UFC Fight Night 180 takes place tomorrow night on Fight Island and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Brian Ortega vs. Chan Sung Jung
UFC Fight Night 180 concludes with one of the best fights on the month-long Fight Island schedule as Ortega returns from a near two-year layoff to fight ‘The Korean Zombie’.
Whether that time out is long enough to banish the memory of the brutal beatdown Ortega suffered in his first ever loss against Max Holloway last time out remains to be seen though as that was the kind of punishment that can take a lasting toll on a fighter.
Still, there’s no question that Ortega remains a very talented fighter, particularly on the mat, where his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is razor-sharp, while on the feet he’s shown good power in his boxing-orientated work and if nothing else his last outing demonstrated that he’s very durable.
That’s just as well as The Korean Zombie will throw everything but the kitchen sink at him on the feet with his all-action offensive style, and if Ortega hasn’t been working on his defense during the last couple of years then Jung will find plenty of opportunities to land his strikes.
That’s not to say Ortega couldn’t catch him with something – he did KO Frankie Edgar after all, but his best chance to win the fight would be to find a way to get this fight to the mat and show-off his excellent submission ability.
The Zombie has solid takedown defense and is actually a crafty grappler in his own right though, while Ortega’s wrestling isn’t a strong suit. With that in mind, together with ‘T-City’s’ long layoff I think Jung can keep this one upright and outgun him to earn a third round TKO stoppage.
Pick: Chan Sung Jung wins by TKO in Rd3.
Jéssica Andrade vs. Katlyn Chookagian
Given that she’s only 5ft 1″ tall with a 62″ reach, moving up a division to flyweight may seem a bit risky for former strawweight champ Andrade, but let’s not forget she actually compiled a 13-5 run a division higher at bantamweight earlier in her career.
That’s a testament to the stocky Andrade’s talents, being something of a fearless, hard-headed brawler on the feet, but backing it up with powerful wrestling and impressive cardio that enables her to push a relentlessly punishing pace.
Nevertheless, against Chookagian she will be giving up no less than 8″ in height and 6″ in reach, and she’s an assured volume striker who will look to use that size advantage to the fullest from range.
However, I think Chookagian’s lack of stopping power is going to be a problem as it’s hard to discourage Andrade from marching forward at the best of time, plus she doesn’t actually have the best striking defense.
Even if Chookagian is finding some success on the feet I think Andrade will be able to even the score by overpowering her to the mat when required and so I’m going to take the Brazilian to emerge victorious here via decision.
Pick: Jessica Andrade to win by decision.
Modestas Bukauskas vs. Jimmy Crute
After earned a TKO finish in his UFC debut to extend his unbeaten run to seven fights, ‘The Baltic Gladiator’ Bukauskas now squares up to Australia’s Jimmy Crute.
Crute is a solid all-rounder and hard worker whose solid striking and good grappling has taken him to 12 wins in 13 fights to date.
Meanwhile, Bukauskas is a capable kickboxer with a 4″ reach advantage who has a proven record of stopping opponents with strikes so far, though it remains to be seen if that trend will continue as the level of competition he faces increases in the Octagon.
I think Crute should be able to hold his own on the feet, but would be wise to make use of his advantage on the mat here to take control of the fight and secure a second round submission stoppage.
Pick: Jimmy Crute wins by submission in Rd2.
Claudio Silva vs. James Krause
This fight moves up to the main card on short notice after the Ciryl Gane vs. Ante Delija was called off yesterday, with Krause having initially accepted the fight only two weeks ago.
Silva has a strong 14-1 record, enjoying success with a style that makes up for a lack of refinement on the feet by delivering deadly submissions on the mat.
Krause is certainly the more well-rounded of the two and I think will have a significant advantage at striking range, while he’s well versed enough on the mat to not be quickly overwhelmed in the manner that some of Silva’s previous opponents have been, so I’ll take him to win by decision here.
Pick: James Krause wins by decision.
Thomas Almeida vs. Jonathan Martinez
Almeida has been out of action for the past two-and-a-half years, largely due to eye issues that required surgery, and now upon his return he fights short-notice opponent Martinez.
A talented offensive muay thai striker, Almeida ran through his first few opponents in the Octagon, taking his record to 20-0, but defensive frailties have cost him since then, leading to three losses in his last four fights.
Meanwhile, Martinez hasn’t made as electrifying an impression as Almeida during his 3-2 UFC run to date, but he’s shown off some effective muay thai striking of his own and has never been stopped inside the distance.
Overall though I feel Almeida’s offense is more potent here and though there might be some question marks over his chin, there’s no shame in being finished by someone like Cody Garbrandt. Martinez hasn’t fought anyone close to that level yet and I think he’ll find Almeida to be a problem here, leading to a second round TKO stoppage.
Pick: Thomas Almeida wins by TKO in Rd2.
Prelims (Predicted winners in bold)
Mateusz Gamrot vs. Guram Kutateladze
Gillian Robertson vs. Poliana Botelho
Jun Yong Park vs. John Phillips
G. Antigulov vs. Maxim Grishin
Said Nurmagomedov vs. Mark Striegl
Fares Ziam vs. Jamie Mullarkey