UFC Fight Night 128 takes place tomorrow night in Atlantic City, New Jersey and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Main Card (FOX Sports 1):
Edson Barboza vs. Kevin Lee
Barboza is one of the lightweight division’s top strikers and so though Lee’s own striking has been progressing, it would make the most sense for him to generally only use that to set up opportunities to take this fight to the floor.
Barboza has good takedown defense, but Lee’s wrestling is strong enough that he should eventually be able to bring him to the mat and when he does so the difference in grappling skill between them should be apparent, leading to Lee notching up a third round submission victory.
Kevin Lee to win by submission in Rd3.
Frankie Edgar vs. Cub Swanson
It definitely doesn’t seem like a great idea for Edgar to be fighting just six weeks after a brutal knockout – the first of his career – but he’s determined to quickly attempt to get back in the win column.
Edgar already fought Swanson in 2014 and defeated him by a last-gasp submission after controlling him on the mat for much of the bout, and given that due to his KO, ‘The Answer’ hasn’t even been medically allowed to get involved in full-contact sparring for much of his camp it’s not hard to imagine that he’s going to continue to pursue that strategy this time around.
If not Swanson could certainly pose him some problems with his striking, but Edgar is generally not that easy to hit with his darting in-and-out style and though taking this fight is definitely a risk, I do still expect him to emerge with a decision victory.
Frankie Edgar to win by decision.
Chase Sherman vs. Justin Willis
Two heavyweights with plenty of punching power on display here, and as if often the case when that occurs, the chances of a finish inside the distance are high here.
Sherman has a high offensive output, but Willis is the quicker of the two despite his portly appearance, and he’s also the better wrestler of the two, so if things aren’t going well then takedowns are also an option, so I like ‘Big Pretty’ to get the job done here inside of 10 minutes.
Justin Willis to win by TKO in Rd2.
David Branch vs. Thiago Santos
This should play out like a typical striker vs. grappler match-up, though to be fair, Branch isn’t completely out of his element on the feet these days.
However, he’s simply nowhere close to being as lethal as Santos is in that regard, and so he’s likely to be in pursuit of the takedown early and often here, which has proven to be a successful strategy for him in the past, stifling his opponents and threatening with submissions.
Santos has good takedown defense though and does well to find ways back to his feet when he does get put on his back, and I think if he gets extended periods to make his mark at striking range then he’s going to find a finish here by the second round.
Thiago Santos to win by TKO in Rd2.
Brett Johns vs. Aljamain Sterling
Aljamain Sterling returns to action after a devastating KO loss last time out, which will test his mental resolve as he looks to try to return to winning ways and put that setback in the rear-view mirror.
Johns is not known as a knockout puncher himself, but like Sterling he can hold his own on the feet and excels on the mat, so we’re looking at a pretty evenly matched contest here on paper.
Nevertheless, I do feel that Sterling has the edge over Johns in most regards and assuming he’s not a shadow of his former self following his last fight then I think he’ll edge out this one on the judges scorecards.
Aljamain Sterling to win by decision.
Daniel Hooker vs. Jim Miller
Miller is coming off a three-fight losing streak here, albeit to three quality opponents in Dustin Poirier, Anthony Pettis and Francisco Trinaldo.
Hooker doesn’t have the same name value as those three, but he presents some notable problems for the veteran here, being the younger, larger fighter who will come into this one enjoying both a four inch height and reach advantage, which he’ll use to good effect fighting from range.
Miller’s best bet would be to use his grappling skills, but at this stage in his career I think he’s going to struggle to overpower and outwork the younger man and Hooker will be the one with his hand raised at the end of the 15 minute encounter.
Daniel Hooker to win by decision.
Prelims (FOX Sports 1): (Predicted winners in bold)
Alex Garcia vs. Ryan LaFlare
Siyar Bahadurzada vs. Luan Chagas
Corey Anderson vs. Patrick Cummins
Prelims (Fight Pass):
Aspen Ladd vs. Leslie Smith
Merab Dvalishvili vs. Ricky Simon
Tony Martin vs. Keita Nakamura