-155 Jeremy Kennedy (8-0) vs. +135 Alex Ricci (10-3)
Jeremy Kennedy: 23 year old Canadian prospect Jeremy Kennedy will make his debut in his home province of British Columbia this Saturday. Kennedy earned his call-up by putting together a 8-0 record and collecting the featherweight belt in local promotion Battlefield Fight League.
Kennedy trains with ONE FC bantamweight champion Bibiano Fernandez, so we know his BJJ will not be in question. He spent a few days of this fight camp training with top Canadian strikers Shane Campbell and Matt Dwyer at Toshido MMA in Kelowna, BC to help round out his mma game. Kennedy typically fights at featherweight but did not hesitate to jump on the opportunity to fight in the UFC in his hometown.
Alex Ricci: Muay Thai veteran Alex Ricci will fill in for the injured Josh Emmett who broke his clavicle in training. Ricci earned this opportunity to debut on four days notice by accumulating a 10-3 record, with his most recent win being over tough Kiwi Kieran Joblin.
Ricci’s Muay Thai is multiple levels above the average mma fighter, but his ground game is not up to par for a 34 year old fighter. If he can keep fights standing Ricci will find success in the octagon, he’s run into trouble when matched against strong wrestlers.
The Fight: I expect big things from 23 year old Kennedy, he has the skill set to really make a name for himself in the UFC, most likely in the featherweight division. However he does not match up well with Ricci, his success in this bout relies on him being able to get Ricci to the mat. Ricci’s take down defense is very solid and he will win rounds on the feet while preventing take downs. Ricci Split Decision
+150 Ryan Janes (8-1) vs. -175 Adam Hunter (7-1)
Ryan Janes: Newly signed Newfie Ryan Janes will make his UFC debut in Vancouver this Saturday. Now living and training in Victoria, BC, Janes has put together a 7-1 record dating back to 2009. All of his fights have taken place in Canada including his 2014 victory over David Perron in the World Series of Fighting promotion.
Janes trains with the Zuma fight team in BC with long time women’s bantamweight contender Sarah Kaufman. His stand up is technically sound but not overly impressive, but once the fight hits the ground Janes is in his environment. Of his 7 wins 6 of them have come by way of rear naked choke.
Adam Hunter: New Brunswick native Adam Hunter will also be making his debut on August 27th. Hunter earned his call-up by knocking out UFC vet Chris Dempsey in :40 of the first round of their June bout. 8-1 overall he has not suffered a loss since his 2010 debut.
Hunter is a finisher on the feet, out of his 8 wins 7 have been first round knockouts. He’s willing to stand and trade in the pocket, but also excels at dirty boxing up against the cage. This 32 year old knockout artist will be a welcome addition to the UFC’s 185 pound division.
The Fight: These Canucks will throw down in a classic striker vs. grappler match up. Janes will be looking to get this to the ground and take Hunter into the latter rounds. Hunter will be headhunting on the BJJ expert and searching for the early knockout.
Janes wrestling is not world class to say the least, he will have trouble getting Hunter down and eat a big shot in the clinch early. Hunter Knockout 1st
Ning Guangyou (6-3-1) vs. Marlon Vera (7-3-1)
BOUT CANCELLED DUE TO VISA ISSUES
Ning Guangyou: The TUF: China champion will step back in to the octagon for the fourth time. Guangyou is 2-1 in the UFC suffering a razor close split decision loss to Marco Beltran in his last outing. Last month he was flagged by USADA for trace amounts of a banned substance, but was later cleared of any wrong doing when it was revealed that tainted meat was responsible for the false positive test.
Guangyou dominated TUF with powerful wrestling and winging haymakers on the feet. Following his loss to Beltran, Guangyou began training at Tiger Muay Thai to tighten up his wild striking style.
Marlon Vera: “Chito” Vera shocked the entire TUF: Latin America cast and audience when he knocked out number one pick and Mexican Favorite Henry Briones with a devastating upkick. However his time on the show was cut short when he was forced to leave the house due to a severe staph infection.
