UFC Fight Night 39 takes place tomorrow night in Abu Dhabi and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights for you below.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Roy Nelson
Neither of these two heavyweight veterans has looked particularly impressive of late, but ‘Big Nog’s’ form has been of particular concern his chin now appearing very fragile and even his highly regarded ground game showing worrying signs of weakness with two submission losses in his past three fights.
While Nelson is unlikely to put him in danger of being submitted he will most assuredly be looking to connect with his chin in the striking battle, and while he’s not a boxing technician he certainly packs a mean punch.
As always, Nelson’s cardio will be an issue and the heat in Abu Dhabi may tire him out even quicker than usual, but I don’t think it’ll be too much of an issue as I see him knocking out ‘Big Nog’ early in this fight.
Roy Nelson to win by KO in Rd1.
Clay Guida vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri
This could end up being a close one. Kawajiri likes to use his solid wrestling base to dominate his opponents on the mat and threaten with ground and pound and submissions, but I suspect he’ll struggle to do that against Guida who can match him in the grappling department.
Neither man is especially dangerous on the feet, with Kawajiri perhaps having a bit more power, but Guida’s energetic movement and endless cardio may make it difficult to land anything of note.
Guida has been overly cautious of late and its not worked out for him, losing three of his four fights, and so I think we’ll see him being more active in this fight and he’ll outwork Kawajiri to a relatively close decision victory.
Clay Guida to win by decision.
John Howard vs. Ryan LaFlare
LaFlare’s won three in a row in the UFC so far, while Howard’s is enjoying a second stint in the UFC with two victories to his name, so both men are eager to continue climbing the welterweight ladder.
The power advantage in this fight to Howard, who also has competent wrestling too, but LaFlare has the edge overall in the ground game and should be able to hold his own in the striking exchanges and will enjoy a slight reach advantage.
There’s not a whole lot between these two, but there seems to be a little more spark to LaFlare’s work and I think he’ll mix things up better than his opponent over the course of three rounds to win on the scorecards.
Ryan LaFlare to win by decision.
Ramsey Nijem vs. Beneil Dariush
Dariush looked very impressive in his UFC debut, dropping Charlie Brenneman and then submitting him in under two minutes, so there’s good momentum for him heading into this one, but it’s still early days for him, so tomorrow night will give a good indication of whether he is the real deal or not.
Nijem can be a fun fighter to watch and keeps a good pace, but he’s a little reckless on the feet at times for someone who’s vulnerable to being stopped, and while he’s at his best on the mat, Dariush has excellent BJJ that could cause him significant problems.
If Dariush can weather the early storm from Nijem he should be the more likely to find a finish here by either strikes or a submission.
Beneil Dariush to win by TKO in Rd2.
Daniel Omielanczuk vs. Jared Rosholt
Johnny Bedford vs. Rani Yahya
Thales Leites vs. Trevor Smith
Jim Alers vs. Alan Omer