UFC Fight Night 134: Bleacher Report Main Card Staff Predictions

Steven Rondina@srondinaFeatured ColumnistJuly 20, 2018

UFC Fight Night 134: Bleacher Report Main Card Staff Predictions

0 of 6

    If Mauricio "Shogun" Rua can land another one of these punches, he might find himself lined up for a title shot this Autumn.
    If Mauricio "Shogun" Rua can land another one of these punches, he might find himself lined up for a title shot this Autumn.Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

    For a while, UFC Fight Night 134 in Hamburg, Germany, seemed like it was going to be a typical "overseas UFC event."

    Showcase bouts for local talent. Exciting-yet-middling fighters pitted against one another in "just bleed" bouts. An aged-but-beloved veteran in the main event. We've seen this exact show plenty of times before.

    Just look at the full card:

    Main Card (Fox Sports 1)

    • Mauricio Rua vs. Anthony Smith
    • Glover Teixeira vs. Corey Anderson
    • Vitor Miranda vs. Abu Azaitar
    • Marcin Tybura vs. Stefan Struve
    • Danny Roberts vs. David Zawada
    • Nasrat Haqparast vs. Marc Diakiese

    Preliminary Card (Fox Sports 1)

    • Nick Hein vs. Damir Hadzovic
    • Emil Weber Meek vs. Bartosz Fabinski
    • Khalid Taha vs. Nad Narimani
    • Justin Ledet vs. Aleksandar Rakic

    Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)

    • Davey Grant vs. Manny Bermudez
    • Jeremy Kimball vs. Darko Stosic
    • Damian Stasiak vs. Liu Pingyuan

    The thing that makes Fight Night 134 a bit different? The fact that the main event is suddenly a high-stakes, possible top-contender bout. If Mauricio "Shogun" Rua wins, he might have the opportunity to face light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier later this year.

    So will he be able to pull it off? And what of the other main card bouts?

    Bleacher Report's staff predictions team is here to discuss this Sunday's bouts.

Nasrat Haqparast vs. Marc Diakiese

1 of 6

    Nasrat Haqparast needs to wash away the memories of his inauspicious UFC debut.
    Nasrat Haqparast needs to wash away the memories of his inauspicious UFC debut.Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

    Scott Harris

    Nasrat Haqparast took an L in his UFC debut—a decision to the talented Marcin Held. He's an aggressive and well-rounded fighter, but so is Marc Diakiese. Despite a lack of stakes and name recognition, this has real action-fight potential. I'll take the more seasoned veteran to get back in the win column.

    Diakiese, unanimous decision

           

    Nathan McCarter

    I'll be completely honest, I've forgotten all about Haqparast's debut fight. I would have never been able to tell you he was on the UFC roster.

    Is the UFC just getting too expansive or was it that forgettable? Regardless, Diakiese will be my pick. I like his style and he's shown a lot of promise. The higher level of competition gives him an edge.

    Diakiese, unanimous decision

          

    Matthew Ryder

    I have to confess that I did not see Haqparast dropping his UFC debut against Marcin Held. I have, however, seen Marc Diakese continuously look like a high-ceiling prospect (even in his losses). Diakese keeps Haqparast in front of him and chips away, scoring a late stoppage.

    Diakese, TKO, Rd. 3

           

    Steven Rondina

    I'm picking Haqparast here, not because I'm necessarily expecting him to win, but because this one is a complete toss-up and I think having the entire panel pick one man would do a disservice to that. There's a high likelihood that this one ends early, one way or the other.

    Haqparast, TKO, Rd. 1

Danny Roberts vs. David Zawada

2 of 6

    Danny Roberts can sling some heavy leather.
    Danny Roberts can sling some heavy leather.Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

    Harris

    This one was almost interesting, but then Alan Jouban pulled out. Now we have David Zawada, who is here because he is German. He's a knockout guy like Danny Roberts, but he'll face deficits in size, experience, athleticism and probably technique.

    Roberts, TKO, Rd. 2

           

    McCarter

    Yeah, after Jouban pulled out this fight turned into a showcase bout. Roberts shouldn't have much issue here.

    Roberts, TKO, Rd. 1

           

    Ryder

    Zawada is in late, and he's already fighting an uphill battle against a much more grizzled UFC property in Roberts, who has been providing thrilling scraps at the highest level for a few years now. Look for him to show the difference between regional-level talent and even a decent UFC fighter.

    Roberts, unanimous decision

         

    Rondina

    Nathan nailed it. This went from a competitive match to a tuneup for Roberts.

    Roberts, unanimous decision

Marcin Tybura vs. Stefan Struve

3 of 6

    Enduring UFC heavyweight Stefan Struve may be in a do-or-die spot here.
    Enduring UFC heavyweight Stefan Struve may be in a do-or-die spot here.Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

    Harris

    This is as pure a loser-leaves-town matchup as you can get. Both Marcin Tybura and Stefan Struve are on two-fight skids and haven't been especially impressive lately.

    Everyone holds out hope to see seven-footer Struve cash in on all that heart and talent, but this might be his peak (or he may have already passed it). Tybura has the smarts to fight inside Struve's reach in a standing or ground sense, and he won't be pulled into the kinds of scrambles and brawls where Struve can do damage.

    Tybura, unanimous decision

         

    McCarter

    I'll just keep mirroring Scott. Struve has bitten me one too many times for me to trust him in a fight against a competent heavyweight. He rarely fights to his strengths and gets hit way too often. Tybura may have to labor through a tough third round, but he'll take the first two to ensure a decision nod.

    Tybura, unanimous decision

         

    Ryder

    Struve has lost a couple in a row, but he's a kill-or-be-killed guy who's definitely going to give fans an entertaining fight. Tybura has faltered similarly against the best of the division, but he has the stopping power to catch the big(ger) man and lay him low.

