UFC Fight Night 52 takes place on ‘Fight Pass’ on Saturday morning and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights for you below.
Mark Hunt vs. Roy Nelson
When you’ve got two heavyweights that hit as hard as Hunt and Nelson do while showing a blatant disregard for their own personal safety it’s fair to assume that either man has a good chance of winning here.
Nelson is the more hittable of the two and normally I’d say he also a little less cardio, though the fact that Hunt apparently had a lot of weight to cut prior to yesterday’s weigh-ins raises a question mark over how he’ll fair over five rounds too. Both are famous for having granite chins, but I actually think Nelson’s may be standing up a little better at this stage in their careers as Hunt was getting rocked by ‘Big Foot’ Silva and suffered the KO loss to JDS too.
It’s a tough one to call, but given that Nelson also has the option to take this fight to the ground where he’ll have a considerable advantage, I’m leaning towards him here, though I think the most likely place for a finish will be with a big overhand on the feet as to the two men throw caution to the wind and slug it out.
Roy Nelson to win by KO in RD2.
Myles Jury vs. Takanori Gomi
This looks like a good fight for Jury. Gomi can still be a threat at times on the feet with his power, but Jury should be able to frustrate him by keeping his range and staying mobile, coming in and out with accurate strikes while keeping a good tempo and working the fight to the mat if and when required.
At this stage in his career Gomi isn’t as dynamic as he was in the past and I think he’ll struggle to keep up with his more well-rounded opponent here over the course of 15 minutes.
Myles Jury to win by decision.
Amir Sadollah vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama
This is a hard fight to call given that both men have been out of action for well over two years now. Sadollah has shown in the past to have the better cardio though, so I’d expect that to be the case here, especially as his opponent is also now 39 years-old.
On the feet Akiyama has a little more power, though nothing earth-shattering, while Sadollah is a classic volume striker who can piece together some nice combinations of kicks and punches at times. Akiyama’s judo should help him if he wants to take this fight to the mat and he’s the better grappler overall, plus the hometown advantage favors him if it goes to the judges, so I’ll take him here, but it’s not a confident pick as Sadollah may just outwork him on the feet.
Yoshihiro Akiyama to win by decision.
Miesha Tate vs. Rin Nakai
Nakai looks like an imposing figure and should have the strength advantage here, plus her unbeaten record is impressive, but I’m not willing to buy into the idea that she’s going to defeat a fighter of Tate’s caliber, especially given the lack of competition the ‘Queen Of Pancrase’ has faced thus far.
Outside of Ronda Rousey, Tate is still one of the very best woman’s MMA has to offer and so it’s almost unfair that Nakai has to face her in her debut. I like Tate to be the more aggressive and effective of the two on the feet and more technical on the mat. At the very least I think she’ll get a solid decision win, but I’ll throw a little caution to the wind and predict she finds a submission.
Miesha Tate to win by submission in Rd3
Kiichi Kunimoto vs. Richard Walsh
Both fighters here have tasted victory inside the Octagon, but we’ve still to see where they really stand in the grand scheme of things. I feel Kunimoto is the better grappler of the two and I’m taking him to produce a tap-out victory here.
Kiichi Kunimoto to win by submission in rd2.
Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Jon Dolos Reyes
Horiguchi can be a fun, talented striker to watch and while Reyes is also somewhat capable on the feet I think he gets outclassed and outstruck here.
Kyoji Horiguchi to win by TKO in Rd2.
Prelims (Predicted winner in bold)
Alex Caceres vs. Masenori Kanehara
Sam Sicilia vs. Katsunori Kikuno
Hyun Gyu Lim vs. Takenori Sato
Michinori Tanaka vs. Kyung Ho Kang
Kazuki Tokudome vs. Johnny Case
Maximo Blanco vs. Dan Hooker