UFC Fight Night 153 takes place tomorrow in Stockholm, Sweden and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Alexander Gustafsson vs. Anthony Smith
Gustafsson and Smith both came up short against Jon Jones last time out and only one will be able to get back to winning ways on Saturday night.
Smith is the grittier fighter here, more willing to throw himself into harms way in search of a finish, while Gustafsson will be more wary after being TKO’d last time out and has the tools to fight more cautiously. The Swede will have a slight height and 3″ reach advantage, which will suit his natural style, boxing from range with straight punches and looking to limit Smith’s attempts to piece together combinations or get into the clinch.
Gustafsson showed against Jan Blachowicz that he will switch things up if he has to and use his wrestling when things aren’t going well on the feet, and that’s something that potentially could come into play here, though he would have to be very wary of Smith’s submission attempts if he does so.
Overall I do favor Gustafsson to be the more skilled technician on the feet and have his wrestling to fall back on if and when neccessary, to earn a decision victory.
Alexander Gustafsson wins by decision.
Jimi Manuwa vs. Aleksandar Rakic
While still a dangerous striker, at 39-years-old there’s been troubling signs that Manuwa’s ability to take a shot has deteriorated significantly as he heads into this fight on a three-fight losing streak.
That’s a big problem as Manuwa’s do-or-die fighting style on the feet does put him in harms away often and if he doesn’t land with his own knockout blows then there’s every chance he’s going to be finished instead.
Now he’s facing Rakic, who is more than a decade younger, is riding an 11-fight winning streak and is a tough, well-rounded fighter who is brimming with confidence.
Rakic hasn’t faced anybody of Manuwa’s caliber or with that venemous level of stopping power, so this isn’t an easy fight to pick, but I just have too many question marks about the Brit’s chin at this stage in his career and Rakic has looked capable enough so far to put that to the test and emerge with a second round TKO stoppage victory.
Aleksander Rakic wins by TKO in Rd2.
Makwan Amirkhani vs. Chris Fishgold
Amirkhani has been working on his striking game leading up to this fight and that’s a smart move as he’s already a very good grappler, but while he’s got power in his hands, his stand-up options have been somewhat limited up to this point.
Fishgold is a pressure fighter who will come forward with punches, but is just as willing to get into the clinch or work for takedowns, and it’s on the mat that he’s at his most dangerous thanks to his penchant for fight-ending chokes.
With both fighters being somewhat similar I see this being a close fight, but I suspect Amirkhani is going to be the stronger westler and be able to largely hold his own in the striking exchanges to eek out a decision victory.
Makwan Amirkhani wins by decision.
Christos Giagos vs. Damir Hadzovic
Neither Giagos or Hadzovic has set the UFC alight so far, but they are both solid enough fighters.
Hadzovic is certainly the more powerful striker of the two men here, so Giagos could find himself in trouble if he tries to be too aggressive.
Giagos should have the wrestling edge as Hadzovic’s takedown defense has been somewhat suspect in the past, though he has started to showcase some offensive wrestling chops.
Giagos doesn’t have the best gas tank, so I can see Hadzovic taking more control of this fight as it goes on, winning the striking battle and securing himself a decision win.
Damir Hadzovic wins by decision.
Daniel Teymur vs. Sung Bin Jo
Having failed to get a win in his first three UFC outings, Teymur is somewhat fortunate to still be in the promotion and needless to say this is an absolute must-win fight against Jo, who is making his debut after going 9-0 on the regional circuit.
Teymur’s game is somewhat limited though. He does hit hard, but he has a bad habit of loading up for big shots too often and gassing himself out, while his ground work is a weak point.
Jo is hittable, which is a concern, but I think he’s touh enough to be able to weather the early storm and with his height and reach advantage should be able to keep things competitive and then grab the fight by the scruff of the neck when Teymur runs out of steam to secure a third round submission victory.
Sung Bin Jo wins by decision.
Prelims (Predicted winners in bold)
Tonya Evinger vs. Lina Lansberg
Stevie Ray vs. Leonardo Santos
Nick Hein vs. Frank Camacho
Bea Malecki vs. Eduarda Santana
Darko Stosic vs. Devin Clark
Joel Alvarez vs. Danilo Belluardo