    Tybura, TKO, Rd. 2

         

    Rondina

    Generally speaking, Tybura's been losing to the cream of the heavyweight crop. Struve is losing to the not-so-creamy part of the crop. That says a lot about where they rank these days and, in turn, what will happen in this fight.

    Tybura, unanimous decision

Vitor Miranda vs. Abu Azaitar

4 of 6

    Vitor Miranda (left) had a rough go of it in his last fight.
    Vitor Miranda (left) had a rough go of it in his last fight.Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

    Harris

    This is the third-from-ultimate match on this card. Exciting or not, that's just not good.

    Vitor Miranda's coming off losses to Chris Camozzi and Marvin Vettori. Abu Azaitar has never competed in the UFC. The Moroccan/German is 13-1 and well-traveled, with stints in WSOF and ACB and seven knockouts on his record.

    You know what? Give me the unknown quantity fighting in front of a home-country crowd. Miranda's cooked. At least it'll be fun, as these are two strike-first individuals.

    Azaitar, TKO, Rd. 1

          

    McCarter

    Miranda is someone the UFC wanted to blossom but never did. He's never beaten a notable opponent and has lost his last two to lesser-than competition. He's poised to take a beating here.

    Azaitar lacks the signature win because he has been working his way up the ranks. Now, in the UFC, he should be able to showcase some of those skills. It starts on Sunday.

    Azaitar, TKO, Rd. 2

         

    Ryder

    A middling guy against a guy without a fight in the UFC? Sounds perfect for a Fight Night card in the modern era.

    I'll take Miranda to come out on the right side of a sloppy kickboxing battle.

    Miranda, unanimous decision

         

    Rondina

    I feel like the UFC made this to be a showcase fight for Azaitar, honestly. Miranda's got stopping power, but if he can't leverage it early, this one should slip away from him.

    Azaitar, unanimous decision

Glover Teixeira vs. Corey Anderson

5 of 6

    Glover Teixeira is holding out hope for one last run at the belt.
    Glover Teixeira is holding out hope for one last run at the belt.Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

    Harris

    This may not be pretty, and not in a good way. Glover Teixeira didn't have a whole lot of tools in the arsenal at his best, and the old dog will fall victim to the guy with the new tricks in Corey Anderson.

    Actually, strike that. Anderson's tricks basically involve takedowns and more takedowns. He's still 10 years younger than Teixeira, which will help. He'll get Teixeira to the ground and keep him there, thus avoiding one of those pesky exciting knockouts to which he is rather susceptible.

    Anderson, unanimous decision

         

    McCarter

    I swear, I'm not peeking off Scott's sheet. But I am in agreement once again.

    Teixeira is slow and flat-footed. He still has power, but Anderson's game is a great fit to pick up the win. He should be able to get in on takedown attempts and put Teixeira on his back. Teixeira will use his solid jiu-jitsu game to avoid much damage, but he'll lose on the judge's scorecards.

    Anderson, unanimous decision

          

    Ryder

    Teixeira is older than my dad at this point, but he still packs a mighty wallop. Anderson has proved he doesn't take a shot too well, and he'll find himself in trouble in bouts he can't turn into a wrestling meet. Glover fends off the takedowns and lands a big shot for the win.

    Teixeira, TKO, Rd. 2

           

    Rondina

    The rumors of Glover Teixeira's demise have been greatly exaggerated, frankly.

    Yes, he's old, but he's actually quietly been getting better in recent years. Unless he's starting to physically break down (which I totally acknowledge as a possibility for the 38-year-old), he should be able to match Anderson move-for-move in the wrestling department and best him in the striking department en route to either a decision win or a knockout in the second half of the fight.

    Teixeira, unanimous decision

Mauricio Rua vs. Anthony Smith

6 of 6

    Anthony Smith made quick work of Rashad Evans in June.
    Anthony Smith made quick work of Rashad Evans in June.Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

    Harris

    It pains me as a longtime Shogun fan, but I'm pretty sure this is going to be one-sided and violent. The only thing stopping that is a major physical resurgence from the shopworn Shogun.

    Who knows? Maybe he's rejuvenated after fighting once a year for the past four years and capitalizing on some favorable matchups along the way. But Anthony Smith is tough, smart and relentless. This is his fight to lose.

    Smith, TKO, Rd. 2

        

    McCarter

    Aha! Finally a deviation. Give me the ol' man.

    I like what Smith showed against Rashad Evans, but Evans was washed. Maybe Shogun is too, but Shogun has at least showed an ability to still compete as he rides a three-fight win streak over some decent opposition. And a win on Sunday could mean a title bid against Daniel Cormier before that epic Brock Lesnar bout. That actually gives this fight some stakes.

    Shogun is going to be a bit too crafty against the young buck and score a TKO to make things interesting before 2019.

    Rua, TKO, Rd. 2

          

    Ryder

    To me, an all-time great who has seriously declined from the peak of his powers should still beat a journeyman coming in on short notice. Smith was impressive in his debut at light heavyweight, though, starching Evans in under a minute.

    This seems like a fight where he’s going to do that again, given how hittable Shogun is and the mileage he has on him these days.

    Smith, TKO, Rd. 1

         

    Rondina

    I've said the same thing Matt just did so many times about Rua in the past. I said that when he came across Brendan Vera. I said it when he came up against the aforementioned Anderson. Heck, I said it about James Te-Huna. Let me repeat, James Te-Huna!

    Rua has proved me wrong so many times in the past, and at this point, I'm not going to pick against him unless he's coming up against a cemented top-10 fighter. Anthony Smith? He doesn't fit that bill.

    Rua, TKO, Rd. 2