UFC Fight Night 40 takes place in Ohio tomorrow night and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights for you below.
Matt Brown vs. Erick Silva
Interesting fight here that features one fighter who’s exceeded all expectations recently (Brown) and one who’s so far not lived up to his full potential (Silva).
Both men are proven finishers who often adopt a ‘kill or be killed’ mentality inside the Octagon. That’s proven successful for Brown thanks to his iron chin and unbreakable will, but it’s not always worked out for Silva who paid the price for being overly-eager to ‘just scrap’ last year against Dong Hyun Kim – losing by KO.
The same thing could happen here, with Silva being a little too reckless, while Brown remains aggressive, but more composed. However, I’m definitely a believer in Silva’s abilities – he’s a very dynamic striker with good athleticism and an ace up his sleeve in his submission game which remains Brown’s achilles heel, so I’m tipping him to find a finish either standing or on the mat in a fight that should be highly entertaining for as long as it lasts.
Erick Silva to win by submission in Rd2.
Costas Philippou vs. Lorenz Larkin
This looks being a stand-up battle between two middleweights who could use a win after both losing two of their last three bouts in the division.
Philippou is the better boxer of the two and has a good chin, but Larkin has a more diverse arsenal of strikes with plenty of kicks mixed in which could cause his opponent problems.
I don’t read too much into Philippou’s recent back-to-back defeats since Larkin won’t be able to outgrapple him like Carmont did, and Luke Rockhold is one of the best in the division. Prior to that he was on a five fight winning streak so he he can’t be discounted.
Still, I think this one’s heading to a close decision with Larkin’s greater output and more effective offense helping him emerge with his hand raised.
Lorenz Larkin to win by decision.
Erik Koch vs. Daron Cruickshank
Cruickshank’s eye-catching striking ability is a lot of fun to watch, but he needs time and space to perform at his best which is two things he’s unlikely to enjoy a lot of against Koch.
Koch is a talented, dynamic striker himself and will push the pace, having the kind of cardio that will allow him to do so for the full 15 minutes.
He’s also the more well-rounded of the two men which means he may well look to take Cruickshank to the mat where he’ll be out of his element. Therefore I believe a submission is his most likely route to victory here, but outworking him to a decision victory wouldn’t be too surprising either.
Erik Koch to win by submission in Rd2.
Neil Magny vs. Tim Means
Means is very much a striker, and a pretty solid one at that, mixing in knees and elbows nicely, but his challenge in this fight will be getting in range to do so with Magny having a significant reach advantage.
Magny has better wrestling, but like his reach he doesn’t always use it to his advantage, so I suspect that this one will end up being a stand-up affair with Means proving to have the more effective, meaningful offense over the course of three rounds.
Tim Means to win by decision.
Soa Palelei vs. Ruan Potts
It’s difficult to assess Potts fully given that up until his UFC debut tomorrow night he’s fought solely for EFC Africa against a string of unheralded fighters. He does have a decent submission game though and physically he’s in very good shape for his 250lb frame.
Palelei on the other hand is a seasoned veteran with a good top game and heavy ground and pound. I expect the step up in class and being on the big stage for the first time will prove to much for Potts and he’ll end up getting taken to the mat and finished sooner rather than later.
Soa Palelei to win by TKO in Rd1.
Chris Cariaso vs. Louis Smolka
Smolka immediately looked comfortable in the Octagon in his impressive debut back in January despite being only 22 years-old and showed a lot of promise with his potent, dangerous striking, though he does appear to have a ground game to back it up with too.
Cariaso is a step up in competition for him though and will be a good early indicator of just how good Smolka really is. Cariaso is very capable on the feet too and generally has only fallen short when he’s come up against some the very best in the division’s he’s competed in.
Speaking of coming up short, Cariaso will be at a significant height and reach disadvantage in this fight, with Smolka being big for the flyweight division. Given that Cariaso likes to fight on the outside that’s a problem for him and I think could be the deciding factor in the striking battle, with Smolka my tip to take the decision victory.
Louis Smolka to win by decision.
Prelims: (Predicted winners in bold)
Ed Herman vs. Rafael Natal
Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Darrell Montague
Yan Cabral vs. Zak Cummings
Eddie Wineland vs. Johnny Eduardo
Manvel Gamburyan vs. Nik Lentz
Justin Salas vs. Ben Wall
Anthony Lapsley vs. Albert Tumenov