UFC On ESPN 6 takes place this coming Friday night in Boston and you can check out our predictions for all the fights below.
Dominick Reyes vs. Chris Weidman
Stepping up to light-heavyweight is a risky move for Weidman given that he’s been stopped by strikes no less that four times in his last five fights at middleweight, and some of them being particularly brutal.
His first test at 205lbs will put that chin in danger as ‘The Devastator’ Reyes, who has proven to be a lethal striker with kicks and punches and can operate well from range, though in recent times he’s also shown he can continue to press on and win by decision if a finish doesn’t come his way.
While Weidman is a very capable boxer, it doesn’t appear to be in his best interests to stand with Reyes and so this seems like a good time to accept that he’d be better served using his very good grappling skills to get this fight to the mat and test Reyes in a way that he’s not really been so far in his UFC career at this level.
On the feet there’s always going to be danger for Weidman, but generally he takes time to break down and I think that buys him enough time to implement his ground-based gameplan and then work for a submission finish.
Chris Weidman wins by submission in Rd2.
Yair Rodriguez vs. Jeremy Stephens
The bad blood between these two has escalated to a whole new level since their original fight was declared a no-contest after just 15 seconds due to a Rodriguez eye-poke a few weeks ago, and will add even more intensity to the striking battle this time around.
Rodriguez’s action-orientated style is based on flashy, eye-catching techniques and a relentless pursuit of not just a finish, but one worthy of a spot on his impressive highlight-reel.
Stephens on the other hand fights at a more measured pace, but does have heavy hands, so one big punch from him could shift the whole direction of the bout.
It’s worth noting thought that in terms of overall accuracy, Rodriguez is roughly on par with Stephens, despite his riskier techniques, and together with his good cardio and higher tempo I’m leaning towards ‘El Pantera’ to emerge with a third round TKO stoppage here, though he’ll have to watch out as ‘Lil Heathen’ could certainly catch him if he gets too caught up in their rivalry and disregards his defense too much.
Yair Rodriguez to win by TKO in Rd3.
Greg Hardy vs. Ben Sosoli
Despite a couple of first round TKO victories in a row, the UFC are still taking things slowly with former NFL player Hardy and he’s got a late replacement here in Sosoli, a veteran of both TUF and the Contender Series, who now makes his official Octagon debut.
Sosoli will happily trade on the feet and may well have the cardio edge, but I think Hardy’s power, speed and overall athleticism will help him on his way to another first round TKO Finish here.
Greg Hardy wins by TKO in Rd1.
Joe Lauzon vs. Jonathan Pearce
Lauzon has been out for 18 months since being TKO’d twice in a row and will now try to rejuvenate his long career against newcomer Pearce, who arrives off the back of a win on the Contender Series – the latest in a five-fight winning streak.
The 27-year-old Pearce is a proven finisher, including seven of his nine victories coming by way of strikes, and that’ll be a concern for Lauzon, whose chin isn’t what it once was and has a bad tendency to just freeze and put his guard up when he’s coming under sustained attack.
Lauzon has always had good grappling and at this stage in his career that would most certainly be his best route to success here, but though you’d never count out the crafty veteran from making something happen on the mat, I think it’s more likely that Pearce keeps a high tempo on the feet, hurts him and finds a TKO finish inside of 10 minutes.
Jonathan Pearce to win by TKO in Rd2.
Maycee Barber vs. Gillian Robertson
Two talented work-in-progress fighters battle it out here and it’s the 21-year-old Barber in particular who has been getting a lot of attention, having been earmarked as a potential star of the future.
She certainly has a lot of raw materials to work with, being a good athlete, strong, powerful and tenacious, along with possessing a winner’s mentality. Her ground game is definitely her forte, while on the feet she is a willing striker and can hit hard, but isn’t technical and is poor defensively.
At 21 there’s plenty of time for her to improve in that regard, and in this particular fight Robertson’s own underdeveloped striking means she shouldn’t be in much danger and can use her aggression and punching power to her advantage.
That being said, in the clinch and on the mat Robertson is a real threat and so while Barber might be the physically stronger and more offensive, she’ll have to be careful that she doesn’t leave herself open to being submitted.
In the end though I think it’s Barber who will be able to brute force her way to a TKO stoppage here.
Maycee Barber to win by TKO in Rd2.
Deron Winn vs. Darren Stewart
Winn is short and stocky, just like his mentor Daniel Cormier and also has a very good wrestling base to go alongside the fact that he’s happy to throw bombs on the feet.
It was the latter option that Winn opted for in his last fight, but it wouldn’t be smart to replicate that here as Stewart as not only is he at a big height and reach disadvantage, but he’s also up against someone who can throw heat in return.
However, while Stewart can also be effective with ground and pound, I don’t see him getting on top against Winn, who should be able to utilize his wrestling to control this fight on the mat and earn a decision victory.
Deron Winn to win by decision.
Prelims (Predicted winners in bold)
Manny Bermudez vs. Charles Rosa
Diana Belbita vs. Molly McCann
Kyle Bochniak vs. Sean Woodson
Brendan Allen vs. Kevin Holland
Randy Costa vs. Boston Salmon
Sean Brady vs. Court McGee
Daniel Spitz vs. Tanner Boser