UFC Fight Night 85 takes place on Saturday night (Sunday morning in Australia) and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Mark Hunt vs. Frank Mir
Interesting heavyweight match-up here that may well hinge on how Mir approaches the encounter strategically against the heavy-handed Hunt.
Mir is a capable striker with genuine power, but he’s not on the same level as his opponent there and has never been good at taking a shot, which could quickly prove to be a big problem against ‘The Super Samoan’.
On the mat however, Mir is light years ahead of Hunt and if he gets him down I definitely the former champion securing a submission finish. It’s a big if though as Mir’s takedowns are a real weakness in his game, and his chances of knocking down Hunt in a striking exchange and capitalizing that way are slim.
It really is a fight that could go either way, but I fancy Hunt’s chances of landing a thunderous blow early that starches Mir.
Mark Hunt to win by KO in Rd1.
Hector Lombard vs. Neil Magny
Lombard returns after a year-long steroid suspension to face one of the division’s most consistent and active competitors, Magny.
It’s an intriguing match-up with Magny having major height and reach advantages, while Lombard is a stocky, explosive powerhouse of a fighter. Despite their size disparity, both men actually like to operate in the clinch, and Lombard’s judo background and strength should ensure that it remains competitive from there.
Putting aside their technical skill-sets though, I believe the biggest factor here is that Lombard will likely have some ring rust after more than a year on the sidelines, enhanced by the fact that he’s now 38 years-old, and given that he’s always had a tendancy to have suspect cardio – in direct contrast to his opponent – it makes it hard to pick him here.
Magny will undoubtedly have to weather an early storm as Lombard is always very dangerous in the opening round, but Magny has a lot of Octagon experience now and is well-rounded enough to stay in the fight and then capitalize in the later rounds as his opponent tires.
Neil Magny to win by decision.
Johnny Case vs. Jake Matthews
Two talented lightweights on display here, with the 21 year-old Matthews having the potential to become a break-out star for Australia, while the 26 year-old Case has more experience and four wins in a row so far in the UFC.
This is a tough fight for Matthews at this relatively early stage in his career and I think it may just prove to be a little too much for him right now as Case’s all-round game is more fleshed out at this stage and I think his mixture of striking and wrestling should enable him to win on the scorecards here.
Johnny Case to win by decision.
Antonio Carlos Junior vs. Daniel Kelly
Both of these fighters are products of The Ultimate Fighter, with Carlos Junior winning TUF Brazil Season 3, while Kelly was a cast member on TUF: Nations.
This one feels like a bit of a mismatch, with Kelly likely landing this fight due to the fact he’s Australian. To his credit the 38 year-old has compiled a decent 3-1 record so far in the UFC, but the 25 year-old Carlos Junior is simply the better fighter in most aspects and I like him to emerge with a submission victory.
Antonio Carlos Junior to win by submission in Rd2.
Steve Bosse vs. James Te Huna
This is likely to be a stand-up slug-fest for as long as it lasts between two fighters who are happy to throw down on the feet.
Te Huna’s recent record is poor, posting three losses in a row, but all of those came against significantly higher levels of opposition, and two were by submission which shouldn’t be an issue this time around.
With the Aussie crowd behind him I think Te Huna wins the stand-up battle here and earns himself a first round TKO victory.
James Te Huna to win by TKO in Rd1.
Seo Hee Ham vs. Bec Rawlings
Rawlings is a fun fighter to watch as she always brings plenty of aggression and action to the cage, but that can also be to her detriment at times.
Ham is significantly smaller than Rawlings, but she has better technique, is far more experience and has enjoyed far more success in her career.
I think Rawlings style will make it competitive, but Ham should emerge victorious after 15 minutes of fighting.
Seo Hee Ham to win by decision.
Prelims: (Predicted winners in bold)
Alan Jouban vs. Brendan O’Reilly
Mark Eddiva vs. Daniel Hooker
Viscardi Andrade vs. Rich Walsh
Alan Patrick vs. Damien Brown
Chad Laprise vs. Ross Pearson
Rin Nakai vs. Leslie Smith