UFC Fight Night 135 takes place tomorrow night and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Justin Gaethje vs. James Vick
Gaethje’s recklessly offensive style has finally started to catch up with him in his last two fights, both of which led to him being stopped by strikes, but that doesn’t make him a bad fighter.
It’s just that he’s now been facing other elite-level fighters, and for the most part he’s been holding his own and posing problems for them too, so it would be wrong to assume that he’s now washed up and easy picking for other leading contenders.
Vick is a dangerous fighter in his own right though, holding a major physical advantage in terms of his height and reach, while he’s also the crisper, more technical boxer of the two.
However, it’s likely that he’ll have difficulty in establish and maintaining his range in this fight as Gaethje will be applying serious pressure from the opening bell and showing a willingness to walk through his offense to get into range to land his own strikes.
That’s not something that Vick is used to and I think there’s a good chance that Gaethje’s offensive onslaught will take him out of his game and eventually lead to a third round TKO stoppage for ‘The Highlight.’
Justin Gaethje to win by TKO in Rd3.
Michael Johnson vs. Andre Fili
After a rough run at lightweight against a string of top-flight opponents, Johnson looks to start afresh at featherweight against a fighter in Fili who shares a similar blend of boxing and wrestling.
Johnson is the more athletic fighter with faster hands and puts more into his punches, though admittedly that extra exertion means he’s the more likely to tire of the two.
Fili could have a slight advantage if the fight goes to the mat, but I think it’s Johnson’s work on the feet that will decide this one, leading to a win on the scorecards to break his losing streak at last.
Michael Johnson to win by decision.
Jake Ellenberger vs. Bryan Barberena
Ellenberger really has to get a win her to remain in the UFC, having only won twice in his last ten appearances in the Octagon.
There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot left in his tank though, he’s far more hesitant than he was earlier in his career and his degraded chin doesn’t inspire confidence either.
Ellenberger still hits hard though and has solid wrestling if he chooses to use it, but I think the younger, fresher, hungrier Barberena has the striking skills and power to make life difficult for the veteran, leading to a stoppage due to strikes in the second round.
Bryan Barberena to win by TKO in Rd2.
Cortney Casey vs. Angela Hill
This fight feels like a good test for both of these strawweight contenders at this moment in time as both have talent, but haven’t quite made their mark in the division yet.
Casey is the harder-hitter of the two, but I think Hill is the quicker, more agile fighter on the feet and her movement and fast-paced style will be the big difference between them, enabling her to rack up a greater volume of strikes over the course of 15 minutes to emerge with her hand raised via a judges decision.
Angela Hill to win by decision.
John Moraga vs. Deiveson Figueiredo
It’s been so far, so good for Figueiredo in his MMA career to date, going 14-0 including showing off his stopping power during his three-fight stint in the UFC, but now he’s getting a step-up in competition.
Figueiredo will still be the harder-hitter here working on the counter and also has good submission skills too, but he’ll be dealing with a savvy fighter in Moraga who is well-rounded himself and should be landing at a higher clip on the feet and be able to handle himself on the mat too.
It’s a close one and this could be Figueiredo’s opportunity to shine, but I’ll take Moraga to edge him out and claim a decision win.
John Moraga to win by decision.
Eryk Anders vs. Tim Williams
This is a curious match-up given that Anders is coming off a close split-decision loss in a main event against Machida, while Williams suffered a KO loss in his only Octagon outing to date.
As such, it’s hard to see this as anything other than a fight to get Anders back to winning ways and I think he’ll do just that, preventing Williams from getting the fight to the mat and punishing him on the feet, leading to a knockout victory in the first round.
Eryk Anders to win by KO in Rd1.
Prelims (Predicted winners in bold)
Mickey Gall vs. George Sullivan
James Krause vs. Warlley Alves
Joanne Calderwood vs. Kalindra Faria
Iuri Alcantara vs. Cory Sandhagen
Luke Sanders vs. Rani Yahya
Andrew Sanchez vs. Antonio Braga Neto
Drew Dober vs. Jon Tuck