Daniel “DC” Cormier (16-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’11” Age: 36 Weight: 205 lbs Reach: 72.5″
  • Last Fight: Submission Win / Anthony Johnson (5-23-15)
  • Camp: American Kickboxing Academy ( San Jose, CA )
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Good
  • Overall Fight Grade: A

Supplemental info:
+ UFC LHW Champion
+ Strikeforce HW Grand Prix Champ
+ 2x US Olympian(2008 captain)
+ Brown Belt BJJ
+ 8 wins via KO
+ 7 first round finishes
+ KO Power/Physically strong
+ 68% Striking Defense
+ Solid Chin/Recovers well
+ Good work rate/tested cardio
+ Hard overhand right
+ Good head positioning in the clinch
+ Active right hands on the inside
+ Shows kick-catch counters
+ Variety of clinch TD’s
+ Intelligent top transitions & GNP


Alexander Gustafsson (16-3)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’5″ Age: 28 Weight: 205 lbs Reach: 79″
  • Last Fight: TKO Loss / Anthony Johnson (1-24-15)
  • Camp: Alliance/All-Stars MMA ( Sweden )
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate
  • Overall Fight Grade: B+

Supplemental info:
+ Amateur Boxing Experience
+ 10 wins via KO
+ 8 first round finishes
+ high striking volume & activity
+ Dangerous knees in close
+ Good shot selection/stopping power
+ Intelligent footwork & movement
+ Times TD’s well in the open
+ Durable fighter/recovers well
+ Good cardio & consistency
+ Improved overall TD game
+ 87% TD Defense
+ Sneaky uppercuts at range
– Head high of kicks & retreats
– Hands low(especially left side)
– Occasionally kicks lazily


In the main event of the evening, we have a LHW contest between Daniel Cormier and Alexander Gustafsson. Both men have been the 5 round distance showing cardio competency. Starting off on the feet, Gustafsson shows consistent outside circling as he finds his rhythm prodding with his left. Traditionally favoring a high output boxing attack, he’ll conduct jabs & hooks in volume to set up right hands & uppercuts. DC will have to contend with this constant work rate & movement to make his way inside. Cormier did however show us in the Jones fight, that despite having everything but the kitchen sink thrown at him, is willing & capable of achieving this. Jones wide array of strikes also helped show us a lot of what does & doesn’t work against DC. Kicks for example, is something not strongly present in Gustafsson’s game, but still hold factors here. DC shows to block head kicks well, but has a general vulnerability to strikes straight forward/up the middle and body attacks.

Alex throws awkward kicks(sometimes lazily) off his movement, leaving himself out of position. Given what happened in his last fight, and DC’s ability to catch counter kicks, I don’t expect him to lean on that here. If Gus however mixes in body kicks, he can gain some momentum early as well as pay dividends late. Defensively, Gustafsson’s biggest liability is his low left shoulder/guard(which especially lowers when throwing rights in the pocket). Just looking at this aspect gives me flashbacks to the DC vs. Bigfoot Silva fight. Where Daniel used his solid overhand right to enter range. That said, Gus will obviously be harder the catch than Bigfoot, as well as hard to catch early for DC. Smoothly or not, I expect DC to get Gus to the cage by round 2 at the latest. If he doesn’t find any significant moments by the second, then this will signal serious problems for the Champion.

It can also go south for DC in which entries he chooses in clinch space. Alex’s most dangerous strikes are his knees(see Manuwa fight) and given DC’s height & appetite to reach down on head-inside singles, that makes this space a key factor in this fight. DC also favors a high-crotch/head-outside single variations, but Alex is good at using his long frame to defend by making a wide base(see Davis fight). Cormier’s best bet is to lean on his second nature, high under-hook clinch position. From here, he can most safely get off strikes, or transition to body lock TD’s/Double legs against the fence. I suspect he’ll breakdown and eventually ground Gus as the fight endures. Though we haven’t see him on the ground recently, Alex has an underrated ground game that should make a finish difficult(unless hurt first).

But since his devastating loss to Johnson, Gustafsson has approached this fight with a mild-mannered reluctance, which makes it hard to predict his showing here. Where as with the free & looming Jon Jones, I’m certain DC’s showmanship & athletic competitiveness, will drive him in search of a finish/statement here. I’m just not so sure he finds it. Given DC’s work rate  & 5 rounds to score points/earn a stoppage, Cormier wouldn’t exactly hurt your line up.

Official Pick: Cormier – Unanimous Decision

Official Outcome: Cormier – Split Decision


Johny Hendricks (17-3)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’9″ Age: 32 Weight: 170 lbs Reach: 69″
  • Last Fight: Decision Win / Matt Brown (3-14-15)
  • Camp: Team Takedown ( Texas )
  • Stance/Striking Style: Southpaw / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate
  • Overall Fight Grade: A

Supplemental info:
+   Former UFC WW Champion
+   4x Div. 1 All-American Wrestler
+   8 KO victories
+   5 first round finishes
+   Heavy hands/KO Power
+   Dangerous left hand
+   Good dirty boxing(uppercuts)
+   Excellent cage clinch control
+   Consistent clinch striking(knees)
–    Left shoulder/guard low on entries
^   Susceptible to counter right hands
+   Physically & Mentally tough
+   Takes damage well
+   Good chin/never stopped
–    Pace slows late in rounds/fights
+   Favors TD’s against the cage


Tyron Woodley (15-3)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’9″ Age: 33 Weight: 170 lbs Reach: 74″
  • Last Fight: SD Win / Kelvin Gastelum (1-31-15)
  • Camp: ATT/Roufusport (Missouri)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Good
  • Overall Fight Grade: B

