UFC Fight Night 113 Nelson vs. Ponzinibbio: B/R Main Card Staff Predictions

Steven RondinaFeatured ColumnistJuly 15, 2017

UFC Fight Night 113 Nelson vs. Ponzinibbio: B/R Main Card Staff Predictions

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    Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

    The UFC's International Fight Week feels like it happened an eternity ago and now, they're taking the show on the road to Glasgow, Scotland for UFC Fight Night 113. The main card reads as follows:

    • Gunnar Nelson vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio
    • Joanne Calderwood vs. Cynthia Calvillo
    • Stevie Ray vs. Paul Felder
    • Jack Marshman vs. Ryan Janes
    • Khalil Rountree vs. Paul Craig
    • James Mulheron vs. Justin Willis

    No, don't worry. That, indeed, is a weak lineup of fights. While the top three fights on the card are all solid, the drop-off from there is profound, and the loser of each contest could be released afterward.

    Still, the Bleacher Report MMA team is here to analyze and predict the outcome for those six contests. So jump on in, folks!

James Mulheron vs. Justin Willis

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    This is James Mulheron. Yeah.
    This is James Mulheron. Yeah.Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

    Scott Harris

    What a dynamic main card opener. Well, perhaps not. This is Mulheron's UFC debut, and he's stepping in on short notice to face Justin Willis, a massive heavyweight who is also a UFC newcomer. Willis is a banger, plain and simple, and his American Kickboxing Academy training home suggests he can do it, especially over a guy as inexperienced as Mulheron.

    Willis, KO, Rd. 1 

            

    Nathan McCarter

    Two guys making their UFC debut. What could go wrong?

    I'll take Mulheron. Nothing more than the long flight hurting Willis' performance. Willis gets the benefit of shorter travel and all the benefits that go along with it. Not the most technical reason to pick a winner, but that's what we'll roll with in the curtain-jerker.

    Mulheron, TKO, Rd. 2

            

    Craig Amos

    This could be a quick KO for Willis, but the momentum will slide to Mulheron, who has much more experience in the later rounds of the fight. I'll pick him to survive a dicey opening frame and come back to win.

    Mulheron, TKO, Rd. 3

               

    Steven Rondina

    There's only so much thought that can be put into this one. It's a fight between two unknown heavyweights. I'll buck the trend of predicting a knockout, though, by going with the most likely outcome of two doughy heavyweights facing off; a slow, ugly, boring slog to a decision.

    Willis, split decision

Khalil Rountree vs. Paul Craig

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    Things aren't looking great here for Khalil Rountree...
    Things aren't looking great here for Khalil Rountree...Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports

    Harris

    Kalil Rountree finally earned that elusive first UFC win in February when he knocked out Daniel Jolly in 52 seconds. The problem is, that didn't show people much about whether he had improved his deficiencies, namely takedown defense and wrestling. Those are just the things he'll need against a strong grappler in Craig. Until he proves he has it, it's hard to pick him outside a flash knockout. Sound the upset alarms.

    Craig, submission, Rd. 2

             

    McCarter

    Rountree has the raw physical gifts, but his actual performances just make me hesitant to pick him. Craig isn't that much better, but his toughness makes me lean toward him against someone who underperforms when the lights beat down. I'm not expecting much out of this one.

    Craig, unanimous decision

           

    Amos

    This is an awful matchup for Rountree. His deficient wrestling and grappling skills play right into Craig's hands, which makes a submission win for the Scot seem like the most likely outcome. Plus, I could never pick against anyone with such a sweet surname (except Andrew Craig). 

    Craig, submission, Rd. 2

             

    Rondina

    Yeah...Rountree is an impressive talent, but this isn't a fight that will help him grow. It's one of those signature "let's hurt a prospect's long-term value" fights that only the UFC can make.

    Craig, submission, Rd. 1

Jack Marshman vs. Ryan Janes

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    Jack Marshman might be fighting for his job.
    Jack Marshman might be fighting for his job.Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

    Harris

    Ryan Janes is 35 years old and 1-1 in the UFC. He's a good grappler but has yet to prove he's a good MMA fighter. Marshman is a brawler out of central casting, a Welshman with a penchant for pugilism. Let's face it: this is a mismatch.

    Marshman, TKO, Rd. 2

            

    McCarter

    Marshman has a better win on his record than Janes, and has a better loss. Thus, I'm inclined to side with Marshman. Seems like a good matchup to get Europe another win.

