The BE staff has looked at all these match-ups and made our picks. Now it’s time for the readers to do the same. Read below to see who the BE readers think will win tonight. There’s also extra analysis from reader Tusk Fletcher and Zeist Priest.
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UFC Fight Night: Allen vs. Craig staff picks and predictions
Brendan Allen vs. Paul Craig
Readers’ pick: Brendan Allen (53.8%)
Zeist Priest: We’re all basically Homer Simpson strapped before a conveyer belt in hell, only instead of all donuts, it’s forcing down all the fights in the world.
We’re deep in the era of fights as interchangeable content, and while this fight is actually pretty good, it doesn’t scream headliner, nor does this card generate much excitement.
Craig is a very fun, inconsistent weirdo who constantly seems to overachieve. Allen is a solid fighter who seems to bump up against his ceiling. Craig is great on the ground, but (at least a weight class up) could never get the fight where he needs it. His striking is dogshit, while Allen’s is decent. I really want to pick Craig here, but I know I shouldn’t. But, sometimes the taboo is fun. I’m taking Craig, via something silly.
Tusk Fletcher: I think Craig’s striking is lackluster, and if he can’t pull guard and have his way on the ground, I think Allen will finish him with his clear advantage in striking. I like Craig, but I think he won’t be able to take too much damage. If he gets hurt, I think Allen will absolutely blitz Craig and he’ll be knocked down and try to scramble for a sub, but will be unsuccessful. Allen by KO.
Jake Matthews vs. Michael Morales
Readers’ pick: Michael Morales (69.2%)
Zeist Priest: This is a hard pick. Morales has shown some real flashes of brilliance, but I’m wary of picking him against wiley veterans. I suppose Matthews is now that veteran, even though in my head he is still a young prospect. He’s been in the UFC nearly ten years, and has had a number of flame outs and rebirths. If Matthews can’t initiate and control the grappling exchanges, he seems unlikely to take this. And his game often crumbles when facing adversity. I should pick my hometown guy in Matthews, but I can’t. Like the guy he took the “eternal prospect” mantel from, Erick Silva, Matthews will continue to be that gatekeeper to the top 15. Morales takes it.
Tusk Fletcher: Morales has been one of my favorite prospects for a while. I think his new camp has made him more of a brawler, but I think he’s truly well-balanced. He’ll have a huge reach advantage and is extremely durable. I think he’ll know when to press forward and when to wait and counter. Morales will land bigger shots and hopefully get the finish. Also, I think Morales has a high ceiling and is only just getting started. Morales by KO.
Jordan Leavitt vs. Chase Hooper
Readers’ pick: Jordan Leavitt (53.8%)
Zeist Priest: Interesting fact – in each of Hooper’s last four fights, the outcome has been the opposite of the odds, with him losing as a favourite, and winning as the dog. Will that streak continue for the teenage dream? Who can say, but I hope we at least get a bunch of fun grappling exchanges between these two, rather than it getting stuck as a sloppy kickboxing match. I’m taking Leavitt.
Tusk Fletcher: I think both of these fighters have had their development rushed, and neither excel in the striking department. Leavitt is able to grapple a bit and possibly get himself out of the danger of Hooper’s sub skills, but I think it’ll be a matter of who makes the first mistake. Leavitt by Decision.
Payton Talbott vs. Nick Aguirre
Readers’ pick: Payton Talbott (84.6%)
Zeist Priest: I didn’t know who either of these guys was. Hooray for modern main cards. People seem to be hot on Talbott, though. And who am I to stand in way of the community’s lust for their new babe? Talbott takes it via bacchanalian frenzy.
Tusk Fletcher: Lol, no write up needed. Talbott by KO.
Amanda Ribas vs. Luana Pinheiro
Readers’ pick: Amanda Ribas (84.6%)
Zeist Priest: Ah, Ribas. The fighter with the face of an angel and the voice of Borat. Not too long ago she had the look of a contender, but the wheels have come off a bit. Bouncing around weight classes and poor in-fight IQ have contributed to a few unexpected losses and making it hard to pick her, but I still think she can manage to get it done against Pinheiro. Ribas takes it.
Tusk Fletcher: I think the line is too wide, and Ribas blocks a lot of punches with her face. If Luana Pinheiro can blitz her and stay aggressive, I think she can get a finish. She’s the better striker, and Ribas was just finished recently. Pinheiro by KO.
Cesar Almeida vs. Christian Leroy Duncan
Readers’ pick: Christian Leroy Duncan (76.9%)
Zeist Priest: Two sloppy inconsistent boys slapping some beef together. I’ll take Duncan without an ounce of confidence.
Tusk Fletcher: Taking this fight on short notice is awesome, but, Denis Tuilulin has been finished 6 times in his career, 2 being by knockout. Expect another one being added to that. CLD by KO.
