UFC Fight Night 27 Main Card Staff Predictions

Scott HarrisMMA Lead WriterAugust 27, 2013

UFC Fight Night 27 Main Card Staff Predictions

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    For the second time in its illustrious two-week history, Fox Sports 1 hosts a UFC main card when the curtain goes up Wednesday on UFC Fight Night 27.

    As such, this one's certain to be dissected for decades to come in journalism labs around the nation and world. But for us workaday MMA fans and writers, well, we're more focused on the main event, a rematch between violent welterweights Carlos Condit and Martin Kampmann. They originally fought in 2009, and Kampmann took a thin split decision.

    But there is intrigue to be found in each and every one of the six fights that fans can see for free on FS1 Wednesday night. Our staff experts here at Bleacher Report are here to help you sort that out. Riley "Kobra" Kontek. James "The Athlete" MacDonald. Sean "The Salmon" Smith. Craig "Famous" Amos. And myself, Scott Harris. Let's get it on.

Brad Tavares vs. Robert 'Bubba' McDaniel

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    Riley Kontek

    If there is somebody who has really improved since entering The Ultimate Fighter house from out of nowhere, it has been Brad Tavares. He is 5-1 in the UFC, with wins over Tom Watson, Riki Fukuda and Dongi Yang. Bubba McDaniel has a big weight cut and has shown some inconsistencies in his UFC tenure. Tavares should run a decision here.

    Tavares, Unanimous decision


    James MacDonald

    I’ve been impressed with Tavares over his last few fights. The TUF veteran has come on leaps and bounds over the past 18 months. By all accounts, McDaniel has all the physical tools. However, he seems to lack the right mentality to be successful at the highest level. Unless that has improved, I anticipate Tavares taking this one at a canter.

    Tavares, TKO, Rd. 2

    Sean Smith

    McDaniel may have earned a spot on the UFC roster, but he's got a ways to go before he proves he can remain with the promotion long term. Tavares, on the other hand, has made great strides since appearing on TUF and looks like he will be a UFC middleweight for years. This will be a wake-up call for McDaniel.

    Tavares, TKO, Rd. 1


    Craig Amos

    On a card full of competitive matchups, this is not one. Tavares is simply out of McDaniel's league, and it shouldn't take the Hawaiian too long to prove that. With better striking, better wrestling and better ground-and-pound, Tavares will win this one by sheer force.

    Tavares, KO, Rd. 1


    Scott Harris

    I feel bad for Bubba. He struggled for traction on TUF, both in the cage and in the fighter house. As demonstrated by the fact that he got this fight, he was at least moderately successful. Unfortunately, he won’t have even moderate success against a well-rounded and streaking middleweight in Tavares.

    Tavares, TKO, Rd. 2

Takeya Mizugaki vs. Erik Perez

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    Kontek

    This fight joins the main card after the Sarah Kaufman-Sara McMann fight got scrapped, and deservedly so. Both men are exciting fighters with good all-around skills. Perez has traditionally shown some good grappling ability, but can bang on the feet. Mizugaki is another guy who has shown inconsistencies in the Octagon, so Perez will find a way to pull out the W.

    Perez, Unanimous decision

    MacDonald

    I’m a fan of Mizugaki, but it’s clear that he has his limitations. He may have hit the ceiling on his potential, whereas Erik Perez improves every time we see him. This should go all three, but with Perez coming out with the win.

    Perez, Unanimous decision

    Smith

    A WEC veteran, Mizugaki is an experienced bantamweight capable of providing a challenge to most 135-pound fighters. While he hasn't faced an opponent at Mizugaki's level, Perez passes the eye test and looks like a future contender. Youth should prevail in a close contest.

    Perez, Unanimous decision

    Amos

    This is a tough out for anyone at 135 pounds, but Perez isn't just anyone. At 23, the Mexican youngster has looked every bit the part of a future UFC champion, defeating each Octagon challenger in less than five minutes. This will be the stiffest test of Perez's career and may signify the end of his first-round finish streak. But in the bigger picture, he's just getting started.

