+170 BJ Penn (16-11-2) vs. -200 Dennis Siver (22-1)
BJ Penn: UFC hall of famer BJ “The Prodigy” Penn had a rough outing against rising young Mexican star Yair Rodriguez. Penn was a step or two behind the 24 year old fighter and took a pretty bad beating on the feet before being finished with a front kick in the second round.
This will be the third time Penn has fought at featherweight, he has fought in almost every division through the years even going up as high as Light Heavyweight to fight Lyoto Machida. Penn can’t stay away and if giving the choice the 38 year old legend will “Just Scrap” well into his forties.
Dennis Siver: Last time we saw German Kickboxer Dennis Siver was two years ago when he lost a unanimous decision to Tatsuya Kawajiri. Siver was over powered by the “Crusher’s” suffocating top control. This will be the second time Siver has been booked to fight BJ, he was forced to pull out of a bout last year due to injury.
Siver won six out of seven of his UFC bouts from 2009-2011 including wins over George Sotiropoulos and Matt Wiman. 11-8-1 in his decade in the octagon Siver wont be in the hall of fame anytime soon, but if you take the 38 year old lightly he will gladly plant a spinning heel kick into your eye socket.
The Fight: BJ can out point Siver in a striking match, but he will strike for a limited time before taking it to the mat where his advantage is astronomical. Only a handful of people can hang with BJ on the mat and Siver is not one of them. Penn RNC 2nd
-240 Tim Means (26-8-1) vs. +205 Alex Garcia (14-3)
Tim Means: Savvy southpaw striker Tim “The Dirty Bird” Means did not have things go his way in his rematch against Alex Oliveira. Means was being out struck by the Brazilian and when he attempted to take it to the ground Oliveira choked him out. This was a 180 from their no contest that Means was firmly in control of before a illegal knee ended it prematurely.
This is the New Mexican fighters second stint in the UFC and he is making the most of the opportunity. Since his return to the octagon Means has gone 6-3-1 and is one or two wins away from being ranked. His fan friendly, strike first style will help him book big fights and named opponents in the future.
Alex Garcia: Tristar up and comer Alex “The Dominican Nightmare” Garcia is coming off of a knock out of the night performance over Mike Pyle at UFC 207. Garcia countered a Pyle low kick with a monstrous right straight that put the veteran down for the count.
Garcia is an explosive well rounded prospect, but his cardio issues may be preventing him from taking the step to the next level of competition. He may want to drop some of the bulk and move to lightweight where he will still have a massive strength advantage, or he can continue to finish people early in fights at Welterweight.
The Fight: Means’s chin will be tested early in this one and based on previous encounters it will hold up. Garcia’s cardio has hurt him in the past, losing to Sean Strickland late after winning most of the fight. That’s how this one will play out, Garcia comes out strong with take downs and hard shots in close, only to be TKO’ed in the final stanza. Means TKO 3rd
+285 Joachim Christensen (14-5) vs. -350 Dominick Reyes (6-0)
Light Heavyweight (205)
Joachim Christensen: Dangerous Dane Joachim Christensen will jump right back in the octagon one month after a first round submission loss to Gadzimurad Antigulov at UFC 211. Christensen was no match for the Russian ATT fighter once the fight hit the mat where he succumb to a rear naked choke with out much of a fight.
Christensen strikes effectively from a distance, but does his best work in the clinch with knees and short shots. He also possess a tricky guard that has earned him five submission victories over the last decade. At thirty seven Christensen will need to win and win impressively if he has main card aspirations in his future.
Dominick Reyes: Undefeated California prospect Dominick “The Devastator” Reyes will make his UFC debut only three weeks removed from a 0:53 head kick knock out of Jordan Powell that went viral because Reyes kicked Powell mid taunt.
Reyes has wrestled since the age of eight and trains under head coach Joe Stevenson whose Wrestling carried him to a UFC title fight. He has trained BJJ with Robert Drysdale in the past and has a 78″ inch reach that he uses extremely well in his stand up. Reyes is also a phenomenal athlete who was a four year starter playing free safety for Stoney Brooke University. Overall this young fighter is a very exciting addition to the Light Heavyweight division.
The Fight: Reyes is a more diverse striker and better on the ground. Christensen can take a punch and Reyes will be in no hurry to force a knockout. Reyes takes this one 30-27 across the boards. Reyes Unanimous Decision
-115 #14 Felice Herrig (12-6) vs. -105 Justine Kish (6-0)
Felice Herrig: TUF alum and women’s MMA pioneer Felice “Lil Bulldog” Herrig picked up her biggest win to date in her last fight where she beat Mexican uber prospect Alexa Grasso. The win is Herrig’s third in her four UFC bouts and placed her back into the top 15 for the first time in two years.
