UFC Fight Night 120 takes place this Saturday night in Norfolk, Virginia and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Dustin Poirier vs. Anthony Pettis
It’s going to be very intriguing to see who comes out on top in this finely balanced lightweight headliner.
Everybody knows what Pettis is capable of, but of course the story of the past few years is that he’s often failed to live up to his potential and is missing some of the spark and self-belief that helped him become a champion in both the WEC and UFC.
He remains a dangerous striker when he’s on form, but he doesn’t tend to operate as effectively when he’s under pressure, and that’s just the kind of game that Poirier likes to employ, offering up dynamic offense both on the feet and on the mat.
Like Pettis, Poirier is very talented, but his weakness is a suspect chin, which is a real problem at the highest level with his attack-minded approach.
So, Pettis may well be able to find the openings to counter-strike and hurt Poirier during what should be some exciting exchanges, but I do still have some reservations about picking him.
It’s just the kind of fight that could go either way, but I think Poirier’s pressure will pose problems for Pettis and the longer the fight goes the more I like ‘The Diamond,’ to start edging the action, leading to a tight decision victory.
Dustin Poirier to win by decision.
Diego Sanchez vs. Matt Brown
Brown has already announced that this will be his retirement fight after losing five of his last six fights, and depending on how his next few fights go Sanchez might not be too far behind him.
Both fighters have proven to be as tough as nails over the course of their careers, but have experienced troubling signs of decline of late, with both experiencing being KO’d for the first time in the past year or so.
Sanchez is moving back up to 170lbs for this fight, which might be good from a weight-cut perspective, but he’s a bit undersized and with his deteriorated chin that’s a big concern.
At the same time, he’s never really been a power puncher, so I feel Brown has less to worry about from that perspsective. However, he’s been vunerable to submissions in the past, so he’ll have to be careful if Sanchez wisens up to the fact that his best chance is to use his solid grappling game.
Still, I favor Brown here, and given that Sanchez has already been stopped twice inside the first round in the past 18 months, I think that tomorrow night could see a continuation of that trend.
Matt Brown to win by TKO in Rd1
Andrei Arlovski vs. Junior Albini
After five defeats in a row, this fight against a young up-and-coming prospect could be win or bust for the 38-year-old Arlovski.
Albini might not have much name-recognition yet, but he’s a well-rounded fighter who has the skills to pose problems for the veteran star both on the feet and on the mat.
You can never completely rule Arlovski out though as he does still possess knockout power, but his chin is vulnerable and I think Albini will find it on the counter and potentially end his time in the UFC via TKO.
Junior Albini to win by TKO in Rd2
Nate Marquardt vs. Cezar Ferreira
There’s a good few veterans on this card that have been barely keeping their head above water in recent times and Marquardt is one of them, having lost eight of his last 11 UFC fights.
Occasionally Marquardt can still show glimpses of his former self though, and so that will give him some hope here as Ferreira can be hurt and he can be finished.
Most of the time though he just looks uninspired, vulnerable and stuck-in-the-mud though and so it’s hard to pick him against any kind of respectable opposition and so I think Ferreira will prove to be the busier, hungrier fighter here, potentially leading to a late stoppage, though I’ll go for a win on the scorecards instead.
Cezar Ferreira to win by decision.
Raphael Assuncao vs. Matthew Lopez
Lopez comes into this fight off back-to-back victories in the Octagon, but this is a huge step up in competition to face one of the divisions best fighters.
Assuncao never really gets the credit he deserves, having won nine of his last 10 UFC fights and defeated a number of top fighters, including current champion TJ Dillashaw.
Assuncao is well-rounded, vastly experienced and particularly dangerous on the mat, so while Lopez has good wrestling and is steadily improving his all-round game, I suspect this is going to be a step to far at this stage and Assuncao will best him over three rounds of fighting.
Raphael Assuncao to win by decision.
Joe Lauzon vs. Clay Guida
Two grizzled veterans kick off the main card tomorrow night, and with so much cage experience between them it’ll be interesting to see who is able to gain the upperhand.
Striking wise, Guida’s best assets are his high pace and granite chin, while Lauzon picks out his punches better, but has an unfortunate habit of getting temporarily frozen behind his defensive guard when rapid-fire punches are coming his way.
Both fighters are at their best on the mat though and Guida has the better takedowns to get the fight there. Once grounded, it’s again Guida’s workrate that is often key to his success and he has a strong base, making him difficult to shake off.
Lauzon is exceptionally crafty though and always provides a serious threat with submissions, which will be troubling for Guida given that he’s been stopped with chokes several times in the past.
A win for either man would not be a surprise here, but I favor Guida being able to put Lauzon on the back foot on the feet with the volume of his strikes, land takedowns and grind his way to a decision victory on the mat.
Clay Guida to win by decision.
John Dodson vs. Marlon Moraes
Tatiana Suarez vs. Viviane Pereira
Sage Northcutt vs. Michel Quinones
Angela Hill vs. Nina Ansaroff
Court McGee vs. Sean Strickland
Jake Collier vs. Marcel Fortuna
Karl Roberson vs. Darren Stewart