GP’s UFC Fight Night 40 Predictions – Nelson to TKO Big Nog
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Four years ago, the UFC made its debut in Abu Dhabi, UAE with UFC 112. The card featured two title matches (Anderson Silva vs Demain Maia and B.J Penn vs Frankie Edgar) along with other high profile fighters, Matt Hughes facing Renzo Gracie, for example. The main card did not live up to its expectations however due to a lackluster performance in the main event between Silva and Maia, and a controversial decision in the Penn/Edgar lightweight title fight(Edgar won via unanimous decision, according to the fightmetric report, BJ Penn should have been the victor).On Friday April 11, UFC action returns to Abu Dhabi with UFC Fight Night 40. The main event will be between Antonio “Rodrigo” Nogueira and Roy “Big Country” Nelson. The card has some interesting match ups as well that could make for an action packed evening. Here is a brief preview of each match and who I am picking.
Jim “The Beast” Alers (12-1) vs. Alan Omer (18-3)
This will be the first event of the evening in the featherweight division (145 lbs). Both fighters will be making their UFC debut. Both fighters have a finishing rate >89% with many submission victories (19 total between their combined 30 wins). This could go either way with both fighters being nervous to make a big impact in their debut and will play it safe to secure their first win in the UFC. Alers holds a brown belt in BJJ and Olmer has a purple belt in BJJ with a wrestling background. I think this will be a close fight with Omer getting the edge with his ground and pound aggressiveness.
Pick: Alan Omer via DEC.
Andrew “Highlight” Craig (9-2) vs. Chris Camozzi (19-7)
Both fighters have been on a slide and neither can really afford another loss in the UFC as it could endanger their spot on the roster in a deep middleweight division. Craig has lost two of his last three fights in the UFC and Camozzi has lost his last two in a row. Camozzi has the edge in the striking department and I feel that he will outstrike Craig onto a decision.
Pick: Chris Cammozzi via DEC.
Trevor “Hot Sauce” Smith (11-4) vs. Thales Leites (22-4)
Leites is very experienced and has faced tougher competition than Smith. Leites is a heavy favorite in this match and is expected to win. I feel Smith’s best chance is to catch Leites with a flash KO(the beauty of this sport is that ANYTHING can happen). I do not see this happening, and I highly doubt he will out grapple Leites. I am expecting Leites to pull out a submission victory.
Pick: Thales Leites via submission Rd. 1
Rani Yahya (19-8) vs. Johnny “Brutal” Bedford (19-10)
Your classic “striker vs grappler” match here as submission specialist Rani Yahya will take on Johnny Bedford in a bantamweight affair. Abu Dhabi is not unfamiliar territory for Yahya as he has seen success in ADCC, placing 2nd in 2005 and 1st place in 2007 in the 65 kg division. Yahya hasn’t been submitting many in his UFC career so far, with 3 of his 4 victories coming via decision. Bedford has a 4 inch height advantage which he will need to use towards his advantage to keep this fight away from the ground and try to out strike Yahya. I think Yahya will pull out the submission victory and potentially win the “My MMA News Submission of the Night” award.
Pick: Rani Yahya via submission Rd. 2
Jared “The Big Show” Rosholt (9-1) vs. Daniel Omielanczuk (16-3)
The first heavyweight battle of the night. I think Roshalt will utilize his wrestling skills to keep Omielanczuk on his back, and he will need to keep dominant position as Omielanczuk is no pushover on the ground, with 9 of his 16 victories coming via submission. Omielanczuk has also never been stopped in a fight (all 3 losses via decision). This fight can go either way, I am thinking Rosholt steps up big and becomes the first to stop Omielanczuk. This would raise Rosholt in the heavyweight rankings.
Pick: Jared Rosholt via TKO Rd. 1
Ramsey Nijem (8-4) vs. Beneil Dariush (7-0)
TUF 13 finalist Ramsey Nijem will have his hands full against undefeated Beneil Dariush in this 155 lb. lightweight fight. Beneil is rising fast and he made a great debut at UFC Fight Night 35 by stopping Charlie Brenneman (not the easiest opponent to face in your UFC debut). I think Dariush is a buzz saw and he is going to make noise in this division, and perhaps becoming a title contender in the near future. I like Dariush winning “My MMA News Knockout of the Night” award too.
Pick: Beneil Dariush via TKO Rd 1
John “Doomsday” Howard (22-8) vs. Ryan Laflare (10-0)
Another undefeated fighter will put their perfect record on the line in this welterweight match up. Laflare has a significant height advantage at 6’1″ over the 5’7″ Howard. “Doomsday” is no stranger in the octagon and this is his second stint in the UFC after being released back in 2011 after three consecutive losses (6-3 overall in UFC). Doomsday is heating up again with a four fight win streak, with his last two victories in UFC competition. With Howard favoring striking and Laflare’s height advantage and wrestling advantage, I think Ryan will weather the storm and pull off the win to remain undefeated in a close fight.
Pick: Ryan Laflare via Dec.
Clay “The Carpenter” Guida (30-14) vs. Tatsuya “Crusher” Kawajiri (33-7)
The Carpenter never stops and always brings it, win or lose he always puts on a show. Kawajiri is a legend in Japan and it is exciting to see him fighting in the UFC. He had a great debut submitting Sean Soriano in January. Over 40 fights for both of these warriors…I know this will be an all out war and this fight can steal the spotlight on this card (maybe a “fight of the year” in the making). I would not be surprised if this won the “My MMA News Fight of the Night” award. Guida needs this one bad as he has lost three of his last four matches. Not an excuse, Guida does always fight the best in the business and he never turns down a fight, point in case with Kawajiri being his next opponent.
Pick: Clay Guida via Dec.
Antonio “Rodrigo” Nogueira (34-8-1) vs. Roy “Big Country” Nelson (19-9)
MMA legend “Rodrigo” Nogueira will face “Big Country” Roy Nelson in the main event of this fight. Both fighters are nearing the end of their careers at the age of 37 (mother of God do not let them read this and find me!)…Nogueira has had a roller coaster journey in the UFC winning and losing (5-4 UFC record, starting 2-0 then losing every other match). Big Country has lost his last two matches via decision after a 3 fight win streak consisting of some NASTY knock outs. Both need a win bad to remain in a quest for one last journey to a title shot. I feel that Nogueira’s body has taken it’s toll from his long (successful) career. I have a feeling Roy is going to put this sweet prince to sleep with a bittersweet (highlight reel-worthy) KO.
Pick: Roy Nelson via TKO Rd 2
It is always great to make predictions, and even better if you are right! Download the PICKAFIGHT app and go head-to-head with other fans! It is a fantastic app and a fun way to earn some “bragging rights” with your predictions. I have been off for a while and I am looking to start playing again. Thank you for reading!