Cody McKenzie vs Vagner Rocha
This is a matchup is pitting two men coming off losses. Cody McKenzie (also known as Guillotine Jesus in my circle of friends) is coming off the first loss of his career in which he tapped to a rear naked choke against Yves Edwards. Vagner Rocha is coming in off a unanimous decision loss to Donald Cerrone.
Both men are submission specialists. McKenzie has won 11 of his 12 fights by submission, 10 of those by guillotine choke. Rocha has won 4 of his 6 wins via submission, 3 by armbar. So I expect this fight to go to the ground fast.
McKenzie likes to bull his opponent to the ground and then work to sink in the guillotine. I expect the same in this fight. My prediction is Cody (Guillotine Jesus) McKenzie to win by 1st round guillotine choke.
Evan Dunham vs Shamar Bailey
Evan Dunham was the next big thing until he ran into a controversial split decision loss against Sean Sherk and then followed that up with a TKO loss to Melvin Guillard. Shamar Bailey is a solid fighter but really hasn't fought anyone yet. This is a step up in competition for Bailey.
Dunham will probably look to stand and bang and I think Bailey will gladly trade with him. If the fight does end up on the ground, I think Dunham has an advantage there. His ground game is fairly solid. I believe Dunham has the advantage no matter where this fight takes place. I see this as a gift from the UFC to get the up-and-comer winning again.
My prediction is Dunham getting back into the win column via unanimous decision.
Matt Riddle vs Lance Benoist
Matt Riddle vs Lance Benoist is a battle of prospects. Riddle who got his start on The Ultimate Fighter has had all of his 7 professional fights in the UFC. Benoist will be making his UFC debut with a 5-0 record.
Riddle likes to stand and strike and Benoist appears to like the ground game with 4 of his 5 wins coming via submission in the first round. Riddle is still really raw around the edges and only has 1 finish on his resume with 4 of his wins coming via decision.
I believe Benoist will make the most out of his UFC debut and continue his path of destruction by submitting Riddle in the 1st round via rear naked choke.
Ken Stone vs Donny Walker
In this matchup I will admit, that I know very little of either man. Walker has a bit of an experience advantage and both men have lost in their UFC debuts. However, Stone has fought better competition in my opinion so I'm going to go out on a limb and make a prediction for Ken Stone via 1st round TKO.
Clay Harvison vs Seth Baczynski
Another battle of prospects that I barely know. Baczynski will be make his return to the UFC after an Ultimate Fighter stint followed by a loss at the finale. He has since won 2 fights by KO and will now get another crack at the UFC. Harvison is 7-1 coming off a split decision victory in his UFC debut.
Looking at records, both men have ground skills over half of their wins coming via submission. However, in recent outings both men have chosen to stand and bang. I expect this fight to be a battle on their feet. Baczynski has a large experience advantage with over twice as many fights as Harvison.
My prediction in this fight is Baczynski via 2nd round TKO.
Mike Stumpf is stepping in to replace Daniel "Ninja" Roberts, with just 5 days notice. My initial thoughts on Roberts and Waldburger was a ground battle with a late submission. I actually see the same fight happening between Stumpf and Waldburger. Both men have a majority of their victories by submission. Waldburger has 10 submissions in his 13 wins and Stumpf has 7 submissions in his 11 victories. I expect this to be a ground war.
Both men are in the same boat with out 5 days notice to work with. The only question mark is Stumpf's conditioning. If he was preparing for another bout with a different organization I see him as being ready. But if he was in between fights and relaxing when the call came in, he could run out of gas in the later rounds. My thought is that Stumpf being a Team Curran fighter is in excellent shape and ready to perform.
My prediction however, is for Waldburger via 3rd round rear naked choke.
Mike Lullo vs Robert Peralta
This looks like the classic striker vs grappler matchup. Peralta is making his UFC debut riding a 7 fight win streak and sporting a record of 14-3 with 11 wins by TKO/KO. Lullo is coming off a loss in his UFC debut versus Edson Barbosa. Lullo is 8-3 with 6 of his wins coming via submission. Before losing to Barbosa, he was on an 8 fight win streak.
Expect Lullo to try and get this fight on the ground. But if Peralta's takedown defense is good, expect another TKO loss on Lullo's record.
My prediction is that Lullo will work takedowns constantly and eventually wear Peralta down. I expect Lullo to win via 3rd kimura.
Justin Edwards vs Jorge Lopez
For this fight, I'm just going to make my prediction. Edwards appears to live on counter grappling with 66% of his wins coming via guillotine choke. Lopez is a striker not likely to dive for a takedown. I expect Lopez to win this fight by 2nd round TKO.