UFC Fight Night Preview: Grocke’s predictions and updated odds for Glasgow event including Nelson vs. Ponzinibbio

By Mathew Ecochard, MMATorch contributor

The UFC travels overseas to the SSE Hydro Arena in Glasgow, Scotland for UFC Fight Night 113 on Sunday afternoon. The main event takes place in the welterweight division where submission artist Gunnar Nelson goes up against Santiago Ponzinibbio. The co-main takes us to the women’s strawweight division and features Scotland’s own Joanne Calderwood. She’ll take on the undefeated Cynthia Calvillo.

The main card also includes: Steven Ray vs. Paul Felder in what should be an exciting scrap, Jack Marshman takes on Ryan Janes, Paul Craig goes up against Khalil Rountree and Justin Willis vs. James Mulheron.

The early prelims will air on Fight Pass starting at 11AM CT, with Fox Sports 1 taking over at 12PM CT for the prelims. FS1 will carry the main card starting at 2PM CT.

Note: The predictions in this column do not necessarily mean that I will betting them. I have changed my mind in the past and gone the other way after conducting more research. For all of my official bets follow me on Twitter @FightChampBlog. You can also find all of my official MMA bets at betmmatips.com. 


Gunnar Nelson (16-2-1) vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio (24-3) – Welterweight 170 lbs.

Current Odds: Nelson -180; Ponzinibbio +150

Gunnar Nelson is 7-2 in the UFC. After losing to Demian Maia at UFC 194, Nelson has now won two in a row. His most recent win came at UFC Fight Night 107 where he subbed Alan Jouban in the second round. All but one of his UFC wins have been by submission, while his two losses were both decisions. In his sixteen career wins twelve are by submission to along with three knockouts.

Santiago Ponzinibbio is 6-2 since coming to the UFC. After getting stopped by Lorenz Larkin at UFC Fight Night 70, Ponzinibbio is now riding a four fight win streak. His last win came at UFC Fight Night 105 where he decisioned Nordine Taleb. The thirty year old has thirteen wins by knockout to go along with six submissions in twenty-four career wins.

Gunnar Nelson is a submission machine. He holds a black belt in karate and his jiu-jitsu is fantastic. Demien Maia was able to get the better of Nelson, but Maia makes great fighters look mediocre. Nelson has good take downs and is obviously very dangerous on the ground.

Ponzinibbio is a pressure fighter who prefers to keep the fight standing. His striking is precise and he lands at a high percentage. He will certainly out-volume Nelson and he also carries a lot of power in his punches. I give Ponzinibbio the advantage on the feet, but he has to avoid going to the ground with Nelson.

This should be a really good fight. Both guys have clear paths to victory, the question is, which fighter will capitalize on the other’s mistakes. If Nelson is going to win, I think it will be by submission within the first two rounds. The longer the fight goes, the better Ponzinibbio’s chances are at winning. Nelson has a history of gassing out, which is what cost him the fight against Rick Story. Ponzinibbio’s length and size might be an issue for Nelson, especially when it comes to getting take downs.

While there will probably be an early scare for Ponzinibbio, ultimately I think he gets the fight to the later rounds where his superior cardio starts to takeover leading to a win by decision.

Pick: Ponzinibbio by decision

Joanne Calderwood (11-2) vs. Cynthia Calvillo (5-0) – Strawweight 115 lbs.

Current Odds: Calvillo -200; Calderwood +160

After proving herself on the regional circuit by winning her first eight fights in a row, Joanne Caldwell got her shot in the UFC. She is now 3-2 under the UFC banner, with both losses by submission. Calderwood had won two fights in a row until she was stopped by Jessica Andrade at UFC 203. The thirty year old, Tristar Gym product is from Glasgow so she will certainly have the crowd in her corner on Sunday.

Cynthia Calvillo is undefeated as a professional. She is 2-0 in the UFC with both wins coming by way of submission. Her most recent fight was at UFC 210 where she subbed Pearl Gonzalez with a rear naked choke in the third round. The thirty year old Team Alpha Male fighter will look to make it six in a row and move one step closer to a title shot on Sunday.

This is your typical striker vs. grappler contest. Calvillo has grappling and submission skills, but her striking is average at best. Calderwood has excellent stand up but is lacking when it comes to her ground game. She has zero wins by submission in her eleven career wins.

Joanne will want to keep the fight on the feet by using her jab and high volume of kicks to establish range. I will be surprised if Calvillo decides to stand and trade with Calderwood. Instead I expect her to get the fight to the ground as quickly as possible. Calderwood’s size could pose a problem and she will probably have to eat a few strikes in her attempt to get inside, but eventually she will get the job done.