Herrig’s muay thai is as good as anyone in the division (except Joanna champion) and as a longtime student of BJJ black belt Jeff Curran she is now slouch on the ground. Her weakness is her lack of wrestling, a flaw exposed by Alph Female Paige Van Zant. If she’s been able to improve upon her wrestling with one of the many elite wrestling coaches in the Chicago area, she may be able to make a run in the Strawweight division.
Justine Kish: Undefeated Muay Thai specialist Justine Kish is coming off of her second UFC victory a close decision over Ashley Yoder at Fight Night 102. Kish defiantly got the better of Yoder in the striking, but spent a lot of time underneath the Team Quest Wrestler.
Kish is an aggressive Muay Thai fighter who never takes a step backwards. She also does not seemed to be effected by fatigue displaying endless cardio in her first two bouts. Kish has trained extensively in Thailand and at Blackhouse MMA stateside. Her Wrestling is her weakness, if she tightens that aspect up she is going to be a serious contender at 115.
The Fight: Kish’s straight forward striking style will open up many countering opportunities for Herrig. Kish is going to be the stronger fighter if the fight hits the ground, but Herrig’s BJJ will be able to give her the advantage in scrambles. It will be close but Herrig will do just enough to pick up her third straight win. Herrig Split Decision
-225 Johny Henricks (18-6) vs. +190 Tim Boetsch (20-11)
Johny Hendricks: Former Welterweight champion Johny “Big Rigg” Hendricks snapped a three fight losing streak defeating Hector Lombard in his Middleweight debut. The move up to 185 appeared to pay off for Hendricks who was not effected by any of the cardio issues that plagued him in his Welterweight fights.
Hendricks has inexplicably missed weight again weighing in at 188 pounds three pounds over the 185 limit. Since losing his title at the end of 2014 Hendricks has missed weight three times. There is now doubt that Hendricks is one of the most talented fighters in the sport, but whether or not he has the desire to compete is a huge question.
Tim Boetsch: Jeet June Do practitioner Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch recently had a two fight winning streak snapped by a first round Jacare kimura. The Jacare fight was a humbling experience for the nine year UFC vet, but Boetsch can take solace in knowing that he is not the first one to get schooled on the mat by Jacare.
Boetsch is a guy who has the power and durability to beat 90% of the people in his division, as he demonstrated in his wins over Yushin Okami and Hector Lomard. But at 11-10 overall in his UFC career, it’s difficult to tell which fighter is going to show up for his fights. Boestch needs this fight if he wants to stay relevant in the rankings, otherwise he may have two or three fights as a gate keeper left in the tank.
The Fight: Boestch is the bigger man competing at Light Heavyweight for the first half of his career, while Hendricks’s fights down a weight class have been well documented. These Wrestlers enjoy standing and trading and with the fire power they posses the probability of an early knockout is high. Hendricks has the better chin and will find a home for his over hand right. Hendricks Knockout 1st
+117 #6 Michael Chiesa (14-2) vs.-137 #11 Kevin Lee (15-2)
Michael Chiesa: TUF: season 15 winner Michael “Maverick” Chiesa has been kept sidelined for the last 15 months due to injuries and a cancelled fight with Tony Ferguson. Last time Chiesa was in the octagon he was choking out Beneil Dariuish to score his biggest win to date.
Chiesa gets the most out of his long limbs in grappling exchanges, he is able to sink in rear naked chokes from odd angles that catch his opponents off guard. He also has one of the best squeeze’s in the game submitting Dariush with out getting under his chin. His stand up is not the greatest and a solid Boxer like Lee will be a good test on the feet.
Kevin Lee: 24 year old Xtreme Couture prospect Kevin “The Motown Phenom” Lee earned this headliner bout by winning four straight, most recently snapping the seven fight winning streak of “Massaranduba” this past March. Lee out struck Trinaldo before submitting the BJJ Black Belt with a rear naked choke.
Lee is beginning to fulfill the sky high expectations placed upon him when he debuted as a 21 year old. Lee has everything your looking for in a prospect, a freaky long reach, knock out power, dominant Wrestling and overpowering strength. The only question is how his chin will hold up. Lee was knocked out by BJJ Black Belt Leonardo Santos who is not known for his power having only one other knock out in his twelve year career.
The Fight: Lee is the more explosive, powerful and athletic fighter and he will win the early rounds of this fight striking and stuffing take downs. But as the fight gets into championship rounds the scrappy Chiesa is going to take over and pull off a much needed submission victory. Chiesa RNC 5th