Bellator MMA may be kicking off the MMA action this weekend in the great state of Texas, but capping off a weekend of Texas MMA action will be UFC Fight Night 94. The event will be headlined by a lightweight division fight between Dustin Poirier and Michael Johnson. Also, Derek Brunson faces Uriah Hall and former WSOF Featherweight Champion Rick Glenn makes his promotional debut.
Main Card (Fox Sports 1 – 10pm EST.)
UFC Lightweight Division Fight
Michael “The Menace” Johnson (16-10-0) vs. Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier (20-4-0)
Johnson will be headlining his first ever UFC event, he has fought a grand total of fourteen times in the promotion thus far. Poirier has been undefeated since moving up to the lightweight division, with notable wins coming over Joe Duffy and Bobby Green. Johnson has not earned a victory in nineteen months, his last win came over Edson Barboza at UFC Fight Night 61. Poirier has only suffered three losses since coming to the UFC in 2011, those losses came to Conor McGregor, Chan Sung Jung and Cub Swanson.
Prediction: Johnson has very little ground game to speak of, while his striking game is most effective when he is at range. Poirier has been knocking everybody out since coming to lightweight, plus his ground game is far superior when compared to Johnson. Johnson will keep Poirier at range for a round, but Poirier makes adjustments in the second round leading to a third round submission.
UFC Middleweight Division Fight
Derek Brunson (15-3-0) vs. Uriah “Primetime” Hall (12-6-0)
Brunson will enter this fight riding a four fight winning streak, with three of those four wins coming via first round finish. Hall has won two of his last three heading into this bout, with one of those wins coming over Gegard Mousasi at UFC Fight Night 75. Brunson has not suffered a defeat in well over two years, his last defeat came to Yoel Romero at UFC Fight Night 35. Hall has not competed yet this year, but he had a very busy 2015, where he won three of five fights that year.
Prediction: Hall has one of the most mesmerizing and overall best striking games in the UFC, no matter what weight class, but his ground game is non-existent. Brunson has a skilled striking game and his wrestling has proven worthy against even the best of the submission fighters in the UFC. Hall keeps Brunson at bay for a little while, but Brunson eventually gets him down, while using ground and pound for a second round TKO finish.
UFC Lightweight Division Fight
Evan Dunham (17-6-0) vs. Rick “Gladiator” Glenn (18-3-0)
Dunham will be entering this fight on the strength of a three fight winning streak, with notable wins coming over Joe Lauzon and Ross Pearson. Glenn will be making his UFC debut in this fight as a late replacement for Abel Trujillo, he is a former World Series Of Fighting Featherweight Champion. Dunham will be competing for the first time this year, 2016 has been the fighters least active year since he fought just once in 2014. Glenn did win four of five fights in the WSOF, with notable wins coming over Georgi Karakhanyan and Alexandre Pimental.
Prediction: Dunham has the ability to engage on the fight when he needs to, but his wrestling game is his biggest strength. Glenn has the range and the striking game to make any fight interesting, but it is his ground and pound game that he truly excels at. Dunham will eat some shots from the lankier Glenn, but he gets Glenn to the ground with his wrestling on route to a decision win.
UFC Welterweight Division Fight
Roan “Jucao” Carneiro (20-10-0) vs. Kenny Robertson (15-4-0)
Carneiro has won just one of two fights in his second UFC run, with that lone win coming over Mark Munoz at UFC 184. Robertson has won three of his last four in the UFC heading into this fight, two of those three wins were first round finishes. Prior to returning to the UFC in 2015, Carneiro won a one night tournament for Battlegrounds MMA, defeating UFC veteran Brock Larson in the finals. Robertson will be competing for the first time in well over a year, his last fight was a loss to Ben Saunders at UFC On Fox 16 in July 2015.
Prediction: Carneiro has one strength and one strength only, that is his ground game, his striking game could use a lot of work. Robertson has an aptitude for the ground game, but he has shown steady improvement in his striking game. Carneiro and Robertson spend the majority of this fight on the ground, but Robertson’s wrestling gets him a decision win.
UFC Lightweight Division Fight
Islam Makhachev (12-1-0) vs. Chris Wade (11-2-0)
Makhachev will be looking to rebound from his first professional MMA defeat as a pro, which came to Adriano Martins at UFC 192. Wade has won four of five fights under the UFC banner, with notable wins coming over Cain Carrizosa and Mehdi Baghdad. Makhachev will be fighting for the first time in nearly a year and he has not won a fight in sixteen months. Prior to coming to the UFC in 2014, Wade primarily competed in the Ring Of Combat promotion, where he defeated UFC veteran Frankie Perez.
Prediction: Makhachev has a great wrestling game and he utilizes that to use his submission skills once the fight hits the ground. Wade is known as a grinder because he uses his wrestling game to keep his opponents on their backs for fifteen minutes. Wade is a great wrestler, but he seems to have problems with wrestlers who also possess a submission game, Makhachev gets a decision win.
UFC Featherweight Division Fight
Maximo “Maxi” Blanco (12-7-1-1NC) vs. Chas “The Scrapper” Skelly (15-2-0)
Blanco has won three of his last four fights heading into this bout and this will be his eighth straight appearance on a “fight night” event. Skelly has won four of six fights overall in the UFC, with big wins coming over Jim Alers and Sean Soriano. Blanco started off his UFC career winning one of four fights, he has earned three victories in his last four fights in the promotion. Skelly also spent a little time in Bellator MMA before coming to the UFC a few years back, he earned three victories in the Viacom owned promotion.
Prediction: Blanco has a great ground game that he rarely uses because he prefers to engage in slugfests instead of going to his greatest strength. Skelly has one of the better ground games in the featherweight division, his striking game is not to bad either. Blanco will want to forgo his ground game to engage Skelly in a slugfest, Skelly will not fall for the trap and he grounds Blanco for a decision win.
Preliminary Card (Fox Sports 1, 8pm EST.) Quick Picks
Sam Sicilia over Gabriel Benitez
Belal Muhammad over Augusto Montano
Antonio Carlos Jr. over Leonardo Augusto Leleco
Joey Gomez over Jose Quinonez
Preliminary card (UFC Fight Pass, 7pm EST.) Quick Picks
Randy Brown over Erick Montano
Alejandro Perez over Albert Morales