Sometimes I feel as if baby Jesus, the one true god, has blessed me with the innate ability to predict MMA matches with unparalleled accuracy. I feel like I can just look at a fight card and see the finishes happening as I read through the names in each bout. Armbars, knockouts and unanimous decisions fly by like visuals during a psychedelic trip or my high school years. The best part about this gift that eight pound, six ounce, baby Jesus bestowed upon me is that I am right so often that it feels as if I have a hand in each match won.
With UFC fight night 44 going down Saturday, June 28 in San Antonio, Texas, it is only proper, no my duty, to make sure every fan knows the outcomes of these fights before hand. Plus, what kind of man would I be if I didn’t use my gifts whenever possible. That’s like the Fantastic Four becoming a magic show instead of battling intergalactic evildoers or Spiderman just creating new dance moves instead of stopping Dr. Octopus from ravaging New York. So without further or do, here are my picks for UFN 44.
Joe Ellenberger v James Moontasri
Both fighters are getting their first shot in the UFC, which makes putting them on the main card extremely strange. Both men have only one loss on their respective records (Ellenberger 14-1, Moontasri 7-1) and both men dawn very cheesy nicknames (Excalibur and Moonwalker). If there is any advantage, it may be that Ellenberger has a brother (Jake) who is already in the UFC and knows what it’s like to fight under the bright lights, albeit not that well over his past two outings, and may know what to expect before stepping inside the cage.
Joe Ellenberger by unanimous decision
Clint Hester v Antonio Neto
I’ve always had an infatuation with Clint Hester since his time in the TUF house. Hester has gone 3-0 in the UFC since then and he has the potential to be a very promising fighter if he could just evolve his ground game. That is where Neto shines. With a record of 9-1, seven of those wins by submission, this is a classic match up of striker versus grappler. Even though I am rooting for Hester I can never go against a grappler, especially one who has been winning by kneebar lately.
Antonio Neto by leglock
Ricardo Lamas v Hacran Dias
Im going to keep my prediction for this next one brief. As extensive as Hacran’s record is he does not have the experience against top-level guys like Lamas has. Let me raddle off a few names for you. Erik Koch, Hastu Hioki, Cub Swanson. These guys all fell to Lamas and unless Dias can impose his ground game on Lamas who has a strong wrestling pedigree this one should be an easy victory for Lamas.
Ricardo Lamas by unanimous decision
Kelvin Gastelum v Nicholas Musoke
So I saw that Gastelum had a hard time making weight for this fight. Gastelum is a very short (5’9) but very stocky 170-pound fighter. Given his wrestling background I’m sure he must cut an ugly amount of weight to compete at welterweight. Regardless of the weight issues his fighting is never a problem. Musoke is a more natural welterweight and has a strong all-around game that makes him difficult to game plan for. Musoke is 2-0 in the UFC but that is all about to change when he meets the new breed of badass. Height has never been an issue for Gastelum who has on numerous occasions found ways to close the distance, get his hands on fighters and beat them up and until I see different I’m not going against the guy.
Kelvin Gastelum by split decision
Cub Swanson v Jeremy Stephens
This fight is one that could easily turn out to be fight of the year. You may get Fourth of July early when these two step inside the cage. They have 23 knockouts between the two of them and both men are at a stage in their careers where each fight is critical in putting them one step closer to a title shot. Cub Swanson has looked every bit a title contender over his last five fights knocking people out like Deebo but he also hasn’t competed in almost a year. Meanwhile, Jeremy Stephens has accumulated a three-fight win streak and has looked much more like a technician then a brawler lately. Even with the long layoff I can’t find it in me to go against Swanson who outside of losing to the best in the division (Chad Mendes, Jose Aldo, Ricardo Lamas) seems to tear through everyone else.
Swanson by TKO stoppage