Nikolas Motta vs. Trey Ogden
Readers’ pick: Nikolas Motta (53.8%)
Zeist Priest: So long as Motta doesn’t KO himself, he should take this. Motta via winning.
Tusk Fletcher: I don’t think Ogden can finish Motta whatsoever, and Motta has devastating power and is super quick in his exchanges. He’s no slouch on the mat and may even be able to threaten with subs. Motta may be a little chinny, but I don’t think Ogden will be a threat to that. Motta by Decision.
Lucie Pudilova vs. Ailin Perez
Readers’ pick: Ailin Perez (69.2%)
Zeist Priest: I’m quite tempted to take Perez in this, as even though on paper Pudilova takes it, she seems like she’s on a downward trend. How steep that is this fight should answer. But, even saying that, I’m still going to pick Pudilova.
Tusk Fletcher: IUnpopular opinion, but I think Perez is going to outdo Pudilova in every aspect. I think in the clinch and grappling exchanges on the mat Perez will be able to get back up, and she’ll be able to land the more damaging shots and get more reactions with her power. She’s a brawler and she’s just stronger and more athletic. Perez by Decision.
Mick Parkin vs. Caio Machado
Readers’ pick: Mick Parkin (92.3%)
Zeist Priest: Great, two heavyweights I’ve never heard of. This will surely be a treat. I guess I’ll take Parkin, via something I’ll miss during a toilet break.
Tusk Fletcher: Just haven’t seen enough to believe in Machado. I think Parkin is the better striker, and Machado is most likely slighly better on the ground. I think both of these guys are durable enough to endure the strikes and it’ll go the distance. Parkin by Decision.
Jonathan Pearce vs. Joanderson Brito
Readers’ pick: Joanderson Brito (61.5%)
Zeist Priest: This is a great fight. Surely Brito has to finish Pearce to win, which. isn’t outside the realm of possibility. Pearce seems like the surer bet, but I think Brito can crush him. Brito takes it.
Tusk Fletcher: I think Brito can get inside and just absolutely do his damage from there. His power in this fight is unmatched, and if it does get to the mat, Brito isn’t just going to accept position. I think Brito’s striking will dictate this fight, and he’ll be able to return to his feet if taken down, and possibly landing heavy shots off the break. Brito by KO.
Chad Anheliger vs. Jose Johnson
Readers’ pick: Chad Anheliger (53.8%)
Zeist Priest: Anheliger is a good fighter with a long career who made it to the UFC too late. At 36 (37 in a fortnight) in the bantamweight division, I just can’t pick him, even against someone I’m as suspect on the ability of as Johnson. Johnson takes it.
Tusk Fletcher: I could see this going either way, but I think Jose Johnson’s height and reach advantage will be key in this fight. Anheliger isn’t Blackshear, and Johnson can feast standing up. Johnson by Decision.
Charles Johnson vs. Rafael Estevam
Readers’ pick: Rafael Estevam (69.2%)
Zeist Priest: I like this fight, and I like Johnson. I’m not confident, but I’ll take Johnson in what looks like a fun scap on paper.
Tusk Fletcher: Estevam missed weight and looked drain. Johnson isn’t the prettiest pick, but if he can keep it standing, I think he’s going to be able to get back into the winning column. Johnson by Decision.
Lucas Alexander Jake Saragih
Readers’ pick: Lucas Alexander (84.6%)
Zeist Priest: Alexander takes it.
Tusk Fletcher: Alexander is the more technical fighter, and will control the distance and pick his shots smartly. Saragih has his collection of KO wins, but dropping down a weight class I believe will hinder those chances. Alexander by Decision.
Who gets a Performance of the Night award?
Readers’ pick: Brendan Allen (46.2%)
Zeist Priest: Every analyst has gotten real breathy and sweaty while talking about Talbott, so I suppose he’ll get one.
Tusk Fletcher: I think however Talbott finishes this fight will absolutely win the crowd and Dana over. I think he’ll be an ugly finish.
Which fight wins Fight of the Night?
Readers’ pick: Jake Matthews vs. Michael Morales (23.1&), Amanda Ribas vs. Luana Pinheiro (23.1%).
Zeist Priest: Jonathan Pearce vs Joanderson Brito looks like a fun and well matched fight that has fireworks written on it.
Tusk Fletcher: If the Mick Parkin/Caio Machado goes to decision, I think it won’t be a snooze fest, and each will have their moments. If this hold true, then we can expect to see heavily damaged fighters, and I think it’ll be a respectable choice for FOTN.
Which fight are you most excited for?
Readers’ pick: Brendan Allen vs. Paul Craig (53.8%)
Zeist Priest: Pearce vs Brito has gotta be it.
Tusk Fletcher: I’m most excited for the Talbott fight. I want to see the electrifying upcoming star in action again. He’s just got that superstar aura to him, and he’s undoubtedly making his way. I think Talbott is super athletic and he will reign supreme in this fight.
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