UFC 204: Bisping vs. Henderson (Prelims) Breakdown&Predictions

+170 Lukasz Sajewski (13-2) vs. -190 Marc Diakiese (9-0)

Lightweight (155)

Lukasz Sajewski: Polish grappling standout Lukasz Sajewski’s first two fights in the octagon could have gone better, his debut was a lackluster decision loss to Nick Hein and he followed the Hein defeat up with a first round arm bar loss to Gilbert Burns.

Sajewski is stepping in on one weeks notice for an injured Reza Madadi. It is a gamble taking a fight with a dangerous striker on one weeks notice, but Sajewski needs to correct his losing path ASAP or he might be on the way out like his teammate Pitor Hallman who was handed his walking papers after going 2-4 in his first six bouts.

Marc Diakiese: BAMMA lightweight champ Marc Diakiese appears to have the tools to become a contender in UFC’s super stacked lightweight division. The 23 year old undefeated prospect has defended his BAMMA title twice including a 0:36 one punch knockout of the previously undefeated Kane Mousah.

Diakiese’s home camp is Atherton submission wrestling in Manchester with active UFC fighters Scott Askham and Mike Wilkinson. He has also spent time in Sweden at the Allstars Training camp to help round out his skills. Diakiese got by on freak athleticism early in his career, but is slowly transitioning into a full fledged mixed martial artist.

The Fight: Sajewski’s back is up against the wall in this one, but the talent level discrepancy will be too large for him to overcome. Sajewski will have trouble getting Diakiese to the ground and be one step behind in the striking. Diakiese will sprawl and brawl his way to a decision victory. Diakiese Unanimous Decision

+180 Leonardo Santos (15-4-1) vs.-210  Adriano Martins (28-7)

Lightweight (155)

Leonardo Santos: TUF Brazil 2 champ Leonardo Santos has been close to perfect in his UFC career thus far. 4-0-1 since his 2013 reality show victory, his most impressive victory came in his last fight where the third degree BJJ blackbelt knocked out rising prospect Kevin Lee.

Injuries have kept the 36 year old Brazilian inactive since December of last year. Santos’s jiu-jitsu is among the best in the sport and his striking is greatly improving exemplified by his TKO of speedy boxer Kevin Lee. A well rested and fully healed Santos is primed to make run at the lightweight top 15 in the coming months.

Adriano Martins: Southpaw striker Adriano Matins has also been near perfect in his octagon performances. Save for a Cowboy Cerrone left high kick, Martins has dominated his UFC opponents, including super impressive back to back wins over Dagestani combat sambo champs Rustam Khabilov and Islam Makhachev in his last two outings.

Martins is a native of Manaus, Brazil but now lives and trains in Florida with The American Top Team. The 34 year old vet is 4-1 in the UFC, but has also been very inactive, not having fought in over a year. Martins has the all around skills to be a contender at lightweight and will be in position to get a top 15 opponent if he is victorious in this match up.

The Fight: Martins advantage on the feet is going to be greater than Santos’s advantage on ground. This bout will play out mainly as a kickboxing match with Martins getting the better of the striking exchanges and when it does go to the mat, Martins will hold his own inside of Santos’s guard. Martins Unanimous Decision

-148 Danny Roberts (13-1) vs. +128 Mike Perry (8-0)

Welterweight (170)

Danny Roberts:  Danny “Hot Chocolate” Roberts is on a seven fight win streak in which he has not lost since 2010. Included in that streak are two octagon victories over Nathan Coy and Dom Steele, with the Steele fight winning Fight of the Night honors.

The Confident Brit crossed over to mma from boxing at 23 years old and took to his new sport like a natural.  He began training full time with the Blackzilians when he signed with the UFC and the results have been impressive to say the least. Now 29 Roberts brings an explosive striking game and slick submission game to a welterweight division hungry for new contenders.

Mike Perry: “Platinum” Mike Perry made the most of his short notice debut opportunity knocking out five time UFC vet Hyun Gyu Lim in the first round of their bout. Perry was a heavy underdog and overcame a large height and reach advantage with explosive counter hooks that face planted the wild throwing Lim.

Perry pulled a few antics and made a few comments that ruffled some feathers in his debut, but they say “no press is bad press” and Perry has the striking prowess to convert detractors to fans in a flash. 8-0 with eight knockouts a few weeks after his 25th birthday, Perry is about as exciting as a prospect can get in the early going.

The Fight: This bout has FOTN written all over it, both of these striking specialist are aggressive in the pocket and wont back down from a slug fest. Perry has the power advantage but will have trouble finding the elusive Robert’s chin. Roberts straight shots will land at a higher rate than Perry’s looping hooks. As the fight progresses Roberts will score a take down and secure a choke. Roberts Rear Naked Choke 2nd

+220 Leon Edwards (11-3) vs. #14 -260 Albert Tumenov (17-3)

Lightweight (155)

Leon Edwards: “Rocky” is 3-2 in his first five fights including his latest win a, close decision victory over Jackson/Wink fighter Dominic Waters, in a fight that enabled him to showcase his improving wrestling defense. Edwards has been working on his wrestling at AKA, his weakness’s on the mat were highlighted by his two losses to dominant grapplers Claudio Silva and Kamaru Usman.

Edwards striking performances (including a 0:08 knockout of Seth Baczynski) have made him a fan favorite, especially in his native England. The Birmingham raised Edwards will be looking to please the hometown crowd in his first crack at a top 15 opponent.

