After a pair of events in Brazil and Ireland last weekend, the UFC again heads overseas for a big event in the country of Australia. The event will be headlined by a key middleweight division attraction that will be pitting Robert Whittaker against Derek Brunson. Also, Jake Matthews takes on Andrew Holbrook and longtime MMA veteran Kyle Noke looks to pick up another win.
UFC Middleweight Division Fight
Robert “The Reaper” Whittaker (16-4-0) vs. Derek Brunson (16-3-0)
Whittaker will enter the fight riding a five fight winning streak, defeating Mike Rhodes, Clint Hester, Brad Tavares, Uriah Hall and Rafael Natal. Brunson will also enter the fight on a five fight winning streak, defeating Lorenz Larkin, Ed Herman, Sam Alvey, Roan Carneiro and Uriah Hall. Whittaker was the middleweight winner of the UFC Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes, he defeated Brad Scott in the finals. Brunson is on an aforementioned five fight winning streak, with four of those wins being first round finishes.
Prediction: Whittaker knows how to use his boxing to keep Brunson at a distance, but Brunson finds a way inside to score takedowns and pound him out on the ground for a second round stoppage win.
UFC Lightweight Division Fight
Andrew Holbrook (11-1-0) vs. Jake “The Celtic Kid” Matthews (10-2-0)
Holbrook is looking to rebound from his first professional MMA defeat, which came to Joaquim Silva at the UFC Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale. Matthews has won two of his last three under the UFC banner, most notably defeating Johnny Case at UFC Fight Night 85. Holbrook has only seen one of his eleven pro MMA fights go to a decision, that fight was a win over Ramsey Nijem at UFC On Fox 16. Matthews has fought on four UFC cards that took place in Australia, he has won three of those four fights.
Prediction: Matthews will want to get the fight to the ground as his wrestling game is his strength, but Holbrook has a great submission game and he submits Matthews early in the first round.
UFC Welterweight Division Fight
Omari “Wolverine” Akhmedov (15-4-0) vs. Kyle “KO” Noke (22-9-1)
Akhmedov will enter the fight on a two fight losing streak, dropping fights to Sergio Moraes and Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos. Noke is also going to be entering the fight on a two fight losing streak, dropping bouts to Alex Morono and Keita Nakamura. Akhmedov has fought a fighter of Australian descent in the UFC before, as he defeated Brian Ebersole at UFC Fight Night 68. Noke will be competing in Australia for the first time in over a year, his last appearance was a win over Peter Sobotta at UFC 193.
Prediction: Akhmedov seemingly starts strong and fades by the third round, Noke survives the early onslaught to finish Akhmedov with strikes in the third round.
UFC Lightweight Division Fight
Yusuke Kasuya (9-2-2) vs. Alex “The Hulk” Volkanovski (13-1-0)
Kasuya is currently winless under the UFC banner, dropping a fight to Nick Hein via unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night 75. Volkanovski will be making his UFC debut in this fight, but he is a former Pacific Xtreme Combat Featherweight Champion and a former Roshambo MMA Featherweight Champion. Kasuya also competed in the now defunct Legends Fighting Championships promotion, he earned two of three wins in the promotion. Volkanovski will enter the fight riding an eleven fight winning streak and it has been over three years since he has suffered a defeat.
Prediction: Kasuya will be looking to drag the fight to the ground as quickly as possible, but Volkanavski catches an incoming Kasuya with a combination to knock him out in the opening round.
UFC Light Heavyweight Division Fight
Tyson Pedro (4-0-0) vs. Khalil “The Warhorse” Rountree (4-1-0)
Pedro will be making his UFC debut in this fight and he is a two fight veteran of the Australian Fighting Championships promotion. Rountree is currently winless thus far in UFC competition, having dropped a bout to Andrew Sanchez at the UFC Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale. Pedro has only competed a total of four times as a pro, with all four of those fights being first round finishes. Rountree was a cast member on the UFC Ultimate Fighter 23, he made it to the semi-finals before losing to Josh Stansbury.
Prediction: Rountree has a good striking game, but has little defense against those who take the fight to the ground, Pedro grounds Rountree to grind out a decision win.
UFC Women’s Strawweight Division Fight
Seo Hee Ham (16-7-0) vs. “Dynamite” Danielle Taylor (7-2-0)
Ham has won just one of three fights under the UFC banner, with that lone victory coming over Cortney Casey at UFC Fight Night 79. Taylor is currently winless thus far in UFC competition, dropping a unanimous decision at Maryna Moroz at UFC Fight Night 92. Ham has competed in Australia once before, where she suffered a unanimous decision defeat to Bec Rawlings at UFC Fight Night 85. Taylor is a former two-time King Of The Cage Women’s Strawweight Champion, she relinquished the title to sign with the UFC earlier this year.
Prediction: Taylor is going to swing wildly and hope that something lands, Ham picks her apart with strikes to earn a decision win.
Preliminary Card Quick Picks
Chris Camozzi over Daniel Kelly
Jon Tuck over Damien Brown
Richard Walsh over Jonathan Meunier
Ben Nguyen over Geane Herrera
Jason Knight over Dan Hooker
Marlon Vera over Ning Guangyou
Yao Zhikui over Jenel Lausa