UFC Fight Night 96 goes down in Portland, Oregon tomorrow night and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
John Lineker vs. John Dodson
This is a terrific match-up between two former flyweights who are now making their mark in the bantamweight rankings.
Lineker is an exceptionally hard-hitter and has good durability, so he’ll attack aggressively in order to find a big knockout finish. Dodson has power of his own though and is the faster, more athletic fighter, capable of covering distances in the blink of an eye, which he uses to his advantage.
This is a tough one to call. Lineker feels slightly better suited to bantamweight than Dodson and he has the power advantage, but I think he might struggle to land effectively against the quick and elusive Dodson, so I’m leaning slightly towards ‘The Magician’ to edge the striking action from range and win on the scorecards here.
John Dodson to win by decision.
Will Brooks vs. Alex Oliveira
Former Bellator lightweight champion Brooks successfully made his debut against Ross Pearson in July and now gets another solid test against ‘Cowboy’ Oliveira.
Brooks is the more well-rounded of the two and has a technical advantage in most areas of the fight, but Oliveira will have a six inch reach advantage and has a somewhat unpredictable, hard-hitting striking which will make him a handful to deal with.
Nevertheless, I do expect Brooks to be able to get the better of the action in at least two of the three rounds here to secure his secon victory inside the Octagon.
Will Brooks to win by decision.
Josh Burkman vs. Zak Ottow
Unfortuantely this card has been hit by a few key injuries, which is why UFC vetefan Burkman is now fighting short-notice newcomer Ottow rather than Bobby Green.
Burkman is definitely past his best and has been struggling in the UFC of late, which will give some hope for Ottow, who’s biggest threat comes from submissions.
Submissions are also a speciality for Burkman though, and he should also hold the advantage in wrestling and striking, leading to a stoppage victory inside the distance.
Josh Burkman to win by submission in Rd3.
Brandon Moreno vs. Louis Smolka
Smolka had been set to face Sergio Pettis before an injury nixed his opponent from thecard, so he now goes up against the debuting Moreno, who parachutes in from TUF season 24.
Moreno is coming in on just a week’s notice to fight a guy who’s won four of his five wins inside the Octagon so far, making this a tough challenge, but he does have good striking, so it’s not completely out of the question that he could emerge victorious.
However, it’s far more likely that Smolka makes good use of his significant advantage on the mat to emerge with a submission victory tomorrow night.
Louis Smolka to win by submission in Rd2.
Prelims: (Predicted winners in bold)
Joachim Christensen vs. Luis Henrique
Hacran Dias vs. Andre Fili
Shamil Abdurakhimov vs. Walt Harris
Keita Nakamura vs. Elizeu Zaleski
Nate Marquardt vs. Tamdan McCrory
Jonathan Wilson vs. Ion Cutelaba
Cody East vs. Curtis Blaydes
Kelly Faszholz vs. Ketlen Vieira