Pick: Calvillo by submission

Paul Felder (13-3) vs. Stevie Ray (21-6) – Lightweight 155 lbs.

Current Odds: Ray -185; Felder +155

Paul Felder is 3-1 in his last four fights. His most recent fight was at UFC Fight Night 105 where he finished Alessandro Ricci in the first round. The thirty-two year old Roufusport product has nine finishes in thirteen career wins.

Stevie Ray comes into his fight with Felder on a two-fight winning streak. He beat Ross Pearson by split decision at UFC Fight Night 99 and most recently he won a majority decision over Joe Lauzon at UFC Fight Night 108. The twenty-seven year old native of Scotland has six wins by knockout to go along with eight submissions in twenty-one career wins.

This is a tough fight to predict. I like both guys and this should be an exciting fight. I expect this fight to take place primarily on the feet where Felder will have the advantage in size and power. Ray tends to get a little sloppy and takes some ill-advised risks. If that happens here Felder’s counter punching and better ground game will win the day. I’ll go with Felder but with very little confidence.

Pick: Felder by decision 

Jack Marshman (21-6) vs. Ryan Janes (9-2) – Middleweight 185 lbs.

Current Odds: Marshman -600; Janes +425

Jack Marshman was on a seven-fight winning streak until Thiago Santos knocked him out at UFC Fight Night 105. He has thirteen wins by knockout and five by submission in twenty-one career wins. In his six losses he was knocked out four times.

Ryan Janes makes his third appearance for the promotion. He suffered the first loss of his career after winning eight fights in a row in his most recent fight. The loss came to Gerald Meerschaert at UFC Fight Night 105. In nine career wins, seven are by submission to along with one knockout.

Janes has a slick submission game to go along with excellent cardio. He likes to push the pace and will do whatever he can to get the fight to the ground. If Marshman makes one mistake and allows Janes to take his back the fight will be over. However, in order for Janes to get the fight to the ground he will have to get close to Marshman. That’s when Marshman will inflict the most damage. Marshman’s striking will be the difference here as he catches Janes coming in and scores a knockout.

Pick: Marshman by TKO

Paul Craig (9-1) vs. Khalil Roundtree (6-2) – Light Heavyweight 205 lbs.

Current Odds: Rountree -185; Craig +155

Khalil Rountree started his UFC run 0-2. He picked up his first win under the promotion by finishing Daniel Jolley in the first round at UFC Fight Night 104. The twenty-seven year old Syndicate MMA product has three wins by KO/TKO to go along with two by decision in his five career pro wins.

Paul Craig won his first nine fights as a pro. He won his UFC debut by subbing Henrique da Silva at UFC on FOX 22. Craig tasted defeat for the first time in his most recent fight when he was finished by Tyson Pedro at UFC 209. A native of Scotland, Craig will have the hometown crowd behind him as he looks to get back in the win column on Sunday.

Both of these fighters are great athletes and it’s a shame one of them will have to take a loss here as they are both young and improving. Rountree is primarily a striker who will walk through his opponent’s offense so he can inflict his own damage. While Rountree is extremely dangerous on the feet, his cardio is suspect as is his grappling. Against Felder that could pose a problem.

Felder is the more well-rounded fighter. He doesn’t have the power of Rountree so an early knockout certainly is a possibility. As long as Felder makes it out of the first round I think his grappling and superior cardio will take over leading to him outpointing Rountree.

Craig by decision

James Mulheron (11-1) vs. Justin Willis (4-1) – Heavyweight 265 lbs.

Current Odds: Willis -200; Mulheron +160

James Mulheron makes his UFC debut on Sunday. The twenty-nine year old spent most of his career fighting for the Made 4 the Cage promotion where he held the title. He does have one fight under the Bellator banner. He beat Neil Grove by decision at Bellator 158. Mulheron boats six wins by KO/TKO to along with five via decision in his eleven pro wins.

He’ll take on fellow newcomer, Justin Willis. Willis last fought under the WSOF banner where he finished Juliano Coutinho in the second round at WSOF 31. At twenty-nine years old, Willis only has five fights as a professional under his belt. He is 4-1 in those fights with three knockouts and one decision.

Pick: Willis by TKO

Prelims Quick Look

Roberts -185 over Nash +155

Seery +300 over Pantoja -400

Ward +160 over Bofando -200

Teymur -200 over Henry +160

Early Prelims Quick Look

Johns -400 over Morales +300

Smith -210 over Lemos +165

Enjoy the fights!

NOW CHECK OUT ANOTHER PREVIEW OF THIS EVENT: UFC FIGHT NIGHT 113 PRIMER: Ecochard’s preview of Nelson vs. Ponzinibbio, Calderwood vs. Calvillo, Stevie Ray vs. Felder

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