UFC Fight Night: Poirier vs Hooker – Predictions

The UFC is back once again, with a huge lightweight contender fight main-eventing UFC Fight Night: Vegas 4 this weekend.

Dustin Poirier returns to the Octagon for the first time since losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov back in September in a Lightweight title fight, and will take on ‘The Sandman’ Dan Hooker in what could be a contender for Fight of the Year.

UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs Volkov last week saw us land 6/12 in the picks, with 4 of those 6 absolutely correct (winner, method, round). That leaves our current record at 12/22 with 7 absolutely correct. Lets see if I can do better this week in another strong card.

EARLY PRELIMS

Jordan Griffin (18-7) vs Youssef Zalal (8-2) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

Jordan ‘The Native Psycho’ Griffin was supposed to be fighting two weeks ago against Derrick Minner, but was pulled from the card when his opponent had issues with a weight cut. He returns to the Octagon though following his first win in the promotion last time out to take on submission lover Youssef Zalal. ‘The Moroccan Devil’ is a solid fighter who won his UFC debut as an underdog, fighting strategically against Austin Lingo to take the first decision win of his career. While Griffin loves to brawl and hits very hard, he’s at his best when wrestling – something Zalal has really struggled with in the past. Both are technically sound on the ground so I don’t expect either fighter to get a submission despite their 14 combined wins via tap-out. Griffin is likely to outland and outwrestle Zalal in this one for a decision win. PICK: Jordan Griffin via Unanimous Decision

Jinh Yu Frey (9-4) vs Kay Hansen (6-3) – (Strawweight/115lbs)

It’s old school vs new school in this bout as 35 year old striker Jinh Yu Frey takes on 20 year old jiu-jitsu expert Kay Hansen. Frey will come into the bout having won 3 of her last 4 fights via decision, while Hansen has also won 3 out of her last 4 fights, with two submission wins. The 10th Planet jiu-jitsu fighter’s only loss was a narrow split decision and is one of only three times she’s ever gone the distance. Frey however, has only ever not gone the distance in five professional bouts. Hansen is likely to press forward quickly and try to get this fight to the ground as quickly as possible, knowing she is at a severe disadvantage on the feet. Frey doesn’t have enough power to deter Hansen from coming forward and has had significant trouble in the past against ground experts. I think Hansen gets her first UFC win in this with a well worked ground game plan and lots of threats of submission. PICK: Kay Hansen via Round 2 Submission

Takashi Sato (15-3) vs Jason Witt (17-5) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

A short notice bout put together, as Jason Witt steps in on short-notice to fight Takashi Sato at Welterweight. Sato is a striker, who won his UFC debut with a beautiful knockout of Ben Saunders in the second round – before succumbing to the skill of Belal Muhammad and tapping out in his most recent bout. Witt steps in on just 72 hours notice to make his UFC debut following 9 wins from his last 10 fights, including his current four-fight win streak. Sato is a striker predominantly and has 10 wins by knockout, while Witt has 7 submission victories in his career. Witt may struggle with the pace of the fight with such short notice and Sato hits hard. If Witt can keep him down then he could do what Muhammad did to Sato, but I think Sato is a level above his opponent and will get the KO victory. PICK: Takashi Sato via Round 1 Knockout

UFC Fight Night: Wiman v Pena : News Photo
‘Violent Bob Ross’ is back in action at UFC Vegas 4

Luis Pena (8-2) vs Khama Worthy (15-6) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

‘Violent Bob Ross’ is back in the Octagon and violence is on the cards. Following 3 wins in his last 4 fights, he’s been matched up with Khama Worthy who steps in on a six-fight win streak including four finishes. ‘The Deathstar’ is all brute force and power and he will look to exert some of that on his opponent early on. Pena though, is a lanky figure who is technically superior to his opponent. While not a renowned knockout artist, Pena is very durable so as long as he avoids Worthy’s power shot early on, I expect Pena to shoot for a takedown early and dominate from the top position. He could get a submission here, he’s previously won 4 fights that way, or just battle his way through to a comfortable decision win. PICK: Luis Pena via Round 2 Submission

MAIN CARD

Sean Woodson (7-0) vs Julian Erosa (22-8) – (Catchweight/150lbs)

Woodson makes his second Octagon appearance to take on short-notice opponent Julian Erosa. Woodson won his UFC debut, beating Kyle Bochniak via UD back in October, while Erosa makes his return to the organisation. He was cut last year following 3 straight defeats but has been brought back to help fill a hole. ‘The Sniper’ is undefeated and a solid all-round fighter. Erosa is his first test of a higher level though and the catchweight will likely help him in that sense. He’s not really been tested on the ground, something Erosa is certainly capable of doing. ‘Juicy J’ has 9 submission wins on his record, but Woodson’s team have plenty of experience dealing with him from when he fought Grant Dawson. I think Woodson will be able to nullify any takedown attempts and outland Erosa on the feet to score a decision victory. PICK: Sean Woodson via Unanimous Decision

