UFC Fight Night 30: Preliminary Card Predictions
The UFC returns to free TV this weekend, as UFC Fight Night 30 comes to you early from Manchester, England. With the prelims starting at 12 ET, fans can enjoy a full afternoon of fights that promise to be fun.
The show is headlined by former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida and Mark Munoz, who was originally supposed to face Michael Bisping. This is Machida's debut at middleweight, and he hopes to make a run at the title in his new weight class.
Before the main card, we get the prelims. Here are the predictions for those fights.
Brad Scott vs. Michael Kuiper
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Opening up the card will be Brad Scott, who defends his home turf against invading Dutchman Michael Kuiper.
Kuiper is a judo fighter that possesses powerful striking but an inconsistent UFC track record. He is 1-2 with the company, taking losses to Rafael Natal and Tom Lawlor, while defeating Jared Hamman.
He owns 11 finishes in his 12 career wins, including seven by knockout. That's not to say he has no skill on the ground, as the judoka does have four career tapouts.
As for Scott, he cut his teeth on TUF: The Smashes where he was the runner-up to Robert Whittaker. Before losing in the finale, he earned decisions over Xavier Lucas and Ben Alloway.
All eight of Scott's wins are finishes. However, in seeing how close his fights were on TUF against guys who aren't as skilled as Kuiper, one has to believe the Dutch fighter will pull this one out.
Prediction: Kuiper def. Scott via decision
Jimy Hettes vs. Robert Whiteford
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Next up are the featherweights, as American judoka Jimy Hettes meets late replacement Robert Whiteford of Scotland.
Hettes is a submission specialist that is 2-1 in the UFC and 10-1 overall. Of those 10 wins, nine have come by way of tapout.
He opened his UFC tenure with a tap of Alex Caceres and followed that up with a complete, utter domination of Nam Phan. However, his latest outing in September of last year saw him hiccup against Marcus Brimage.
Whiteford, though a good prospect, takes this fight on about a week's notice. The Scot hasn't lost since his pro debut and since then has won 10 straight, including six finishes.
Whiteford is a striker that needs to stay at a distance and avoid the clinch with Hettes. However, not getting a full training camp will hurt, as the American bullies his way in, snags a takedown and scores a submission victory.
Prediction: Hettes def. Whiteford via submission
Andy Ogle vs. Cole Miller
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The featherweights are up next, as tall and lanky American Top Team member Cole Miller takes on British 145-pounder Andy Ogle.
Ogle is a veteran of TUF 15, where he was a dark horse, especially after his upset of Mike Rio. However, a loss to finalist Al Iaquinta served as his exit from the competition.
Ogle still got an invite to the Octagon, where he is now 1-1. He took a loss to Akira Corassani in his premiere, but came back with a dominating victory on the ground over Josh Grispi.
Miller is a long-time vet of the UFC that has fallen on hard times as of late. The submission artist, since dropping to featherweight, has gone just 1-3.
He opened up 0-2 at 145 against Steven Siler and Nam Phan, but came back with a win over Bart Palaszewski to spare his job. In his most recent fight, he lost a questionable decision to Manny Gamburyan in a bout many thought he should have secured.
Miller's size and ground acumen will likely be the difference here. Ogle is tough, but Miller is just simply better.
Prediction: Miller def. Ogle via submission
Rosi Sexton vs. Jessica Andrade
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The ladies are up next, as U.K. women's flag bearer Rosi Sexton welcomes Jessica Andrade to Manchester with both ladies' jobs possibly on the line.
Sexton, a pro for over a decade, is one of the pioneers of women's MMA. Her call to the UFC was a great inclusion, but she was defeated by a much bigger Alexis Davis in her UFC debut.
She is a striker that possesses a underrated top game. Most of her wins have come via submission, even though she has extremely technical striking.
Andrade is a striker herself that has a nasty guillotine choke. In fact, four of her five submission wins have come by her guillotine choke, showing how tight her grip is on her favorite technique.
Her debut came on short notice against Liz Carmouche, which ended in her getting wrestled and pounded out. It was a tough opening test, so she gets a mulligan here with a full training camp.
Andrade will probably be the bigger fighter, but Sexton proved in her fight with Davis that size doesn't always matter. She handled herself pretty well and will outwork Andrade to a decision.
Prediction: Sexton def. Andrade via decision
Andrew Craig vs. Luke Barnatt
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Middleweight prospects collide next, as big, lanky Brit Luke Barnatt takes on lovable underdog Andrew Craig.
Barnatt is a veteran of TUF 17, where he was the first pick of Team Sonnen. He won bouts on the show against Nicholas Kohring and Gilbert Smith, but fell via knockout against Dylan Andrews in the quarterfinals.
He came back in the finale, where he used a well-rounded attack to earn a decision over Collin Hart. Barnatt is 6'6" and uses his size to his advantage, especially on the feet where he uses distance to out-strike opponents.
Craig is a tough, rugged fighter that always finds himself in precarious situations but ultimately prevails. He found himself behind in all four of his UFC fights, before he eventually came back in three of those fights.
Craig notched comeback wins over Kyle Noke, Chris Leben and Rafael Natal, the last of which he scored via vicious head-kick knockout. His only loss came against grinder Ronny Markes, which won't happen in this fight.
Barnatt will find some success due to his height, but Craig just keeps on coming. It will be close, but expect Craig to steal some points with late takedowns to take a decision.
Prediction: Craig def. Barnatt via decision
Al Iaquinta vs. Piotr Hallmann
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The main attraction of the undercard comes in the lightweight division, as Polish prospect Piotr Hallmann meets American Al Iaquinta.
Hallmann makes his sophomore effort in the UFC on the heels of a huge upset win in Brazil. Despite falling behind early, the Pole scored an impressive kimura victory over submission fighter Francisco Trinaldo.
Hallmann is very well-rounded, but it appears his ground game is the best part of his game. He has only gone to decision once in his career, showing that he is a finisher and an exciting one at that.
Iaquinta is the runner-up for TUF 15, a show in which he beat Jon Tuck, Myles Jury, Andy Ogle and Vinc Pichel, before he lost in the finals to Michael Chiesa.
The boxer and wrestler came back after a long layoff in August, where he used superior movement and boxing to outpoint Ryan Couture. It put his name back into thought, as it was a dominant, impressive performance.
Hallmann will want to get Iaquinta on his back, but that will be tough against the American wrestler. Add a healthy dose of jabs, good movement and superior boxing, and the American should be able to earn the scorecards here.
Prediction: Iaquinta def. Hallmann via decision