Supplemental info:
+   2x Div. 1 All-American Wrestler
+   Pac-12 Champion
+   6 TKO.KO victories
+   8 first round finishes
+   Brown Belt BJJ
+   Dangerous right hand
+   Powerful right leg kick
+/-Strong but inactive from clinch
+/-Fights in short bursts
+   Good left switch kick
+   Good speed/distance closing
–    Struggles mentally
+   2nd camp with Roufusport
+/-Often fights with back to cage
–    pace consistently slows thru fight
+   92% TD Defense


From the wrestling room to the Octagon, Johny Hendricks and Tyron Woodley meet again. Both men are accomplished wrestlers with big power on the feet. Tyron possesses some potential intangibles in this fight and should have an overall speed advantage. Where as Johny, I feel is the more complete and consistent fighter here. On the feet, Woodley will traditionally start the fight strong from an almost “Thai style” march/guard. Fighting & feinting in range, he heavily leans on his fast twitch reactions to draw out counters. This eventually will evolve into Tyron playing the outside of the Octagon laterally, looking to counter, and occasionally threatening forward in attempts to reset & recover. Woodley’s overall output will also steadily diminish after round 1(especially should the fight not go his way).

However, since switching his training camps to Roufusport, Tyron showed improvements in his movement, combinations, and overall pacing. Despite these advances in his last fight, Woodley still showed to operate in habitual spaces. Should Tyron play the outside and wait, he’ll stylistically stack the rounds to Hendricks favor. Playing the “wait for it” counter game is always a risky proposition in MMA, especially when against a more well rounded forward force. Hendricks offers a much more consistent approach standing, showing more than a dangerous left hand entry(often doubling up), Johny’s added variety to his combos where he’ll finish with leg kicks.

In close range, Hendricks is very active with his dirty boxing(uppercuts especially), using over-thrown right hooks to grip his opponents head. Johny does a good job of moving his head right, when throwing left power shots. This in-particularly is safe being that Woodley lacks left hooks. It’s the left side of Hendricks defense that can cost him this fight. On his entries & pocket exchanges, Hendricks has a bad habit of dropping his left shoulder/guard. This leaves him vulnerable to counter right hands, and is specifically Tyron’s best chance of winning(This also leaves him open to head kicks should Tyron have them in his arsenal).

If he fails here, expect Hendricks to pressure him into the cage. Hendricks who will consistently get opponents here, will stay busy with knees to the thigh, strikes, and TD threats. Though Johny has showed interest in wrestling again, I’m not sure he’ll attempt/succeed in grounding Woodley(92% TD Defense). Though maintaining good defense, Woodley is not a very active clinch fighter, and it’s here I see him giving away rounds. With a tight contest involving 2 defensively durable men, I’d avoid fantasy drafts here.

Official Pick: Hendricks – Unanimous Decision

Official Outcome: Bout scratched due to health issues(Hendricks).


Rashad Evans (19-3-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’11” Age: 36 Weight: 205 lbs Reach: 78″
  • Last Fight: TKO win / Chael Sonnen (11-16-13)
  • Camp: Blackzillians ( Florida )
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate
  • Overall Fight Grade: B+

Supplemental info:
+   Former UFC LHW Champion
+   All-American Wrestler
+   JUCO National Wrestling Champ
+   7 KO victories
+   4 first round finishes
+   Closes distance quickly
+   Good head movement
+   Good strikes/Aggression against cage
+   KO Power/Heavy hands
+/-Gets hurt but recovers well
+   Good movement & transitions
+/-Overall timing based game


Ryan Bader (19-4)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’2″ Age: 32 Weight: 205 lbs Reach: 74″
  • Last Fight: Split Decision Win / Phil Davis (1-24-15)
  • Camp: Power MMA Team ( Tempe, AZ )
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate
  • Overall Fight Grade: B

Supplemental info:
+   2x Div. 1 All-American
+   3x Pac-10 Champion
+   Highschool State Champion
+   7 Ko wins(TUF included)
+   8 first round finishes
+   KO Power/Heavy hands
+   Working heavily on stand up
+   Suffocating top game
+   Strong power double
?   Overall status of chin?
–   Lacks head movements off strikes
^  Vulnerably off blitz entries


Barking for title shots & determined to make his run, Ryan Bader gets a chance to make a statement against Rashad Evans. Despite being away for almost 2 years, Rashad draws a relevant match up with a familiar name. Aside from Jon Jones & “Little Nog”, Evans last four victories came against accomplished wrestlers who throw hands. That said, Ryan Bader has made big efforts this last year to round out his MMA game. Although not the most exciting, Ryan’s shown to utilize his grappling game intelligently using body lock TD’s and a smothering top game, showing his ability to breakdown opponents on the mat.

These last six months in particular, Bader claims to have worked on adding more striking tools & movement. This could prove an intangible factor standing should Rashad find himself grasping for straws early. As for Evans, I don’t feel it matters if he added new folds to his game, for I feel he already has  to tools to get in done here. The key factor here is, how compromised will Rashad’s speed & timing be coming back. This could be very troublesome being Rashad’s striking/movement game is heavily timing based(and as we know, that’s the first thing to go in a fighter).

As good as Rashad is at neutralizing wrestlers, I expect this one to be contested on the feet. Though Evans rhythm & power game should top Ryan on paper, we should see where Evans truly stands by the end of the first. Should he still look rusty, then we may very well see the wheels go one by one. With one man re-gathering himself, and the other trying to establish a new self.. expect a sloppy fight here. Couple unpredictability with decision probability, and I’d avoid this one at all costs.

