UFC 172 takes place tomorrow night in Baltimore and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira
After almost losing his grip on the 205lb title against Alexander Gustafsson, Jones will look to reassert his authority tomorrow night against another Teixeira who’s also well accustomed to remaining unbeaten for extended periods of time.
Teixeira is one of the most aggressive fighters in the division, with heavy hands and a killer instinct that also extends to submissions on the mat. His offense is more fearsome than his defense though and he has proven to be hittable and has shown signs of being wobbled in his last couple of outings, though he certainly recovers well and is just as dangerous when he’s hurt.
What Gustafsson brought to the table that no-one else really had was height and reach that was comparable to Jones, and that’s something Teixeira isn’t going to have which will make it difficult to get inside and employ the kind of bullying tactics he favors.
So, I think we’ll see Jones back in his comfort zone here, able to fight from range with straight punches and kicks from distance, and I think he’ll have spent a little more time focusing on his wrestling for this fight which gives him another option if required. He’ll be cautious, not wanting to get hurt like last time out, and that would be wise because Teixeira can definitely put him in trouble if given a chance.
Overall though, this seems like a winnable fight for Jones and I think he can gradually chip away at Teixeira with strikes from the outside to earn a TKO stoppage in the third round and set up the rematch with Gustafsson everyone wants to see.
Jon Jones to win by TKO in Rd3.
Phil Davis vs. Anthony Johnson
I’ve never been overly impressed with Davis’ stand-up. It’s functional, but not especially dangerous, so if Johnson could keep this fight standing he should have the advantage and has the kind of power that can end the fight in an instant, even two weight-classes up from where he last competed in the UFC.
However, it’s highly unlikely that Davis is just going to stand there in front of Johnson. While ‘Rumble’ has decent wrestling, he’s just not in the same league as Davis, so I’d expect ‘Mr Wonderful’ will be looking to plant him on his back which is where his opponent is weakest and see what comes from there.
Ground and pound is an option for Davis, but I think he’ll be more focused on Johnson’s vulnerability to submissions, and given that he’s proven to have talent in that department I think we will see Davis finding a way to tap him out here.
Anthony Johnson to win by submission in Rd2.
Luke Rockhold vs. Tim Boetsch
Not so long ago Boetsch was putting together a solid run after dropping down to 185lbs, picking up four wins on the trot, but two defeats since and a narrow victory over CB Dollaway last time out have left him barely clinging on to a top 15 spot in the division.
Despite that he finds himself lined up against the former Strikeforce champion Rockhold who’s ranked at No.5 and has the potential to be right in the title mix.
It’s hard to see where Boetsch gets the better of his opponent here. Rockhold is an athletic middleweight and a very good all-rounder with no glaring holes in his game. He excels with his technical kickboxing and ability to push the pace for five full rounds, making him a difficult proposition for anybody in the division.
Boetsch is a tough customer and despite being under pressure he might survive for a while, but I think he’ll wilt under consistent pressure and eventually be stopped either late in the second or sometime in the third round.
Luke Rockhold to win by TKO in Rd2.
Jim Miller vs. Yancy Medeiros
Medeiros steps in at short notice, and you’ve got to give him credit for his bravery in that regard, particularly going up against someone like Miller.
After a long period of cast-iron consistency, Miller has faltered a few times recently which is a slight cause for concern, but in general his pressure-heavy fighting style, with solid wrestling and good Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu still pegs him as a force to be reckoned with.
Medeiros looked bright on his feet in his last Octagon outing and that’ll be his best chance of victory here if he can consistently get to the punch quicker and keep his distance, but Miller has a good chin and an unrelenting style that wears his opponents down, and I think that’ll be the case here as he works his way to a win on the scorecards.
Jim Miller to win by decision.
Max Holloway vs. Andre Fili
Interesting fight here between two talented featherweight strikers. Holloway has more Octagon experience and has generally acquitted himself well, with his boxing ability being his best weapon with accurate punches and good movement, while his achilles heel has more often than not been fighters who can get him to the mat.
Fili also likes to stand and trade, being more aggressive and offensive in his approach and perhaps holding the power advantage heading into this fight. Fili also trains at Team Alpha Male, a camp filled with wrestling talent, so he’s sure to be well versed in that department, and it could be his back-up plan in this fight if the stand-up battle doesn’t go in his favor.
It’s a fight that could go either way. I could certainly see Fili either overwhelming Holloway with early pressure, or using wrestling to shut him down, but I also have a feeling that if Holloway stays more patient and technical than his opponent, picking his shots and then moving out of danger then he can keep Fili at bay and outstrike him to a decision victory.
Max Holloway to win by decision.
Prelims: (Predicted winners in bold)
Joseph Benavidez vs. Tim Elliott
Takanori Gomi vs. Isaac Vallie-Flagg
Bethe Correia vs. Jessamyn Duke
Charlie Brenneman vs. Danny Castillo
Chris Beal vs. Patrick Williams