UFC On FOX 21 takes place tomorrow night in Vancouver, Canada and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights for you below.
Carlos Condit vs. Demian Maia
It’ll be fascinating to see how the main event unfolds on Saturday night, with Carlos Condit and Demian Maia bringing world class skills in opposing areas of mixed martial arts to the Octagon.
Condit is undoubtedly the better striker of the two, possessing a dynamic and diverse offensive arsenal, together with excellent cardio, which makes him extremely difficult to deal with for anyone to deal with.
Maia has tried to develop his striking over the years, but he’s average at best in that regard, and it’s no coincidence that the best spells in his career have come when he’s focused on what he does best, which is his elite level jiu-jitsu.
With the exception of Jake Shields, no-one has been able to cope with Maia’s stifling control on top, and he actually has some pretty solid takedowns too. That will be a concern for Condit as his takedown defense is far from bulletproof, and while he’s generally crafty even from his back on the mat, his opportunities to get offensive under Maia may be very limited indeed.
So, if Condit can keep this one standing then I think he’ll likely leave the Brazilian hung, drawn and quartered, but if Maia isn’t just left chasing shadows and is able to get his takedown game working then ‘The Natural Born Killer’ could be in a for a long, frustrating night.
I’m really torn here, but leaning every so slightly towards the in-form Maia to emerge victorious on the scorecards.
Demian Maia to win by decision.
Charles Oliveira vs. Anthony Pettis
After an unexpected fall from grace at 155lbs, former lightweight champion Pettis heads down to featherweight, where he faces a tricky first test in the always entertaining Oliveira.
Pettis’ recent performances have lacked the sparkle that he showed earlier in his career, and it remains to be seen whether 145lbs will be a good fit for him. He still remains a very talented striker though, and definitely brings more firepower into this fight than his opponent.
That’s not to say Oliveira is bad on his feet by any means. Generally he can hold his own fairly well in the stand-up department, but it’s no secret that it’s his BJJ skills that are his greatest assets. As soon as he reaches the mat Oliveira is a submission machine who’s hell-bent on finishing his opponent by any means necessary.
I think Pettis will be mindful of that though and should be able to keep this one upright for the most part. IF he does so I expect him to find a home for his strikes against the overly offensive-minded Oliveira, and bag himself a confidence-boosting TKO victory in the second round.
Anthony Pettis to win by TKO in Rd2.
Bec Rawlings vs. Paige VanZant
AFter her publicity generating stint on Dancing With The Stars, PVZ gets back to business in the cage against the scrappy Rawlings.
VanZant is still just 22 years-old, and there’s a lot of glaring holes in her all-round MMA game, but she makes up for that with a natural fighting spirit, toughness and athleticism.
Against upper echelon competition that’s not going to be enough to get her hand raised, but against someone like Rawlings, who is an aggressive striker, but doesn’t offer much else, she stands a good chance of getting back to winning ways.
Rawlings best bet is to drag PVZ into a pure striking match, but VanZant’s natural instincts are more inclined towards clinchwork and takedowns, which should give her the upperhand and lead to a decision victory.
Paige VanZant to win by decision.
Joe Lauzon vs. Jim Miller
These two veterans first met in 2012, with Miller emerging via unanimous decision on that occasion, and now they are set to lock horns for a second time in the Octagon.
Both Lauzon and Miller have showed signs that long careers in the sport have taken a toll on them with notable inconsistency in their performances over the past few years, but on their day they are still dangerous, as was the case at UFC 200 when both notched up impressive stoppage victories.
So, this one really could go either way, but these days I’m often left concerned by the way Lauzon reacts to getting punched – generally just covering up in a defensive shell rather than utilizing head movement counters and footwork to get himself out of danger – so I think Miller may once again edge this one out on the scorecards.
Jim Miller to win by decision.
Sam Alvey vs. Kevin Casey
Enrique Barzola vs. Kyle Bochniak
Shane Campbell vs. Felipe Silva
Jeremy Kennedy vs. Alex Ricci
Thibault Gouti vs. Chad Laprise
Alessio Ci Chirico vs. Garreth McLellan
Adam Hunter vs. Ryan Janes