Official Pick: Bader – Split Decision

Official Outcome: Bader – Unanimous Decision


Ruslan Magomedov (13-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’4″ Age: 28 Weight: 249 lbs Reach: 78″
  • Last Fight: Decision Win / Josh Copeland (11-22-14)
  • Camp: Fight Club Berkut/AKA ( Dagestan, Russia )
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Good
  • Overall Fight Grade: B

Supplemental info:
+   World & Regional Kickboxing Champ
+   5 first round finishes
+   8 fight winning streak
+   Training at AKA (San Jose)
^   DC main training partner
+   Good movement on feet
+   Fast & hard switch kick
+   Accurate right hand
+/-Tends to counter strike
+   Good TD Defense
+   Good chin/recovers well


Shawn Jordan (18-6)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’0″ Age: 30 Weight: 251 lbs Reach: 75″
  • Last Fight: TKO win / Derrick Lewis (6-6-15)
  • Camp: American Top Team ( Florida/Louisiana )
  • Stance/Striking Style: Southpaw / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair
  • Overall Fight Grade: C

Supplemental info:
+   Former LSU Football player
+   14 TKO/KO Victories
+   10 first round finishes
+   KO Power/Physically strong
+   Deceptively fast & athletic
+   Good grappling base
+   Solid TD Defense
+   Strong cage pressure
^   Looks for TD’s against fence
+   Good ground & pound
–    Susceptible chin/4 KO losses


In this Heavyweight showdown, we should be treated to a fun stylistic match up. The kickboxing Dagestani, Ruslan Magomedov collides with the always dangerous Shawn Jordan. Both men are deceptively fast heavyweights but in different ways. Ruslan who has good movement, shows a good technical striking speed. Where as Jordan, has an overall athletic speed shown in his forward explosions. This will be Ruslan’s second training camp with AKA, whom many of his training partners say he’s still yet to show his full potential. On the feet, Magomedov holds an obvious advantage on paper. Though it should be noted that Shawn holds the intangible factors here.

Meaning that he possesses the speed & power to catch Ruslan and close the show. That however, will be easier said than done. Ruslan, who has only been stopped once(his lone loss due to a body shot on a night in which he already fought & won). Where Jordan on the other hand, has been stopped 4 times and gets stunned in victory & defeat. Despite being more defensively liable, Shawn will need to get off to a fast start. We’ve seldomly seen Ruslan pressure fought(especially in the Octagon) which may expose cracks in his game. Magomedov traditionally likes to control distance with solid combinations & the looming threat of his lead leg kicks.

Ruslan will sometimes lean his head forward, pawing an extended right hand to draw you into his lead switch kick. In which he’ll lean his head back to throw, but will keep it high on retreat.  Here, is where Jordan can be effective in timing his blitz’s. Exploding forward with hooks could cause damage, but I suspect he’ll use his forward pressure to get Ruslan to the cage. Jordan’s shown a recent trend of upping his TD attempts here in order to implement his ground game. Should he be successful, his top game/ground & pound could prove problematic. But given the fact that DC is Russians main partner this camp, I’m confident he’s gotten sufficient looks/training, and should hold his own here.

Should Jordan fail the range game, it will be a long night for the LSU alum that’s only been the distance once his career. And if Magomedov is as good as everyone claims, he should score the finish here in his 3rd UFC appearance.


Official Pick: Magomedov – TKO – Round 2

Official Outcome: Magomedov – Unanimous Decision


Juliana Pena (6-2)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’7″ Age: 26 Weight: 134 lbs Reach: 69″
  • Last Fight: TKO Win / Milana Dudieva (4-4-15)
  • Camp: Sikjitsu ( Spokane, WA )
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair
  • Overall Fight Grade: B-

Supplemental info:
+   TUF 18 winner
+   4 first round finishes
+   4 second round finishes
+   fast starter / high pace
+    very strong grappler
+   aggressive cage clinch/TD’s
_   Vulnerable to strikes on entry
+   Solid top/positional game
+   Active ground & pounder


Jessica Eye (11-3)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’6″  Age: 29 Weight: 135 lbs Reach: 66″
  • Last Fight: Decision Loss / Miesha Tate (7-25-15)
  • Camp: Strong Style Fight Team ( Ohio )
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Boxing
  • Risk Management: Fair
  • Overall Fight Grade: C+

Supplemental info:
+   Ring of Combat Title
+   2 first round finishes
+   Amateur Boxing Experience
+   Good striking volume
+   Excellent head movement
+   Improved TD defense
+   Good counter puncher
–    Inactive on bottom
–    Doesn’t scramble well


For the womens main card slot we have Juliana Pena vs. Jessica Eye. This is an important fight for the division and should answer questions about both girls. Jessica, one of the better undersized Bantamweights in the UFC, has set herself apart from the pack with her striking. Starting from the opening bell, She’ll throw in volume bursts looking to capitalize on counter punching. Juliana however, barring Rousey, is the fastest starter in the division.

Not mincing intentions on the feet, Pena makes aggressive entries off wild hooks, closing the distance to the fence. In this specific transition, will it be Eye’s best chances of catching Pena(Who on her striking entries has shown to leave her head vulnerable). Against the cage, Eye has shown an improved TD defense(shown in Tate fight). In particular the fore-arm to elbow framing used by many strikers to create space off the fence. Showing to struggle in the past when pressure fought, I don’t see Jessica holding off Pena for long.

Once this fight hits the mat, expect Juliana to waste no time closing the show. Eye lacks overall activity/urgency on the floor, where defensively she puts her effort to stalling & stifling. This may keep her safe from immediate submissions, but will only get her into trouble with Pena, who I see positionally out working Eye, and overwhelming her with strikes to give her the first TKO of her career.