    Marshman, TKO, Rd. 2

                 

    Amos

    This feels like a fight designed to give the UK crowd something to cheer about. It won't be an easy win for Marshman, though. Janes is a threat on the mat, and he'll have the edge there. My guess is Marshman eventually catches him with something on the feet, though, and everything ultimately goes to script.

    Marshman, KO, Rd. 2

              

    Rondina

    Marshman has more experience and more wins over solid competition. Easy.

    Marshman, unanimous decision

Stevie Ray vs. Paul Felder

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    Stevie Ray is one of the few Scots on this Glasgow card.
    Stevie Ray is one of the few Scots on this Glasgow card.Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

    Harris

    Poor Paul Felder. He's an exciting competitor and a good fighter, but he keeps getting all these tough matchups. Stevie Ray may not be Edson Barboza just yet. Nevertheless, Ray is an impressive competitor, fresh off a win over Joe Lauzon. This will be another striking display and the young Scot will come out on top.

    Ray, unanimous decision

            

    McCarter

    This is most likely to be Fight of the Night. It's a stylistic matchup that fits that mold. Felder is always up for those kinds of scraps, and he usually gets out-pointed as the fight goes into the second and third. I don't think I will go against history. Ray is trekking upward, and I'll buy some of his stock.

    Ray, unanimous decision

            

    Amos

    I'm on board with Harris and McCarter. The fight will be exciting, will be competitive and will be won by Ray. He's shown better of late, and the quality of his wins speak to that.

    Ray, unanimous decision

                  

    Rondina

    Nothing else to say, really. Felder will put on a good show en route to a loss.

    Ray, unanimous decision

Joanne Calderwood vs. Cynthia Calvillo

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    Joanne Calderwood is good...but terribly inconsistent.
    Joanne Calderwood is good...but terribly inconsistent.Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

    Harris

    Calderwood has just never taken full flight in the UFC. She has a 3-2 record there but seems to stumble when it matters most. Calvillo is a perfect 5-0 as a pro, including 2-0 in the UFC. Her third-round submission over Pearl Gonzalez was pretty. No reason to think she can't do it again.

    Calvillo, submission, Rd. 3

                

    McCarter

    We saw Calderwood's best self when the UFC allowed her to compete at 125 pounds. This fight is not at 125 pounds. Calvillo's grappling will be too much, and she'll pass the test as she moves forward and JoJo heads to flyweight. It's just a shame the UFC couldn't allow Calderwood to fight in her chosen weight class now that they have opened that division.

    Calvillo, unanimous decision

          

    Amos

    Fighting Calderwood in her home country is quite a test, but Calvillo looks like the real deal. She'll hang in on the feet, initiate some takedowns and scrambles, and eventually, she'll catch JoJo for the submission. As soon as the referee drops Calvillo's hand after proclaiming her the victor, my only question is going to be, how long do I have to wait to see her compete again?

    Calvillo, submission, Rd. 2

           

    Rondina

    The UFC is clearly bullish on Calvillo, and they probably wouldn't have put her into this fight with Calderwood if they didn't think it was hers to win. 

    Calvillo, unanimous decision

Gunnar Nelson vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio

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    Santiago Ponzinibbio is looking to pull off a huge upset over Gunnar Nelson.
    Santiago Ponzinibbio is looking to pull off a huge upset over Gunnar Nelson.Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

    Harris

    I'll lean Nelson here, but it's not as one-sided as it might seem. Ponzinibbio can strike anytime. But Nelson will be flowing once this hits the ground.

    Nelson, submission, Rd. 2

       

    McCarter

    Nelson has looked fantastic since his loss to Demian Maia, and that will continue when surrounded by a favorable crowd. Ponzinibbio is dangerous on the feet, but it's nothing Nelson hasn't faced before. He'll work himself into the clinch and get a takedown. From there, it will be academic for the rising contender.

    Nelson, submission, Rd. 2

          

    Amos

    Ponzinibbio is always a danger to score the knockout, but as McCarter points out, that's not a new challenge to Nelson, who is always growing as a fighter. Both guys will have their moments, but Nelson will wear Ponzinibbio out with ground control and eventually slip his forearm under the chin to earn a submission.

    Nelson, submission, Rd. 3

         

    Rondina

    Ponzinibbio's got a good streak going, but yes, this is Nelson's fight to lose, and I'm not expecting him to do so.

    Nelson, submission, Rd. 4