UFC Vancouver Preview and Predictions
UFC Vancouver Preview
The UFC makes a stop north of the border at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Canada. The main event takes place in the lightweight division where Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone takes on Justin Gaethje in what should be a banger.
Donald Cerrone had won three fights in a row until losing his most recent bout to Tony Ferguson at UFC 238. The long-time UFC veteran has forty-nine professional fights under his belt. Of the thirty-six-year old’s thirty-six victories, twenty-seven ended inside the distance.
Justin Gaethje enter Saturday night’s fight riding a two-fight win streak. He defeated James Vick at UFC Fight Night 135 and most recently, Edson Barbosa at UFC on ESPN 2. Both victories ended in the first round. Of his twenty wins, seventeen are via (T)KO and one is by submission. The thirty-year-old will make the walk for the twenty-third time when he steps into the cage opposite Cerrone on Saturday night.
The co-main takes place in the light heavyweight division where Glover Teixeira takes on Nikita Krylov. At thirty-nine years old, Glover Teixeira is still a force to be reckoned with the division. He comes into his fight against Krylov the winner of his previous two bouts. He beat Karl Roberson at UFC Fight Night 143 and Ion Cutelaba at UFC Fight Night 150. Both wins were by way of submission. Only four of the Brazilian’s twenty-nine career wins made it the judge’s scorecards. This will be Teixeira’s thirty-seventh professional fight.
After getting subbed by Jan Blachowicz at UFC Fight Night 136, Nikita Krylov bounced back with a win in his most recent fight by defeating Ovince Saint Preux at UFC 236 via submission. This will be the twenty-seven-year-old’s thirty-second professional fight. All twenty-five of his victories ended inside the distance.
Also, on the main card Todd Duffee makes his return to take on Jeff Hughes, Michel Pereira faces off against Sergey Khandozhiko, Uriah Hall vs. Antonio Carlos Junior and Misha Cirkunov vs. Jim Crute.
The prelims will stream on ESPN+ beginning at 4:00 PM (CST) with the main card starting at 7:00 PM (CST) also on ESPN+.
Note: The predictions in this column do not necessarily mean that I will be betting them. I have changed my mind in the past and gone the other way after conducting more research. For all my official bets follow me on Twitter @MichaelGrocke.
Donald Cerrone (36-12, 1 NC) vs. Justin Gaethje (20-2) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
Current Odds: Gaethje -165; Cerrone +135
Pick: Gaethje by (T)KO.
You wouldn’t know it from watching his fights, but Justin Gaethje has a solid background in wrestling. He doesn’t use his wrestling in his offense, but he uses it in his takedown defense. Gaethje has excellent takedown defense. He uses it to force his opponents to stand and trade with him. That takedown defense is going to come handy when fighting Cerrone. Gaethje is a high-volume striker, but he also absorbs an alarming high rate of strikes. He’s your typical take three strikes to land one fighter. Not only does Gaethje have power in his hands, but his kicks are brutal to the legs of his opponents.
Cerrone will be the bigger, taller fighter on Saturday night. Cerrone does a really nice job of mixing up his offense so I’ll be curious to see if he’ll be able to control range with his jab and kicks. I think the longer the fight goes, the more it favors Cerrone.
Cerrone tends to struggle with fighters who have high cardio and like to get in his face and pressure him. That’s exactly Gaethje’s style. Gaethje tends to struggle with high level, technical strikers. Look no further than Dustin Poirier and Eddie Alvarez.
If Cerrone can get through the first ten minutes conscience, then I think he has a very good chance of winning the fight. However, Gaethje can put anyone’s lights out with one punch and he’s a very fast starter, so it wouldn’t surprise me if Gaethje sleeps Cerrone within the first two rounds.
Glover Teixeira (29-7) vs. Nikita Krylov (25-6) – Light Heavyweight 205 lbs.
Current Odds: Krylov -140; Teixeira +110
Pick: Teixeira by submission.
Can we start calling Glover the prospect killer? He’s won three of his last four and has a good chance at making it four of his last five here. Glover has fought the best of the best so there isn’t anything Krylov can throw at him that he hasn’t seen before. Krylov is young and athletic. He’s also a finisher. All twenty-five of career wins ended inside the distance. Glover will have to weather the storm for the first round, maybe round and a half, but he can I think Krylov’s cardio will abandom him and we’ll see Glover start to have success taking him down. Krylov has been submitted in five of his six losses. I can see Glover making it six of his last seven.
Todd Duffee (9-3) vs. Jeff Hughes (10-2) – Heavyweight 265 lbs.
Current Odds: Hughes -125; Duffee -105
Pick: Duffee by (T)KO.
I have no idea what to expect from Duffee after his four-year layoff. He should be the more physical, powerful fighter. Obviously, Hughes is the more active fighter and I trust his cardio more than that of Duffee’s So, the longer the fight goes, the more it favors Hughes. However, Duffe has the power to make sure the fight doesn’t go past the first round.