Official Pick: Pena – TKO – Round 1

Official Outcome: Pena – Unanimous Decision


Joseph Benavidez (22-4)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’4″ Age: 31 Weight: 125 lbs Reach: 65″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / John Moraga (5-23-15)
  • Camp: Team Alpha Male ( Sacramento,CA )
  • Stance/Striking Style: Southpaw / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair
  • Overall Fight Grade: A-

Supplemental info:
+   NM State Wrestling Champ
+   6 first round finishes
+   8 second round finishes
+   9 Submission Wins
+   Well rounded grappler
+   Only losses to Cruz & DJ
+   65% Striking Defense
+   Good head movement off punches
+   Mixes kicks in well
+   Dangerous in the scrambles
+   Excellent get up ability
+   KO Power/Heavy hands

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Vinicius Vina vs Bagautinov

Ali Bagautinov (13-3)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’4″ Age:30 Weight: 125 lbs Reach: 65.5″
  • Last Fight: UD Loss / Demetrious Johnson (6-14-14)
  • Camp: Fight Nights Team ( Dagestan, Russia )
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate
  • Overall Fight Grade: B+

 Supplemental info:
+   Master of Sports: Combat Sambo
+   Master of Sports: Wrestling & Greco
+   75% TD Defense
+   6 first round finishes
+   Strong & experienced grappling base
+   Good chin/Never stopped
+   Dangerous cross-hook combo
+/-Tends to head hunt
–    Vulnerable to body damage
+   Strong in clinch/clinch TD’s
?    Pace bares watching
+   KO Power/Heavy hands


In this solid match up of top Flyweights, Joseph Benavidez meets Ali Bagautinov. Ali who has an extensive Combat Sambo/Wrestling background, has proven to be one of the divisions most tough & durable fighters. Where as Benavidez has shown a “tough & durable” career, fighting and defeating most of the best fighters in the world. It is also important to note that this is Bagautinov’s first fight back in over 14 months(since testing positive for EPO). On the feet, Ali tends to circle the outside Octagon lines, looking for counter hooks to the head. Given the opportunity he will look to forward pressure to cage clinches.

From here, he’ll  threaten heavy clinch punches to open up TD opportunities. Ali has also shown to play stance switching, incorporating body kicks when he feels comfortable. However Benavides’s aggressive style & work rate, can very well stifle Ali’s game. With a huge footwork and slight speed advantage, Joe should be able to dictate standing. Benavidez shows improved head movement off his punches. I see his heavy handed hooks, which he’ll follow up with well disguised kicks, should keep Ali guessing. I do however see Ali being successful in scoring TD’s. Joe has shown he can be taken down, but I doubt Ali can hold him down and get off here. Joe’s scrambling abilities are incredible, whether he uses it to get back to his feet or score submissions. So long as Joe’s cardio holds up, I see him out working/edging Bagautinov out. With a finish unlikely here, I think it would be a good idea to pass on this for your Fantasy Drafts.

Official Pick: Benavidez – Unanimous Decision

Official Outcome: Benavidez – Unanimous Decision

UFC 180: Rodriguez v Morales

Yair Rodriguez (5-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’11” Age: 22 Weight: 145 lbs Reach: 71″
  • Last Fight: Decision Win / Charles Rosa (6-13-15)
  • Camp: Izzy -Style Wrestling ( Illinois )
  • Stance/Striking Style: Switch-stance / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair
  • Overall Fight Grade: C+

Supplemental info:
+   TUF Latin American Winner
+   Tae Kwon Do Black Belt
+   Worked a lot on Wrestling
+   3 first round finishes(Including TUF)
+   Good ground/scramble IQ
+   Athletically creative fighter
^   Applies length on ground
+   Active guard/Favors Triangle lock ups
+   Wild but effective kick variety
+   Good balance
–    Vulnerable to left body kicks/overhands
–    Sometimes leads head on entries

UFC Fight Night Auckland: Te Huna v Marquardt

Daniel Hooker (12-5)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’0″ Age: 25 Weight: 145 lbs Reach: 75.5″
  • Last Fight: KO Win / Hatsu Hioki (5-10-15)
  • Camp: Strike Force Auckland ( New Zealand )
  • Stance/Striking Style: Switch-stance / Muay Thai
  • Risk Management: Poor
  • Overall Fight Grade: C

Supplemental info:
+   AFC & Supremacy LW Titles
+   Blue Belt BJJ
+   KITR Middleweight Kickboxing Title
+   8 first round finishes
+   5 Submission victories
+   Keeps composure in adversity
+   Good chin/Never stopped
+   Dangerous elbows in close
–    Head high & exposed
^   Takes damage / recovers well
+   Looks to get back to feet
–    Lacks consistent movement/defense


In another fun stylistic match up, Yair Rodriguez draws Daniel Hooker. Both men are young rising prospects who show major improvements between every fight. Though often showing defensive disregard, Daniel is the more aggressive & consistent in his attack. Where as Yair will wildly commit to a seemingly endless arsenal of creative offense. In Hookers last fight, he showed an improvement in defensive movement which will be something he needs here. Daniel also surprised us last time out by fighting Southpaw for the first time in his career. A questionable risk given that it was against an opponent who wanted to take him down. None the less, he stuck to his plan and scored the knock out.

If you factor in all the above information, If can be very hard to predict how either of these two come out. What I can tell you is that both men are most vulnerable to bod kicks & overhands standing. This is where I expect Yair to thrive, offering more of a diverse attack, with potentially momentum shifting strikes. Even if Yair’s “Flashy” strikes don’t land/damage, they traditionally score well with the Judges(especially when thrown late in rounds Ala Jon Jones). Hooker however, has a durable chin and “serial killer-like” stalking abilities. It’s those specific attributes that he’ll have to lean on to make this an inside-range fight.

