UFC Fight Night 89 takes place tomorrow in Ottawa, Canada and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Rory MacDonald vs. Stephen Thompson
This is a very intriguing test for both fighters at this stage in his career, and a victory could pave the way for a shot at the title next time out.
Of course the big question for MacDonald is how he’s recovered from that brutal five round war with the champ Lawler last time out. I tend to think he’ll be ok as he’s sensibly been out for 11 months since that ‘Fight Of The Year’ TKO loss and he’s still only 26 years-old.
Also, even if he’s a little gun-shy (which given his mentality I don’t believe will be the case), that may just lead him to use his high level ground skills more instead, and against a striker like Thompson that could be the key to victory.
Thompson offered up a superb performance last time out against Johnny Hendricks, who seemed bewildered by his opponent’s high-level karate-based striking and movement, and there’s a real sense that he’s someone who’s still improving and rounding out his skill-set from fight to fight.
Still, MacDonald has been a very well-rounded fighter with no glaring weaknesses for years, and also has the advantage of having trained with Thompson often in the past, so his striking style shouldn’t throw him off too much. In the end I think MacDonald is good enough on the feet to stay somewhat competitive, but will look to utilize takedowns to really assert his dominance in the contest, and open up the potential for a finish inside the distance by either submission or strikes.
Rory MacDonald to win by submission in Rd4.
Donald Cerrone vs. Patrick Cote
Always looking for the next challenge, Cerrone stays at welterweight to take on the in-form Cote, who used to be a middleweight in years gone by.
The switch to 170lbs back in 2013 has worked well for the 36 year-old Cote, who’s gone 5-1 there so far, and he’ll have the power advantage in this match-up, and he’s also a decent wrestler too.
Technically, Cerrone is the better striker though and even moving up a weight class he’ll have an inch in height and a few inches in reach over his opponent. Cerrone also transitions nicely to takedowns off his strikes, and while we don’t see it as much now as in the WEC days, he’s excellent at finding submissions on the mat.
I can’t say I’m a huge fan of Cerrone fighting at welterweight, I think he’s still best suited to competing at lightweight, but though Cote will probably make life difficult for him, I do still favor ‘Cowboy’ to emerge victorious by decision.
Steve Bosse vs. Sean O’Connell
The outcome of this fight will most likely be decided by whether the hard-hitting former Hockey enforcer Bosse can find a fight-ending punch in the opening half of the bout against O’Connell.
It’s certainly a distinct possibility as O’Connell has been KO’d by the likes of Ilir Latifi and Ryan Jimmo in his UFC career to date, but if he can drag Bosse into deeper waters, his more grinding approach could pay dividends in the latter stages of the bout.
Either option is plausible, but with O’Connell’s chin having shown a vulnerability to heavy-hitters in the past, and the Canadian support roaring Bosse on, I think he’ll get the stoppage win he’s looking for.
Steve Bosse to win by KO in Rd1.
Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs. Thibault Gouti
Hmm, you can’t help but feel that the UFC are playing to the Canadian crowd here with Quebec’s own Aubin-Mercier being matched up with Gouti, who’s only appearance in the promotion so far was a 24 second submission loss.
That result was a bit unkind to Gouti who had gone 11-0 in the European scene prior to that, but Aubin-Mercier is both a better athlete and a better fighter, certainly in the grappling department, and I think he’ll be able to work his way to a submission stoppage here sooner or later, most likely by his favored rear-naked choke.
Olivier Aubin-Mercier to win by submission in Rd2.
Joanne Calderwood vs. Valerie Letourneau
Calderwood hasn’t quite been able to live up to the hype so far in the UFC, and this will be another tough test for her against former title contender Letourneau.
Interestingly, this fight is a test-bed for a potential woman’s 125lb flyweight division, and that serves them both well, as Calderwood is a bit lanky for 115lbs, while Letourneau has fought at bantamweight before, so this is a happy compromise for her.
Letourneau is the better boxer of the two and I think she can problems for Calderwood in that regard as she is fairly hittable at times, while the Scottish fighter is at her best when using her muay thai skills in the clinch with very good knees and elbows.
I think this one probably will end up being a closely fought, technical striking battle, and I suspect Letourneau will land the more hurtful blows and effective combinations overall as she battles her way to a decision victory.
Valerie Letourneau to win by decision.
Prelims: (Predicted winner in bold)
Jason Saggo vs. Leandro Silva
Misha Cirkunov vs. Ion Cutelaba
Krzysztof Jotko vs. Tamdan McCrory
Chris Beal vs. Joe Soto
Sam Alvey vs. Elias Theodorou
Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger vs. Randa Markos
Colby Covington vs. Jonathan Meunier
Ali Bagautinov vs. Geane Herrera