UFC Fight Night 133 Predictions: Main Card Staff Picks

Nathan McCarter@McCarterNFeatured ColumnistJuly 12, 2018

UFC Fight Night 133 Predictions: Main Card Staff Picks

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    Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

    Pack your cowboy boots and practice your Statue of Liberty plays for this Saturday as the UFC heads to the CenturyLink Arena in Boise, Idaho, for UFC Fight Night 133.

    Former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos returns to the Octagon for the first time since failing to regain his crown at UFC 211 in May 2017. Standing opposite him will be former World Series of Fighting champion Blagoy Ivanov.

    There are a lot of questions surrounding Dos Santos, and Ivanov needs to prove he can hang with the elite.

    UFC poster child Sage Northcutt also returns to the cage against Zak Ottow. Speaking of returns, Chad Mendes enters the Octagon for the first time since 2014 when he meets Myles Jury. There is no shortage of interesting returns and bouts lining this main card, so there is no better time to break down the action with the B/R cast.

    Matthew Ryder, Scott Harris, Steven Rondina and Nathan McCarter return for a complete look at the main card's six fights, complete with predictions. Want to find out who the staff picked? Let's take a gander at the staff selections for UFC Fight Night 133.

Cat Zingano vs. Marion Reneau

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    Cat Zingano
    Cat ZinganoJeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

    Matthew Ryder

    Reneau is enjoying a late-career run, but Zingano is actually active for the first time in almost a decade. 2018 will be the first year she's taken multiple fights since 2010—and the only year she ever has. If she can't win this one, you may not see her again for quite some time.

    Zingano, unanimous decision

           

    Scott Harris

    Zingano may be the most physically imposing fighter in the women's bantamweight division. Reneau is a cool story and she's a fun and aggressive fighter, but the 41-year-old is going to get trucked by the Alpha Cat.

    Zingano, TKO, Rd. 2

            

    Steven Rondina

    Zingano is on an ugly skid while Reneau is on a streak, but that's a bit misleading for this matchup. Zingano has been looking competitive against the cream of the crop, while Reneau has been eking out wins over the not-so-creamy members of the crop. This is where Zingano reasserts herself as a high-end talent and unfortunately ends Reneau's days as a contender at 135 pounds.

    Zingano, unanimous decision

             

    Nathan McCarter

    Yes, Zingano is active for the first time in a while, but she still has not looked good since her 2014 comeback victory over Amanda Nunes. Four years of looking mediocre don't inspire confidence against a fighter who has gotten better and better, even if she is 41.

    But, sure, I'll stick with the group here. Zingano should still have enough advantages in skill and athleticism to beat Reneau. She will play to her strengths and be able to make Reneau uncomfortable off her back before finding the submission. I'm just not buying into Zingano's stock yet.

    Zingano, submission, Rd. 1

Myles Jury vs. Chad Mendes

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    Myles Jury
    Myles JuryBrandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

    Ryder

    It's weird to think these two are buried in the middle of an FS1 card. If you'd asked people five years ago, they might have told you this could be for a featherweight title in 2018.

    It's not though.

    Mendes is coming back from a long USADA suspension, and Jury never really became what people thought he'd be. Seems like there's a chance here for Mendes to begin a redemption arc before his career runs out.

    Mendes, TKO, Rd. 1

            

    Harris

    Hey, look, it's Chad Mendes! After a two-plus-year suspension, the Team Alpha Male stalwart returns against a perennially underrated competitor. Jury's well-rounded skill set will combine with Mendes' ring rust to create a toxic brew for Mendes' welcome-back party.

    Jury, unanimous decision

            

    Rondina

    In 2014, this would have been an absolute barnburner! In 2018, it's just kind of pretty good.

    The big question here is how good Mendes looks after his time on the shelf. He might come back refreshed from any lingering injuries he might have had in 2016, but expect that ring rust will be a difference-maker. He might be able to edge out Jury, but in a three-round fight, the younger, more active Jury should be able to press his advantage early, avoid damage late and take this one by decision.

    Jury, unanimous decision

            

    McCarter

    I wanted to pick Jury here, but the time off will aid a resurgence for Mendes. He took a lot of damage from Jose Aldo, Frankie Edgar and Conor McGregor before his suspension. He has had time to heal, improve and not take any more punishment since 2015.

    As for this fight? His wrestling wins the day. A vintage, albeit boring, Mendes performance puts him back in the win column after a long time away.

    Mendes, unanimous decision

Randy Brown vs. Niko Price

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    Randy Brown
    Randy BrownMike Stobe/Getty Images

    Ryder

    Brown trucked Mickey Gall in his last fight, and Price is a durable guy with a bit of a wild streak. This could be close, but it feels like one when Price will slightly reset the development of an otherwise promising prospect.

    Price, unanimous decision

            

    Harris

    This is going to be a fun fight, particularly in the beginning. Both guys are aggressive, with Price being the better striker. Brown's wrestling will be the difference in a fight that ends noticeably slower than it started.

    Brown, unanimous decision

            

    Rondina

    Brown and Price have similar records and similar strength of competition. In reality, this one stands as a complete toss-up, but Price is ever so slightly the better finisher. That's enough to give him a tentative nod.

    Price, unanimous decision

            

    McCarter

    Price can get a bit wild at times and that will play right into Brown's advantage. I won't deviate from the decision pick, but I will join Harris to even things out.

