UFC Fight Night 71 Predictions

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Frank Mir vs. Todd Duffee:

Mike Drahota:

There’s not a whole lot to gain here for Mir, who as a former champion and legend of the sport, has faced and beaten a long list of talent much more illustrious than Duffee, a heavy-handed slugger who’s been a UFC ‘prospect’ for over five years now. Mir looked decent enough knocking out Antonio Silva earlier this year, but as we’ve repeatedly seen, that’s no tall task any longer. It’s tough to say where he’s really at after a long break, but I think he should be favored against Duffee due to is experience. Duffee just hasn’t faced any top contenders, and while his knockout power cannot be denied; I believe Mir will be too smart for that. If and when this fight goes to the ground, Mir’s submission skills should provide a huge test for Duffee. I’m not sure he’ll be able to pass that exam, so Mir by first round submission is my pick.

Rory Kernaghan:

Contrary to what the masses are probably betting on, I believe ex-UFC champion Frank Mir will continue the trend of old school fighters on the upswing at the moment. Fabricio Werdum, Andrei Arlovski and Robbie Lawler highlight a bunch of MMA throwbacks who are on a tear right now. Mir’s earth-shattering KO of Antonio Silva shows us his striking has evolved further since training at Greg Jackson’s MMA, and I’m not sure that Todd Duffee has the skills to deal with such a rolling force right now. The ex-champ’s world-class jiu-jitsu skills make him a nightmare on the mat; so going to the takedown might be ill advised for ‘Duff Man’. I think Mir will actually be quite comfortable in the stand up exchanges, once again probably going against the grain in terms of the consensus. I’ll take Frank Mir for another first round knockout.

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Mike Henken:

I think it’s pretty clear what each man’s strength is in this one, with Duffee obviously being the younger more explosive fighter with knockout power, while former champion Mir is the superior submission artist. Mir showed improved striking and power in his last bout and may be able to hang on the feet, but he’ll have to avoid the big shots. I expect the former champion to tire out his opponent, drag the fight to the ground, and end it there. Mir via third round submission.

Josh Thomson v. Tony Ferguson:

Mike Drahota:

I think this lightweight co-main event is flying a bit under the radar, as it will truly be a fight where Ferguson shows whether or not he’s ready to ascend to the upper echelons of the talented UFC lightweight arena. He’s been on a tear as of late, and the same can’t be said for Thomson. After storming his way back to the UFC, he’s since dropped two straight to Benson Henderson and Bobby Green, and has been plagued by a seemingly never-ending streak of nagging injuries. I don’t think he’ll be able to shake off the cobwebs against a rising opponent like ‘El Cucuy,’ who should use his reach to keep Thomson on the outside. ‘Punk’ is a beast in the wrestling department, but he’s also getting up there in age and Ferguson has a vast array of potentially fight-ending chokes if taken down. I think Thomson is on his way out and Ferguson is on his way up. For that reason, I’m picking Ferguson with another second round submission.

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Rory Kernaghan:

Josh Thomson has long been one of the best 155-pounders on the planet, but has never really shined since joining the UFC. A fantastic win over Nate Diaz did put him on the map momentarily, but an absolute snoozer against Benson Henderson and multiple injuries have seen ‘Punk’ once again shunned from the limelight. Tony Ferguson is a straight up beast, and has come on leaps since his days in the Ultimate Fighter house. ‘El Cucuy’ has the height and reach advantage and is currently riding a five-fight promotional win streak. Contrastingly, Thomson has lost two straight, and sat dormant for a year now, so it looks like it’s an easy pick, right? Wrong! I don’t think Ferguson has what it takes to beat ‘Punk’, even with his physical advantages. I see Thomson here with his back against the wall, needing to prove a point and arguably fight for his job. Thomson by decision.

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Mike Henken:

Like in the main event, the co-main event also has a sense of experience vs. youth, as Thomson has been around forever, while Ferguson has recently hit his stride by winning five straight. Both men are pretty well rounded with the “Punk” possibly owning the grappling advantage, but I feel as if he is an aging veteran on the decline. I believe the younger “El Cucuy” will get the job done tonight. Ferguson by unanimous decision.

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