UFC Fight Nighton: VanZant vs. Waterson (Main Card) Breakdown&Predictions

 

+122 Alan Jouban (14-4) vs. -142 Mike Perry (9-0)

Welterweight (170)

Alan Jouban: Fresh off of a fight of the night performance against Belal Muhammad this past July, Alan “Brahma” Jouban returns to the octagon to make his case for a top 15 spot in welterweight division. Jouban broke his hand early in the Muhammad fight, but was still able to outpoint the Chicago fighter with superior footwork and well placed kicks.

5-2 in his octagon bouts, Jouban has failed to secure a signature win over a ranked opponent. This main card fight slot on big FOX may be his opportunity for that signature win. Perry’s always moving forward, aggressive style may make him the perfect opponent for Jouban to showcase his world class muay thai on. At 35, Jouban has little room for error if he is to fulfill his championship aspirations.

Mike Perry: Not many took notice of the skills of “Platinum” Mike Perry when he stepped in on short notice to knockout Hyun Gyu Lim in the first round. But when he went to war with Danny Roberts and won in one of the more violent finishes you will ever see, the mma communities’ condescending snickering about the face tatted Floridian quickly turned to admiration of a warrior.

Perry’s polarizing persona has placed eyes on him for the wrong reasons, but regardless of how he has garnered the audience he now has the platform to become a household name. At only 25, the undefeated Perry is one the verge of super-stardom and he can launch his star into orbit in this fight if he can turn it into a mano y mano street fight.

The Fight: The winner of this scrap is all but guaranteed a place in the welterweight top 15. I am through taking the high road when it comes to “Platinum” Mike Perry, he has demonstrated unprecedented durability and coma inducing power in his first two fights. Jouban will want to keep him at a distance, but sooner or later Perry will take six to land one that will turn out the lights of the oxymoron fighter/model. Perry Knockout 2nd

-450 #7 Uriajah Faber (33-10) vs. +350 Brad Pickett (26-12)

Bantamweight (135)

Uriajah Faber: After dropping three of his last four fights “The California Kid” has decided to call it a career after this bout in Sacramento, which is also home to his Alpha Male fight team. Faber could easily fight for another 3-5 years beating the majority of guys in the UFC, but an elite athlete like Faber strives to be the best and when he feels he no longer possesses the physical tools to compete with the top of his division its time to hang em up.

This is a proper send off for the 37 year old godfather of the lighter weight classes. Faber put the now defunct WEC on the map during his featherweight title reign and even though he never managed to capture UFC gold, he will go down as one of the most beloved fighters to ever set foot in the octagon.

Brad Pickett:  In his last fight Brad “One Punch” Pickett was outclassed by Iuri Alcantara who dropped Pickett with strikes and followed him down to the mat to slap on a fight ending triangle. The loss was Pickett’s fourth in his last five dropping his overall UFC record to a pedestrian 5-6 a mark, unfitting of a warrior like Pickett.

Pickett was very close to hanging em up at the start of the year in London, but his split decision victory in a back and forth war over Francisco Rivera convinced the 38 year old Londoner that he had some fight left in him. He still has the one punch power but he lacks the speed to hang with the next generation of up and coming fighters. If Pickett loses this fight don’t be surprised if this is a double retirement fight.

The Fight: This is the perfect retirement fight for Faber, Pickett lacks the speed and explosiveness to put him in any real danger on the feet and the grappling acumen to deal with him on the mat. Faber ends this one with a patent Alpha Male guillotine and writes the final chapter of his unforgettable story. Faber Guillotine 1st 

-102 Sage Northcutt (8-1) vs. -118 Micky Gall (3-0)

Welterweight (170)

Sage Northcutt: Martial arts wunderkind “Super” Sage Northcutt picked up his third victory in the octagon before he can legally buy a Smirnoff Ice. Northcutt bounced back nicely from his first professional loss to Bryan Barberena when he decisively beat TUF Latin America 2 runner up Enrique “Wasabi” Marin via unanimous decision.

Sage is one of the first of a new generation that has had televised MMA exist since they were a zygote. His acrobatic striking techniques and Zach Morris-like good looks make him an easy sell to the masses, but he needs wins like this one to prove his legitimacy to the jaded, cranky hardcore fans that see through the bright and shiny facade. 

Micky Gall: 24 year old Garden State native Micky Gall made good on his “Looking For A Fight” call out of CM Punk. Gall handled the novice fighter Punk like a life long martial artist should, submitting the superstar professional wrestler in the first round of their September bout. Gall has spent less than three minutes in the octagon in his two UFC victories.

In terms of careers moving fast you can not get much more rapid than Gall’s meteoric ascent. He began his pro career last November and armed with a brown belt and a sharp blue collar wit, Gall has landed himself in the co main event of a UFC card on FOX. Gall has been training all aspects of the sport since 13 and would appear to have what it takes to hang around the UFC for a long time.

The Fight: Bryan Barbarena exposed a huge flaw in Northcutt’s ground game, a flaw that Gall is more than capable of taking advantage of. Unless Sage has improved his ground game 12 fold since the Barbarena fight, expect Gall to keep his first round submission streak alive. Gall RNC 1st 

-113 #7 Paige VanZant (7-2) vs. -107 #11 Michelle Waterson (13-4)

Strawweight (115)

Paige VanZant: UFC marketing gold Paige VanZant added to her growing fanbase this past August when she knocked out punk rock Aussie Bec Rawlings with a jumping switch kick straight out of a 90’s arcade game. VanZant proved she could do more than grapple with the knockout of the striker Rawlings.

Team Alpha Male’s leading lady has the potential to become the face of the company and put her name in the picture for a shot at Joanna champion’s strap with a big win in this fight. Still only 22 “12 gauge” Paige gets by a lot on her natural athleticism, but once she can merge the technical side of mma with her god-given gifts, she will achieve fame well beyond what any female mma fighter has in the past.

Michelle Waterson: It’s been a long and frustrating road back to the octagon for 30 year old  former Invicta atomweight champion Michelle Waterson.  She has had two fights canceled since her July 2015 UFC debut where she dominated Angela Magana. First she was forced to withdraw from a December 2015 matchup with Tecia Torres due to a knee injury. Then her opponent Aisling Daly got injured weeks before their scheduled bout this past September.

Now fully healed and chomping at the bit to get back in the octagon, the long time Jackson/Wink student will have opportunity to jump right in the strawweight title picture with a victory in this main event slot. If she can get by VanZant, a fight with former champion Carla Esparza would be a fantastic test for Waterson and her ever improving wrestling abilities.

The Fight: Waterson has been diligently working to improve her wrestling, but I don’t see her being able to overcome VanZant’s size and physicality. The former atomweight’s best shot would be to keep this on the feet at a distance, but the “Young Gun” will be able to outmuscle her in the clinches and thwart off submission attempts on the ground, while landing effective ground and pound. VanZant TKO 4th

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