UFC Fight Night 148

UFC Fight Night 148 Poster

 

The UFC two-steps into Nashville this Saturday for UFC Fight Night 148:  Thompson vs. Pettis.  This card possesses intriguing match-ups from various weight divisions and is sure to entertain.  The main event features a welterweight bout between Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson (14-3-1) and Anthony “Showtime” Pettis (21-8-0).  Thompson, a former professional kickboxer and welterweight title contender, will be looking to rebound after suffering a unanimous decision loss to Darren Till, back in May of last year.  Thompson, a South Carolina native, was close to capturing UFC gold back in 2016-2017 but came up short in back to back attempts against Tyron Woodley.  Pettis will be venturing into uncharted waters, as this will be his first fight in the welterweight division.  The former lightweight champion competed in the featherweight division back in 2016, so it will be interesting to see how the move up in weight class will affect his performance.  Pettis is at a crossroads in his career and is 3-6 over his last nine fights.  However, one cannot accuse Pettis of shying away from tough competition, as his losses have come from a true murder’s row consisting of Rafel dos Anjos, Eddie Alvarez, Edson Barboza, Max Holloway, Dustin Poirier, and Tony Ferguson.

The co-main has Curtis “Razor” Blaydes (10-2-0) taking on Justin “Big Pretty” Willis (8-1-0) in a heavyweight tilt that will hopefully help clear up a murky heavyweight division.  Blaydes, a member of the Elevation Fight Team, was on the fast track towards a title shot, but those dreams were dashed as he suffered a first-round TKO in his last bout against Francis Ngannou.  Blaydes will need a victory on Saturday night to secure his Top 5 ranking in a division that’s logged jammed near the top.  Willis, a California native that played football at San Jose St, will be looking to extend his eight-fight win streak, but has yet to face a fighter as talented as Blaydes.  Wills is coming off a win over MMA vet Mark Hunt, but it’s safe to say that Hunt’s better days are behind him.

Picks 

Current Record 10-5

Thompson vs. Pettis

Pettis hasn’t been the same since his loss to Rafael dos Anjos, back in 2015.  He’s shown flashes of his former self over his last nine fights but has also been broken mid-fight, on more than one occasion.  The one advantage I see for Pettis going into this fight is that Thompson doesn’t possess a “pressing” fighting style, which is a style that has given Pettis problems in the past.  However, I see Thompson staying on the outside, and picking Pettis apart.  Pettis may eventually get desperate and be forced to take chances. Thompson may be rather boring to watch at times, but he’s one of the smartest fighters in the UFC.  Thompson has gone the distance in his last five fights, and it wouldn’t surprise me if that trend continues on Saturday night.

Pick: Thompson by decision.

Blaydes vs. Willis

Willis has a decent striking game and will look to keep this fight standing.  Blaydes will be looking for takedown opportunities, so Willis will be forced to showcase takedown defense skills that he’s picked up while training at AKA.  I think the threat of a takedown will hamper the striking game of Willis, which will allow Blaydes to outscore him over a full 15 minutes.

Pick: Blaydes by decision.

 

Others

John Makdessi over Jesus Pinedo

Jussier Formiga over Deiveson Figueiredo

Luis Pena over Steven Peterson

Maycee Barber over JJ Aldrich

 

Draft King’s Must Roster

John Makdessi ($9,100)

Maycee Barber ($8,900)

 

Guest Picks by Lake Area Handicapper Aaron Maddox

Current Record 4-2

Thompson vs. Pettis

Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson is coming off a decision loss to Darren Till.  Wonderboy, who has never been finished, will look to use his technical striking, size and power against a naturally smaller opponent.  Pettis has stated that he wants to put on exciting fights, and will have his chance against Thompson.  Wonderboy is not known for being a pressure fighter which will give Pettis room to throw kicks.  Pettis should look for opportunities and perhaps cause a scramble and look for a sub.  However, the size and strength of Thompson may negate that from happening. Exchanging with Wonderboy, who has excellent countering skills, will make for an exciting fight.  In the end, the size and power difference will be too much for Pettis though.

Pick: Thompson TKO 3rd Round.

Blaydes vs. Willis

Curtis Blaydes is coming off the second loss of his career to Francis Ngannou, back in November.  His first loss to Ngannou occurred back in April of 2016.  Blaydes will be looking to utilize his wrestling skills in this one.  Willis, who has never been taken down, trains at AKA.  Therefore, you have to think that he trains heavily in takedown defense.  We just haven’t seen it yet.  When you combine his questionable takedown defense and his past level of competition, I think that Blaydes gets a takedown at some point and grinds out the win.

Pick: Blaydes by decision.

 

Others

John Makdessi over Jesus Pinedo

Deiveson Figueiredo over Jussier Formiga

Luis Pena over Steven Peterson

Maycee Barber over JJ Aldrich

 

Draft King’s Must Roster

Chris Gutierrez ($8,300)

Maycee Barber ($8,900)

Picks by Josh Mousel (@BeardedM00se)

Current record 28-9

Stephen Tompson- Dec

Curtis Blaydes- TKO

John Makdessi- Dec

Deiveson Figueiredo- TKO

Luis Pena- Sub

Maycee Barber- Dec

 

 


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