UFC Fight Night 68 takes place this Saturday night in New Orleans and you can check out our predictions for all the bouts below.
Tim Boetsch vs. Dan Henderson
It’s fair to say that neither of these two fighters has been setting the Octagon alight of late with their performances. Henderson in particular is at the tail end of his career at the age of 44 and it’s clearly demonstrated with his lack of mobility, predictable offense and most worryingly for a man who used to have a reputation as one of the most durable fighters in the sport, a noticeably weakened chin.
Boetsch is 10 years younger than him, but he’s somewhat plodding and predictable himself, though his ability to take a punch hasn’t diminished to the same extent. There’s nothing remarkable about ‘The Barbarian’s’ skill set, but perhaps being just a fairly solid all-rounder is enough to get the better of ‘Hendo’ these days.
I’m generally reluctant to pick Boetsch these days as he’s not really impressed me for some time, but while Henderson still has the power to end a fight at any time It does look like time has finally caught up with him and he probably should have hung up his gloves before now. I think he gets hurt in this fight, but will hang in there just enough to take it to the judges.
Tim Boetsch to win by decision.
Matt Mitrione vs. Ben Rothwell
A heavyweight slugfest is likely to be on the cards in the co-main event and both men will fancy their chances of ending this inside the distance based on their recent KO heavy records.
With that in mind this really could go either way, but while Rothwell can take a lot of punishment I do feel Mitrione has the firepower to take him out and the footwork and superior athleticism to limit his opponent’s opportunities to do the same to him.
Matt Mitrione to win by TKO in Rd2.
Yancy Medeiros vs. Dustin Poirier
Poirier has always been a talented fighter and it seems that his move up to lightweight hasn’t hindered him in any noticeable way making him an intriguing addition to the division.
Medeiros is a dangerous striker and has shown improvement in his ground game, but for my money Poirier is the better fighter in most departments and I like him to get the better of a fast-paced, fun fight that ends via strikes in the final five minutes.
Dustin Poirier to win by TKO in Rd3.
Brian Ortega vs. Thiago Tavares
Ortega is technically unbeaten in his MMA career to date, but his debut win in the UFC last year was amended to a no-contest ruling after he tested positive for steroids and after serving a lengthy suspension he now faces a tough opponent for his return to the Octagon in Tavares.
I like the veteran here. Both men favor grappling, but Tavares can mix things up well and has years of experience in grinding down opponents so he should be able to do enough to edge out the younger man on the scorecards.
Thiago Tavares to win by decision.
Joe Soto vs. Anthony Birchak
Soto stepped up to take a shot at the bantamweight title last time out, and while that proved to be too much too soon and he was outclassed, he still performed not too badly.
Birchak fared worse in his UFC debut, lasting just 90 seconds before being tapped out with a heel hook. He is actually a good grappler though, but Soto can also handle himself in that regard and is the better striker, so I’d favor him to come out on top here.
Joe Soto to win by decision.
Alex Caceres vs. Francisco Rivera
Caceres striking used to be more style than substance, but it has become more effective with time. He’s at his best on the mat though where he proves to be a crafty, offensive submission hunter, but getting the fight there in the first place can be a problem as wrestling is not his strong suit.
Rivera is much more comfortable on his feet and will be doing his best to keep it there. If successful in doing so, and his takedown defense suggests he can, then he has a major power advantage and is more than capable of producing a stoppage finish here.
Francisco Rivera to win by TKO in Rd2.
Prelims: (Predicted winners in bold)
Shawn Jordan vs. Derrick Lewis
Omari Akhmedov vs. Brian Ebersole
Christos Giagos vs. Chris Wade
Justin Edwards vs. Joe Proctor
Ricardo Abreu vs. Jake Collier
Leonardo Morales vs. Jose Quinonez