Coming off the heels of what many have called the worst UFC PPV in recent memory, the UFC is looking to quickly change up the narrative with a Fight Night event. As is often the way recently some of these fight look a bit “thrown together”, with the exception of the headliner which was originally scheduled for the main card of UFC 208. There are 6 fights on the main card and we get a nice mixture of weight classes and styles. Without further ado, let’s get into it.
Paul Felder (12-3) vs. Alessandro Ricci (10-4)
This will be the 8th UFC fight for Felder and will also mark his return to the city that saw his first fight with the UFC. After a strong start to his career, he’s gone 2-3 in his last five fights including losing his last fight via doctor stoppage against Francisco Trinaldo back in September. Felder is most definitely a stand-up style fighter, but has been working to improve his skills on the ground. One of the many Canadians on the card, Ricci also looks to prefer to “stand and bang”. This will be only his second fight in the UFC, and it looks as if he either Knocks Out his opponent or it goes to the judge’s cards, not a single submission victory in any of his fights. Tale of the tape has these two as damn near clones of each other, and at the time of writing I can’t find the Vegas odds for the fight. My gut tells me that Felder has the advantage, but I don’t know if he’s fully recovered from his last fight. My guess is that this one probably ends with someone getting KOed.
#7 Sara McMann (10-3) vs Gina Mazany (4-0)
McMann is a former Olympic silver medalist in wrestling going into her 8th fight with the UFC. If you look at her record, she’s 3-3 in the UFC but her losses have come to Ronda Rousey in a fight with a questionable stoppage, Miesha Tate and Amanda Nunes, arguably the best women in the bantamweight division. McMann is on a 2 fight win streak and a 3rd straight win could very quickly move her into the top five. This will be Mazany’s UFC debut and I wasn’t able to find any real information on her other than she took this fight on about 2 weeks notice. Apparently she is a former figure skater and ballerina, and tried out for the Ultimate Fighter, you can watch her match against Julianna Pena here. The advantage clearly has to go to McMann, both in terms of experience and that she has had more time to prepare for a fight. I’m actually a bit surprised that this fight is on the main card given the replacement when the #3 ranked strawweight contender is on the undercard.
Elias Theodorou (12-1) vs Cezar Ferreira (12-5)
Initially, when I saw this fight I assumed that Theodorou was on the card based solely on the fact atht he’s Canadian, but then I found that he won The Ultimate Fighter tournament in the middle weight division and he only loss came via decision against Thiago Santos. I’m not going to lie, the Canadian thing probably does have a lot to do with it, but he does still have a nice pedigree and his record also doesn’t reflect the fights he had in the tournament. Elias looks like he has a well-rounded style with a nice mix of grappling and striking ability. Ferreira has been in the UFC since 2012 and is on a 3 fight winning streak. He’s also got a very well rounded style and is definitely the more active of the two fighters. This will be his 4th fight in the span of 12 months, compared to Theodorou who fights about once per calendar year. Ferreira has the reach advantage, but the “hometown” factor can’t be overlooked. Vegas has Ferreira as a slight favorite and I’d buy that.
Sam Sicilia (15-7) vs. Gavin Tucker (9-0)
Sicilia has lost his last two fights and has actually lost the majority of his fights in the UFC. Tucker is an unknown, to me at least, and is making his UFC debut. I see this match being at this place on the card for one of two reasons. Either the UFC thinks that Tucker could be legit, and with a record of 9-0, I could believe that or they just want to highlight Canadian fighters. My guess is that it is probably some sort of combination of the two. There isn’t a whole lot else I can say about this fight, I mean the UFC doesn’t even have a full body picture of Tucker on their website for the tale of the tape, which is never a good sign and the “info” they have on him makes him look like the most well-rounded fighter possible. Vegas isn’t any help on this one either. I’m just going to go with UFC experience and stats which say this one is probably ending in a knock out.
Johny Hendricks (17-5) vs. Hector Lombard (36-6-1)
Hendricks is 1-4 since dropping the welterweight championship to Robbie Lawler back in 2014. He’s also missed weight for his last two fights. Lombard was the first ever Bellator middleweight champion multi-time judo champion, but he’s coming off back-to-back losses and hasn’t fought since UFC 199. This fight is all about name recognition as neither of these fighters is currently ranked in the top 15 and are both most likely on the downside of their careers. Vegas has Lombard as the favorite, so sure let’s go with that. Don’t be surprised if this fight ends up being at “catchweight” and if that does happen I’d be surprised if we see the one responsible for it in the UFC again. Again, I think this one might end in a knockout.
#8 Derrick Lewis (17-4) vs. #9 Travis Browne (18-5)
This fight was originally scheduled for the main card of UFC 208, but was pushed back a week to headline this Fight Night. Given that 208 was such a disappointment, my guess is that neither of these guys had a problem with that. Lewis has won five straight and is headlining his second Fight Night in just over 2 months. Browne has lost his last two fights, and oh BTW he’s Rhonda Rousey’s boyfriend. This match isn’t going to go to the judge’s score cards, let’s just make that clear now. Browne has only had one five-round fight go the distance and Lewis has never needed 5 rounds. This match is going to end in a KO, probably in the first or second round. Vegas has this fight as a “pick’em”, and I’m going to go with Lewis as he’s got the “hot hand” right now, but anything can happen.
That’s it from our side. I don’t think the judges will play a big role in the outcomes of the fights, at least not how they look on paper. If you like seeing fighters stand and exchange this definitely looks like a card for you. So, you watching? What do you think will be the fight of the night? Let us know in the comments.
Image from www.ufc.com