Albert Tumenov: Albert “Einstein” is looking to bounce back from a May, neck crank loss to Gunnar Nelson. Prior to the Nelson defeat Tumenov was on a five fight win streak that saw him beating elite strikers Alan Jouban and Lorenz Larkin en route to his top 15 ranking.

Tumenov trains with a bunch of Russian bad asses and Andrew Sanchez at the K Dojo in New Jersey. Tumenov works the body better than any other fighter, he throws most of his punches with full power and is constantly moving forward. At only 24 this Russian’s ceiling is very high and will get even higher if he can improve upon his wrestling.

The Fight: This should be a humdinger, Tumenov will pick his shots efficiently and throw with full power, while earning credit for being the aggressor. Edwards will be the higher volume striker and score with speedy counters. It will be close, but I see Edwards pulling out a close one with superior footwork and counters, to a frustrated Tumenov who will have trouble finding Edwards chin with his heavy shots. Edwards Split Decision

-180 Davey Grant (10-2) vs. +155 Damian Stasiak (10-2)

Bantamweight (135)

Davey Grant: TUF 18 runner up Davey Grant, suffered a torn meniscus following his stint on the reality show that kept him sidelined for over two years. He finally made his long awaited debut in February winning a one sided decision over fellow TUF alum Marlon “Chito” Vera. The decision victory was the first time Grant had a fight go the distance in his eight year career.

Honing his skills at SBG Manchester, 30 year old Grant feels he is currently the best fighter he has ever been and would like to stay incredibly active, hoping to get another fight in before the end of this year to make up for his extended lay off.

Damian Stasiak: Damian “Webster” Stasiak was given his nickname due to his physical resemblance and similar no non sense attitude of America’s favorite 80’s sitcom orphan. Stasiak made a successful bantamweight debut in Croatia earlier this year bringing his UFC record to 1-1.

The Polish 26 year old began his martial arts career in karate but has transformed himself into a high level grappler winning six of his ten victories via submission. Stasiak still trains in his native Poland with his home camp being the United Gym in Lodz, Poland with UFC heavyweight Marcin Tybura.

The Fight: Grant’s blue collar striking and forward pressure will be too much for Stasiak. Grant will wear him down with clinches against the cage and dirty boxing before finishing the fight with strikes, pleasing the partisan English crowd. Grant TKO 2nd

 

+235 Ian Entwistle (9-3) vs. -275 Rob Font (12-2)

Bantamweight (135)

Ian Entwistle: Leg lock specialist Ian Entwistle lives and dies by his leg-jitsu and his UFC record shows this much. 1-2 in the octagon, he submitted Anthony Birchak with his go to heel hook finisher, but was also pounded out by Dan Hooker and Alejandro Perez searching for his beloved leg lock.

Entwistle trains in Thai land with the Phuket Top Team working around the clock to improve his muay thai and become an all around threat. If he is able to add dangerous muay thai striking to his deadly heel hook game, he will be a scary man to compete with in the bantamweight division.

Rob Font: Team Sityodtong fighter Rob Font had his 11 fight win streak snapped by probable number one bantamweight contender John Lineker. Prior to the Lineker loss Font was 2-0 in the UFC and made a name for himself by becoming the CES Champ and was widely considered the number one ranked fighter in the Northeast circuit. 

Font’s combination of elite muay thai, purple belt level BJJ and a chin that was able to eat John Lineker’s best shots, have made him a tough man to beat for the last five years. Font has the skills to compete with the division’s top 15, if he can get out of Manchester with his foot intact, another shot at a ranked opponent should be in his not so distant future.

The Fight: Leg lock guys are the knuckleball pitchers of mma, they are either really good or really bad. Based on Font’s understanding of jiu jitsu and knockout power, I foresee a bad night for Entwistle. On the feet Font will dominant, if Entwistle is able to get the 50/50 position Font has very long limbs that will allow him to land hard shots to the defenseless Entwistle. Font TKO 1st

Brad Pickett (26-11) vs. #13 Iuri Alcantara (32-7-0 1NC)

Bantamweight (135)

Brad Pickett: Brad “One Punch” Pickett has been fighting under the UFC umbrella of promotions for the past seven  years. He debuted in the WEC in 2009 and between then and now he has amassed  a 7-7 record and has been remarkably consistent in beating unranked opponents and losing to ranked ones.

38 year old Pickett was dangerously close to retiring last year after he dropped three fights in a row, but was reinvigorated by a split decision win over Francisco Rivera in his last fight and will look to use that momentum to pick up his first ranked win in front of a home town crowd.

Iuri Alcantara: The older of the Alcantara brothers, Iuri, had a tough time handling the pace, combos and take downs of Jimmie Rivera in his last outing this past January. Their bout picked both fighters up a FOTN bonus, but for a 36 year old veteran like Alcantara who may not have many fights left in the tank, a step backwards may have killed his chance of ever fighting for a title.

A veteran of 41 fights, Iuri has proven he can defeat the best in the division with victories over top guys Ricardo Llamas, Wilson Reis and  Francisco Trinaldo, but if he hopes to ever get back to the top of the division he will need to win impressively against the hometown favorite Pickett.

The Fight: Pickett’s style plays into Alcantara’s strengths exceedingly well, the smaller Pickett will push the pace on the Amazonian, but Alcantara will be able to keep him at a range with his reach and counter Pickett up the middle with knees. Pickett will have his moments in the fight, but at the end his pattern of losing to ranked opponents will continue. Alcantara Unanimous Decision

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