mma / Columns

411’s MMA Roundtable Preview – UFC Fight Night 102

December 9, 2016 | Posted by Robert Winfree

WELCOME:
The UFC returns to New York, this time in the capital city of Albany. In the main event Derrick Lewis looks to cement his status as a heavyweight contender against Shamil Abdurakhimov while another heavyweight clash serves as co-main event, the streaking Francis Ngannou tries to keep his UFC record perfect and take the next step in his career against Anthony Hamilton. Also Corey Anderson takes on Sean O’Connell.

THE STAFF:

  • He’ll lock you in the guillotine, Robert Winfree!

  • He’s 411’s jack of all trades, Jeffrey Harris!
  • He’s the host of Fact or Fiction, Lorenzo Vasquez III!

    Preliminary Card:
    Welterweight Bout: Randy Brown vs. Brian Camozzi
    Middleweight Bout: Joe Gigliotti vs. Gerald Meerschaert
    Middleweight Bout: Andrew Sanchez vs. Trevor Smith
    Featherweight Bout: Tiago Trator vs. Shane Burgos
    Lightweight Bout: Frankie Perez vs. Marc Diakiese
    Middleweight Bout: Keith Berish vs. Ryan Janes
    Women’s Strawweight Bout: Juliana Lima vs. JJ Aldrich

    Welterweight Bout: Randy Brown vs. Brian Camozzi

    Robert Winfree: Randy Brown, Decision
    Jeffrey Harris: Randy Brown, Decision
    Lorenzo Vasquez III: Randy Brown, Decision
    The staff picks Randy Brown, 3-0

    Strawweight Bout: Justine Kish vs. Ashley Yoder

    Robert Winfree: Justine Kish, Decision
    Jeffrey Harris: Justine Kish, Decision
    Lorenzo Vasquez III: Justine Kish, Decision
    The staff picks Justine Kish, 3-0

    THE MAIN CARD:
    Light Heavyweight bout: Saparbek Safarov vs. Gian Villante

    Robert Winfree: This was supposed to be Villante taking on Patrick Cummins until Cummins got a staph infection. Now Villante takes on the newcomer Saparbek Safarov. Villante is a well rounded fighter who prefers to kick box while I know nothing of Safarov. Villante may not be the best guy in the division, or even a top fifteen guy, I feel comfortable enough taking him over a guy I don’t know anything about.

    Winner: Gian Villante, Decision

    Jeffrey Harris: Giant Villante is a decent fighter but also very inconsistent. In one fight, he knocks out Corey Anderson. In the next, he gets knocked out by Tom Lawlor. Currently, he’s coming off a loss to Ilir Latifi, so he really needs to get a win here to at least guarantee he keeps his spot on the roster and get back on track to put together a solid run at light heavyweight. His opponent is the debuting and undefeated Saparbek Safarov, who hails from Russia. It’s hard to know exactly how good Safarov is right now. I see Villante being pretty cautious here and out-pointing Safarov to a win.

    Winner: Gian Villante, Decision

    Lorenzo Vasquez III: Safarov is stepping up on short notice replacing Patrick Cummins. Both guys are primarily strikers. I can’t say much about Safarov other than he has finished all eight of his wins by stoppage—6 by TKO and 2 by submission. Villante is athletic, he has some power, and he is sound technically. He is likely to keep the bout standing but he can wrestle and grapple for submissions. Safarov looks like a power hitter, to me. He is definitely a finisher. Let’s see if that transcends to the UFC. The safe pick is Villante.

    Winner: Gian Villante, Decision

    The staff picks Gian Villante, 3-0


    Light Heavyweight Bout: Corey Anderson vs. Sean O’Connell

    Robert Winfree: Sean O’Connell is basically a brawler, but he’s got a decent chin and power to back up that game plan. Corey Anderson is one of essentially three prospects in the entire division. Anderson is more of a wrestler and grappler but he has the conditioning to back up a very smothering style. O’Connell is basically a rebound fight for Anderson here after Anderson was he victim of a Clucky loss his last time out.

    Winner: Corey Anderson, TKO, Round 3

    Jeffrey Harris: Corey Anderson is coming off a split decision loss to Shogun, but this is a fight he should be able to dominate and win rather easily. Anderson is not always the most exciting fighter to watch, but Sean O’Connell is definitely the type of match-up he can win. O’Connell does not have any aspect of his game to deal with Anderson’s wrestling.

    Winner: Corey Anderson, Decision

    Lorenzo Vasquez III: This a striker versus grappler type of fight. Anderson is a strong, explosive, wrestler/grappler. He is improving his striking and it is helping him set up his wrestling which is making him a more effective mixed martial artist. O’Connell likes to brawl. He is gritty, bites down, and lets them fly. He loves to make his fights grinding, and brawling, affairs. Unfortunate for O’Connell, I expect Anderson to be able to wrestle his way to a decision.