    Brown, unanimous decision

Dennis Bermudez vs. Rick Glenn

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    Dennis Bermudez
    Dennis BermudezJared C. Tilton /Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

    Ryder

    A battle of two underrated featherweights, this one could be the sleeper of the card. Bermudez is always floating around the fringes of relevance, even after losing three straight, and Glenn is coming off a scary demolition of Gavin Tucker last year, though he's also lost since. It still feels like too much, too soon for Glenn. Bermudez hurts him and finishes him.

    Bermudez, TKO, Rd. 2

            

    Harris

    Another World Series of Fighting convert, Glenn has now been grinding in the 135-pound division for almost two years now. Bermudez is a difficult challenge and a tank of a featherweight with a nasty power-wrestling base. Glenn is no babe in the woods on the ground, though, and his recent move to Team Alpha Male won't hurt. He'll get enough done in the stand-up game to piece up Bermudez and pull the upset.

    Glenn, unanimous decision

            

    Rondina

    Dennis Bermudez is not done as an upper-level featherweight talent, despite being 2-5 over the last four years. That said, even at his peak, Rick Glenn would be a tricky fight. The former WSOF champion might have a humble 2-2 record in the Octagon, but he is a legitimate Top 10 talent who should be able to keep the fight standing and land enough at range to take the fight on the scorecards.

    Glenn, unanimous decision

            

    McCarter

    This may be Bermudez's last chance to show he's still able to compete in the deep end of the featherweight pool. And he'll come out on top. He has had a rough go of it as of late, but he hasn't fallen off a cliff. Glenn is a significant threat, but he won't be able to stop Bermudez enough times to stop him from picking up two of the three rounds.

    Bermudez, unanimous decision

Sage Northcutt vs. Zak Ottow

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    Sage Northcutt
    Sage NorthcuttMike Roach/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

    Ryder

    Northcutt has been enjoying something of a renaissance since his loss to Mickey Gall, which is weird considering he's only 22. He's polished his game up a little bit and gotten sharper since joining Team Alpha Male, and he gets the nod again here.

    Northcutt, unanimous decision

            

    Harris

    Ottow has been talking a lot of trash heading into this, calling Northcutt "weird," among other things, according to MMAjunkie's Ben Fowlkes. The Anthropomorphic Ken Doll, of course, isn't bothered in the slightest, at least not outwardly. He'll surely be looking to use his striking and what should be plenty of extra power back up at welterweight to exact revenge. Ottow is a jiu-jitsu standout and that has been Northcutt's primary weakness, but his "hittability" (if that's a word) will be his downfall against Super Sage.

    Northcutt, TKO, Rd. 1

             

    Rondina

    The UFC is still looking to groom Super Sage, and though there's a debate to be had about whether his competitive ceiling warrants the time investment it's putting into him, the company is still doing a good job of finding him winnable fights. Despite coming off a TKO win of Mike Pyle, Ottow fits that bill and should give Northcutt the leeway to both score a handy decision win and show off any new tools in his arsenal.

    Northcutt, unanimous decision

             

    McCarter

    I understand the UFC is still trying to make Northcutt a star, but it is pretty ridiculous that this fight is the co-main event. With that said, Northcutt should win this fight. He fits perfectly into an unfortunate role of being fodder for a Northcutt highlight-reel KO. That is exactly what will happen.

    Northcutt, KO, Rd. 1

Junior Dos Santos vs. Blagoy Ivanov

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    Junior Dos Santos
    Junior Dos SantosJosh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

    Ryder

    I remember watching Ivanov in Bellator years ago and thinking he was probably good enough to be in the UFC then. His only loss is to Alexander Volkov, who's come into his prime as an elite heavyweight since joining the UFC. I have concerns Dos Santos is both rusty and shopworn, so I'm taking Ivanov to pull off a shocker.

    Ivanov, unanimous decision

             

    Harris

    What happened to Junior dos Santos? He was an elite UFC heavyweight until he...wasn't. Obviously, his suspension for performance-enhancing drugs, injuries and 3-4 record since losing the belt in 2012 are behind the drop-off. Taken together, though, it just feels like a kind of never-ending haze of misfortune that ends long after one suspects it's going to.

    Junior takes a step out of the haze Saturday. Ivanov is a well-rounded fighter who found success in Bellator and the promotion formerly known as World Series of Fighting. He'll get some wins in the UFC, but the brass, as is its historical wont, did him no favors in his debut.

    Dos Santos, unanimous decision

            

    Rondina

    Ivanov is very good, easily a Top 10 heavyweight in my book, but JDS is just a terrible matchup for him. Unless Ivanov can really take control with his sambo skills, the former champ should outstrike him throughout and take a late stoppage or a lopsided decision win.

    Dos Santos, TKO, Rd. 4

             

    McCarter

    JDS has never been the same after the two beatings from Cain Velasquez. Sure, he's won fights since then but he was never the "old" JDS. That gives Ivanov a decent chance of pulling the upset here. I'm just not going to pick it.

    Dos Santos' skills should be enough to put Ivanov away after some body work. It will take a bit longer than it would have in his peak seven years ago, but he'll still find a way to get it done. Unfortunately, that likely means another title eliminator-kind of matchup in the future when he'll meet the canvas once more.

    Dos Santos, TKO, Rd. 3