UFC Fight Night 151 (aka UFC On ESPN+ 9) takes place tomorrow night Ottowa, Canada and you can check out our predictions for all the fights below.
Donald Cerrone vs. Al Iaquinta
It’s good to see Cerrone fully settling into life back at lightweight where he’s best suited and he’ll have a 2″ height and 3″ reach advantage here against Iaquinta.
Cerrone will use that to the fullest as he looks to stay at range and work his kicking game, while he’ll threaten with well-timed knees when Iaquinta does step into range.
Iaquinta will be hard to keep at bay though. He likes to pressure in a methodical fashion and he is the superior boxer here, who has the potential to cause ‘Cowboy’ real problems when he closes the distance and lets his hands go, while his body work is also likely to pay dividends as that’s been a weak point for his opponent in the past.
Cerrone does have a sharp ground game to call upon if need me too and he does transition well from striking to knee-tap takedowns, so that could be an important factor for him, though Iaquinta’s takedown defense is generally very good and he’s no pushover on the mat.
Cerrone has more weapons here, but I think Iaquinta’s boxing, pressure and toughess are going to put him out of his comfort zone here and lead to a third round TKO victory for ‘Raging’ Al.
Al Iaquinta wins by TKO in Rd3.
Derek Brunson vs. Elias Theodorou
The co-main even features two fighters who have opposing style of fighting.
Though he started out as a wrestler, these days Brunson’s gameplan more often than not is to barrel forward in an aggressive and often somewhat sloppy fashion looking to use his knockout power to end the fight, and in all fairness, it does earn him his fair share of finishes at a certain level.
Theodorou on the other hand is far more conservative, looking to operate on the outside using movement and landing leg and body kicks that never seem to be thrown with any other intention than to score points and help him on his way to a decision victory.
That offers both fighters a clear path to victory here, but since Theodorou isn’t likely to make Brunson think twice about coming foward, I do think that will play into his hands as he marauds forward and eventually closes down Theodorou, before using his power to bring the fight to a halt inside of two rounds.
Derek Brunson wins by TKO in Rd2.
Cub Swanson vs. Shane Burgos
This is a big fight for both men here. Swanson needs to get back to winning ways after losing a trio of fights to top-flight competition, while Burgos has marked himself out as a talented fighter after a 4-1 run in the UFC to date, but hasn’t yet claimed a big-name scalp.
This should be an exciting stand-up battle as Swanson is a well versed, high-tempo creative striker, while the younger, fresher Burgos should be able to match his pace and is also a talented and aggressive fighter who will offer up a high volume of strikes.
Aiding Burgos will be a notable reach advantage, but his offensive style can come at the cost of defensive lapses and he has been both dropped and stopped in his UFC run to date.
it’s very tempting to pick Burgos here. Swanson’s on a losing streak and is a battle-worn veteran at this point, but it would be wrong to read too much into his recent fights given that the level of opposition was so high.
Perhaps this will be a changing of the guard – Burgos certainly is talented enough, but I think there’s still life left in Swanson yet. He’s still only been stopped once by strikes in his entire career, he’s going to be the more versatile offensively here and his vast experience will help him narrowly edge out Burgos on the scorecards.
Cub Swanson wins by decision.
Brad Katona vs. Merab Dvalishvili
Dvalishvili’s 8-4 record doesn’t look too impressive on paper, especially having lost two of his three fights in the UFC, but truth be told he actually performed better there than the results suggest.
That being said, Dvalishvili isn’t exactly a refined fighter, instead relying on being something of a wildman in the cage, who fights at a very high tempo, whether it’s looking for strikes or going for takedowns.
A former TUF winner, Katona is a more measured fighter, but he has more pop in his punches, is fairly well rounded and he has the confidence that comes with being an undefeated prospect.
I could see this one going to the judges and Dvalishvili’s work rate and frequent takedowns may well help him to take the decision victory here.
Merab Dvalishvili wins by decision.
Walt Harris vs. Sergey Spivak
With an undefeated 9-0 record to date, Spivak now looks to make his mark in his UFC debut on Saturday night.
In Harris he faces a middle-of-the-road heavyweight who is big, athletic and hits very hard, but can struggle to step up the gears at times and take full advantage of his physical abilities.
Spivak shows promise for a 24-year-old, being a decent wrestler with a submission threat who can also be a threat on the feet, but I think he’s going to find it hard to get Harris down here and is going to find himself outgunned in the striking exchanges, leading to a first round finish.
Walt Harris wins by TKO in Rd1.
Marc-Andre Berriault vs. Andrew Sanchez
Berriault arrives in the UFC after an impressive run on the regional circuit and he’s got good stopping power, but also has other skills that mean he’s not solely reliant on that to get the job done.
Meanwhile, Sanchez has had mixed results since winning The Ultimate Fighter, having lost lost two of his last three fights by strikes after fading in the third round.
If Sanchez hasn’t learned his lesson then Berriault is the kind of fighter that could pose him similar problems, but I think Sanchez’s wrestling will be key in this fight and allow him to stop his opponent from getting comfortable in the Octagon and will see him go on to earn a decision victory.
Andrew Sanchez wins by decision.
Prelims (Predicted winners in bold)
Sarah Moras vs. Macy Chiasson
Aiemann Zahabi vs. Vince Morales
Nordine Taleb vs. Kyle Prepolec
Kyle Nelson vs. Matt Sayles
Juan Adams vs. Arjan Bhullar
Mitch Gagnon vs. Cole Smith