight this weekend.
Munhoz is a solid striker, who also has a penchant for finishing fights on the mat via the guillotine choke, but it’ll be a real challenge to stop Dodson, who has never been beaten inside the distance by either strikes or submissions.
I think we’ll end up with a close fight here, but one where Dodson will use his speed and movement to dictate when and where the striking exchanges happen and will also land the better shots to emerge with a decision victory.
John Dodson to win by decision
Valentina Shevchenko vs. Priscila Cachoeira
After challenging twice for the bantamweight title, Shevchenko drops down to the newly formed women’s flyweight division, which seems much more suited to her frame.
The Russian should really have been given an immediate opportunity to fight for the title, or at least a clearly defined title eliminator, but instead she gets newcomer Cachoeira, a tough 8-0 Brazilian who will be looking to turn this fight into a brawl.
Shevchenko is too experienced and too talented a striker to allow that though and I expect her to be able to pick apart Cachoeira with clinical, methodical kickboxing and potentially even some work on the mat, leading to a convincing win on the scorecards.
Valentina Shevchenko to win by decision
Desmond Green vs. Michel Prazeres
Prazeres has quietly amassed a five-fight winning streak in the UFC’s lightweight division, while Green is 1-1 in the UFC to date, with his victory coming against the currently in-form Josh Emmett.
Prazeres is a grinding wrestler through and through, taking his opponents to the mat, though while ground and pound might be in short supply, he has managed to steer clear of having wall-to-wall decisions on his record by finding the occasional submission finish.
Green could make things interesting as he comes from a wrestling background too and will likely use that to try to keep the fight standing, and I think he’ll be able to edge the stand-up action to claim a decision win and end Prazeres unbeaten streak.
Desmond Green to win by decision.
Marcelo Golm vs. Timothy Johnson
The 25-year-old Golm has quickly beaten up all six of the opponents that have been put in front of him so far in his career, but the Brazilian hasn’t really fought anybody of any real note yet.
Johnson’s not exactly been setting the heavyweight division alight, but he’s a solid enough veteran who won’t be easily taken down and smashed, and if given the opportunity will get in close and attempt to employ the kind of grinding grappling and clinch work that could take the wind out of his younger opponent’s sails.
Still, Golm looks to have potential in the limited cage time he’s had so far and I think he’ll find a way to hurt Johnson on the feet and finish him on the floor.
Marcelo Golm to win by TKO in Rd2.
Thiago Santos vs. Anthony Smith
There’s a good chance of a finish here, with both of these middleweights having finished three opponents apiece via strikes leading into this main card opener.
It should be a fun one for as long as it lasts, but while Smith has a tendancy to finish off opponents late in the fight, Santos is for my money the better striker overall and the heavier hitter, which will lead him to a TKO victory inside of two rounds.
Thiago Santos to win by TKO in Rd2.
Prelims (FOX Sports 1): (Predicted winners in bold)
Sergio Moraes vs. Tim Means
Damir Hadzovic vs. Alan Patrick
Douglas Silva de Andrade vs. Marlon Vera
Iuri Alcantara vs. Joe Soto
UFC Fight Pass:
Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Joseph Morales
Maia Stevenson vs. Polyana Viana