We'd like to welcome you to our event pick em'. I know this has been a tradition in the Talking MMA community, and one we look to continue here at Fightful.
We'll be doing these for main card UFC fights, and maybe for pro wrestling events as well. If there are any changes I need to make to better accommodate the Talking MMA group, don't hesitate to let me know.
The video above is our Fightful MMA Podcast's predictions. You can subscribe to our MMA & Boxing Channel at this link. We'll be be going live right after the show for a post-fight review also! You can make predictions all the way up until the main card is starting!
Here is the main card for UFC Fight Night Rochester:
Alexander Gustafsson (18-5) vs. Anthony Smith (31-14)
Both men enter this main event on the back of disappointing attempts at capturing Jon Jones' title. However, it's Gustafsson's performance that forces you to ask further questions. If 'The Mauler' is still as good as he's shown himself to be in the past, he'll likely be too good for Smith. Overall, he's just operated at a higher level but if there are cracks beginning to form, Smith could very well seize upon them in Stockholm. If 'Lionheart' can apply immense pressure without walking into a knockout punch, he may be able to wear his foe down and take over late.
With that being said, I can't quite take the underdog here and deep down, I feel Gustafsson has more than enough left to score the win over Smith.
Jimi Manuwa (17-5) vs. Aleksandar Rakic (11-1)
Without a defeat since his professional debut, Aleksander Rakic is currently one of Light Heavyweight's finest prospects. However, a lot can be learned from his most recent showing. Against Devin Clark, Rakic seized on a small window of opportunity, finishing the fight out of nowhere. He also showed toughness and heart, overcoming an early knockdown. On the other hand though, that wild affair highlighted that Rakic is hittable and considering his opponent here, that could prove pivotal.
Manuwa is one of the division's hardest hitters and based on that alone, I'd be far from surprised to see him knock Rakic out early. With that being said, I think Manuwa is declining exactly as his form suggests and for that reason, I'll cautiously take Rakic by knockout instead.
Makwan Amirkhani (14-3) vs. Chris Fishgold (18-2-1)
While inactivity has been a regular issue for Amirkhani, he remains a talented factor in the Featherweight division. However, his gas tank will need to be prepared if he plans on defeating Fishgold. The Englishman brings immense energy and pressure and could overwhelm his foe on pace alone. However, it does feel as though Amirkhani's skill advantage will prove pivotal, likely allowing him to control the action regardless of where Fishgold takes it. This will be a scrappy affair in my view but I think Amirkhani does enough early for the decision win.
Damir Hadzovic (13-4) vs. Christos Giagos (16-7)
Over two UFC stints, Giagos has had mixed results but much like his foe here, remains a solid fighter that's showing improvements along the way. Both of these men are becoming increasingly well-rounded but overall, are best described as solid, action fighters. Considering that, this is likely to be an exciting affair and as for a prediction, Hadzovic's knockout power has me leaning his way. Frankly though, this is a 50/50 fight.
Daniel Teymur (6-3) vs. Sung-Bin Jo (9-0)
An explosive and exciting fighter, Daniel Teymur has shown a round or so of formidable fighting while generally struggling at the UFC level. Unfortunately for him, Jo likely has the range and toughness to survive that initial burst and in my view, will then take over proceedings in a big way. I'm expecting a late stoppage for the 'Korean Falcon.'