If he can pressure Yair repeatedly, the volume could be troublesome for the Mexican prospect. Although Rodriguez, who has improved his wrestling, is also not afraid to pull guard.  And given Yair’s camp & opponents style, I suspect he’ll try to close this one out on the mat. His length & creativity translates even better off his back(a place most avoid this day in MMA). He uses his long legs to lock up Triangle/modified Corner locks. From here he attacks(or sweeps) seamlessly with leg locks, arm bars, and chokes. Thought Daniel Hooker shows good composure & submission defense, I’m not sure he makes it out of the kitchen without being burned here. Both men are high scorers, but unless Hooker can “Matt Brown” this kid, I expect Yair’s offense to stifle, if not catch the Kiwi.


Official Pick: Rodriguez – Submission – Round 2

Official Outcome: Rodriguez – Unanimous Decision


Alan Jouban (12-3)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’0″ Age: 32 Weight: 171 lbs Reach: 74″
  • Last Fight: Decision Win / Matt Dwyer (7-15-15)
  • Camp: Black House/10th Planet ( Louisiana/CA )
  • Stance/Striking Style: Southpaw / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair
  • Overall Fight Grade: C+

Supplemental info:
+   BJJ Brown Belt
+   9 KO wins
+   6 first round finishes
+   Strong standing output
+   Good counter left hook
+   Good left body kick
+   Excellent cardio & condition
–    Gets hurt early/hit often
^   Hands low/head exposed
+   Resilient chin/Recovers well
+   Improved Wrestling


Albert Tumenov (15-2)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’11” Age: 23 Weight: 169 lbs Reach: 75″
  • Last Fight: Decision Win / Nicholas Musoke (1-24-15)
  • Camp: K-Dojo Warrior Tribe ( Russia )
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Good
  • Overall Fight Grade: B

Supplemental info:
+   Master of Sports: Boxing
+   10 KO wins
+   9 first round finishes
+   KO Power/Heavy hands
+   Accurate defensive & offensive L-Hook
+   Dangerous switch head kick
–    Shows vulnerability to body kicks
+   Good core-strength/counter wrestling
^   Good bridge 7 scrambles from bottom
+   Shows excellent chin
+   Good Cardio & work rate


You can’t bring a card to Texas without a shoot out, and here it is. The always entertaining Alan Jouban meets the dangerous Albert Tumenov. I’m not gonna lie, this is probably the fight I’m looking forward to most on the card. As much as I could pontificate on each fighters standing abilities, I’ll stead trim the fat to give you the meat & potatoes here. Starting off on the feet, Jouban has been known to get his rhythm slowly while seemingly taking damage early. Where as Tumenov, traditionally comes out and matches/adapts to his oppositions pace, and looks to find/exploit opponents early.

This won’t be Tumenov’s first southpaw, as he’s faced 2 in his recent UFC career. Jouban however, will be one of the more faster/dangerous strikers Albert has faced. Alan fights a high break-neck pace that can steal the momentum of this fight, especially if Albert fails to control the distance/get a stop early. Tumenov also shows good cardio, but it will certainly be tested in this fight. Despite not being the longest Welterweight, Albert controls the striking distance well. Possesing a solid jab, he’ll also use efficient footwork to angle off right cross counters/attacks.

His best weapon is his “Clean-up Hitting” left hook. A weapon that he throws with consistent accuracy, should play a factor in this fight. Given Jouban’s tendency to keep his head exposed in pocket exchanges, he’ll drop his right shoulder/guard in mid-strike momentum while throwing the left. This in particular makes him vulnerable to left hooks(See Baczynski fight). Albert also deals out a nasty switch left head kick, but I think his right head kick will suit him better this fight. Alan has a defensive tendency to lean/slip heavy to his left, borderline exposing that side(especially as his hands drop during heated exchanges).

Tumenov shows good defense except for his shown vulnerability/willingness to eat body shots. This is one of two “Keys to Victory” I see for Jouban standing. Alan possesses accurate liver kicks & knees to the body that could give him the momentum swings he needs given Alberts durable chin. Though Alan may be more defensively liable with his chin, his second key(and needed objective) should be to pressure fight Albert into cage space. This is something Alan naturally does already in fights, but will need it in full force for this match up. From here, Jouban has a better clinch striking game, where I feel Tumenov can be fed elbows from.

As far as any ground stanzas go, neither man show interest in taking it there. Jouban(a Brown Belt under Eddie Bravo) has a decent rubber guard game, but it should be negated by Alberts solid posture awareness & effective ground and pound. Jouban however, has been working extensively with Kenny Johnson(Bolt Wrestling) and would not be surprised to see him attempt TD’s. If he can get Albert down, his best chances are from top-side half guard. Albert has a very strong bridge he’ll use to get out of mount/side control to create escapes/scrambles. But by holding a Half Guard from the top, it will neutralize Albert’s game, and perhaps open up elbow opportunities for Jouban.

I’m a big fan of Alan Jouban fights but I feel he’s the much more liable man here. For that reason I’m slightly leaning toward the more durable & dangerous Tumenov. I can even see him getting a stop on Jouban here should he get too reckless. Just remember that this is the most palpable gun fight on the card and should be treated as such. Should you choose either men for your Fantasy picks, their output, knockdowns, and finish rates make them high scoring selections.

