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UFC 173 Predictions – Memorial Day fight card

UFC 173 this Memorial Day weekend will be stacked with a Bantamweight title fight as well as some high interest top contender bouts. UFC 173 will be held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV. There are 12 fights to discuss so let’s get it started.

David “BullDawg”Michaud (7-0) vs. Li “The Leech” Jingliang (8-2)

UFC 173 opens up with a welterweight match up between newcomers David Michaud and Li Jingliang. Michaud is bringing an undefeated record and is known for his aggressiveness, finishing six of his seven fights (three tko, three submission victories). Jingliang is a BJJ brown belt  training with the China Top Team and has a decent wrestling and jiujitsu.

George: Li Jingliang via submission Rd. 1

Eric: Li Jinliang via DEC. 

Sam Sicilia (12-4) vs. Aaron “The Model” Phillips (8-0)

This featherweight fight will feature TUF 15 cast member Sam Sicilia against undefeated newcomer Aaron Phillips. Both fighters have knockout power, with Sicilia’s heavy hands and Phillips’ powerful kicks and accurate striking. Sicilia is 2-3 in the UFC, another loss could result in the organization releasing him.

George: Aaron Phillips via TKO Rd. 1

Eric: Aaron Phillips via submission Rd. 2 

 

Anthony “The Assassin Njokuani (16-7, 1 NC) vs. Vinc “From Hell” Pichel (8-1)

The final fight of the early preliminaries will be a lightweight battle between Njokuani and Pichel. Njokuani has been on a roller coaster ride in the UFC winning and losing every other match, and is 3-3 in the Octagon. Pichel is 1-1 in the UFC, both fighters have won their last match and will look to string together consecutive victories and make a push in the rankings. Both fighters have striking skills and knockout power, Pichel also has a purple belt in BJJ.

George: Vinc Pichel via DEC.

Eric: Anthony Nojukani via DEC.

 

Al “Raging” Iaquinta (8-2-1) vs. Mitch “Danger Zone” Clarke (10-2)

The opening Fox Sports 1 prelims. Iaquinta had a poor debut in the UFC getting choked out by Michael Chiesa. Since his loss, Iaquinta has strung together three consecutive victories. The Canadian Mitch Clarke was a perfect 9-0 until he debuted in the UFC, losing back-to-back. Clarke finally won in the UFC in his last fight against John Maguire. Iaquinta is a BJJ purple belt under Matt Serra and has wrestling skills. Clarke is a BJJ brown belt who likes to keep a high pace in his fights.

George: Al Iaquinta via DEC.

Eric: Al Iaquinta via submission Rd. 2

 

Chris “Holds it Down” Holdsworth (6-0) vs. Chico “The King” Camus (14-4)

A classic grappler vs striker match up in the bantamweight division. Chris Holdsworth is a BJJ black belt and has won all six of his fights via submission. Holdsworth was on TUF season 18 on Team Tate, and had a successful UFC debut submitting Davey Grant. Chico Camus is 3-1 in the UFC, he will be looking to score a third consecutive win. Camus will want to keep this fight standing.

George: Chris Holdsworth via submission Rd. 1

Eric: Chris Holdsworth via DEC.

 

Michael “Maverick” Chiesa (10-1) vs. Francisco “Massarandub” Trinaldo (14-3)

The final prelim of the evening will be in the lightweight division. Chiesa has an unorthodox style which throws off his opponents, he holds a 3-1 record in the UFC and has won his last fight over Colton Smith via choke. Trinaldo is 4-2 in the UFC, also winning his last fight over Jesse Ronson via split decision. A win should help either fighter crack the top 15 in the UFC.

George: Michael Chiesa via DEC.

Eric: Michael Chiesa via DEC.

 

Jamie “C-4” Varner (21-9-1, 2 NC) vs. James “The James Krause” Krause (20-5)

The opening fight of the pay per view will be a lightweight match between to seasoned vets. Varner has struggled lately, losing three of his last four fights, he will need to win here to avoid being cut from the roster. Krause was on an eight-fight winning streak until it was snapped by a TKO loss from Bobby Green. Varner and Krause are both well rounded fighters and this fight should be a close one.

George: James Krause via DEC.

Eric: Jamie Varner via DEC.

 

Takeya Mizugaki (19-7-2) vs. Francisco “Cisco” Rivera (10-2, 1 NC)

Bantamweight war between top 10 ranked fighters. Mizugaki is the #6 ranked bantamweight fighter and Rivera is #10. Both fighters love to strike and are riding high. Mizugaki has won four straight fights (all in the UFC) and Rivera is undefeated in his last six fights (5-0, 1 NC), with his last four fights in the UFC. A win here would be big for both fighters, Mizugaki should be able to move in the top five closing in on a title fight, Rivera close to top five if he wins.

George: Takeya Mizugaki via DEC.

Eric: Takeya Mizugaki via submission Rd. 3

 

Robbie “Ruthless” Lawler (22-10, 1 NC) vs. Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger (29-7)

A high profile welterweight fight between the number one contender Robbie Lawler against number five ranked Jake Ellenberger. Both fighters are looking for this win to get a crack at the title (a second chance for Lawler, losing his last title shot against Johnny Hendricks). Both fighters are heavy handed with devastating knockout power, and are well rounded. This could potentially be a FOTN candidate.

George: Robbie Lawler via TKO Rd. 2

Eric: Robbie Lawler via DEC.

 

Daniel “DC” Cormier (14-0) vs. Dan “Hendo” Henderson (30-11)

Top light heavyweight ranked fighters Cormier (#4 ranked) versus Henderson (#6), both salivating at the chance of dethroning the king of the light heavyweight division, Jon Jones. Cormier and Henderson have both faced the best in the world and have accomplished so much in this sport. Both fighters are great wrestlers with heavy hands. Cormier was the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix champion. Henderson has held titles in many organizations, including PRIDE FC and Strikeforce.

George: Dan Henderson via DEC.

Eric: Daniel Cormier via TKO Rd. 3

 

(c)Renan “The Baron” Barao (34-1, 1 NC) vs. TJ Dillashaw (10-2)

The main event of the evening is for the bantamweight title. Barao is arguably one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. Barao lost in his mma debut and he never looked back. Barao has a 22-fight winning streak, 34-fight undefeated streak, and he is dangerous all around (bjj black belt). TJ Dillashaw (#4 ranked) will have his hands full against “The Baron”. Dillashaw is a great wrestler with aggressive ground and pound. Dillashaw’s best chance will be to control Barao pinned against the the fence and on his back, and grind him out, this is easier said than done.

George: Renan Barao via TKO Rd. 2

Eric: Renan Barao via submission Rd. 2

 

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