UFC Fight Night 49 Preliminary-Card Predictions

Riley Kontek@@BigRIlesMMAFeatured ColumnistAugust 21, 2014

UFC Fight Night 49 Preliminary-Card Predictions

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    Hannah Peters/Getty Images

    The UFC returns with a double header this Saturday, as UFC Fight Night 48 and 49 comes to you in the morning and nighttime.

    Following UFC Fight Night 48 will be UFC Fight Night 49 in Tulsa, OK. The card is headlined by Benson Henderson and Rafael dos Anjos, who are both in the lightweight title picture and could get closer to a shot with a win...

    The UFC's inaugural trip to Maine only had four prelims, which saw me go 3-1. This weekend will see a total of 11 prelims, which will make an impact on the overall record going forward.

    The card has some interesting prelims that precede the main card. Let's take a look at those fights and make some predictions.

    2014 Riley's Record: 109-71

    Last Event: UFC Fight Night 47 (3-1)

Wilson Reis vs. Joby Sanchez

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    USA TODAY Sports

    The prelims are set to kick off in the flyweight division, as Brazilian veteran Wilson Reis draws newcomer Joby Sanchez. Sanchez steps in on very short notice for Tim Elliott, who dropped out of his fight due to injury.

    Reis is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, which makes it obvious that he would like this fight on the ground. He is 1-1 in the UFC, taking a decision over Ivan Menjivar before dropping a close decision to Iuri Alcantara in his latest bout.

    Sanchez enters the UFC at 6-0, as the undefeated prospect has finished every fight he has been in. He makes a quick turnaround for this fight, as this ground fighter defeated Antonio Banuelos on August 7.

    Reis experience and skill are going to be a lot for Sanchez to handle. Sanchez is definitely skilled, but he is going to have a hard time in his UFC debut, especially on late notice.

    Prediction: Reis def. Sanchez via decision

Ben Saunders vs. Chris Heatherly

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    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    Next up are the welterweights, as returning UFC veteran Ben Saunders meets Octagon newcomer Chris Heatherly.

    Saunders re-enters the UFC coming off a loss in his most recent outing, getting absolutely downed by Douglas Lima. However, his recent track record has been strong, as the striker won three fights in a row previous to his loss to Lima.

    Saunders is strong in the clinch due to his size. He also is successful when he uses knees, whether he is in the Thai plum or throwing it from the outside.

    Heatherly is another RFA veteran that the UFC has acquired, as the 8-1 grappler enters the UFC having not lost in four fights. He was bested by UFC welterweight Alex Garcia, but does own notable wins over Dakota Cochrane and Josh Cavan.

    Heatherly is a solid prospect, but Saunders has been to the big show before. His takedown defense is strong and he is a better striker than Heatherly. That will carry him.

    Prediction: Sanders def. Heatherly via decision

Aaron Phillips vs. Matt Hobar

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    USA TODAY Sports

    The bantamweights are set to meet next, as prospects Aaron Phillips and Matt Hobar make their sophomore efforts against one another.

    Hobar is a wrestler with good submission skills and is tough as nails. He drew Pedro Munhoz in his debut, but was beat up en route to a TKO loss. He needs to look at incorporating takedowns throughout the fight.

    Phillips is a knockout artist that likes to keep things upright. His debut saw him get bested by Sam Sicilia, though it was on late notice.

    This will be a better showcase for Hobar, as the highly touted prospect got thrown in the deep end early. He will use his wrestling to put Phillips on his back and find a submission eventually.

    Prediction: Hobar def. Phillips via submission

Beneil Dariush vs. Tony Martin

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Next up are the lightweights, Beneil Dariush makes his third UFC appearance opposite Tony Martin. 

    Dariush is a well-rounded fighter that finishes fights. Though he slipped up in his recent bout to Ramsey Nijem, he opened up his UFC tenure with a massive knockout of Charlie Brenneman. He would be wise to keep this fight upright.

    Martin is a wrestler with very good submission prowess. He showed some promise in his UFC debut, though he was eventually bested by Russian Rashid Magomedov.

    This is going to be a striker vs. wrestler matchup on paper, though Dariush has some wrestling of his own. Striking will make the difference and Dariush is better on the feet.

    Prediction: Dariush def. Martin via decision

Neil Magny vs. Alex Garcia

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Capping off the prelims are the welterweights, as Dominican-Canadian Alex Garcia takes on surging American Neil Magny.

    Garcia is a powerhouse with very heavy hands. He is 2-0 thus far in the UFC, brutally knocking out Ben Wall before taking a split verdict over Sean Spencer. He is like a mini version of Hector Lombard in terms of how he fights.

    He takes on Magny, who may be one of the most improved fighters in the UFC. He is riding a three-fight win streak, which has seen him defeat Gasan Umalatov, Tim Means and Rodrigo Goiana. He uses a lot of distance striking, due to his long limbs and technical prowess.

    This is going to be an interesting fight. If Magny sticks and moves, he can definitely outpoint Garcia. However, if Garcia gets on the inside and makes this a short-range fight, he will grab victory.

    Prediction: Garcia def. Magny via decision