    Winner: Corey Anderson, Decision

    The staff picks Corey Anderson, 3-0


    Heavyweight Bout: Francis Ngannou vs. Anthony Hamilton

    Robert Winfree: This is yet another fight with a pretty obvious outcome. Francis Ngannou is being brought along slowly by the UFC but is game is essentially hitting you really hard on the feet and getting you to fall over. His takedown defense is good but not great though his ability to regain his feet is solid and he’s very calm on bottom letting him take over if the guy in top position tires themselves out. Anthony Hamilton is a brawler but he’s got a decent wrestling game so he might take a round from Ngannou before his lack of defense costs him the fight.

    Winner: Francis Ngannou, TKO, Round 2

    Jeffrey Harris: Francis Ngannou is nowhere close to contender level yet, but at least he’s an interesting prospect so far for UFC’s heavyweight division. He’s finished all three of his UFC fights so far. This fight could continue to build his momentum and establish him as a potential star for heavyweight, something the division is in great need of right now. Anthony Hamilton is a 3-3 UFC fighter, but he’s coming off a knockout win in his last fight over Damian Grabowski. I really like Ngannou here. He has heavy hands, and he’s been looking strong so far in his UFC tenure. I expect that to continue here.

    Winner: Francis Ngannou, TKO, Round 1

    Lorenzo Vasquez III: Ngannou is a hot heavyweight prospect at the moment, whereas, Hamilton isn’t going nowhere having alternated wins and losses in his last six fights. Hamilton is a slugger with knockout power. He likes to keep things on his feet but there is nothing fancy about his technical prowess. He is hittable and can be submitted. Ngannou is a powerhouse. He is athletic, has tremendous power, and moves fast. His game is developing but his athletic prowess makes up for it. This should be exciting. Both fighters will blitz early, but only one will remain standing. I expect that to be Ngannou.

    Winner: Francis Ngannou, TKO, Round 1

    The staff picks Francis Ngannou, 3-0


    Heavyweight Bout: Derrick Lewis vs. Shamil Abdurakhimov

    Robert Winfree: This is another fight that the UFC made with an outcome in mind that they want, this time the odds are a little less in their favor though. Derrick Lewis is a powerful man but on the feet he’s more of a wild puncher than a tactician. Lewis has really excelled when he’s been able to counter grapple, either completely stuffing takedowns and countering or reversing them to wind up on top then pounding his opponent into a fine powder. Shamil Abdurakhimov is a very tactical and technical kick boxer, which is what gives me pause on this fight. I can easily see Abdurakhimov fighting smart and long, out pointing Lewis and taking a decision or a late stoppage. I’m still leaning towards Lewis, especially if he can close distance and make this an ugly fight where he’ll negate the technical edge Abdurakhimov has, but don’t be shocked if Abdurakhimov upsets the proverbial apple cart here.

    Winner: Derrick Lewis, TKO, Round 3

    Jeffrey Harris: As a main event, it’s not the most inspiring type of fight. However, Derrick Lewis is on the verge of becoming a heavyweight title contender. He’s on a four-fight winning streak and he’s 7-2 in the UFC, so if he wins here, he’s a lot closer to contendership. His opponent is the Dagestani fighter Shamil Abdurakhimov. Adurakhimov is 2-1 in the UFC, beating Walt Harris and Anthony Hamilton by decision in his last two Octagon outings. Derrick Lewis has heavy hands and decent wrestling. His cardio isn’t great, but in Derrick Lewis’ favor, he is good at finding his way out of trouble. If the fight isn’t going his way, he’s able to take it back in his favor and find a way to win. He did that against Viktor Pesta and Roy Nelson. Not to mention, he does have the power to end the fight very quickly. I can see the fight going a couple rounds, but I think Lewis would ultimately stop Adurakhimov. If Adurakhimov wins, that would be quite the upset.

    Winner: Derrick Lewis, TKO, Round 2

    Lorenzo Vasquez III: “The Black Beast” is back, and if he has it his way, he’ll be knocking on contendership status after Friday night. Lewis has looked improved lately. He is not a technical expert by any means; however, his striking is starting to take some form. He is still a slugger by trade, but he is starting to put those hands together. Lewis’ takedown defense has been taken a notch up and we can say the same about his scrambling/grappling. Let’s not forget about his power. His opponent, Abdurakhimov, is a good wrestler with okay counter striking. There’s not much about Abdurakhimov to get excited about. This does not mean it is an easy fight for Lewis. Abdurakhimov needs to counter, make this a slow fight at distance, and try to wrestle Lewis if he makes it to close quarters. Lewis needs to keep his striking and takedown defense on point, but push the pace and punish Abdurakhimov. The fight favors Lewis who has better experience and looks poised to make a jump to contender status. Abdurakhimov goes down in the second.

    Winner: Derrick Lewis, TKO, Round 2

    The staff picks Derrick Lewis, 3-0


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