Phillipe Lins (14-4) vs Tanner Boser (17-6-1) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

In one of the least entertaining fights the UFC could have put together, Lins looks to avenge his UFC debut defeat to Andrei Arlovski last month. He’ll fight ‘The Bulldozer’ who is 1-1 in the UFC, and was serially outstruck by up-and-comer Ciryl Gane in his last bout. Both fighters rely on their stand-up game but work at a particularly slow pace. While Lins is a great finisher once he hurts his opponent, Boser isn’t aggressive in the slightest and will be very patient waiting for openings. There isn’t likely to be many highlights from this fight and I expect the power Lins has to be enough to sway the judges when they score this. PICK: Phillipe Lins via Unanimous Decision

Kyle Daukaus (9-0) vs Brendan Allen (14-3) – (Middleweight/185lbs)

Two up-and-comers go against each other in a dark horse for Fight of the Night. Daukaus is 9-0 with 8 submission victories on his record, while Allen also has 8 submissions on his record but from 14 victories. Daukaus is a D’Arce choke master, with 5 wins with that move. A good striker on the feet, he often throws big combos that end with the left hand and a takedown attempt. Very aggressive with submissions, he looks for the neck at all times and is very quick to synch in a choke. Allen is a better striker than Daukaus and had been preparing for Ian Heinisch, who pulled out this week with injury. Allen knows what he’s doing on the ground and his defence is good, so I think his striking lands him the advantage before a submission win following a knockdown. PICK: Brendan Allen via Submission Round 2

Gian Villante (17-11) vs Maurice Greene (8-4) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Having lost 4 of his last 6 fights, Gian Villante take the step up to Heavyweight to take on TUF contender Maurice Greene. Greene has lost his last two fights, but they came against top prospect Sergei Pavlovich and contender Alexei Oleinik. Villante hasn’t impressed me at all whenever I’ve watched him. 4 of his last 5 fights were a split decision, whether wins or losses, which tells me he doesn’t really do enough to win fights. Greene has plenty of power and will have a big reach and height advantage. Villante has already been KO’d five times in his career and I expect Greene to welcome him to the Heavyweight divsion with a sixth. PICK: Maurice Greene via Knockout Round 1

UFC Fight Night Poirier v Hooker: Weigh-Ins : News Photo
‘Platinum’ Mike Perry will be cornered by his girlfriend in his fight with Mickey Gall

Mike Perry (13-6) vs Mickey Gall (6-2) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

In the co-main event, ‘Platinum’ looks to make a winning return to the Octagon after five defeats in his last seven bouts, including the last two. After a big decision win over Paul Felder, Perry lost to Donald Cerrone via armbar before bouncing back against Alex Oliveira. He then lost his last two, one a decision to Vicente Luque before he got his lights turned out via a Geoff Neal head kick. Mickey Gall made his name by submitting CM Punk and Sage Northcutt in back-to-back bouts before being beaten by Randy Brown. He got another win against George Sullivan before he had his head taken off by Diego Sanchez. His last fight was a decision win however and he will look to build on that.

Perry has often been labelled as more mouth than action, but he’s a very talented martial artist. A great striker on the feet who carries legitimate power in his hands, he will look to outland Gall. While Gall isn’t a sitting duck on the feet, this is your classic striker vs grappler battle. Gall is great once he’s on the ground but he’s not the best at taking it there, while Perry has a great takedown defence. Perry needs to end this skid he’s on and a big KO win in this one will do it for him. PICK: Mike Perry via Knockout Round 1

Dustin Poirier (25-6) vs Dan Hooker (20-8) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

The big fight of the night and potential fight of the year candidate. Dustin Poirier makes his return following his title fight loss in September, while Hooker looks to extend his win streak to to four.

Poirier is an excellent boxer with an incredible left-hand, with the conditioning and skill to make his claim to be one of the best in the world completely legit. Hooker is a former featherweight who moved up and has been near perfect since, with 7 wins from 8. His only defeat came to Edson Barboza, another who has the skillset to be named amongst the best in the world.

Both men will look to stand and exchange and I think Hooker will start fast and try to attack the legs of Poirier much like Justin Gaethje did. ‘Diamond’ is a solid grappler too, which will be an advantage to him in this fight unlike the Gaethje fight so if that’s the case he could shoot for the takedown. ‘Hangman’ is a long competitor and has a 3 inch reach advantage on his opponent which he will need if he wants success. I see this fight being all about who can land the cleaner, crisper shots and that goes to Poirier. He’s a more technical boxer and I expect to see a knockout victory in the later rounds after an accumulation of shots forces a referee stoppage. PICK: Dustin Poirier via Knockout Round 4

0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s