Official Pick: Tumenov – Split Decision

Official Outcome: Tumenov – KO


Angela Hill (2-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’3″ Age: 27 Weight: 115 lbs Reach: 64.5″
  • Last Fight: Decision Loss / Tecia Torres (6-13-15)
  • Camp: Alliance MMA ( San Diego )
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Muay Thai
  • Risk Management: Fair
  • Overall Fight Grade: D+

Supplemental info:
+   14-0 Amateur Muay Thai
+   2-0 Pro Muay Thai
+   TUF 20 alum
+   1st camp at Alliance MMA
+   Strong right hand
+   Accurate knees(in clinch)
+   Improved grappling & clinch
–    Stays flat on back/succeeds bottom
–    Lacks scrambles/ground activity
+/-Fight to fight improvements
+   Athletic/Physically strong


Rose Namjunas (2-2)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’5″ Age: 23 Weight: 115 lbs Reach: 65″
  • Last Fight: Submission Loss / Carla Esparza (12-12-14)
  • Camp: The Academy ( Milwaukee,WI )
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair
  • Overall Fight Grade: C+

Supplemental info:
+   Black Belt Karate & TKD
+   Blue Belt BJJ
+   TUF 20 Finalist
+   4-0 as Amateur
+   Camps at Grudge(Colorado)
+   Active & aggressive sub hunter
+   3 first round finishes(including TUF)
–    Struggles when pressure fought
+   Active & effective scrambler
+   Accurate check hooks
+   Good R-leg kick/L-head kick


In this Straw weight bout, we have two potential talents in Rose Namajunas & Angela Hill. Rose is a very dangerous but emotional fighter who had a lot of pressure/expectations on her coming out of the TUF house. Now, almost 10 months removed from her last fight, She’s looking to rebound against the ever improving Hill. Angela, who has a strong Muay Thai background, showed in her last fight against Kagan that she has a lot of potential for this game. But she’ll need to replicate that particular performance to win here. With Rose who’s at her best when given space to conduct, Hill will need to stalk forward with her active work rate and force her to a cage clinch.

From here Angela has some very accurate knees that can steal her some momentum for this fight. Rose also showed to struggle here in her fight with Calderwood. Hill however, will need to mind Rose’s guard pulls, which can be equalizing in their own right. If Angela fails to keep pressure in any fashion, Rose will have the opportunity to gain momentum. Namajunas shows a good subtle stance switching in her movement. She favors right leg kicks off combos, and left head kick set ups off a southpaw stance. Her most effective strike is the check hook(either stance) which I believe will give Hill trouble.

No matter the styles, female fights tend to go everywhere. That being said, I give Rose a distinct advantage on the ground. With her superior scrambling & submission abilities, I would not be surprised if she catches something here. However there are 2 intangible factors you should keep in mind for this fight. Firstly, Angela Hill’s Athleticism/fight to fight improvements.  Hill is both young in years & experience, with that in mind, She could surprise everyone showing new skills. The second intangible factor is Rose’s potential to fade. She’s shown that as the fight progresses(especially when not her way) she struggles/mentally fatigues. Unless you’re very confident in Rose, I’d avoid any Fantasy plays here.

Official Pick: Namajunas – Submission – Round 2

Official Outcome: Namajunas – Submission – Round 1


Adriano Martins (27-7)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’10” Age: 32 Weight: 154 lbs Reach: 72″
  • Last Fight: SD Win / Rustam Khabilov (2-22-15)
  • Camp: Top Life Amazonas/ATT ( Brazil )
  • Stance/Striking Style: Southpaw / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate
  • Overall Fight Grade: B-

Supplemental info:
+   Former WFE & Jungle Fight LW Champ
+   BJJ World Champion ( Black Belt )
+   Judo Brown Belt
+   10 first round finishes
+   Trains with American Top Team
+   12 wins by TKO/KO
+   Times standing attacks well
+   Heavy handed striker
+   Strong Top-Half Guard Game
+   Underrated Wrestling
^   80% TD/TD Defense rate
–    Keeps head high & vulnerable


Islam Makhachev (12-0)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’10” Age: 24 Weight: 155 lbs Reach: 70.5″
  • Last Fight: Submission Win / Leo Kuntz (5-23-15)
  • Camp: Fight Spirit Team ( Dagestan )
  • Stance/Striking Style: South Paw/ Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Good
  • Overall Fight Grade: B

Supplemental info:
+   Combat Sambo World Champion
+   4x Russian Sambo Champion
+   5 first round finishes
+   6 Submission victories
+   Trains with AKA (San Jose)
+   Excellent Trip/TD’s from clinch
+   Good hip positioning/Physically strong
+   Intelligent ground transitions
+   Effective grip fighting/stifling
+   Heavy handed hooks
–    Shows defensive vulnerabilities on entries
+   Good check right hook


In a card full of competitive match ups, this one nears the top for me. We have rising Dagestani prospect Islam Makhachev, meeting the dangerous & talented Adriano Martins. For Martins, this will be a similar stylistic match up to his last fight against Rustam Khabilov. The difference being Makhachev, a Southpaw of more conservative striking variety, who also shows to be a more aggressive & efficient grappler. On the feet, Makhachev keeps a good outside distance until blitzing forward winging aggressive but accurate hooks. He’ll use these as entry vehicles for his clinch. Here Makhachev will “make his money”, dirty boxing his way into his solid chain of Sambo trips/throws. He also wields a good check right hook, which Martins can be susceptible to given his habit of leaving his head high and in range when finishing combos.

Martins has however shown striking improvements defensively & offensively since training with ATT. His overall experience shines through primarily in the “Timing” dept. of his strikes & transitions. Adriano will prod/conduct with his right hand only to intercept/time the left. This could prove particularly useful with Makhachev’s wide open blitz attacks(where I feel his chin will be tested in this fight). As far as Makhachev’s highly regarded clinch/clinch TD game, I’m not so sure Martins will make himself available there. With his own strong frame & grappling IQ, Martins doesn’t show too much trouble in escaping/exiting bad spots. More specifically in his last fight(Against a similar grappling style) he used his underrated wrestling, and times double legs to thwart his opponents offense.

