UFC Fight Night 46 takes place tomorrow in Dublin, Ireland and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights for you below.
Conor McGregor vs. Diego Brandao
There’s a lot of hype surrounding McGregor, but on the feet at least I do believe he can go some way to backing that up. He’s an excellent counter striker with very good accuracy and fluid movement which will stand him in good stead against Brandao who’s a threat with his striking, but tends to be overly aggressive which leaves holes in his defense that can be exploited.
Brandao’s other weakness is that his early aggression tends to leave him running out of steam in the later rounds, and that’s of particular concern in a fight billed to go 25 minutes. McGregor’s coming off a long injury layoff, but he’s well conditioned and I’d expect him to be the fresher fighter in the second half of the bout.
Early in his career McGregor had trouble with his submission defense, and Brandao is good on the ground, so that’s a big plus point for him. McGregor has improved over time though, showed a solid top game last tim out and trained with an elite grappler like Gunnar Nelson for this fight which means he should be well prepared.
Overall I favor McGregor to keep the fight standing for the most part, keeping a cooler head than his opponent as he picks him apart with crisp counter-striking, then finishes the job when Brandao begins to fade mid-way through the fight.
Conor McGregor to win by TKO in Rd3.
Gunnar Nelson vs. Zak Cummings
This looks like a good fight for Nelson. Cummings is a solid enough grappler, but the very talented Nelson is just in a different league when it comes to his wrestling and submission ability.
In addition to that Nelson is also a good striker, almost Machida-like with his Karate based style which can throw off his opponents, and I suspect Cummings will have a hard time dealing with that. Having said that, he fact that Nelson keeps his hands so low always leaves open the possibility of him getting caught.
Nelson appears to be the real deal though and I’ve got little hesitation about picking him here, with a submission perhaps being his best route to a stoppage victory, quite possibly sooner rather than later.
Gunnar Nelson to win by submission in Rd1.
Brad Pickett vs. Ian McCall
This should be a terrific flyweight scrap that’s got a good chance of earning the ‘Fight of The Night’ bonus in Dublin.
These two have a well rounded skill-set, but I’d give McCall the edge on the mat thanks to his wrestling and I think he’ll also enjoy a speed advantage and is generally better suited to this weight class than his opponent.
Pickett’s tough as old boots though and will keep it competitive wherever the fight goes, but I see McCall emerging with his hand raised after 15 minutes here.
Ian McCall to win by decision.
Norman Parke vs. Naoyuki Kotani
Parke is the more well-rounded fighter here, with good wrestling and better striking than his opponent Kotani, a veteran campaigner who’s real skill lies with his submission skills on the mat.
Parke will be mindful of that, but I think he can cope with it and through a mixture of steady striking and periods of control on top of Kotani he’ll be able to earn himself a decision victory.
Norman Parke to win by decision.
Prelims: (Predicted winners in bold)
Ilir Latifi vs. Chris Dempsey
Neil Seery vs. Phil Harris
Cathal Pendred vs. Mike King
Tor Troeng vs. Trevor Smith
Cody Donovan vs. Nikita Krylov
Patrick Holohan vs. Josh Sampo