UFC FIGHT NIGHT PREVIEW: Grocke’s Preview & Predictions including Lewis vs. Browne, Hendricks vs. Lombard, Sicilia vs. Tucker

By Michael Grocke, MMATorch contributor

The UFC travels north of the border for UFC Fight Night 105. The event takes place at the ScotiaBank Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The main event takes us to the heavyweight division where Derrick Lewis looks to continue his rise up the rankings. He’ll take on Travis Browne, who will be looking to end a two fight skid. The co-main event pits heavy handed Hector Lombard against Johny Hendricks.

The six-fight main card rounds out with Sam Sicilia taking on Gavin Tucker in the featherweight division, Elias Thoedorou taking on Cezar Ferreira in a battle of light middleweights, then we go to the women’s bantamweight division for Sara McMann vs. Gina Mazany and finally back to the men’s lightweight division for Paul Felder vs. Alessandro Ricci.

The early prelims will air on Fight Pass starting at 5:30 PM CT, with Fox Sports 1 taking over at 6 PM CT for the prelims. Keep it on FS1 for the main card starting at 8 PM CT.

Main Card 

Derrick Lewis (17-4, 1 NC) vs. Travis Browne (18-5-1) – Heavyweight 265 lbs.

Current Odds: Lewis -125; Browne -105

Not long ago Travis Browne was a top contender and a serious threat to anyone in the heavyweight division. He’s now lost four of his last six fights. More recently he is 0-2 losing to the best the division has to offer in Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum. This is a big fight, Browne needs a win in order to stay relevant. While I don’t think a loss gets him cut, it definitely brings him one step closer to a big Bellator debut.

Derrick Lewis enters the fight riding a five fight win streak, with all but one ending in a knockout. Moreover, 16 of his 17 career wins have been stoppages, including 15 by knockout. The lone decision was against Roy Nelson who has granite for a head and is darn impossible to knockout.

Browne presents an interesting challenge for Lewis. He has an excellent jab and is a strong counter-puncher, and has the size and reach to keep distance. While his takedown defense isn’t the best, he is very dangerous when pressed against the fence. I think these are all advantages for Browne coming into the fight.

However, I think Derrick Lewis has zero interest in standing with Browne. I expect Lewis to get the fight to the ground early and often. Regardless of Browne’s ability to defend on bottom, Lewis has the strength to get past his guard. He’ll administer some heavy ground and pound eventually wearing Browne down leading to a stoppage.

Next up for Derrick Lewis will be Francis Ngannou in a number one contender bout.

Pick: Lewis by TKO

Johny Hendricks (17-5) vs. Hector Lombard (34-6-1, 2 NC) – Middleweight 185 lbs.

Current Odds: Lombard -140; Hendricks +110

Johny Hendricks enters his fight against Hector Lombard on a three fight losing streak. Ever since he lost to Robbie Lawler at UFC 181 he just hasn’t been the same fighter. It seems like the fire he once had inside him is gone, and quite frankly I question his desire to even want to continue fighting.

Hector Lombard is on a two fight skid with his last win coming in March, 2014 at UFC 171 against Jake Shields. His most recent fight at UFC 199 where he suffered a highlight reel knockout at the hands of Dan Henderson.

Lombard and Hendricks are two fighters in dire need of a victory. Both fighters have the ability to end the fight with one punch. While Hendricks is an accomplished wrestler, I don’t see him having much success getting takedowns. Lombard has excellent takedown defense and if Johny gets careless he can very easily find himself either getting caught by a big shot coming in or in a submission.

While Hector Lombard’s speed and overall skills aren’t what they used to be, I just think Johny Hendricks might be done after this fight. I hope I’m wrong because I’ve always been a big fan of his and who knows, maybe moving up to 185 pounds will give him an advantage. But, until I see it with my own eyes, it’s impossible to back him.

Pick: Lombard by TKO

Sam Sicilia (15-7) vs. Gavin Tucker (9-0) – Featherweight 145 lbs. 