    Perez, Unanimous decision

    Harris

    Look at all these people sleeping on Takeya Mizugaki. Do they even watch MMA? Bro, serious question: Do they even lift? Yes, Perez has nice tools and a bright future, but he’s never faced anyone on Mizugaki’s level. Mizugaki will dirty it up, slow it down and grind his way to a W.

    Mizugaki, Unanimous decision

Court McGee vs. Robert Whittaker

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    Kontek

    TUF winners collide here as a massive welterweight in Court McGee takes on explosive Australian Robert Whittaker. Whittaker's weakness will play right into McGee's hands, as he is a grinder with a strong ground game. McGee will plant the Aussie on his back with constant pressure until he earns a tap with a rear-naked choke.

    McGee, Submission, Rd. 2

     

    MacDonald

    I wasn’t overly convinced with Whittaker during his stint on TUF, but he looked terrific against Colton Smith. He may be at a size disadvantage against McGee, but he has the edge in athletic ability. I expect the Aussie to out-slick the more mechanical American.

    Whittaker, Unanimous decision

     
    Smith

    These TUF winners are evenly matched, but McGee has the advantage of experience. After winning TUF, Whittaker has only defeated Colton Smith, who has not picked up a victory outside of TUF competition yet. With a longer UFC track record, McGee is the safer pick in this matchup.

    McGee, Submission, Rd. 2


    Amos

    The Aussie showed the ability to stifle the takedown when he trumped Colton Smith, but Whittaker will have to be on point against McGee. The American TUF winner likes to pressure his opponents with a mix of boxing and wrestling, and if he keeps Whittaker on his heels, he may be able to end the action prematurely. If not, he still looks like a good option to win a decision.

    McGee, Submission, Rd. 3

     

    Harris

    It seems that on paper, Whittaker’s great equalizer is his knockout power. He has a “puncher’s chance,” if I may. But I don’t see that he has the one-punch KO ability (or equivalent submission prowess) to overcome the bigger, stronger, more experienced McGee.

    McGee, Unanimous decision

Kelvin Gastelum vs. Brian Melancon

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    Kontek

    TUF fans eagerly await the return of Kelvin Gastelum, whose drop to welterweight may give him even more advantages in the cage from his middleweight days on the reality show. Melancon has explosive striking, as demonstrated in his fight against Seth Baczynski. Gastelum has faced an intimidating striker in Uriah Hall already, so he should be able to get inside Melancon's offense to run a grinding decision.

    Gastelum, Unanimous decision

    MacDonald

    Even after running through the much-hyped Uriah Hall, Gastelum had few rave reviews. In my view, the kid has massive potential, particularly with the drop in weight. He should have too many tools for Brian Melancon.

    Gastelum, Unanimous decision

    Smith

    While Gastelum may be carrying a ton of momentum following his win over Uriah Hall, he doesn't have any victories that prove his worth as much as Melancon's win over UFC veteran Seth Baczynski does. With this fight also marking Gastelum's first cut to 170 pounds, the TUF winner may be in store for a setback.

    Melancon, Unanimous decision


    Amos

    Two guys who surprised in their UFC debuts face off in this welterweight affair. Melancon will look to build off of his startling first-round dispatch of Seth Baczynski by taking out Gastelum, who upset Uriah Hall earlier this year to win TUF. I expect Gastelum's persistent wrestling attack to carry the day, leading to a second straight decision victory inside the Octagon, and his first at 170 pounds.

    Gastelum, Unanimous decision

    Harris

    I love this battle between two UFC upstarts, and it’s a shame someone has to lose (assuming no draw, of course). When he beat Uriah Hall, MMA fans screamed that Gastelum had just pulled The Greatest Upset in the History of Sports. That win seems a little less emphatic now that Hall is The Greatest Disappointment in the History of The Emotion of Disappointment, but I’d feel pretty uncomfortable picking against Gastelum after his gutty run to the TUF title.

