Feb 4, 2016

UFC Fight Night: Hendricks vs. Thompson Predictions

If you haven't been keeping up with the MMA landscape you might be a little confused about what you're seeing right now. Wasn't Cain Velasquez suppose to get his rematch with Fabricio Werdum? Yes, this was true, but Cain suffered a back injury and had to pull out of fight. You may be asking, well couldn't they find someone to fight Werdum in Cain's place (great idea by the way, you're really on top of things today). They tried to match up Stipe Miocic with Werdum, but it turned out Werdum was injured himself this whole time and wasn't going to say anything...well until he found out Cain was also injured. With no main event it was the UFC that had to do some shuffling this weekend and now we're getting a pretty decent card on Fox Sports 1. Headlining is a really interesting fight between former UFC Welterweight Champion Johny Hendricks and rising star Stephen Thompson. We also get to see a couple of the big boys tussle when Roy Nelson throws down with Jared Rosholt.

Johny Hendricks vs Stephen Thompson

This is a big step up for Stephen Thompson, but this step up is well earned. Thompson is running hot right now with a five fight winning streak, his last win being over long time veteran Jake Ellenberger. Not only did he best Jake in his last fight, he put on his best performance in the UFC yet. That all being said, Thompson hasn't faced an opponent that's reached the heights that Johny Hendricks has. Hendricks is not only a former champion himself, but he has pushed fellow champions Robbie Lawler and George St-Pierre to their limits. However there are some X factors that need to be accounted for when predicting this fight. Hendricks wasn't able to make weight for his fight against Tyron Woodley because of a sudden kidney stone attack which was related to his weight cut. He's also changed his training camp and recently his steak house restaurant went under. These can either be distractions that Johny has to work through or they could be motivating factors that push him to train harder and make better decisions. Personally I think Hendricks will get the win here, he's no stranger to five round wars and if he can stay close to Thompson and not give him the space he needs for his arsenal of kicks I think he'll get the nod from the judges. Hendricks by decision.  

Hendricks: Kid P, Gooms, DJ Mark    
Thompson: Doc Law

Roy Nelson vs Jared Rosholt

These two fighters are going into this fight from very different perspectives. Roy Nelson has been having a tough go of it for his last three fights, losing all three and getting knocked out when facing Mark Hunt. Jared on the other hand is on a three fight winning streak and even got a stoppage against Josh Copeland. The big difference here is the level of competition the two have faced, Nelson was up against long time veterans while Rosholt was mostly facing lesser competition. While recording this week's It's MMAzing Radio I predicted Jared would win. Now, I have to say when I was asked to give my prediction I was still weighing it over in my head, and my deciding factor was mostly me questioning Nelson mentality going into this fight having lost his last three. My gut reaction was to think that maybe his head and heart just wasn't into MMA anymore and I picked Rosholt to win. However, given more discussion and thought I do think Nelson probably is the more likely winner given there skill sets and weaknesses. That being said, I am a man of my word. Rosholt by decision. 

Nelson: Kid P, Gooms, Doc Law
Rosholt: DJ Mark

Ovince Saint Preux vs Rafael Cavalcante 

This is an interesting fight. OSP has really done quite well for himself since joining the UFC. He's lost a couple fights against title contenders, but won the majority of his fights and got a big win over Mauricio Rua. Cavalcante hasn't had the same results, only having won one of his four UFC appearances. Personally, I don't think Cavalcante has really shown just how skilled he is during his stint in the UFC and I feel like he won't be able to against OSP either. I see OSP just being a little more dynamic and mixing up his strikes and grappling better then Cavalcante to get the win. OSP by TKO 3rd round.

OSP: unanimous

Joseph Benavidez vs Zach Makovsky

Benavidez is just in an awful place in his career right now, where he's better then everyone else in the weight class expect for the champion. While this is far from ideal for Benavidez it's a great opportunity for his opponents. In my eyes a win over Benavidez basically makes you an instant number one contender. The problem, like I stated before, is that I feel Benavidez is better then just about everyone else in the division. Makovsky is a fantastic fighter who I feel is title contender quality, I just don't think he'll have what it takes to best Benavidez. Regardless I do except this to be a fast and fun scrap against two top tier fighters. Benavidez by decision.

Benavidez: unanimous

Mike Pyle vs Sean Spencer

I don't have too much to say regarding this fight, I'm leaning towards Sean in this one and that's mainly based on the wear and tear on Pyle. At 40 years old with 38 fights that started back in 1999 against Quinton Jackson, I just question how much is left in the tank. Pyle is still a dangerous well rounded fighter but maybe his best days are behind him. Sean being 12 years younger and just now hitting his prime I think will be too much for Pyle. Sean by decision.

Spencer: unanimous

It's MMAzing 2016 Standings

1. DJ Mark - (12-3) - .800
2. Doctor Law - (10-5) - .600
3. Lavender Gooms - (8-7) - .533
3. Kid Presentable - (8-7) - .533

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