The fighting pride of Ecuador is in desperate need of a win after dropping his second of three UFC fights to England’s Davy Grant. Vera has an active guard and is a dangerous submission threat, but he tends to get too comfortable on his back and loses rounds when he can’t secure a submission.
The Fight: Vera’s high kick heavy striking and willingness to give up top position, will make it difficult for him to find success against the dominant wrestler Guangyou. Vera does have a good triangle, but Guangyou will be too strong from the top position. Guangyou Unanimous Decision
-270 Chad Laprise (11-2) vs. +105 Thibault Gouti (11-2)
Chad Laprise: TUF: Nations champion Chad “The Disciple” Laprise began his UFC career with three wins and looked well on his way to contender status. But he has fallen on hard times as of late, dropping his past two fights to Francisco Trinaldo and Ross Pearson.
Despite the back to back losses, Laprise is still very much a fighter to keep an eye on in the lightweight division, the fact that his two losses were to strikers (Laprise’s specialty) is troubling, but much of it can be chalked up to adjusting to the talent level of the UFC.
Thibault Gouti: Thibault Gouti fought his way to a 10-0 record in his native France and earned himself the title of number one prospect in the country. Since signing with the UFC things have not gone as smoothly. He lost a hard fought decision to David Teymur to get in to the TUF: 22 house and followed that with two more losses to Teemu Packalen and Oliver Aubin-Mercier respectively.
Gouti is in dire need of a victory in his third UFC bout and moving his camp to New Mexico to train with the Jackson/Wink crew is a step in the right direction, picking up that first win. He is a power punching boxer with better than average submission skills, who has run into trouble with cardio issues. But its nothing a few hundred wind sprints in the New Mexican mountains can’t remedy.
The Fight: Gouti’s back will be up against the wall in this one, but all of the motivation and pep talks in the world will not help him overcomes Laprise striking advantage. Laprise is the more versatile striker and Gouti’s game plan will play right into Laprise’s strengths. Laprise Knockout 2nd
-125 Shane Campbell (12-5) vs. +105 Felipe Silva (7-0)
Shane Campbell: “Shaolin” is one of the most accomplished Muay Thai fighters to ever come out of Canada, however his mma career has not been quite as legendary, at 1-3 in the UFC, Campbell is coming off of a rear naked choke loss to Erik Koch in May.
Campbell’s Octagon woes have mostly been due to his grappling inexperience. The 6’0″ tall Muay Thai champ has deadly finishing power on the feet, but if he cant shore up his takedown defense his career in the UFC will be short lived.
Felipe Silva: Undefeated Brazilian Muay Thai specialist Felipe Silva earned the call-up to the octagon by finishing Finnish UFC vet Anton Kuivanen by knockout in the first round. His 7-0 record is comprised of five KO/TKO’s, one Submission and one decision.
As previously mentioned, Silva does his best work on the feet, but he has spent an extensive amount of time training with legendary Chute Boxe BJJ coach Cristiano Marcello and has shown an active guard and decent submission capabilities from the bottom.
The Fight: This will be a Muay Thai bout in 4 oz gloves. Campbell will have the technical edge and superior footwork, while Silva will have the better knockout power and brute strength. Cambpell’s footwork and striking defense is skilled enough to avoid Silva’s heavy looping shots and outpoint the debuting Brazilian. Campbell Unanimous Decision
+170 Garreth McLellan (13-4) vs. -200 Alessio Di Chirico (9-1)
Garreth McLellan: Converted South African rugby player Garreth McLellan’s UFC career has been average at best. 1-2 in his three bouts, he pulled off a dramatic last second finish of Bubba Bush, but was completely overmatched in his other match-ups against Bartoz Fabinski and Magnus Cedenblad.
McLellan is a super tough dude that will win the majority of his bouts on smaller circuits, but his lack of high level training is apparent when he fights elite competition. If he relocates to a larger camp, McLellan has the athletic ability and toughness to remain on the UFC roster.
