Another weekend, another big UFC event. This time coming at you from Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey, where two belts will be on the line as Brazil’s Jose Aldo and Renan Barao look to remain unbeaten in the UFC and continue as undisputed champions of their respective divisions.
The UFC has once again stacked the deck in order to coincide with the Super Bowl and as we saw with last weekends Fox event, the prelims can often spring the biggest surprises and provide the most entertaining bouts of the evening –
Al Iaquinta vs. Kevin Lee
New York’s own, Al Iaquinta (7/2) will have ample support in attendance as he makes the short trip across the river to welcome promotional newcomer Kevin Lee (7/0). Since succumbing to a Michael Chiesa submission in the final of TUF 15, Iaquinta has racked up two successive victories and the Team Serra-Longo product will no doubt be the favourite to bag a hat trick of wins. His opponent Kevin Lee will enter the octagon undefeated and with four submissions already to his name, he will be confident of upsetting the odds by claiming what would be a crowd silencing triumph.
Prediction – Iaquinta by TKO
Nick Catone vs. Tom Watson
The middleweights then face-off, as New Jersey’s Nick Catone (9/4) meets British banger, Tom Watson (16/6). Catone has had a mixed run so far in the UFC with standout wins followed by below-par performances and after a unsuccessful tilt at welterweight, “The Jersey Devil” will hope that a return to 185lbs will signal an upturn in fortune. His opponent, Watson is also in desperate need of a victory and after an extended leave of absence due to injury, the always entertaining “Kong” will be keen to make up for lost time and put on another ‘Fight of the Night’ worthy performance.
Prediction – Catone by decision
Chris Carioso vs. Danny Martinez
The flyweights then get another opportunity to shine as UFC veteran Chris Carioso (15/5) enters the cage following an impressive finish of Brazilian, Iliarde Santos. After ending a two fight losing streak, “Kamikaze” will be intent on making good upon his return to action by extending his winning run into 2014. His opponent may be making his UFC debut but with twenty contests to his name and a short stint on the most recent series of TUF, Danny Martinez (16/4) has plenty of experience and will provide a stiff test for Carioso, in what promises to be another frenetic 125lb contest.
Prediction – Carioso by KO
John Makdessi vs. Alan Patrick
The prelims conclude with an intriguing lightweight battle as heavy-handed Canadian John “The Bull” Makdessi (12/2) looks to extend an impressive three-fight win streak, which most recently includes a first round destruction of Rene Forte and make haste in a talent rich 155lb division. His rival, Alan Patrick (11/0) enters the octagon having yet to taste defeat and after making quick work of Gareth Whitely in his UFC debut with a first round finish of his own, the Brazilian powerhouse known as “Nuguette” will no doubt be undaunted by the tough task ahead.
Prediction – Makdessi by decision
With unbeaten records on the line, hometown favourites scattered across the card and a plethora of fighters making their first forays into the UFC, you can expect another night of drama filled, eye-catching performances.