UFC Fight Night 148 takes place tomorrow night and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Stephen Thompson vs. Anthony Pettis
While you have to admire Pettis’ courage in moving up to welterweight and immediately calling out Thompson, you have to also wonder if it was really such a good idea.
After all, Pettis just got beaten up badly enough by Tony Ferguson at lightweight that his corner threw in the towel inbetween rounds, while it wasn’t that long ago that ‘Showtime’ even dropped down to featherweight to try to kickstart his career, only to be TKO’d by Max Holloway.
Pettis remains a gifted striker though, but he’s called out one of the welterweight division’s best stand-up technicians in Thompson, who is more naturally suited to 170lbs and has a slight height (2″) and reach(3″) advantage.
For all his abilities, Thompson isn’t a pressure fighter though and that could suit Pettis, who likes space to unleash his full arsenal of strikes, but ‘Wonderboy’ has plenty of his own and has very good range management, so that, coupled with his overall size advantage makes this a fight I believe he’ll be able to get the better of, outpointing Pettis on the feet to earn a decision victory.
Stephen Thompson wins by decision.
Curtis Blaydes vs. Justin Willis
Francis Ngannou remains the only fighter to have beaten Blaydes, so there’s no reason he shouldn’t still be feeling confident heading into this fight with Willis, who will be looking for another big win after having defeated Mark Hunt last time out to extend his winning streak to four fights.
Willis is a huge man, but for all that he’s not a particularly heavy hitter, which will be good news for Blaydes, who can strike, but will surely prefer to get into range and look for takedowns.
I don’t expect to see a great deal of resistance from Willis to the takedown and once he’s flat on the mat Blaydes should be comfortable and will eventually wear down ‘Big Pretty’ to earn a third round TKO stoppage via ground and pound.
Curtis Blaydes wins by TKO in Rd3.
John Makdessi vs. Jesus Pinedo
While Makdessi has talked about retiring not so long after, Pinedo is still only 22-years-old and has already shown a good deal of promise.
Pinedo will press the action on the feet and has a six inch reach advantage to aid him in his aggressive offense, but though he’s shorter and has limited reach, Makdessi is a talented striker, who maybe not have big knockout power, but will definitely be the better technician on the feet here and could well pick holes in his opponent’s defense.
Pinedo’s aggression upright also translates on the mat and he’s a significant threat from submissions, but I’m not convinced his wrestling is sharp enough to bring Makdessi down.
Instead I favor Makdessi to be the slicker operator on the feet and edge out a close decision verdict.
John Makdessi wins by decision.
Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Jussier Formiga
These two fighters have been hit harder than most by the persistent rumors that the flyweight division is on the verge of being shuttered as they are teetering right on the verge of title contention.
Formiga is in fact the No.1 contender at 125lbs, making use of his strong grappling and deadly rear-naked chokes to climb his way up the ranks.
On the other hand, Figueiredo is as venemous a striker as you’ll find at flyweight and has the kind of raw athleticism that can make up for his lack of technical polish.
This isn’t a clear-cut striker vs grappler match-up since both fighters are capable in other aspects of fighting, but I still feel they are more likely to play to their strengths and I’m leaning slightly towards Figueiredo’s aggression, power and athleticism to win out, producing a second round TKO stoppage.
Deiveson Figuieredo wins by decision.
Luis Pena vs. Steven Peterson
Hard as it is to believe, the already lanky 6ft 3″ Pena is actually dropping down a weight class to 145lbs for this fight, which he insists is a division he’s better suited to given his naturally lean frame.
That’ll give him a 6″ height and reach advantage over Peterson, which he’ll try to use as best he can to keep the aggressive brawler at bay, but really he’ll be seeking opportunities to bring this fight to the mat.
From there Pena’s lengthy limbs make him very difficult to deal with and he’s effective in the scramble and has a good chance to work for a submission finish.
Peterson isn’t out of his depth on the mat either and could also be looking for subs, but I think Pena will prove to be the superior grappler with the physical advantages to help him produce a tap-out finish mid-way through the fight.
Luis Pena wins by submission in Rd2.
J.J. Aldrich vs. Maycee Barber
Just this very week Dana White namchecked Barber as one of the potential UFC stars of the future, and at 20-years-old she certainly already has a well developed MMA game and is a determined competitor.
That’s not to say there isn’t a lot of work still to be done for Barber though, particularly on the feet, and that will give Aldrich hope as she shoud be the more technical fighter on the feet.
However, Barber is light years ahead of Aldrich in terms of athleticism, is the stronger wrestler and will be keeping up a relentless pace as she gradually wears down her opponent and earns a third round TKO stoppage.
Maycee Barber wins by TKO in Rd3.
Prelims (Predicted winners in bold)
Bryce Mitchell vs. Bobby Moffett
Frankie Saenz vs. Marlon Vera
Alexis Davis vs.Jennifer Maia
Angela Hill vs. Randa Markos
Chris Gutierrez vs. Ryan MacDonald
Jordan Espinosa vs. Eric Shelton