UFC Fight Night 169 takes place in Norfolk, Virginia and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Joseph Benavidez vs. Deiveson Figueiredo
After having been No.2 in the flyweight division for so long during Demetrious Johnson’s title reign, fate has finally given Benavidez a chance to win the vacant title and become a champion, but with only one loss in 18 career fights, Figueiredo has other plans for the belt.
At 35, Benavidez is perhaps no longer in his prime and may be starting to slow down a touch, but he’s still relative quick, accurate striker and pushes a hard pace on the feet, while also being a very good wrestler with an always dangerous guillotine choke.
Figueiredeo is three years younger than Benavidez and will have a 3″ reach advantage to go along with genuine power in his punches and a somewhat unorthadox striking style that can catch opponents off-guard.
Figueiredo is also skilled on the mat, but I don’t think he will get the better of a savvy veteran like Benavidez there, and in the end I believe it’ll be the tireless and consistent output from Benavidez that will help him secure a decision victory to win the belt.
Joseph Benavidez wins by decision.
Felicia Spencer vs. Zarah Fairn dos Santos
last year both of these two fighters faced Megan Anderson with completely opposite outcomes as Spencer emerged with a first round submission victory, while dos Santos was tapped out equally swiftly.
You can’t always read too much into that, but realistically I do think that says a lot about how this fight will go if it hits the ground, though dos Santos does have a large height and reach advantage on the feet and some power to back it up to keep things interesting.
Nonetheless, Spencer will undoubtedly look to utilize her superior wrestling and submission skills here and I think she’ll secure a first round tapout.
Prediction: Felicia Spencer wins by submission in Rd1
Ion Cuțelaba vs. Magomed Ankalaev
Cutelaba’s style is well established by this point – he’s a dangerous striking powerhouse in the early stages of the fight and also can be a threat on the mat, but if he doesn’t get that first round finish then he starts to run out of steam.
That could well be a problem against a more methodical fighter with a well-rounded skill-set like Ankalaev, who has the technical skill to be competitive on the feet, is the stronger grappler and has the larger gas tank.
Cutelaba’s ferocious style will undoubtedly make him dangerous in that first five minutes, so anything could happen, but I see Ankalaev surviving and using his wrestling in the later rounds to control the fight and earn a decision win.
Magomed Ankalaev wins by decision.
Megan Anderson vs. Norma Dumont Viana
Anderson has almways been first and foremost a striker and has shown weaknesses on the mat, but last time out she earned a submission victory which shows she’s making in-roads into evolving her game.
Viana may still fancy her chances against her on the mat though, but this fight feels like a tall order for her given that she’s coming of an 18-month layoff to make her UFC debut, only has four fights to her name and will be giving up 5″ in height and 6″ in reach to Anderson.
It’s hard to pick against Anderson here and I think her striking will get the job done in the first round by TKO.
Megan Anderson wins by TKO in Rd1.
Gabriel Silva vs. Kyler Phillips
These two fighters have yet to prove themselves in the UFC, but in fairness Silva had a tough first outing against Ray Borg, while Phillips makes his debut after previously having stints on both TUF and the Contender Series.
Phillips is the younger and rawer fighter of the two, but he shows some promise and can operate from distance with kicks and punches, while also mixing things up on the mat too.
Silva has more power than technique upright, but really it’s his grappling that is his biggest strength and he’ll be hoping to submit Phillips.
Both of these fighters are relatively unproven so it’s not an easy fight to predict, but i’m leaning towards Phillips offering more variety on the feet and managing the distance better to edge out a win on the scorecards.
Kyler Phillips wins by decision.
Prelims (Predicted winners in bold)
Brendan Allen vs. Tom Breese
Marcin Tybura vs. Sergey Spivak
Jordan Griffin vs. TJ Brown
Luis Peña vs. Steve Garcia
Aalon Cruz vs. Spike Carlyle
Ismail Naurdiev vs. Sean Brady