UFC Fight Night 191 takes place tomorrow night in Las Vegas and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Derek Brunson vs. Darren Till
The No.5 ranked Brunson comes into this fight off a four-fight winning streak, while though he’s only two places behind him at No.7, Till has actually lost three of his last four fights.
So, there’s a lot of pressure on the 28-year-old Till to perform here and he certainly has the skills to do so as he’s a talented striker who combines technique, power and accuracy, along with also having solid takedown defense.
However, though there was a sense early in his UFC run while he was still unbeaten that Till could be a dominant striker with a confident swagger, since he’s started losing fights and also having to step up to middleweight he’s lost some of that self-confidence and intimidation factor, and despite his striking ability he actually offers up quite a low output on the feet.
Brunson has no such confidence issues right now given how well things have been going for him, and while he’s known a a threat on the feet, it’s his wrestling that has often been a key factor for him.
That’s partly because Brunson’s striking can be a bit sloppy at times, relying to much on loading up with big power shots without really setting them up correctly, whereas his wrestling is more methodical.
So Till’s takedown defense will be crucial here if he wants to emerge victorious, and the fact that he’s comfortable fighting at range will benefit him in that regard. From there I do think that his cleaner, more technical striking and ability to counter will enable him to chip away at the holes in Brunson’s striking defense, which will enable him to cautiously edge his way to a decision win.
Pick: Darren Till wins by decision.
Tom Aspinall vs. Sergey Spivak
The 26-year-old Spivak is riding a three-fight winning streak coming into this fight, but only had a week to prepare for it as a short-notice replacement after Aspinall’s original opponent Sergei Pavlovich was forced out of the bout due to Visa issues.
Aspinall also has three wins in a row after making his debut last year, taking him to No.13 in the heavyweight rankings, with Spivak just one place behind him, so a win here could push either close to a spot in the top 10.
The 28-year-old Aspinall has a very good boxing base by heavyweight standards, offering up good volume and power, but he also has a BJJ black belt, can wrestle and is in good shape physically too.
Spivak is well-rounded too though as while he’s not as hard-hitting as Aspinall he can mix it up on the feet, though he’s more effective on the mat with his wrestling and submission threat.
Given that they are both relatively young by heavyweight standards and are in good form it’s unfortunate that they didn’t have a full training camp to prepare specifically for each other, but I do believe the outcome may be the same regardless, with Aspinall proving to be the more dangerous, technical and agile striker here, with his forward pressure leading to a second round TKO finish.
Pick: Tom Aspinall wins by TKO in Rd2.
Alex Morono vs. David Zawada
Morono is another short-notice replacement who is coming in off a big TKO win over Donald Cerrone, while Zawada will have less confidence having lost three of his last four fights, albeit with two of the losses coming by way of split decision.
Cerrone is no longer the fighter he once was, so Morono’s win doesn’t mean quite as much as it once did, but he’s a fairly solid all-rounder who applies good pressure and active aggression on the feet with his punches and kicks, while he can also operate on the mat and has several wins by submission.
Zawada is also capable wherever the fight goes, though I suspect it’s his mat work that could present his best opportunity to get the better of Morono here.
However, I think Morono’s busier, more effective work on the feet is going to be the difference-maker here and lead him to a decision win.
Pick: Alex Morono wins by decision.
Modestas Bukauskas vs. Khalil Rountree
After picking up a win in his UFC debut, Bukauskas has since sufferd back-to-back losses, while Rountree has just one win in his last four bouts.
Both fighters here are strikers, with Bukauskas enjoying a couple of extra inches in height and 1.5″ in reach, which plays into his distance-based striking, being effective at working off the back-foot and landing on the counter.
Rountree has developed a very nice muay thai style and has good power in his punches to go alongside heavy leg kicks, but there’s a feeling that he has some level of concern over his cardio and as such if he doesn’t find a finish early he tends to fight more cautiously and his output suffers as a result.
Both men have a solid chance at emerging victorious here, but I feel Bukauskas’ work from range will enable him to steer clear of his opponent’s power punches and afford him opportunities to land on the counter, which will help him seal a win on the scorecards.
Pick: Modestas Bukauskas wins by decision.
Paddy Pimblett vs. Luigi Vendramini
Pimblett has been one of the most highly touted prospects from the UK in recent years, following in the footsteps of Conor McGregor by becoming a champion in the cage Warriors promotion and also possessing a gift for the gab.
However, Pimblett actually turned down a chance to join the UFC earlier in his career as he wanted more time to develop, before finally joining with a 16-3 record to face Vendaramini, who has only gone 1-2 in his UFC run so far.
Vendramini is also a relatively young prospect at 25-years-old and already has a fairly well-rounded skill-set, but he’s been held back by having to undergo two ACL surgeries in a row, which kept him out of the Octagon for two years.
Like Vendramini, Pimblett is well-rounded, though his strongest suit is certainly his slick jiu-jitsu on the mat that will see him easily switch between submissions, scrambles and transitions, while his striking is more of a work-in-progress that’s steadily developed over time.
Vendramini will likely have the stand-up advantage here and carries more power, but he also likes to grapple and I could see that be where Pimblett’s crafty jiu-jitsu will pay dividends and set him up for a second round submission finish.
Pick: Paddy Pimblett wins by submission in Rd2.
Prelims (Predicted winners in bold)
Jonathan Martinez vs. Marcelo Rojo
Molly McCann vs. Ji Yeon Kim
Marc-Andre Barriault vs. Dalcha Lungiambula
Julian Erosa vs. Charles Jourdain
Liudvik Sholinian vs. Jack Shore