UFC Fight Night 124 takes place on Sunday night in St. Louis and you can see our predictions for all the fights below.
Main Card (Fox Sports 1):
Jeremy Stephens vs. Doo Ho Choi
This should be a fun main event between two dangerous featherweights with fight-ending firepower.
Choi is unquestionably the more devastating striker though and his fight record is filled with T/KO victories thanks to a combination of heavy, accurate hands and blinding speed, while he also has a good chin to absorb any punishment coming back at him.
Stephens doesn’t possess Choi’s explosiveness, but he is a tough, gritty competitor who isn’t afraid of trading heavy leather and has a more developed striking game now than he did in the past.
Nevertheless, I think Choi’s harder, sharper strikes will trouble Stephens and ultimately lead to him getting caught and TKO’d in the second round.
Doo Ho Choi to win by TKO in Rd2.
Vitor Belfort vs. Uriah Hall
The 40-year-old Belfort says that he will retire on Sunday night, but before that he will try to add one more win to his legendary resume against a younger lion in Uriah Hall.
Belfort is still a dangerous fighter in short bursts, but these days he quickly slows down and shows clear indications of being past his best and having a weakened chin, as you might expect from someone who has spent over two decades in the cage.
On the other hand, despite the fact that Hall is not exactly a spring chicken at 33-years-old, he feels like a much fresher fighter at this stage in his career and still has a lot to prove in the sport, as the stigma that he’s someone who hasn’t lived up to his full potential remains.
Still, Hall is going to have a big advantage in terms of speed and reaction-time here and I like his chances to end Belfort’s career on a TKO loss if he believes in his abilities and isn’t overly cautious about engaging against him.
Uriah Hall to win by TKO in Rd2.
Paige VanZant vs. Jessica-Rose Clark
PVZ makes her flyweight debut against a fighter in Clark who has had a rough week after her home was broken into and her cat kicked so hard by the robbers that it had to be put down.
Over a year since her last fight it will be interesting to see if the 23-year-old PVZ has been able to add to her game, which so far has relied heavily on her natural athleticism, pressure, toughness and scrambling instincts to paper over the fact that there still a lot of holes in her game.
So far high-level strawweight stars like Rose Namajunas, Michelle Waterson and Tecia Torres have been able to take advantange of her weaknesses, but Clark isn’t in that category and I think VanZant will be able to outwork and outgrapple her en-route to a decision victory.
Paige VanZant to win by decision.
Kamaru Usman vs. Emil Weber Meek
Two notable welterweight prospects are on show here in the opening bout of the UFC Fight Night 124 main card.
A former TUF winner, Usman has impressed in the UFC with six wins in a row so far, including notching up his first KO in the promotion last time out against Sergio Moraes.
It’s Usman’s wrestling that is his biggest asset though and despite his imposing physical presence and propensity for finishing fights, I expect that to be too much for Meek to handle on Sunday night.
Kamaru Usman to win by decision.
Prelims (Fox Sports 1): (Predicted winners in bold)
Darren Elkins vs. Michael Johnson
James Krause vs. Alex White
Matt Frevola vs. Marco Polo Reyes
Irene Aldana vs. Talita Bernardo
UFC Fight Pass:
Jessica Eye vs. Kalindra Faria
JJ Aldrich vs. Danielle Taylor
Mads Burnell vs Mike Santiago
Guido Cannetti vs. Kyung Ho Kang