+105 #12 Louis Smolka (10-1) vs -125 Ben Ngyuen (15-5)
Louis Smolka: Yet another top level prospect to come out of the new MMA hot bed of Honolulu Hawaii, Louis Smolka fights in a very similar fashion to his island team mate Max Holloway. Smolka is a pinpoint technical striker and grappeler but will not hesitate to stand in the center of the octagon and go blow for blow
Smolka played the role of the spoiler in his last outing when he submitted Ireland’s Paddy Holohan in front of thousands of Dubliners and will look to do it again when he takes on Sioux Falls native Ben Ngyuen. A win over a rising prospect like Ngyuen should put Smolka in position to be fighting a top 5 opponent in his next bout.
Ben Ngyuen: Ben “10”began his MMA career in 2006, from 06-10 Nguyen racked up an underwhelming 6-5 record mainly in his local North Dakota circuit. During this period Nguyen was working as a computer technician by day and training at night. In 2012 Nguyen made the decision to move to Thailand and train full time and it paid off.
Since getting to the UFC Ngyuen has two impressive first round stoppages over Alptekin Ozkilic and Ryan Benoit. Currently on a six fight win streak, this could very likely be Ngyuen’s breakout fight in his hometown to boot.
The Fight: Ngyuen is a explosive, powerful and accurate striker and will hunt for the early finish, but Smolka , like most 808 locals can take a licking and keep on ticking.
Smolka will eat some leather early, but pick up steam as Ngyuen fades in the later rounds and get a TKO finish late in the fight. Smolka TKO 3rd
-170 Kyle Noke (22-8-1) vs +145 Keita Nakumura (31-7-2)
Kyle Noke: TUF Nations Aussie coach, Kyle Noke was robbed in a controversial split decision loss to new comer Alex Morono in January. Noke has had his ups and downs in his six year campaign in the UFC accumulating a 6-4 record in that period.
AT 36 Noke will most likely never be in a position to fight for a belt but with his go for broke style and country full of fanatical fans backing him, Noke should have a few more fights left in the tank.
Keita Nakmura: “K-Taro” has not been an easy fight for his opponents in his second stint in the UFC, Nakamura submitted the heavily favored Chinese prospect Li Jingliang and followed that up with an impressive outing against the even more heavily favored Brit prospect Tom Breese.
Now given an opponent a little more in his age group, with a win here combined with his first two strong performances, Nakamura will have the opportunity to get his name in the mix of contenders at lightweight.
The Fight: Nakumura is a crafty grappler who does a masterful job of gaining the upper hand in scrambles. Noke is no slouch on the mat but he wont have the technical savvy to prevent Nakumura from controlling this one on the mat. Nakamura Unanimous Decision
Alexey Oleinik (50-9-1) vs Daniel Omielanczuk (18-5-1 1 NC)
Alexey Oleinik: The Russian born “Boa Constrictor” lives up to his moniker, out of his 50 professional victories 41 have come by way of the choke.Oleinik is a pioneer in Russian MMA and holds victories over fighters like Cro Cop, Jeff Monson and Jake Rosholt.
2-0 in his first UFC campaign Oleinik is one of the most dangerous heavyweight submission threats on the roster and will make for some interesting match ups down the road.
Daniel Omeilanczuk: Polish banger Omeilanczuk honed his skills in the Eastern European circuit where he accumulated a 16-3-1 record before earning his shot on the worlds largest stage. Omeilanczuk is heavy handed striker with a dangerous submission game.
2-2 since getting the call up, Omeilanczuk has won his last two and will be looking to make it three in a row, not an easy task in the heavyweight division.
The Fight: Omeilanczuk will have the power edge on the feet and is compitant on the ground but nowhere near the level of grappeler Oleinik is. Oleinik might have to eat a few in this one but he will be able secure a RNC. Oleinik RNC 2nd
+175 Tim Boetsch ( 18-10) vs -205 Josh Samman (12-4)
Tim Boetsch: Longtime UFC and IFL vet Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch is hanging on to his job with the UFC by a thread. Once a contender in the middleweight division Boetsch has gone 4-6 in his last 10 bouts and may be on the outs if he doesn’t get the W in this one.