Current Odds: Tucker -167; Sicilia +140

After winning two fights in a row, Sam Sicilia has dropped his last two. He was stopped in both, first by Doo Ho Choi at UFC Fight Night 79 and most recently by Gabriel Benitez at UFC Fight Night 94. Of his 15 career wins, 12 came inside the distance. Of his 7 career losses, he was stopped 6 times. Sicilia possesses power but leaves himself open for getting countered. I think he’ll try to keep the fight standing and look an opening hoping to land the knockout.

Gavin Tucker is undefeated and makes his UFC debut on Sunday night. Of his 9 wins on the regional circuit only 1 went the distance. He seems to have all the skills necessary to be a threat in the featherweight division. He’s a technical fighter who looks to pick his spots. If Sicilia tries to pressure and close distance then I think Tucker will have success by sitting back, staying patient and landing big counter strikes. Add to it the fact that Sicilia is easy to hit and I think it all adds up to Gavin Tucker going to 10-0.

Pick: Tucker by decision 

Elias Theodorou (12-1) vs. Cezar Ferreira (12-5) – Middleweight 185 lbs.

Current Odds: Ferreira -130; Theodorou ev.

Elias Theodorou is 4-1 under the UFC banner. He got back in the win column by taking a decision over Sam Alvey at UFC Fight Night after suffering his first loss at the hands of Thiago Santos at UFC Fight Night 80. Of Theodorou’s 12 career wins only 5 were by knockout so I don’t expect him to stop Ferreira. I expect him to push the pace and be the more active fighter. He mixes up his offense extremely well keeping his opponents guessing.

Cezar Ferreira enters Sunday’s bout on a modest three fight win streak. He subbed Jack Hermansson at UFC Fight Night 100 for his most recent win. Ferreira is the better overall athlete. He works a slower pace than Elias and packs a heavier punch.

If Cezar is successful in keeping distance and getting takedowns I think his ground game can carry him to a decision. However, I think Theodorou will be able to get inside, score in the clinch and outwork Ferreira earning a hard fought decision.

Pick: Theodorou by decision 

Sara McMann (10-3) vs. Gina Mazany (4-0) – Bantamweight 135 lbs. 

Current Odds: McMann -525; Mazany +385

Gina Mazany makes her official debut for the UFC after amassing a 4-0 record outside of the organization. She finished all but one of her wins in the first round either by knockout or submission. Gina is taking the fight on short notice due to Liz Carmouche bowing out due to injury. Mazany prefers to stand and strike with her opponents due to her still developing a ground game.

After losing two in a row to Miesha Tate and Amanda Nunes, McMann rebounded and has won two straight. She decisioned Jessica Eye at UFC Fight Night 88 and then subbed Alexis Davis at The Ultimate Fighter 24 Finale. While Sara’s striking has improved, her biggest advantage lies in her wrestling skills. McMann is the better athlete with more ways to win this fight. While I give Gina Mazany credit for taking the fight, expecting her to beat a fighter the likes of Sara McMann is just too tall a task at this stage of her career.

Pick: McMann by TKO

Paul Felder (12-3) vs. Alessandro Ricci (10-4) – Lightweight 155 lbs. 

Current Odds: Felder -385; Ricci +295

Paul Felder was on two fight winning streak until losing to Francisco Trinaldo by TKO at UFC Fight Night 95. Felder is an accurate striker who prefers to stay on the feet. Of his 12 wins, 7 are by knockout. He likes to press and picks his spots well.

Alessandro Ricci is coming off of a loss also. He dropped a decision to Jeremy Kennedy at UFC on FOX 21. Ricci is a striker who likes to work in the clinch. Half of his 10 wins are by knockout. This is one fight in particular I don’t expect to take place on the ground. As long as Paul Felder pressures and is successful in closing distance it’s his fight to lose.

Pick: Felder by decision 

Prelims Quick Look

Ponzinibbio over Taleb

Esparza over Markos

Zahabi over Vieira

Marshman over Santos

Early Prelims

Meerschaert over Janes

Enjoy the fights!

NOW CHECK OUT OUR OTHER PREVIEW OF THIS SAME SHOW: UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Browne Primer: Full card preview including Hendricks vs. Lombard, Sicilia vs. Tucker, McMann vs. Mazany

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