UFC Fight Night 47 Preliminary Card Predictions
It seems like an eternity, but the UFC is back this week. UFC Fight Night 47, which marks the promotion's first event in Maine, is headlined by light heavyweight contenders Ryan Bader and Ovince St. Preux.
Before the main event and main card, which air on Fox Sports 1, we have an interesting preliminary card. From newcomers like Frankie Saenz, Lauren Murphy and Sam Alvey to established vets like Zach Makovsky and Sara McMann, the prelims have a lot to offer considering there are only four bouts.
UFC on Fox 12 was the last card for the company, and my picks were pretty on point. Hopefully, the momentum continues here, as we are about three-quarters complete with 2014.
Without further ado, here are the UFC Fight Night 47 preliminary card picks.
2014 Riley's Record: 106-70
Last Event: UFC on Fox 12 (6-2)
Frankie Saenz vs. Nolan Ticman
Kicking off the prelims is a fight in the bantamweight division, as normal flyweight Frankie Saenz makes his debut against fellow debutant Nolan Ticman. This bout was made on about two weeks notice to fill out the card.
Ticman (4-1) has been a pro since 2009 but only has five fights in that time. In fact, he hasn't competed since 2012, when he took a unanimous decision over Adriano Goncalves.
Representing Kings MMA, Ticman obviously gets good reps as a striker at that reputable gym. That said, half of his wins are by submission, showing he's well-rounded. The long layoff is a tad concerning, though.
Saenz will be fighting at 135 on short notice despite the fact he has become one of the better prospects at 125 pounds. He possesses good wrestling skills, which he uses to control opponents, later using solid ground strikes and submissions in an attempt to finish the fight.
The difference between Saenz and Ticman is going to be their recent activity. While Ticman hasn't fought since 2012, Saenz has competed five times since 2012. That activity, plus his major advantage in wrestling, will lead him to a win in his debut.
Prediction: Saenz def. Ticman via decision
Tom Watson vs. Sam Alvey
Moving on, we head to the middleweight division, as TUF 16 alum Sam Alvey makes his official UFC debut against British striker Tom Watson.
Alvey finally makes his debut after a run on TUF 16 that saw most of the cast passed up by the UFC after filming. On the show, Alvey knocked out Leo Kuntz in under a minute to make the cast. He was picked first by coach Shane Carwin but was outwrestled by Joey Rivera in his first fight in the house en route to his elimination.
Alvey is a wrestler with power punching that can knock anybody out. He is currently on a four-fight surge where he has defeated some stiff competition in the form of Wes Swofford, Jason South and Jay Silva.
As for Watson, the British muay thai specialist finds himself with his back against the wall. He is currently 1-3 in the UFC and riding a two-fight skid in which he was dominated by Thales Leites and dropped a questionable decision to Nick Catone.
The Brit will be fighting for his job here and gets no easy out in Alvey, who can exploit his takedown defense. As with a captain who goes down with the ship, I touted Watson as a top middleweight coming into the UFC. I will take him or go down swinging.
Prediction: Watson def. Alvey via decision
Sara McMann vs. Lauren Murphy
A pair of top 135-pound women are set to square off next, as former Invicta champion and UFC debutant Lauren Murphy gets welcomed to the Octagon by former UFC title challenger and Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann.
Murphy is a grappler who depends on top position to devastate opponents with ground-and-pound. The Alaska native, who fights out of the MMA Lab now, has stepped it up in her recent bouts, taking wins over Kaitlin Young, Sarah D'Alelio and Miriam Nakamoto in her last three.
McMann is a power wrestler coming off her first career loss to Ronda Rousey. She has competed at a high level since entering the sport and owns victories over the likes of Tonya Evinger, Shayna Baszler and Sheila Gaff.
Murphy is going to be a mainstay with the UFC, but she is getting a rude welcome from a woman who has a similar style. That said, McMann does that style better given her wresting pedigree. She will defend Murphy's takedown attempts and turn them into her own, grinding out a win down the stretch.
Prediction: McMann def. Murphy via decision
Zach Makovsky vs. Jussier Da Silva
Capping off the prelims is a pivotal bout in the flyweight division, as former Bellator champ Zach Makovsky looks to continue his unbeaten streak in the UFC when he takes on Jussier da Silva.
A top flyweight upon entrance to the UFC, da Silva has shuffled wins and losses since entering the company. Although he owns wins over Chris Cariaso and Scott Jorgensen, he was thrashed by Joseph Benavidez and John Dodson in his other two UFC bouts.
The Brazilian is a grappler by trade, possessing great mat skills and submissions. He has improved his striking a tad, but it is still his mat work that is superior to most.
As for Makovsky, he finds himself in a situation where he could earn a title shot with this win. Not only is he the former RFA champion, but he has dominated both of his fights in the UFC over Jorgensen and Josh Sampo.
While da Silva is probably the better pure grappler, this is MMA, where punching is allowed. Makovsky's wrestling, in addition to his superior striking, will lead him to a one-sided domination of da Silva, earning him a shot at the winner of Demetrious Johnson-Chris Cariaso at UFC 177.
Prediction: Makovsky def. da Silva via decision