That being said, I believe Makhachev has better(all be it not by much) TD/TD defense than Martins or his last opponent(Khabilov). No matter who initiates it, this one should be largely decided on the mat, where I see both men looking for subs, but ultimately fighting for round advantages. Though he doesn’t show a lot of his ground skills in MMA, Martins is very crafty & dangerous on the mat. But he’s more of a top position player, favoring top-side Half Guard. From here, Adriano has a wide range of attacks and passing threats. If he manages to get Makhachev here, then we will really him tested. But given Makhachevs consistent ability to grip fight out of bad spots and use positional controls in the good spots, I see it enough to edge out Martins.

Make no mistake here, Martins has the ability to spoil, and will certainly test the Dagestan. I would avoid all plays & fantasy picks here, instead I encourage you sit back and enjoy.

Official Pick: Makhachev – Split Decision

Official Outcome: Martins – KO – Round 1

MMA: UFC 181- Pettis vs Hobar

Sergio Pettis (12-2)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’6″ Age: 22 Weight: 125 lbs Reach: 69″
  • Last Fight: TKO Loss / Ryan Benoit (3-14-15)
  • Camp: Roufusport ( Milwuakee, WI )
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate
  • Overall Fight Grade: C+

Supplemental info:
+   Former RFA Flyweight Champ
+   2nd Degree Black Belt TKD
+   Blue Belt BJJ
+   66% striking defense in UFC
+   3 KO/3 Submission wins
+   5 first round finishes
+   Accurate jab-cross
+   Good right head kick set-ups
^   Looks for head kicks off break
+   Active Guard/wrist control set ups
+   Switches stances well
+   Consistent output/work rate
+   Improved head movement & footowork
–    Vulnerable in pocket exchanges
^   Hurt standing only by Southpaws in UFC
+   Improved counter wrestling
–    Lacks effective scrambling


Chris Cariaso (17-7)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’3″ Age: 34 Weight: 125 lbs Reach: 64.5″
  • Last Fight: Decision Loss / Henry Cejudo (3-14-15)
  • Camp: Fight Fitness ( San Francisco, CA )
  • Stance/Striking Style: Southpaw / Muay Thai
  • Risk Management: Moderate
  • Overall Fight Grade: C+

Supplemental info:
+   US Shanshou Champion
+   Golden Gloves Champ (San Francisco)
+   Brown Belt BJJ
+   60% striking defense in UFC
+   3 KO, 2 Submission wins
+   Improved TD defense.scrambling
^   Actively looks for front chokes
+   Strong left body & head kicks
+   Good straight left/right hook
+   Good chin/recovers well
+   Aggressive counter striker
^   Good left kicks to finish counters
+   Good head movement
–    Slow starter
–    Allows himself to be against cage
–    Lacks offensive wrestling
–    Very predictable in-fight approach


This is a very interesting match up of experience vs. youth. Not only is the victory important to both fighters, but for better or worse, the future for each man will be a lot more clear when this is over. Since both men strongly lack offensive wrestling in their game plans & attacks, I expect this one to be decided on the feet. Though both men have actively improved their TD defense, I give Cariaso the on paper edge in grappling. Sergio has an ever improving active guard game, but I don’t see him catching Chris with subs or stifling him with his wrist control. Most importantly, Sergio shows a surprising lack of scrambling urgency/IQ, which leads me to think that any intangible advantages also go to Chris.

The “Key Factor” in this fight for me is in the striking realm. More specifically, what game plan will Sergio employ & how will his chin hold up? Though Cariaso only holds 3 stops to his record, he hits hard & has only been out struck by 2 opponents in 5 years(DJ & Cejudo). Couple that with the fact that Sergio’s only been hurt by Southpaws in the UFC, and we have defensive red flags for Pettis. This also makes a live dog in Cariaso, who consistently(and predictably) attacks with variating cross-hook combos/strong body kicks.

Chris however, will allow opponents to dictate space & range, and this is where Sergio should take over. Pettis is also consistent with offense, but at a much higher out put. Should Sergio utilize his foot work early & make an impression, it will put Cariaso in a perpetual game of “catch up” being a slow starter. Sergio’s best weapons standing are his offensive jab & follow up cross. But given Cariaso’s tendency to over expose left on head movement, I suspect a sneaky right head kick to play a factor. Be careful on plays or even fantasy picks on this one, should be close.

Official Pick: Pettis – Unanimous Decision

Official Outcome: Pettis – Unanimous Decision


Derrick Lewis (12-4)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’3″ Age: 30 Weight: 264 lbs Reach: 79″
  • Last Fight: KO Loss / Shawn Jordan (6-6-15)
  • Camp: Silver Back Fight Club
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Brawler
  • Risk Management: Poor
  • Overall Fight Grade: C-

Supplemental info:
+   Legacy Fighting HW Title
+   5 first round finishes
+   11 KO victories
+   KO Power/Physically strong
+/-Will engage in grappling
+   Sporadic fight pace
–    Stopped in last 2/3
–    Keeps hands low
+   Decent power double & single leg


Viktor Pesta (10-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’3″ Age: 25 Weight: 240 lbs Reach: 77″
  • Last Fight: Decision Win / Konstantin Erokhin (1-24-15)
  • Camp: Penta Gym/Alliance MMA ( Prague )
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Boxing
  • Risk Management: Fair
  • Overall Fight Grade: C

