Mark Munoz vs. Gegard Mousasi:
Mike Drahota: This is a make-or-break for Munoz; Mousasi probably has a bit more leeway given his only UFC loss was to Lyoto Machida. But ‘The Dreamcatcher’ hasn’t exactly impressed in the Octagon either, and his lackadaisical style could use some aggression. Munoz will obviously be looking for the takedown and his subsequent ground and pound; it’s on Mousasi to keep the fight standing and exercise his considerable striking advantage. It’s been a rough stretch for Munoz, and this fight will tell us if he can continue fighting on. I think he can, so I’m picking Munoz by unanimous decision.
Rory Kernaghan: Gegard Mousasi and Mark Munoz is a typical battle of striker vs. wrestler, one which I believe Munoz will be the winner of. I think ‘The Dreamcatcher’ will certainly be the better standing, but I don’t think ‘The Filipino Wrecking Machine’ will want any of that. Look for Munoz to take Mousasi down and batter him for five rounds with his gnarly ground and pound. Munoz by decision.
Brian Cox: Mark Munoz – as nice as he is – is a nightmare to deal with if he doesn’t have a bad foot and your last name isn’t Machida. For me, I fail to see how Mousasi carries the day in this one. Mousasi is lost in the transitional game, and where he has better technique on the feet, it will mean nothing when he’s being blown off of them. I have to go with Munoz in this one, by way of a first round TKO.
Buster Evans: Mark Munoz vs. Gegard Mousasi is a huge fight in the middleweight division and I predict it to be a war. Both men have the skills to pull of the win, however, Mousasi is more skilled all around with deadly striking and a dangerous ground game. If Munoz can impose his will early and secure a takedown, I can see him being able to stop “The Dreamcatcher”. But, I just can’t see that happening. Look for Mousasi to take his time and pick apart his opponent before finishing him with strikes late on. Mousasi RD 4 TKO.
Francis Carmont vs. CB Dollaway:
Mike Drahota: Carmont recently saw a huge win streak dissipate when he met up with Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza at UFC Fight Night 36; he’s got another tough opponent in Dollaway, who probably should be on a four-fight win streak right now. ‘The Doberman’s’ striking looked accurate and powerful against Cezar Ferreira in March, but I know Carmont won’t be charging in recklessly like ‘Mutante’ did. With both being top-level wrestlers, this should be a grinding, back-and-forth affair where each advantage comes at a premium. I’m going with Dollaway by decision because he has the momentum in his favor.
Rory Kernaghan: Fresh off his first round starching of ‘Mutante,’ C.B. Dollaway looks to continue his run of form against the taller and lankier man. I think that styles make fights, and Carmont’s strength and agility are also a factor. Long jabs, long night for Dollaway; Carmont by decision.
Brian Cox: Dollaway vs. Carmont will be a question of who is the more aggressive wrestler. Carmont has demonstrated himself to be an athletic and imposing fight, however, so has Dollaway. Their match is a mirror image one. Both are powerful, can go the full three, and have considerable wrestling skills. Conversely, neither is renowned for their stand-up. The surprise of this bout will be if one fighter demonstrates a new dynamic. I’ll take a unanimous decision victory for CB Dollaway.
Buster Evans: In my opinion, C.B. Dollaway is one of the most underrated middleweights in the division and he can cause trouble for most on any given night. The problem is he’s going up against one of the biggest talents in his division. Francis Carmont is a highly-skilled grappler with a lot of power to go with it, in his last fight with “Jacare” Souza, the Frenchman showed a vastly improved striking game despite losing. I’m going with Carmont via unanimous decision.
Stipe Miocic vs. Fabio Maldonado:
Mike Drahota: This makeshift main event undoubtedly has the potential to be exciting, if only for the fact that Maldonado can absorb an ungodly amount of punishment. Although I’d hate to be his neurologist, any long-term brain damage should be far off enough to keep him upright against Miocic. But that doesn’t mean he’s going to be able to deal with the highly ranked heavyweight’s size, speed, and technical prowess. Maldonado will bring a fight; Miocic will take home a win. Miocic by unanimous decision.
Rory Kernaghan: Stipe Miocic and Fabio Maldonado have been thrown together for a heavyweight battle, and I expect this to look more like a boxing match than MMA. ‘The Iron Hillbilly’ has a great chin and heart, as we saw against Glover Teixeira, but he may be outgunned here. Miocic has a five-inch reach advantage, three-inch height advantage, and is naturally the bigger man. Both guys have strong grappling, Miocic a wrestler, and Maldonado a Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt under the Nogueira brothers, but I feel a long night of eating jabs is in store for the Brazilian; Stipe Miocic takes a decision.
Brian Cox: Stipe Miocic is the real deal. He is a large, powerful, and athletically gifted heavyweight. He has all the tools that would allow for a fighter to assume the ‘largest’ mantle. Yet, he faces a solid boxer (Maldonado) and one that has proven tenacious in the Octagon. By spreadsheet and algorithm Miocic should carry the day. However, as I lover underdogs and a good story, I have to go with the lesser value. As such, I’m picking Fabio Maldonado for the unanimous decision upset.
Buster Evans: We already know Brazil’s Fabio Maldonado is as tough as they come. But the former pro boxer has excelled himself, showing us what a warrior he really is, by stepping up to heavyweight to take on Stipe Miocic. He could be in for a very rough night against the Ohio native, who was originally expected to face Junior Dos Santos. Miocic is bigger, stronger and the more skilled opponent and I expect him to run through Maldonado. Miocic round via 2 TKO.
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