Boetsch’s saving grace is his all or nothing mentality, he’s a headhunter who’s kill or be killed style rarely allows him to hear the final bell. Boetsch has been relegated to a gatekeeper role and will need to battle his way back into contention.
Josh Samman: Tallahassee native Samman impressed in his semi finalist showing on TUF 17. He would go on to lose to Kelvin Gastelum the shows eventual winner, but had a couple of highlight reel finishes in his earlier match ups.
Following the show Samman reeled off three UFC victories in a row including two performances of the night. But his streak was brought to a halt when he lost a back and forth battle with Tamden McCrory via triangle in the third.
Samman is still very young at 27 and has off the charts athletisicim, maybe a move from his camp at MMA Masters to one of the larger south Florida camps would get him to the next level.
The Fight: This is going to be a good ole fashion slobberknocker, these two will throw caution to the wind in a entertaining war. Boetsch has shown the ability to absorb large amounts of damage and be able to retaliate.I like Boestch to rally late in this one earning a late in the fight TKO. Boestch TKO 3rd
-700 #3 Tony Ferguson (21-3) vs +525 Landon Vannata (8-0)
Tony Ferguson: The #3 ranked fighter in the world at lightweight has fought hard to earn that spot. Ferguson was crowned the champion of TUF 13 and went on to rack up a 9-1 record following the tournament victory.
Ferguson was expected to face Michael Chiesa in this bout, but Chiesa had to pull out due to a back injury. Ferguson will look to continue to build a case for a title shot by taking out this new comer.
Landon Vannata: Jackson/Wink prospect Landon Vannata will make his debut in less than ideal circumstances. Vannata got the call to fight Ferguson two weeks out from the fight and jumped on the opportunity.
Even if Vannata doesn’t pull off the major upset he will get his foot in the door of the UFC and have the chance to showcase his skills in a co main event.
The Fight: Not since two months ago has a lightweight fighter had to debut against a top 5 competitor. In fact Ferguson criticized Khabib Nurmagamedov for accepting a fight against the untested Darrell Horcher this past April.
Vannata wont be the push over that many expect in this fight, he comes from an elite camp and has a unique, creative style that has earned him an unbeaten record.
However he is in over his head in this bout, Ferguson will have the advantage in every stage of the game including a substantial size and reach advantage. Ferguson will pick him apart in the stand up and cinch up a guillotine on Vannata after a failed shot attempt. Ferguson Guillotine 2nd
+140 #5 Michael McDonald (17-3) vs-160 #8 John Lineker (27-7)
Michael McDonald: “Mayday” is one of the sports brightest young stars, at only 25 McDonald has already fought for the belt and been in there with many of the division’s best.
The definition of a new breed fighter McDonald is dangerous in every facet of the fight game. If McDonald would leave his small town gym to train a full camp with an elite fight team his potential is limitless.
6-2 in his eight UFC appearances if he can get by Lineker a match up with #4 ranked Bryan Caraway would make a lot of sense.
John Lineker: ATT fighter John “Hands of Stone” Lineker has taken his berserker style of combat up to the bantamweight division and been successful in his first two challenges. Lineker was forced to move up a weight class after he missed the 125 pound flyweight limit four times.
Lineker has already fought his way into the division’s top 10 and if he can pull off a win over the top 5 McDonald, a match up with the winner of the upcoming Garbrandt vs Mizugaki fight would be guaranteed fireworks.
The Fight: Linker’s one punch knockout power can change a fight at any point, however Mcdonald will be the much larger man and find ways to slip the major shots and use his lateral movement and cardio to wear Lineker down before getting the fight to the ground and securing a RNC. McDonald RNC 4th