The UFC machine keeps on rolling as we have another action packed fight night this Saturday. UFC Fight Night 121 will take place at the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, Australia. This card will have a tough act to follow as Fight Night 120 lived up to the hype.
Dustin Poirer battered and bloodied Anthony Pettis during the main event for the biggest win of his career. Matt Brown crushed Diego Sanchez with a huge elbow to pick up the KO win in what might be the last fight of his career. UFC veterans Andrei Arlovski and Clay Guida also picked up much needed wins.
This Saturday will feature one of the greatest heavyweights of all time as former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum takes on Marcin Tybura. The under card does not have the same legacy names as last weekend’s under card did, but there are plenty of fighters looking to move up into the top 10 of their respective weight classes. Let’s take a look at the main card for UFC Fight Night 121 and make a few predictions.
Fabricio Werdum vs. Marcin Tybura
Our main event of the evening features arguably the greatest heavyweight of all time, Fabricio Werdum against up and coming Poland native, Marcin Tybura. Werdum is taking this fight on somewhat short notice as UFC President Dana White forced Mark Hunt to withdraw from this fight due to health concerns.
Tybura had been preparing to face a brawling kick boxer but instead is getting a much better-rounded opponent. Werdum is just far more experienced, better stand up and the best ground game at heavyweight. Marcin Tybura is a very good fighter but just has not showed he is at the level of Werdum. He has great power in his hands with 7 of 16 career victories coming by KO. Tybura scored a nice win back in the summer against Andrei Arlovski, but was not able to finish him. He will need to make every shot count against Werdum and keep this fight standing up.
I look for Werdum to control all aspects of this fight and grind his way to a win but do not count out the one shot power of Tybura.
Prediction: Werdum by decision
Jessica-Rose Clark vs. Bec Rawlings
Bec Rawlings was originally scheduled to compete against Joanne Calderwood in the co-main event; however, Calderwood withdrew from the fight so in comes UFC new comer Jessica-Rose Clark.
Rawlings could desperately use a win here as she is coming off back to back losses. Clark seems like the right opponent to end that losing streak but it may not be all that easy. She is coming off the biggest win of her career against Carinna Damm and has never been finished in her career.
I look for Rawlings to come out very aggressively and try to overwhelm the UFC rookie. Clark will put up a good fight; I just do not think she is ready for someone as experienced against better competition like Rawlings.
Prediction: Bec Rawlings by 2nd round TKO
Tim Means vs. Belal Muhammad
The old saying, styles make fights definitely applies here between Tim Means and Belal Muhammad. Means is an aggressive kick boxer and Belal Muhammad looks to be a good matchup for him.
Muhammad is very tough fighter who can take some shots. He is very well rounded but not excellent at any aspect of MMA. I suspect his strategy will be to close the distance and work Means against the cage and dirty this fight up. He will have to eat a few hard punches to get inside and pressure Means which is dangerous game to play. I just think he will take too many shots while attempting to do that which will allow Means to score enough points to pick up the win.
Prediction: Tim Means by decision
Jake Matthews vs. Bojan Velickovic
Jake Matthews will get to fight in his home country of Australia in his welterweight debut against Bojan Velickovic. Matthews was a good sized lightweight but still struggled to find consistent success as he is coming off back to back losses. The move to 170 lbs. may be a better fit for him but Velickovic is one of the bigger fighters in the weight class.
Both men are pretty solid grapplers but I would give the slight edge to Matthews. He has a brutal top game that has earned most of his ten wins. Velickovic is a bit better-rounded but does not have great power. He will need to keep the pressure on Matthews and really test the Australian’s stand up game. I think Matthews will struggle to take down the bigger Velickovic which will be his doom.
Prediction: Bojan Velickovic by decision
Daniel Kelly vs. Elias Theodorou
The Australian Daniel Kelly has really gained a following after the past year with his shocking win back in March over Rashad Evans. Kelly and his “dad bod” will have a tough task as he faces off against an opponent eleven years younger in Elias Theodorou.
Kelly suffered a brutal KO loss to Derek Brunson back in June and will look to rebound in front of his fellow countrymen. Theodorou is coming off a loss to Brad Tavares and could use a win over Kelly to make a name for himself.
Theodrou will want to keep his distance from Kelly and land as many shots as he can while Kelly tries to move in. Kelly, the former four-time Olympic judoka, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, is one of the better grapplers at middleweight. Theodrou will be in deep trouble if this fight goes to the ground. Kelly has also developed an underrated striking game as he showed against Rashad Evans. However, I think Kelly may have peaked with that win over Evans. I just do not see him being able to handle speed of Theodrou. I look for Theodrou to wear him down the first two rounds then finish him off in the final round for the a TKO victory
Prediction: Elias Theodrou by 3rd round TKO
Alexander Volkanovski vs. Shane Young
Shane Young will be stepping into the octagon on one week notice to face Alexander Volkanovski in a 145 lb. showdown. Volkanovski, one of several Australians on this card, had two different opponents drop out but his fight was saved by the New Zealand native Young. Volkanovski appears to be the next big thing at featherweight with a 15-1 record and twelve of those wins coming by stoppage. In the UFC he’s 2-0 and dominated both of those fights.
Young appears to be a solid fighter with an 11-3 record and really has nothing to lose here. Volkanovski is the name everyone is talking about and Young has the chance to make a huge statement in his UFC debut. I am not very familiar with Young but I have been very impressed with Volkanovski. I think he continues his move up the featherweight ladder with a win by TKO.
Prediction: Alexander Volkanovski by 1st round TKO
Last week: 3-3
Overall since UFC 217: 6-5
NOW CHECK OUT THIS ARTICLE: UFC FIGHT NIGHT 120: Harris’s preview & predictions for the Poirier vs. Pettis headlined main card