UFC 161: Preliminary Card Predictions
The UFC's return to Canada comes this weekend in the form of UFC 161, which will be headlined by Dan Henderson and Rashad Evans. While it doesn't seem like the card is going to do well from a buys standpoint, at least the prelims are free.
The prelims host a bevy of up-and-coming talents who are willing to go out there and put on a show. In fact, I might be more excited for the prelims than I am for the main card.
Here are previews and predictions for each fight on Saturday.
Yves Jabouin vs. Dustin Pague
The card kicks off with a bantamweight throwdown, when Canadian Yves Jabouin meets American Dustin Pague.
Jabouin recently had a three-fight win streak snapped by the uppercut of Brad Pickett. The muay thai kickboxing of "Tiger" is the shining point of his game, which he will use to keep Pague at bay.
Pague is also a kickboxer but not on the level of Jabouin. He would be smart to plant Jabouin on the mat and work his submission grappling.
I can see Jabouin finding his range and making this a long fight for Pague. He takes a decision.
Prediction: Jabouin def. Pague via decision
Mitch Clarke vs. John Maguire
We then head to the lightweight division, where Canadian Mitch Clarke meets Brit John Maguire in Maguire's newest weight class.
The longer this fight goes, the more it favors Clarke. I think Maguire will make the weight cut fine, but it could affect his cardio in this new division for him.
Maguire is a submission specialist, so he needs to get Clarke to the ground. He will also have the size advantage, as the former welterweight should look to throw his weight around and put Clarke on the mat.
A tapout is likely for this fight.
Prediction: Maguire def. Clarke via submission
Roland Delorme vs. Edwin Figueroa
Next up is a bantamweight confrontation, in which Canada's Roland Delorme fights American Edwin Figueroa in the Octagon.
Delorme is a judo stylist with a solid submission game. He needs to utilize his submission grappling, as he will be at a disadvantage on the feet.
Figueroa is the striker in this fight and needs to stay off his back. He has good power for a lighter guy, so he needs to fish for the knockout.
Delorme is a tough guy as well as strategically smart. He will get in on the inside and earn the tap.
Prediction: Delorme def. Figueroa via submission
Sean Pierson vs. Kenny Robertson
Moving on to the welterweight division, Canada's Sean Pierson steps foot in the cage again when he meets American Kenny Robertson.
Pierson has solid boxing and is well-rounded in general. He will want to keep this fight on the feet, as Robertson is a good wrestler with solid submission ability.
Robertson's last win came in devastating fashion, as seen in this slide's picture. That innovative leglock tore up his opponent's leg and showed how underrated Robertson is.
Pierson is a strong fighter, but Robertson is vastly overlooked. He takes a decision here.
Prediction: Robertson def. Pierson via decision
Sam Stout vs. James Krause
We next move to the lightweight division, where Canadian vet Sam Stout takes on replacement James Krause.
Stout is a kickboxer by trade and rarely puts on a boring fight. He always looks to engage on the feet, which typically leads to slugfests and praise from fans.
Krause takes this fight on late notice and is not getting much of a chance from fans. Krause should not be overlooked, though, as he is well-rounded and tough.
That being said, Stout is the favorite because he has been training for this fight for a while. He wins an exciting fight by decision.
Prediction: Stout def. Krause via decision
Tyron Woodley vs. Jake Shields
In the main attraction of the prelims, American welterweights Tyron Woodley and Jake Shields meet in the cage with similar styles.
Woodley and Shields are wrestlers, even though Shields is more of a jiu-jitsu-type wrestler. Woodley focuses more on ground-and-pound, so you can see they aren't all the same.
Woodley demonstrated power on the feet with his trumping of Jay Hieron. He should use his wrestling to keep this fight standing and look to knock Shields out.
Prediction: Woodley def. Shields via decision