This Saturday the UFC provides a solid fight card to follow up an excellent UFC 266 last weekend and with it comes the potential for a lot of stoppage victories.
Headlined by heavy-hitting light heavyweight contenders Thiago Santos and Johnny Walker, UFC Fight Night 193 boasts plenty of intrigue from fighters changing weight classes to two of the wildest fighters on the roster squaring off.
Thiago Santos (21-9) vs. Johnny Walker (18-5)
Both fighters are renowned for their knockout power but how they achieve their highlight victories tends to be very different.
While Johnny Walker tends to be explosive and aggressive early, Santos is much more comfortable with the action coming towards him and being able to counter off of his opponents.
With the power both men pack, this could end at any time but I’ll tentatively side with the elder statesmen in Santos to get the win.
Despite his poor run of form, Santos has remained competitive in all of his fights and seems to wear damage better at 205 lbs than Walker can.
Pick: Thiago Santos
Kevin Holland (21-7) vs. Kyle Daukaus (10-2)
Holland’s willingness to address his takedown defence makes this a fascinating bout as he’ll likely be tested in that realm by Daukaus.
On the feet, Holland has remained a big threat thanks to output, range and power and should the fight stay upright, you’d fancy ‘Trailblazer’ to connect with some powerful shots.
For Daukaus to win, he’ll have to continually work hard to keep Holland down but I’m not sure he’s quite got the quality to put in a dominant controlling performance for 15 minutes.
Pick: Kevin Holland
Alex Oliveira (22-10-1, 2 NC) vs. Niko Price (14-5, 2 NC)
Both Oliveira and Price are strong and unpredictable inside of the octagon but I do think the Brazilian’s wars are starting to catch up to him.
While his long strikes could cause some trouble, Price is equally as rangy but much more active on the feet.
Due to their reckless abandon, there’s the potential for either to catch the other with something big but all the signs point towards ‘The Hybrid’ picking up the win.
Pick: Niko Price
Misha Cirkunov (15-6) vs. Krzysztof Jotko (22-5)
It’ll be interesting to see how Cirkunov reacts to a drop in weight class as his problems at light heavyweight tended to come from a weak chin.
Whether that’s due to the power at 205 lbs or Cirkunov himself will likely be the decisive factor as to how successful he will be at the middleweight limit.
Technically, Cirkunov is a talented grappler and also fairly active on the feet. Jotko similarly is pretty well-rounded but he lacks the athleticism or power to get beyond his perenially #15 ranking.
If Jotko had more sting behind his strikes this could be a real stern test for Cirkunov but I do believe this will be a solid welcome to 185 lbs for the Latvian-Canadian.
Pick: Misha Cirkunov
Alexander Hernandez (12-4) vs. Mike Breeden (10-3)
Breeden looks to be a scrappy and willing fighter but Hernandez has the much bigger upsides inside of the cage.
Whether it be athleticism, power or in his wrestling, Hernandez looks to have the edge over his short notice opponent.
Breeden’s best chance is to take the fight to Hernandez and perhaps play on any confidence issues ‘The Great’ has but I can’t see past a return to winning ways for Hernandez.