#1 Alexander Gustafsson vs #2 Glover Teixeira
The top 2 contenders at Light Heavyweight will square off in what looks to be a very exciting fight. Both of these fighters have been at the very top of the division for the last 5 or so years, with both receiving title fights against Jon Jones. A win here could land either one of these competitors a title shot against the winner of Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier fight at UFC 214. Alexander Gustafsson will attempt to use his reach advantage to keep Glover at bay, and use his phenomenal takedown defense to keep the fight standing. When he fought Jon Jones he was able to stuff 10 out of 11 takedowns from Jones in a fight that many people thought that he won. Glover Teixiera should look to bring the fight to the ground if he can, or at least turn this into a clinch game. He can’t afford to stay on the outside and take punches from Gustaffson. He has struggled against strikers with a reach advantage before and will need to correct past mistakes in order to win this fight.
Prediction: I think this is a really bad match up for Teixeira. Teixeira recently seemed to be getting rocked easier. I think Gustaffson will use his reach to keep Teixeira at a distance, and has the takedown defense to keep the fight standing. Teixeira won't be able to land his power shots or get takedowns, and Gustaffson will drop him somewhere in the middle of the fight.
Alexander Gustafsson / (T)KO / Rd 3
#5 Volkan Oezdemir vs #7 Misha Cirkunov
Both fighters are relative new comers to the UFC and have shot up the Light Heavyweight rankings quickly. Volkan Oezdeemir has had one fight in the UFC in which he beat former interim title contender Ovince Saint Preux. Misha Cirkunov has had four fights in the UFC banner, but will face his first real test when he takes on Volkan Oezdemir. Oezdemir took the Saint Preux fight on short notice and to the surprise of many got the better of many of the striking exchanges. While his grappling was untested he showed that his 9 wins by knockout over his career are no joke. Cirkunov has finished all four of his UFC fights with three submission victories in a row. He will look to test Oezdemir for the first time in the grappling department inside the octagon. Cirkunov while ever improving, has shown weakness on the feet.
Prediction: Despite being a fairly large underdog I like Oezdemir’s chances. I believe that Cirkunov’s weakness on his feet will be shown and taken advantage of. He will stand in front of Oezdemir and be an easy target to pick apart.
Volkan Oezdemir / (T)KO / Rd 2
#12 Pedro Munhoz vs Damian Stasiak
The last fight on the prelims pits two phenomenal grapplers against each other. With a combined 15 wins by submission, both of these fighters like to take the fight to the ground. Pedro Munhoz favorite submission is the guillotine choke with 5 of his 8 submission victories coming from that technique. With both fighters being so skilled on the ground it will be interesting to see if either fighter thinks they have an advantage in striking. While neither fighter has shown to be a great striker since joining the UFC, they both have been tested, the difference is Stasiak was tested by Davey Grant who easily out struck him. Meanwhile Munhoz in his octagon debut got out struck by the number 3 bantamweight in the UFC Raphael Assuncao.
Prediction: From what we have seen in the UFC Munhoz appears to be a more aggressive better version of Stasiak. I see him being able to take the fight to the ground early and submit Stasiak with his guillotine choke.
Pedro Munhoz / SUB / Rd 1
· Ben Saunders def. Peter Sobotta by DEC
· Abdul Razak Alhassan def. Omari Akhmedov by (T)KO
· Jack Hermansson def. Alex Nicholson by DEC
· Nordine Taleb def. Oliver Enkamp by DEC
· Chris Camozzi def. Trevor Smith by DEC
· Joaquim Silva def. Reza Madadi by DEC
· Nico Musoke def. Bojan Velickovic by DEC
· Darren Till def. Jessin Ayari by DEC
· Marcin Held def. Damir Hadzovic by SUB