Non-stop UFC action is continuing this Saturday Night with UFC Fight Night 96, which features John Lineker battling John Dodson in the main event. Also, former Bellator MMA Lightweight Champion Will Brooks takes on Alex Oliveira, while Josh Burkman and Louis Smolka face late notice opponents.
Main Card (11pm EST., Fox Sports 1)
UFC Bantamweight Division Fight
John Lineker (25-6-0) vs. John Dodson (17-7-0)
Lineker will enter the fight riding a five fight winning streak, with notable wins coming over Ian McCall, Michael MacDonald and Francisco Rivera. Dodson returned to the bantamweight division at UFC Fight Night 87, where he defeated Manny Gamburyan by TKO. Lineker has not suffered a defeat in nearly three years and he holds the UFC record for failing to make weight the most times, the number is currently at five. Dodson has challenged for the UFC Flyweight Title twice, losing both times to current champion Demetrious Johnson at UFC On Fox VI and UFC 191.
Prediction: Dodson will look to get in and out quickly while catching Lineker with combinations, while Lineker is going to look to use his power striking. Lineker is going to plant his feet to much to throw and Dodson catches him with combinations, enough combinations to get a decision win.
UFC Lightweight Division Fight
Will Brooks (18-1-0) vs. Alex Oliveira (12-3-0)
Brooks is currently undefeated thus far under the UFC banner, having defeated Ross Pearson by decision at the UFC Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale. Oliveira has won four of his last five under the UFC banner, with notable wins coming over KJ Noons and James Moontasri. Brooks is a former Bellator MMA Lightweight Champion, defending the belt three times before coming to the UFC earlier this year. Oliveira has only suffered two losses thus far under the UFC banner, those losses came to Donald Cerrone and Gilbert Burns.
Prediction: Brooks has an amazing wrestling game and Oliveira could make things interesting with his submission skills, Brooks gets trapped a few times and ultimately earns a decision win.
UFC Lightweight Division Fight
Josh Burkman (28-14-0) vs. Zak Ottow (13-3-0)
Burkman has only won just one of his last five in his second UFC run, some of those losses have come to Hector Lombard and Patrick Cote. Ottow will be making his UFC debut in this fight, but he has previously fought UFC veteran Mike Rhodes and Jacob Volkmann. Burkman previously challenged for the World Series Of Fighting Welterweight Championship, losing to Steve Carl at the WSOF 6. Ottow will enter the fight riding a four fight winning streak, a winning streak that has lasted well over a year.
Prediction: Ottow has a dangerous ground game, but he is taking the fight on late notice, Burkman uses his striking to set up the ground game to set up a first round TKO finish.
UFC Flyweight Division Fight
Louis Smolka (11-2-1) vs. Brandon Moreno (9-3-0)
Smolka enters the fight riding a four fight winning streak and three of those bouts ended before it could reach the judges. Moreno will be making his UFC debut in this fight and he is the current World Fighting Federation Bantamweight Champion. Smolka has only suffered a single defeat thus far in the UFC, that defeat came to a former flyweight title challenger in Chris Cariaso. Moreno will be competing in a three round fight for the first time in two years, his last four fights have all been five round title fights.
Prediction: Moreno is clearly a UFC caliber fighter with a good ground game to boot, but Smolka rushed the late notice replacement to get him to the ground and get the first round submission.
Preliminary Card (9pm EST., Fox Sports 2) Quick Picks
Luis Henrique Da Silva over Joachim Christensen
Hacran Dias over Andre Fili
Walt Harris over Shamil Abdurakhimov
Keita Nakamura over Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos
Preliminary Card (7pm EST., UFC Fight Pass) Quick Picks
Tamdan McCrory over Nate Marquardt
Jonathan Wilson over Ion Cutelaba
Curtis Blaydes over Cody East
Kelly Faszholz over Ketlen Vieira