Two weeks ago we saw the consensus pound-for-pound number one fighter in the world, Jon Jones, defend his title against Glover Teixeira in a one-sided affair. This Saturday, the UFC is back in action with a fight card which holds divisional implications for several contenders.
In the Lightweight division with a 155 pound limit, we have a matchup of two very exciting and dynamic strikers in Erik Koch and Daron Cruickshank. Both fighters are coming off of wins in their last bout.
For Koch, it is his second fight since moving up to the Lightweight division. Koch has had trouble with fighters who possess a physical strength advantage against him. Koch has traditional American Kickboxing style to his striking with solid hands and good kicks to the body. However, he does have the propensity to get hit more often when he does not manage his range effectively which could prove highly dangerous against the superb kicking arsenal of Daron Cruickshank.
Cruickshank, also a fighter who prefers to stand and trade, will look to finish by landing a signature devastating head kick which he has finished opponents with before. If Cruickshank can get inside Koch’s range it could be a long (or very short) night for Koch.
My pick: Cruickshank by way of TKO in the first.
The second bout is a matchup in the Middleweight division between Costa Phillipou and Lorenz Larkin. Both fighters are coming off of losses; Phillipou coming off of two consecutive losses to Francis Carmont and Luke Rockhold respectively, and Larkin’s loss coming to Brad Tavares.
With both fighters looking for a win to climb back into the top 10 of the division, this fight means a great deal. Both being fighters who prefer to keep the fight on their feet, this could be a fight of the night candidate.
Costa Phillipou, the former professional boxer, on paper seems to have the advantage in the hands. Phillipou likes to leap in with a lead hook and dig to the body with uppercuts out of the clinch. Larkin has a more diverse striking attack that Phillipou and also holds a grappling advantage. Larkin may look to take this fight to ground and expose Phillipou’s holes there.
My pick: Larkin by Decision.
The main event may be absolute fireworks. Matt Brown is riding a six-fight winning streak coming into the bout and has a head of steam which he hopes can carry him through this bout and into an eventual title shot. Erick Silva is coming off a win himself.
Brown is a fighter with big power in his hands and a very good chin. If Brown can land early on Silva it could be lights out. However, out of Brown’s 11 losses, he has been submitted in nine of them. With Silva being a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Brown may fight himself in trouble should the fight be taken to the ground. Silva is an athletic phenom, this also serves as his downfall because he tends to get a bit too excited and not set up his striking properly, leaving himself exposed. This fight can be seen to go so many different ways, it will be interesting who shows up and who can land first because I absolutely believe that is the key.
My pick: Silva by Submission in the first.
This a good free card set up to favor fighters who enjoy striking on their feet. This also means it may be a very short night of fights. For Matt Brown, should he win, it may lead to a title eliminator bout. However should he lose, it may possibly be the end of his last big push. Tune into to Fox Sports One to see the fights starting at 10pm ET/7pm PT. Hopefully this card yields the excitement it is predicted to!