UFC on FOX 30 Preview and Predictions

Cole Henry, MMATorch Contributor

Eddie Alvarez (photo credit Bob DeChiara © USA Today Sports)

UFC on FOX 30 is an absolutely loaded card, coming your ways from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Cole Henry of MMATorch.com breaks down the entire main card, and picks the winner of every fight.

Main Card (FOX)

(3) Eddie Alvarez vs. (4) Dustin Poirier (Lightweight/155)

The first time these two men tangled was on the undercard of one of the more stacked cards of 2017(UFC 210). This time they will get five rounds to settle the score but it could be for more than just bragging rights.

(Note: This was written before Conor McGregor’s plea-agreement)

The lightweight division is in a weird place right now with the champion. The champion does not have a fight booked despite two clear cut challengers being available at the top of the division. One of those men, Tony Ferguson, is recovering from an injury. The other is Conor McGregor and he is also not fighting right now.  That leaves Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier as the next two men in line but as they say there can only be one. While it has not been officially stated I think the chance is very high that the next challenger to Khabib Nurmagomedov will be fighting this Saturday.

The first fight between these two went about how you would expect. Both guys came forward and threw hazard to the wind in a fight that left both men bloodied and beaten. Unfortunately, the fight ending strike, while violent, was illegal, and a great fight was marred by a no-contest. It was a back and forth fight and I don’t see why it will be any different this time.

Poirier is competing at a level that is higher than any he has reached before and he will need every bit of his skills to get past a former multiple time world champion in Eddie Alvarez. While it would be an option to attempt a technical breakdown of this fight it probably won’t do any good.

The winner of this fight will probably be the guy that can absorb the most punishment and resist the effects of fatigue. This fight is really a toss-up for me because it is very hard to pick against either guy here but I think that Dustin Poirier may still be getting better. He has become a very well-rounded fighter, a great wrester, and striker and his heart cannot be questioned.

The same can be said for Eddie Alvarez but I think that the combination of wrestling, aggressive boxing, and cardio will be enough to help Poirier escape with a unanimous decision win in what will likely be a very bloody affair.

Prediction: Dustin Poirier over Eddie Alvarez via Unanimous Decision

(2) Jose Aldo vs. (4) Jeremy Stephens (Featherweight/145)

Jose Aldo returns to the Octagon for the first time since suffering his second straight KO loss to Max Holloway. He will be competing against Jeremy Stephens in a fight that will be his first non-title bout since 2009, and his first ever non-title bout in the UFC.

Across from Aldo is a guy that has witnessed many up’s and downs in his UFC career. Stephens has gone from a marginal lightweight to a top five ranked featherweight and has picked up some major quality wins over the last couple of years.

Both guys are violent strikers but in very different ways. Stephens is more of an aggressive brawler, with 28 of his pro wins coming by way of KO, while Aldo is more of a technical assassin.

Stephens might look to be the aggressor as usual, which could play right into Jose Aldo’s game plan. Aldo has shown himself to be a great counter striker throughout his career, with his second victory over Frankie Edgar serving as the best case of this.

Stephens DOES NOT take his time and if he fights as he usually does, he will need a stoppage victory over Aldo. Stephens is powerful, but Aldo is one of the best ever and despite his recent losses I think he remains one of the best in the world today.

Prediction: Jose Also over Jeremy Stephens via Unanimous Decision

(1) Joanna Jędrzejczyk vs. (5) Tecia Torres (Strawweight/115)

Joanna Jędrzejczyk returns to action in a three-round fight for the first time since 2014. She had flourished in her role as the best strawweight in the world, but now that she has lost that crown it will be interesting to see if she can climb the mountain again after failing twice in her last two fights.

Tecia Torres is a solid grappler, who also possesses good kicks, and movement on her feet. She holds a 6-2 record in the UFC but Jędrzejczyk will no doubt be her toughest opponent to date.

If Torres can get the fight down its possible that she can control the former champion there but I’m just not sure that Torres will offer anything that Jędrzejczyk hasn’t dealt with before.

Torres could have some success on her feet due to her movement but overall up to this point Jędrzejczyk has just shown herself to be the superior fighter and I think she walks away with a unanimous decision win.

Prediction: Joanna Jędrzejczyk over Tecia Torres via Unanimous Decision

(13) Alexander Hernandez vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier (Lightweight/155)

Alexander Hernandez shocked the world when he debuted as a late notice replacement and stopped Beneil Dariush with punches in under one minute. A win like that can be both a blessing and a curse. He will not get any easy fights after such an impressive stoppage over such a good fighter, but with that being said he now has an opportunity to rapidly rise up the ranks.

Olivier Aubin-Mercier is currently riding a four-fight win streak and is coming off the biggest win of his career. This is a hard fight to call because all we really know about Hernandez is that he hits hard. Aubin-Mercier has shown himself to be a great grappler and that should be his route to victory.

Prediction: Olivier Aubin-Mercier over Alexander Hernandez via Unanimous Decision

Undercard (FOX)

Jordan Mein over Alex Morono via 2nd Round TKO

Islam Makhachev over Kajan Johnson via Decision

Hakeem Dawodu over Austin Arnett via 1st Round KO

Gadzhimurad Antigulov over Ion Cutelaba via Decision

Undercard (Fight Pass)

John Makdessi over Ross Pearson via Decision

Alexis Davis over Katlyn Chookagian via Decision

Matheaus Nicolau over Dustin Ortiz via 2nd Round Submission

Randa Markos over Nina Ansaroff via Dacision

Devin Powell over Alvaro Herrera via 2nd Round Submission

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