Andrei “Pitbull” Arlovski vs Josh “The Warmaster” Barrnet

Two top heavyweights are duking it out with only one of the going to return to the winners circle. Arlovski is coming off two big losses to the current title contender, Alistar Overeem and current champ, Stipe Miocic. Prior to the losses, Andrei was on a 6 fight tear through the heavyweight division with three wins coming by KO/TKO. The good knew for Pitbull is Josh isn’t known for power strikes on the feet. Keys for Andrei:

  • Control range on the feet
  • Punish Josh for takedown attempts
  • Keep back off the cage
  • Set up the big right hand

Barrnet is coming off a surprising loss to Ben Rothwell. While Rothwell winning wasn’t that surprising, it was how he did. Josh is an elite grappler still tapping top BJJ player so very few expected Ben to catching Josh with a variation on a guillotine. Josh’s best options of victory in this fight are:

  • Early takedown
  • Keep top position
  • Work for GnP or submissions from top
  • Heavy clinch work when standing

The betting lines are leaning to Josh a little bit which surprises me. Matches make fights.

Prediction: Andrei by 1st TKO

 

Alexander “The Mauler” Gufstafsson vs Jan Blachowicz

Just like the main event, the Mauler is looking to get back in the win column after two back to back losses to the elites in the 205 lbs division (Daniel Cormier & Anthony Johnson). Keys for Gufstafsson are:

  • Stay relaxed
  • Use combinations and range
  • Pressure

Jan Blachowicz got to keep his UFC job by winning his last fight against Igor Porkrajac in April. Before that he lost to Corey Anderson & Jimi Manuwa. That is pretty much everything you need to know on this one. I expect Jan to be outclasses in every aspect of this fight but anything can happen. Keys for Jan are:

  • Hit hard
  • Be unexpected
  • Fast start
  • Avoid the reactive takedown

Prediction: The Mauler mauls him in under 2 rounds

 

Ryan “Darth” Bader vs Illir Latifi

This should be a more interesting fight than it seems. Both of these men are high level wrestlers with some serious power. Ryan Bader was a 2-time all American wrestler & has face most of the top 205ers in the division with varying success. Ryan keeps getting better but keeps falling short in title contender fights. Keys to Ryan winning are:

  • Dictated the pace
  • Double legs when Illir over extends
  • Caution in the clinch

Latifi was a 2 time national Swedish wrestling champion that has knocked out 2 of his last 3 opponents. Illir will always struggle due to his stocky frame but has shown a lot of heart to be able to close the distance and land bombs on his opponents. Keys for Illir in this fight are:

  • Close the distance
  • Avoid being on your back
  • Work the body
  • Don’t gas in the first

Prediction: Darth by decision

 

Nick Hein vs Tae Hyun Bang

Nick was a former Judo national champion & apparently a on a TV show called Diese Kaminskis. Hien is on the main card to give the local crowd more to cheer for really. Keys to victory:

  • Close distance
  • Get the fight horizontal

Tae Hyun Bang has been titter totting wins and losses since enter the UFC. His last fight he won so history tells me he will lose this fight.

  • Sprawl & Brawl

Prediction: Nick Hein by Decision

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