December is here and so is the UFC! With three stacked cards this month it’s a great time to be a fan of mixed martial arts. This weekend’s card is headlined by two of Europe’s finest middleweights Jack Hermansson and Marvin Vettori so here are my predictions for the prelims.
Gian Villante vs Jake Collier
The first fight of the night will be a heavyweight bout between Gian Villante and Jake Collier. Both of these fighters are coming off of losing streaks and both have recently made the move to heavy weight. Villante has been in the UFC for seven years now and is a strike force veteran. Despite being on a losing streak, villante is a competitor with striking power and viable grappling. The former middleweight, Jake Collier, has also been in the UFC for several years now. In that time he has shown that he is a striker, but susceptible to power punches and kicks having lost 3 fights in the UFC by KO/TKO. Even though Villante was not in the best shape his last fight, I expect him to come back stronger and win this fight against Jake Collier.
My Pick: Gian Villante by TKO
Damon Jackson vs Illia Topuria
The next flight of the night will be in the featherweight division between Damon Jackson and undefeated prospect Illia Topuria. This fight will more than likely be grappling heavy considering fourteen of Damon Jackson‘s professional victories have come by way of submission as well as seven of Topuria’s nine professional victories. Since this is likely to be played out on the ground, I expect the winter to maintain better position throughout grappling exchanges and while Jackson is an excellent grappler, I think Topuria will succeed Saturday night.
My Pick: Illia Topuria via decision
Jimmy Flick vs Cody Durden
The next prelim will be in the flyweight division between octagon newcomer Jimmy Flick and Cody Durden. Flick is coming off of a submission victory in September on the Dana White’s Contender series and while Durden’s last fight ended in a draw, he is still on a seven-fight win streak. Flick has a grappling heavy style with thirteen career submissions on his resumé. Durden’s record is more rounded with five knockouts and five submissions. My takeaway from these stats is that these fighters are finishers and that this fight will hopefully reflect that. Flick is currently a slight favorite, but I think that Durden has a real chance of winning this fight considering he is also a talented grappler with powerful hands.
My Pick: Cody Durden via TKO
Matt Wiman vs Jordan Leavitt
The fourth fight of the night will be between the fourteen-year UFC veteran Matt Wiman and Contender Series alum Jordan Leavitt. This will be Wiman’s 18th fight in the UFC and throughout the years he has shown that he is still a strong and capable fighter. Leavitt is undefeated mixed martial artist fighting out of Syndicate MMA in Las Vegas Nevada. Leavitt ends most of his fights has ended five of his seven professional wins by way of submission; however, Matt Wiman has never been submitted in his professional career. I think Leavitt’s youth and athleticism give him the advantage in this fight and it will be interesting to see if he will be the first man to submit Wiman.
My Pick: Leavitt via decision
Louis Smolka vs Jose Quiñonez
The final prelim of the night will be in the bantamweight division between Louis Smolka and Jose Quiñonez. Smolka and Quiñonez are both coming off of losses to topped ranked prospects, Casey Kenney and Sean O’Malley. Smolka is a rounded fighter with quick striking and footwork but he has shown that he is susceptible to being submitted. Quiñonez is a strong striker as well who has recently struggled with being finished. Each fighter has faced top level competition in the UFC but I think that Smolka has the slight advantage due to his speed and striking.
My Pick: Smolka via decision