Michel Pereira (22-9, 2 NC) vs. Tristan Connelly (13-6) – Welterweight 170 lbs.
Current Odds: Pereira -560; Connelly +385
Pick: Pereira by (T)KO.
This should be another highlight reel finish for Pereira.
Uriah Hall (14-9) vs. Antonio Carlos Jr (10-3, 1 NC) – Middleweight 185 lbs.
Current Odds: Carlos Jr -250; Hall +195
Pick: Carlos Jr by submission.
Hall is explosive on the feet. He likes to work in space so he can get his kicks off and maintain range. ACJ should avoid getting into a striking affair with Hall and get the fight to the ground as quickly as possible. Hall has fought the higher level of competition, but I think this a bad match-up for him. I don’t see him being able to fend off the takedown attempts through three rounds. He must keep the fight standing in order to have a chance here. Unfortunately for Hall, I don’t see that happening.
Misha Cirkunov (14-5) vs. Jim Crute (10-0) – Light Heavyweight 205 lbs.
Current Odds: Crute -115; Cirkunov -115
Pick: Crute by (T)KO.
This is a step-up in competition for Crute. Both fighters have power in their hands. I think Cirkunov will be able to take Crute down, but I don’t think he’ll be able to keep him down long enough to do any damage. I have a hard time trusting Cirkunov. He’s a bit chinny and he tends to break mentally. I think Crute will clip Cirkunov and finish him inside the distance. I’ll be shocked if this one goes to the judge’s scorecards.
Marcin Tybura (17-5) vs. Agusto Sakai (13-1-1) – Heavyweight 265 lbs.
Current Odds: Tybura -115; Sakai -115
Pick: Sakai by (T)KO.
Tybura has lost 3 of his last four fights and was finished in two of them. I think his chin is shot and he has poor fight IQ. Sakai is the more technical striker with better cardio. I can see Tybura trying to get the fight to the ground, but I don’t think he’s going to have success. Sakai should be able to keep the standing, pushing a pace and out-voluming Tybura.
Cole Smith (7-0) vs. Miles Johns (8-0) – Bantamweight 135 lbs.
Current Odds: Johns -140; Smith +110
Pick: Smith by decision, but with little confidence.
Both fighters are good wrestlers. I don’t have a good read on this one but considering this is Johns’ debut and Smith is from Canada, I’ll back Smith.
Brad Katona (8-1) vs. Hunter Azure (7-0) – Bantamweight 135 lbs.
Current Odds: Katona -140; Azure +110
Pick: Katona by (T)KO.
Katona fights out of SBG now and has a clear advantage on the feet over Azure. Azure has excellent wrestling and should have success getting Katona down due to his poor takedown defense. However, Katona fights well off of his back so I’m not how much damage Azure will be able to inflict even if he does get Katona down. Azure will be the bigger, stronger fighter, but I question his chin. If Katona keeps the fight standing I think he’ll find Azure’s chin and get the finish.
Chas Skelly (17-4) vs. Jordan Griffin (17-6) – Featherweight 145 lbs.
Current Odds: Griffin -165; Skelly +135
Pick: Griffin by decision.
This is a big fight for Skelly, he needs this win. I think he’ll have success getting the fight to the ground. I just don’t know if he’s going to be able to do anything once there. Griffin is athletic but he has poor fight IQ. He is the better striker and if he can fend off the takedown and make this a striking affair, I think he gets the win.
Louis Smolka (15-6) vs. Ryan MacDonald (10-1) – Bantamweight 135 lbs.
Current Odds: Smolka -260; MacDonald +200
Pick: Smolka by decision.
MacDonald has power which makes him dangerous on the feet, but he’s not a technical striker. He struggles on the ground and I think that’s where Smolka has the biggest advantage. Smolka has fought tougher competition and has the experience on his side. Smolka should be able to get the fight on the ground and either grind his way to decision or possibly get a late round submission. I think the line is too wide. Smolka shoudn’t be a 2-1 favorite against anyone.
Kyle Prepolec (12-6) vs. Austin Hubbard (10-3) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
Current Odds: Hubbard -145; Prepolec +115
Pick: Prepolec by decision.
Neither fighter is impressive. I’ll back the hometown fighter in a fight that will most likely go to the judge’s scorecards.
Enjoy the fights!
Read another UFC Vancouver Preview
More from MMATorch:
- Who wins between Donald Cerrone and Justin Gaethje?
- HISCOE: It’s super necessary for UFC to hit the fast forward button on Usman-Covington
- WHO, WHAT & HOW: Henry’s preview of Donald Cerrone vs. Justin Gaethje
- What is the better main event: Cerrone vs. Gaethje or Masvidal vs. Diaz?
- Who SHOULD get the next shot at Khabib Nurmagomedov?
- HYDEN BLOG: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from Bellator 226 and UFC 242