    Gastelum, Unanimous decision

Donald Cerrone vs. Rafael Dos Anjos

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    Kontek

    Striker vs. grappler. American vs. Brazilian. Cowboy vs. Dos Anjos. Rafael dos Anjos is a tad overrated at this point, as he has yet to take on the competition level of a guy like Donald Cerrone. Cerrone has the takedown defense to fight off RDJ's takedowns and he has the vastly superior striking to give him a long night. That type of skill set will send dos Anjos back down the ladder.

    Cerrone, TKO, Rd. 2


    MacDonald

    I’ll probably be a toss-up between this and the main event for fight of the night. While Dos Anjos has looked incredible lately, Cerrone has been a little more inconsistent. This is a closer fight than I would have thought a year or so ago. Still, “Cowboy” seems to have that X-factor that the Brazilian may just be lacking.

    Cerrone, TKO, Rd. 3

    Smith

    This is a pivotal fight for these talented lightweights. The winner will put themselves in title contention, while the loser will have to battle to remain in the top 10. This will come down to whether Cerrone can stuff Dos Anjos' takedowns with regulatory, and he has a good chance of doing so.

    Cerrone, Unanimous decision


    Amos

    Dos Anjos is not the signature win Cerrone needs to thrust himself into the lightweight division's upper echelon, but "The Cowboy" would be a career-defining prize for Dos Anjos. The Brazilian, a classic late-bloomer, has been rolling lately, a product of significant mid-career progression. He'll face his toughest test to date when he steps into the Octagon with Cerrone, but for my upset special, I say he passes. 

    Dos Anjos, Unanimous decision


    Harris

    I can’t wait for this fight. I really, really want to pick the streaking and well-rounded Dos Anjos, who appears very confident wherever the fight goes, and rightly so. But Cerrone is the elite of the elite and he’s looking to start a new streak of his own after a bit of soul-searching earlier this year. He’ll make it two in a row Wednesday night by battering the Brazilian standout.

    Cerrone, Unanimous decision

Carlos Condit vs. Martin Kampmann

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    Kontek

    Two of the most durable fighters will rematch each other from when Condit debuted in the UFC. At that time, Condit had not developed into the more polished fighter he is now. Kampmann doesn't seem to be getting enough respect in this rematch, which is a mistake because he is still a top fighter at 170 pounds. That being said, Condit is a top-three fighter at 170 pounds and will out-strike Kampmann to a Fight of the Year decision.

    Condit, Unanimous decision


    MacDonald

    I’ve been looking forward to this rematch for a long time. If you haven’t seen the first fight between these two, I’d urge you to seek it out online.

    I’m an admirer of Kampmann, but I have a borderline man-crush on Carlos Condit. With better takedown defense, the “Natural Born Killer” would probably be the best 170-pounder on the planet. Fortunately for Condit, “The Hitman” is no Johny Hendricks, which should allow him to throw his obscene arsenal of strikes with giddy abandon.

    Condit, TKO, Rd. 3

    Smith

    This fight really could go either way, as evidenced by Kampmann's split decision win in his first meeting with Condit. Both welterweights are technical strikers with underrated ground games. Wherever the fight ends up, Condit is more capable of finishing, and that could be the difference.

    Condit, TKO, Rd. 3

    Amos

    I’m tempted to pick Kampmann simply for the fact that so many people are counting him out, but just can't do it. As good a fighter as the Dane is—and that's very good—his tendency to start slow coupled with Condit's own talent might be just too much to overcome. I expect Kampmann to make it close, just not close enough to convince the judges that he bested Condit for a second straight time.

    Condit, Unanimous decision

    Harris

    I think this will be a great fight, yet I don’t have any doubt about the outcome. Of course anything can happen, but the hyper-competitive Condit is starving for a win, and I expect him to come out like a caged animal and avenge the loss he suffered in his UFC debut. He’ll put together some of those classic and brilliant Condit combinations and punish Kampmann for the win.

    Kampmann’s consolation prize: A nice little Fight of the Night bonus check.

    Condit, TKO, Rd. 3