UFC Fight Night 98 takes place tomorrow night in Mexico City and we’ve got all our predictions for you below.
Rafael dos Anjos vs. Tony Ferguson
This is an excellent main event match-up between the former lightweight champion, RDA and Ferguson, who has established himself as one of the leading contenders in the division with an impressive eight fight winning streak.
Ferguson is an exciting fighter to watch as he goes all out in pursuit of the finish either on the feet or on the mat, but as is often the case with that style, the wild nature of his offense comes at the expense of a strong defense.
Dos Anjos is well-rounded and also favors a pressure game and he can make the cage feel a lot smaller than it really is to his opponents as he hunts them down. He’s less reckless than Ferguson on the feet and more methodical on the mat, making him difficult to beat.
There’s definitely a question mark hanging over RDA after his winning streak came to an end against Eddie Alvarez last time out, but I still feel he’s the safer pick here.
As great a finisher as Ferguson is, he tends to rely on submissions, which will be a tough ask against Dos Anjos. I think the former champion will be competitive on the feet, but will also enjoy significant periods of control on the mat, which will help him get the nod on the judges scorecards.
Rafael dos Anjos to win by decision.
Martin Bravo vs. Claudio Puelles
Puelles has the cleaner technique in this TUF Latin America 3 Final, but Bravo is the more aggressive, dangerous competitor of the two.
Both men are comfortable striking, but are not afraid to take the fight to the mat either, so it should be competitive, but I feel it’s Bravo’s more balls to the wall style that will create the opportunity for a late TKO finish.
Martin Bravo to win by TKO in Rd3.
Marcin Held vs. Diego Sanchez
Long-time Bellator competitor Held arrives in the UFC to face a grizzled veteran in Sanchez who suffered a 26 second TKO loss to Joe Lauzon at UFC 200 back in July.
Though Sanchez has been on the slide for some time now, one thing he could always rely on was his toughness and stellar chin to get him through, so that made the swift nature of his loss to Lauzon especially troubling.
He’s not been handed an easy fight to get back on track either, as though he’s only 24, Held is very experienced and though the submission specialist might find it tricky to tap Sanchez, he’s well-rounded enough to be competitive wherever the fight is fought.
Cardio can be an issue for Held due to his aggressive style, but I believe he’ll do enough to get the better of Sanchez in the early rounds to win by decision.
Marcin Held to win by decision.
Ricardo Lamas vs. Charles Oliveira
Oliveira has a somewhat similar approach to Tony Ferguson, with his focus being firmly on finding a way to stop his opponent, rather than settle for eeking out a decision.
One of the biggest differences between them is that Ferguson is extremely tough, which is necessary when operating a defensively flawed gameplan, while ‘Do Bronx’ isn’t particularly great at taking punishment, so while he’s capable of magical moments (particularly while scrambling for submissions), he can also be disappointingly stopped in his tracks.
Lamas is skilled in all aspects of the fight game, but tends to fall just short of elite status in the division. He’s not as creative a fighter as his opponent, but he can still seize on opportunities when they present themselves, which should make this a fun fight that could go either way at a moment’s notice.
This is a tough one to call, but while Oliveira might dictate the pace early, I think Lamas is good enough to seize on his opponent’s defensive lapses and come away with a TKO finish later in the later rounds.
Ricardo Lamas to win by TKO in Rd2.
Beneil Dariush vs. Rashid Magomedov
Another well-matched fight here between two talented lightweights on the rise.
Magomedov is a very good range-based technical striker with solid takedown defense, while Dariush makes up for his less polished striking with an aggressive approach and high level grappling skills.
A lot will hinge on whether Dariush can get Magomedov to the mat. I think he’ll find it easier said than done, with Magomedov’s movement and counter-punching thwarting his attempts en-route a decision victory.
Rashid Magomedov to win by decision.
Alexa Grasso vs. Heather Clark
There’s some hype behind unbeaten Mexican prospect Grasso after an impressive stint in the Invicta FC promotion, and this will be a good first test for her against former TUF fighter Clark.
Clark is a decent, gusty fighter, but she falls some way behind her opponent in the striking department. The 23 year-old possesses crisp hands that should pick apart Clark on the feet, with her toughness being the only thing keeping her upright at the final bell.
Alex Grasso to win by decision.
Prelims: (Predicted winners in bold)
Erik Perez vs. Felipe Arantes
Marco Beltran vs. Joe Soto
Erick Montano vs. Max Griffin
Henry Briones vs. Douglas Silva de Andrade
Sam Alvey vs. Alex Nicholson
Marco Polo Reyes vs. Jason Novelli
Chris Avila vs. Enrique Barzola