Supplemental info:
+   Gladiator Championship Fighting Title
+   5 first round finishes
+   Spent 12 weeks at Alliance this camp
+   Establishes crucifix in 9/11 fights
^   5 finishes from crucifix position
–    Slow starter
–    Leaves head high/takes damage
+   Good Chin/recovers well
+ Good draw in level change TD’s



In this Heavyweight match up we have a classic Striker vs. Grappler. Off first glance it’s easy to see why standing favors Lewis. Pesta shows glaring defensive liabilities form his hand positioning to overall striking stiffness. Add to the equation that Viktors a slow starter and you’ll see that Lewis’s best shot at taking him out will be in the first 3 minutes of this fight. Though Lewis is aggressive, he shows a somewhat sporadic fight rate. In the beginning of every one of his UFC fights, Derrick touched gloves and immediately shuffled back to reset himself on the outside Octagon lines. Of course he’ll come forward and attack when given any momentum openings, but by not pressuring immediately he could give Pesta the space to make him fight in his world.

Though Viktor traditionally will counter opponents forward pressure with level change TD’s, He will also commit to wild 3-2-3(hook, cross, hook) combos for offensive TD entries. Now what’s impressive about Pesta’s game, is his consistency in which it’s applied. Going back to his very first fight, Viktor will look for TD’s in aforementioned ways, either passing to side control during TD transitions, or “ground & pounding” his way there. From here, he looks to achieve the crucifix position(which he establishes in 92% of his career matches) and will keep a high work rate in looking for the finish.

Derrick Lewis has made active improvements to his counter wrestling but I have a hard time seeing him stop a determined Pesta. And although Derricks sheer size & strength have gotten him out of bad spots on the ground, Pesta’s the more efficient & athletic scrambler which should prove the difference. I am fairly confident Pesta gets it done inside the distance here, but should either man win, they’ll likely score you high in Fantasy points.

Official Pick: Pesta – TKO – Round 2

Official Outcome: Lewis – TKO – Round 3


Sage Northcutt (5-0)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’0″ Age: 19 Weight: 165 lbs Reach: 74.5″
  • Last Fight: Submission Win / Rocky Long (8-28-15)
  • Camp: Gracie Barra ( Katy, TX )
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate
  • Overall Fight Grade: C+

Supplemental info:
+   4/5 wins first round finishes
+   Black Belt TKD & Kajukendo
+   Good right cross counter
+   Lead left side kick
+   Fight to fight improvements
+   Purple Belt BJJ
?    1st time at 155 since Amateur
+    Aggressive sub hunter
–     Lacks quality opposition
+    Very athletic/Gymnast background
+    Good distance management/timing


Francisco Trevino (12-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’10” Age: 33 Weight: 155 lbs Reach: 70″
  • Last Fight: Decision Loss / Johnny Case (6-13-15)
  • Camp: Macaco Gold Team ( Texas )
  • Stance/Striking Style: Switch -stance / Muay Thai
  • Risk Management: Moderate
  • Overall Fight Grade: C

Supplemental info:
+   STF MW & LW Champion
+   Active guard(good use of butterflies)
+   6 first round finishes
–    Gives his back often
+   Dangerous elbows inside
+   Brown Belt BJJ
+   Switches stances well
+  Good Submission defense
–    Poor TD defense
+/-Fair/moderate counter grappler
+   Good Chin/very durable


It’s rare that the opening bout of the evening excites me, but this match does. We have “up and coming” Sage Northcutt vs the dangerous Francisco Trevino. Frank is a Muay Thai stylist with a BJJ brown belt fighting out of Macaco Gold Team. Where as undefeated Northcutt comes out of Gracie Barra(purple belt) with a wealth of experience in traditional martial arts.”Undefeated” fighters outside the UFC can be difficult to value, though I feel Trevino, who has recently had his streak snapped, has still not shown where he’s really at. Keep in mind his only loss comes to one of the divisions best prospects(Johnny Case) in a high altitude fight coming off over a year layoff(Although honest reference points are compromised due to the 1sth round intangible eye poke factor).

What Francisco does do well is accumulating damage on the feet. Trevino consistently switches stances while aggressively countering/trying to draw the counter. From Southpaw, he favors left body kicks offensively with counter right hooks defensively. From Orthodox, he’ll gauge with primarily naked leg kicks as he eventually works his way in looking for elbows. Defensively overall however, Francisco tends to shell & step back, which opens him up for follow up strikes/TD’s. The hinge to Trevino’s stand up style is  the distance management. Unfortunately for him, managing distance is an advantage Northcutt holds over most opponents. It is also in my opinion the “Key Factor” standing and possibly overall in this fight.

Sage’s traditional martial arts striking has translated strongest in the distancing dept. Whether he’s offensively exploding forward with his accurate shot selection, or defensively stifling distance with his lead left side kick, he shows overall good movement. Couple that with a speed & athleticism advantage, and Sage should cause problems here. Don’t be mistaken though, standing is also where Trevino has his best shot at winning this fight. Despite a 5-0 record, Northcutt has been caught on the way in and stopped during his Amateur career.

I believe Sage’s best change of winning is by continuing his recent trend of taking his opponents down. Showing fight to fight improvements, Sage will strike his way into the clinch for TD’s, as opposed to hanging out on the feet. On the the ground he shows a natural & aggressive submission game, while still always looking for the back in scrambles. This could be especially problematic for Trevino given his poor TD defense, and propensity to give his back in scrambles/get ups. I’m not sure if Sage can get a stop of the floor, but thats where I see this one being decided.

Official Pick: Northcutt – Unanimous Decision

Official Outcome: Northcutt – TKO – Round 1

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