Alessio Di Chirico: Part of the second generation, new breed Italian fighters, Di Chirico lost a controversial decision to Bojan Velickovic in April debut. The Croatian crowd booed the decision that saw Di Chirico pushing the pace the entire fight, and outboxing the Serbian, while stuffing his takedowns.
Di Chirico displayed much improved standup from his smaller promotion fights. The 26 year old’s southpaw boxing combined with a strong double leg and accurate ground and pound will make him a fighter to watch in the middleweight division.
The Fight: McLellan is athletic and durable which will keep him from being finished early in this fight, but Di Chirico is superior in every aspect of the game and he will overwhelm McLellan earning a late stoppage due to accumulative damage on the feet and ground. Di Chirico TKO 3rd
+145 Enrique Barzola (11-2-1) vs. -170 Kyle Bochniak (6-1)
Enrique Barzola: TUF: Latin America 2 winner Enrique “El Fuerte” Barzola impressed in his dominant victories in the reality show tournament. He captured the season’s crown with a one sided decision over Horacio Gutierrez in November. Prior to his stint of TUF, all of Barzola’s fights took place in South America, this will be his first opportunity to test his abilities against international competition.
This gritty Incan warrior’s style is reminiscent of a less advanced Frankie Edgar. He uses his in and out footwork to set up a strong double leg and maintain top position with intermittent ground and pound. He recently began training full time at ATT Coconut Creek, a move that will properly prepare him for the elite competition that he will face in the octagon.
Kyle Bochniak: Gloucester Mass. native Kyle Bochniak debuted against fellow Bostonian Charles Rosa on only four days notice. The 29 year old put up a valiant effort but ultimately came up short, losing a unanimous decision. Prior to the UFC Bochniak went 6-0 with all of his fights taking place in the New England based CES promotion.
Bochniak has solely trained mma in his combat career, so he is a well rounded in all aspects of the sport. He trains boxing with the great Peter Welch and his main camp is Broadway Jiu Jitsu in Boston. His cardio faded in the Rosa fight, but much of that was most likely due to his taking the fight on four days notice.
The Fight: Bochniak’s takedown defense and ability to scramble back to his feet is impressive, but Barzola’s continuous pressure throughout the fight will put his skills to the ultimate test. Bohniack will win the early stand up and be able to stuff Barzola’s take downs in the first. The second and third will be all Barzola controlling the fight from in side of Bochniak’s guard. Barzola Split Decision
-200 Sam Alvey (27-8-0 1 NC) vs. +170 Kevin Casey (9-4-1 2 NC)
Sam Alvey: “Smile’n” Sam is staying ultra active with his third fight in the past three months. Alvey bounced back from a decision loss to Elias Theodorou in June by knocking out TUF: 23 alum Eric Spicely in July.4-3 in the UFC Alvey is doing everything in his power to get his record well above .500 and start getting top 15 match ups.
Alvey trains at Team Quest which ensures he is adept in the wrestling department, but he prefers to stand and uncork his monstrous left hand. He relies heavily on counter strikes and has had trouble with quick fighters who refuse to stand and trade in the pocket. Alvey needs to mix more take downs in to his game plan to keep his opponents from zeroing in on defending against his strikes.
Kevin Casey: Casey continued his pattern of starting strong and fading in the later rounds in last bout against Elvis Mutapcic. He came out and implemented his game plan of dominant grappling control for the first two rounds, but was totally gassed in the third and gave up a 10-8 round to the fresher Elvis and barely came away with the draw.
Casey, who is a Rickson Gracie blackbelt has shown flashes of grappling brilliance in the octagon, but continually losses battles due to fatigue. At 35 Casey needs to be dedicating his entire training regiment to cardiovascular endurance, because it is the one thing holding him back from consistent success in the UFC.
The Fight: If Casey has failed to improve his cardio this fight will be fairly easy to predict. Casey will have early success with overpowering take downs, but will begin to fade in the second and get knocked out in the second or third. I have an inkling it will be sooner rather than later due to Alvey’s solid take down defense which will burn Casy’s muscular arms out much quicker. Alvey Knockout 2nd