UFC fight Night 158 takes place tomorrow night in Canada and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Donald Cerrone vs. Justin Gaethje
Fireworks are guaranteed in this match-up, but whose left standing after they’ve all gone off remains to be seen.
Cerrone has pretty much seen it all during his long career, but even so Gaethje still figures to offer up something different as his pace, pressure and volume striking is completely off the charts.
That offense can leave Gaethje open to getting hit and while he generally has a very good chin and relies heavily on it, that’s a risky strategy against someone as technically capable as Cerrone.
however, ‘Cowboy’ has had issues starting off too slowly in the past and has never been particularly comfortable dealing with lots of pressure, so that could be a big problem for him here.
Cerrone might be wise to use his crafty ground game here in the hopes of finding a submission, but Gaethje’s wrestling will make it easier said than done, and he’s more likely to be drawn into a stand-up battle here early in the fight.
Gaethje is still dealing with the residual effects of an eye infection, which is a bit concerning, but I still expect to see him throwing everything he’s got at Cerrone from the opening bell, putting him on the backfoot where he’s less comfortable and being rewarded with a first round TKO stoppage victory.
Justin Gaethje wins by decision.
Nikita Krylov vs. Glover Teixeira
In the old days Teixeira might have been happy to just slug it out on the feet with Krylov, but at the age of 39 there’s been visible signs that he’s started slowing down in his more recent fights and his chin isn’t as solid as it once was.
As such, Teixeira is now leaning more heavily on his wrestling and submission skills to win fights, and it’s actually proven to be an effective strategy that’s helping to prolong his career.
Krylov will be the quicker man and fights at a higher tempo, while he’s always on the hunt for a finish (this is a man who has finished all 25 of his career victories by either strikes or submission).
I don’t think he’ll overwhelm Teixeira early though as Krylov’s defense is poor, leaving the Brazilian with opportunities to land heavy hands if neccessary, but it’s more likely that he’ll just use his wrestling advantage to take him down and find a submission sooner rather than later.
Glover Teixeira wins by submission in Rd1.
Todd Duffee vs. Jeff Hughes
Todd Duffee is an impressive and imposing physical specimen, who seemed to fit in back in the days when lumbering giants like Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin ruled the roost, but injuries and illnesses have ravaged his career and as a result it’s been well over four years since he last fought.
With that in mind it’s difficult to know what to expect here. As his physique implies, Duffee has big knockout power and he moves well enough for a big man, but there’s not too many other strings to his bow and his chin is questionable.
Hughes on the other hand is far less of an athlete and doesn’t wield the same kind of power, but he is pretty durable, is a capable all-rounder and even has five-round experience under his belt on a couple of occasions competing in title fights for LFA within the last couple of years, so he may well be hoping to take the potentially ring-rusty Duffee into deeper waters here.
Nevertheless, while it’s somewhat of a gamble to side with Duffee given all of his obvious issues, I still favor his power and athleticism to enable him to earn a knockout stoppage early in the fight here before his energy reserves run out.
Todd Duffee wins by KO in Rd1.
Michel Pereira vs. Tristan Connelly
Pereira earned a quick highlight reel victory in his first fight in the UFC and now he welcomes a late replacement in Connelly for his UFC debut, which comes on less than a week’s notice.
Having so little time to prepare is always a concern, but even moreso given that Connelly is also stepping up a weight class to fight a naturally bigger man in Pereira.
Connelly will be hoping to make his grappling advantage pay off, but I’ll take Pereira’s size, power and flashy striking techniques to win out here courtesy of a first round TKO stoppage.
Michel Pereira wins by TKO in Rd1.
Antonio Carlos Junior vs. Uriah Hall
It’s unfortunate that 14-fights into his UFC career Hall has still failed to fully harness his full potential.
At his best he’s still a lethal striker capable of producing jaw-dropping finishes in the blink of an eye, but all too often he continues to lack that killer instinct and struggles to pull the trigger.
If he is in the right frame of mind then this could be a fight to make something happen on the feet as Carlos Junior is not much of a striker.
However, that’s largely because ‘Shoe Face’ is far more interested in utilizing his grappling skills, and though Hall generally has good takedown defense, I think it’s only a matter of time before he is able to pick his moment to get the fight to the ground – particularly if his opponent isn’t dictating the action on the feet as forcefully as he should.
Carlos Junior has a strong track record of finding submission finishes on the mat and I think there’s a good chance he chokes out Hall by the second round here.
Antonio Carlos Junior wins by submission in Rd2.
Misha Cirkunov vs. Jim Crute
Crute has so far successfully transitioned from being part of the Contender Series to finding his feet in the UFC with two victories under his belt to date, but the undefeated 23-year-old Aussie faces a step up in competition now against Cirkunov.
Crute is still very much a work-in-progress, but he’s shown promise on the feet and on the mat, which bodes well for his long-term career.
It remains to be seen whether that will be enough against Cirkunov though. The Latvian fighter can be a bit underwhelming on the feet and his punch resistance has become a major cause for concern after losing three of his last four fights by strikes inside the first round.
Nevertheless, Cirkunov remains a strong grappler with big ground and pound and submission awaiting anyone who he brings to the mat, and I think that may prove too much too soon for Crute, who will succumb to a submission finish in the second round.
Misha Cirkunov wins by submisison in Rd2.
Prelims (Predictions in bold)
Augusto Sakai vs. Marcin Tybura
Miles Johns vs. Cole Smith
Hunter Azure vs. Brad Katona
Jordan Griffin vs. Chas Skelly
Ryan MacDonald vs. Louis Smolka
Austin Hubbard vs. Kyle Prepolec