UFC Fight Night 55 takes place in Sydney, Australia on Friday night and you can check out our predictions for all the fights below.
Luke Rockhold vs. Michael Bisping
Bisping’s combination of technical, volume based striking, excellent cardio and a relatively well-rounded skill-set overall have served him well over the years and overcome a number of tough opponents, but in Rockhold he’s facing someone who has similar attributes, but in a number of areas appears to have an edge.
It starts with his physical attributes – Rockhold is slightly taller, has slightly longer reach and is a few years younger than his opponent, and the theme continues when you look at his striking, grappling and all-round athleticism, areas where he seems to have a little more to offer.
Bisping has had far more fights than Rockhold and at the age of 35 that’s really starting to show, with damage to his right eye following a detached retina amongst other injuries starting to mount up. The face that he’s also only a little over two months removed from a four round fight with Cung Le, while Rockhold’s had six months+ to get ready for this encounter only further adds to the feeling that he’s the fresher fighter here.
It all adds up to a tough night for the Brit, and I believe Rockhold will emerge with a TKO victory sometime in the second half of the fight.
Luke Rockhold to win by TKO in Rd3
Ross Pearson vs. Al Iaquinta
This should be a close fight between two lightweights with similar styles who favor the striking game despite also being able to mix things up with wrestling too.
There’s not a whole lot to pick between the two who each likes to mix in kicks with solid boxing fundamentals, but Pearson’s work is a little more compact, defensively sound and wields more power in his punches which should be just enough to help him eek out a hard fought decision win.
Ross Pearson to win by decision.
Robert Whittaker vs. Clint Hester
Whittaker is coming off a win, but in general experienced mixed results at welterweight, so he’s now moving up to middleweight where he faces Hester who’s put together a four fight winning run in the UFC so far.
Whittaker may be the quicker, more versatile striker, but I favor Hester’s power, accuracy and crisp counters, forged from his days as an amateur boxer, to pay dividends here as he secures a third round TKO victory that’ll leave his opponent wondering whether the change in weight class was such a good idea.
Soa Palelei vs. Walt Harris
The main card opener sees a battle of the heavyweights with Palelei looking to rebound after his first loss in quite some time, while Harris comes back to the UFC as a late replacement after producing an 0-2 record in his first stint in the Octagon.
Harris is a pretty raw fighter at this stage, making up for a limited skill-set with natural attributes like heavy hands and athleticism. If he can keep the fight standing that might be enough to trouble Palelei, but more likely is that the more experienced veteran is able to exploit his lack of wrestling to get him down and then have his way with ground and pound for the finish.
Soa Palelei to win by TKO in Rd1.
Prelims: (Predicted winners in bold)
Jake Matthews vs. Vagner Rocha
Anthony Perosh vs. Guto Inocente
Dylan Andrews vs. Sam Alvey
Vik Grujic vs. Chris Clements
Richie Vaculik vs. Louis Smolka
Luke Zachrich vs Daniel Kelly
Jumabieke Tuerxun vs. Marcus Brimage