UFC Fight Night 127 Predictions: Main Card Staff Picks

Nathan McCarter@McCarterNFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2018

UFC Fight Night 127 Predictions: Main Card Staff Picks

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    After a short break, the UFC returns to action this weekend at the O2 Arena in London for UFC Fight Night 127.

    Atop the card is a heavyweight showdown between former UFC heavyweight champ Fabricio Werdum and Alexander Volkov.

    The company has put a little home cooking in the co-main event, as local Jimi Manuwa will battle Jan Blachowicz in a three-round affair.

    The four-fight main card also features Tom Duquesnoy vs. Terrion Ware and Leon Edwards vs. Peter Sobotta. So, who will come out on top?

    That's the job Matthew Ryder, Scott Harris, Steven Rondina and Nathan McCarter are here to take on.

    The Bleacher Report staff will break down each of the four main card scraps and pick a winner. Are upsets abound? Let's get down to the nitty-gritty with the UFC Fight Night 127 main card selections.

Leon Edwards vs. Peter Sobotta

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    Matthew Ryder

    Edwards has been streaking and finding himself a bit at 170. Both notions apply to Sobotta as well, but his streak is a touch shorter.

    You can probably flip a coin on the outcome, but the action should be fast-paced and exciting in any event.

    My coin came up Sobotta, by the way.

    Sobotta, TKO, Round 2

           

    Scott Harris

    Edwards is an exciting fighter on the rise. Sobotta is no easy puzzle to solve, especially on the ground, but Edwards is powerful enough (striking and in the clinch) and well-rounded enough to control or at least intelligently defend wherever this goes.

    Edwards, unanimous decision

           

    Steven Rondina

    Edwards, in my book, has done more against stiffer competition and has been a fair bit more active than Sobotta. On paper, this is his fight to lose, and even if Sobotta makes it competitive, the local judges will help him get over the hump and take this one.

    Edwards, unanimous decision

          

    Nathan McCarter

    I'm going to side with Edwards here as well. I really like the tools he brings into the cage, and the level of competition, as Steven noted, really puts him over the top. I'll fall right in line on the decision nod, too.

    Edwards, unanimous decision

Tom Duquesnoy vs. Terrion Ware

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    Ryder

    This feels like a showcase for Duquesnoy. Ware has a history of losing these sorts of fights, where he’s brought in to make someone look good. That’s probably going to happen here.

    Duquesnoy, unanimous decision

          

    Harris

    I'm agreeing with Ryder on this. In losing to rising standout Cody Stamann, super-prospect Duquesnoy showed vulnerability to wrestling. Ware, however, is not a wrestler. He’s a knockout artist who will give Duquesnoy the standup battle he needs to shine.

    Duquesnoy, unanimous decision

           

    Rondina

    Duquesnoy was recently labeled the "European Sage Northcutt" by our colleague, Chad Dundas, on the Co-Main Event Podcast, and that's both brilliant and accurate.

    Though I'll make one simple distinction: Duquesnoy is going to actually look good in victory over his hand-picked opponent, while Northcutt can't seem to take a clean win over anybody at 155.

    Duquesnoy, unanimous decision

           

    McCarter

    Not much more left to add here. Duquesnoy is being given favorable treatment to help him grab some momentum back. This should be a gift.

    Duquesnoy, TKO, Rd. 2

Jimi Manuwa vs. Jan Błachowicz

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    Ryder

    Manuwa could just as easily be fighting for a world title right now if he'd gotten a break or two over the past year. He lost to Volkan Oezdemir last summer, but before that, he was showing he could beat wrestlers and hang with the elite.

    Look for him to pick up a decision win against Blachowicz, just as he did the first time they fought, but he probably won't look great doing it consider how tough an out the Pole generally is.

    Manuwa, unanimous decision

          

    Harris

    They wouldn't put Manuwa in this position—a main card, his hometown—if they didn't think he could win. He won't pull off one of those big knockouts, but he'll outlast Blachowicz and re-establish himself in the top echelon of the UFC's thinnest division.

    Manuwa, unanimous decision

          

    Rondina

    I've said this before and gotten burned by it...but I'm going to say it again: Blachowicz has turned the corner! He's finally becoming the light heavyweight Luke Rockhold that we were all hoping for him to be, and he's going to start turning his well-rounded skill set into some solid wins.

    Blachowicz, submission, Rd. 2

          

    McCarter

    Blachowicz entered as a new light heavyweight threat but quickly lost all that hype. He is still a fine fighter, but the thought of him reaching true title contention is a thing of the past. And Manuwa is a true title contender. He'll piece Blachowicz up on the feet.

    Manuwa, TKO, Rd. 2

Fabricio Werdum vs. Alexander Volkov

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    Ryder

    Werdum hasn't really put up an elite win since he beat Cain Velasquez in 2015, while Volkov has kind of been steadily beating better opposition every time out. Something deep inside me wants to think that tells us something, but it honestly feels like I'm overthinking it.

    Werdum will do his thing standing, and should it ever hit the mat, he's on another planet altogether. I'll take him here, with the caveat that this ends up being closer than it appears at first blush.

    Werdum, unanimous decision

           

    Harris

    This is a striker-grappler matchup at its core. Werdum has solid standup, but Volkov knows how to use his 6'7" frame.

    Here's guessing a fresh Werdum drags a non-sweaty Volkov to the ground early and earns a finish that looks more lopsided on paper than the actual matchup.

    Werdum, submission, Rd. 1

          

    Rondina

    Volkov is quietly one of the best heavyweights in the world and quietly has an almost perfect style to beat the former heavyweight champion.

    Unless Werdum can reliably get this to the ground or catch Volkov with something wild, look for the Russian to outpoint Werdum and take a convincing (though not necessarily exciting) win.

    Volkov, unanimous decision

           

    McCarter

    It's March Madness time, and that makes you want to take an upset. Don't. This is going to be another Werdum victory. 

    The former champion will find a way to get this to the mat and finish the fight. Volkov hasn't improved so much as to knock off Werdum just yet. It should be a fairly one-sided affair. I'll stick with the chalk in this matchup.

    Werdum, submission, Rd. 2