Predictions! UFC ‘Austin’ Undercard Preview – Pt. 1
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is bringing a bevy of “Prelims” fights to UFC Fight Pass and FOX Sports 1 this weekend (Sun., Feb. 18, 2018) when UFC Fight Night 126: “Cerrone vs. Medeiros” storms Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas. MMAmania.com’s Patrick Stumberg kicks off the UFC Fight Night 126 “Prelims” party with the first installment of a two-part undercard preview series below.
Keep Austin Violent!
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to the “Lone Star State” this Sunday evening (Feb. 18, 2018) with some vicious finishers at the helm inside Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas. Donald Cerrone looks to get back on track against bonus-winning machine Yancy Medeiros in the FOX Sports 1-televised main event, while top-ranked Heavyweight Derrick Lewis (No. 6) throws down with Polish powerhouse Marcin Tybura (No. 8) one fight prior.
In addition, Texas’ James Vick fights Francisco Trinaldo down at 155 pounds and Thiago Alves welcomes Curtis Millender to the Octagon 15 pounds north.
It’s another 4:2 “Prelims” undercard split between FOX Sports 1 and Fight Pass. Let’s start from the bottom up:
145 lbs.: Steven Peterson vs. Brandon Davis
Steven Peterson (16-6) choked out Manny Vazquez in 2016 to cap a six-fight win streak and earn the Legacy FC Bantamweight title, only to lose it to The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): “Brazil” competitor Leandro Higa in his first defense. He got a shot on the “Tuesday Night Contender Series” (DWTNCS) anyway and — though he lost a split decision to Benito Lopez — joined the promotion proper after a technical knockout victory in Dec. 2017.
He will give up one inch of height and three inches of reach to Brandon Davis (8-4).
“Killer B” likewise graced the DWTNCS Octagon, out-slugging Austin Arnett on episode four to earn himself a spot in UFC. Kyle Bochniak proved too elusive a target, however, and handed Davis his first defeat since 2016 at UFC 220.
He steps in for Humberto Bandenay, who ran into visa issues, on just one week’s notice.
I felt that Peterson had a solid chance against Bandenay, who is still fairly unproven and would have had issues with Peterson’s relentless grappling. Against Davis, he’s in for a beating. Peterson straight-up has some of the worst striking defense I’ve seen in quite a while, marching face-first into almost everything his opponents throw so as to tie up on the fence and work for trips. He’s not like Bochniak — he’s going to stand there and eat Davis’ strikes all night long.
His rock-solid chin could be an issue, but his poor level changing and vulnerability to shots on the way play right into Davis’ hands. “Killer B” scrambles up from takedowns and wrecks him on the inside, piling on damage for either a late stoppage or wide decision.
Prediction: Davis via unanimous decision
170 lbs.: Alex Morono vs. Josh Burkman
Alex Morono (13-4) overcame 3:1 odds to scrape past Kyle Noke in his UFC debut, then pulled off another upset of James Moontasri 11 months later. Recent times have been more trying, as he was knocked out cold by Niko Price in Feb. 2017 and subsequently beaten by Keita Nakamura in the latter’s native Japan.
He owns five wins by submission and another four by (technical) knockout.
Joshua Burkman (28-16) — whose submission of Jon Fitch in 2013 seemed to herald a new era — is currently 1-6 in his last seven fights (1-7 in his last eight if you include the “No Contest” against Hector Lombard). His last two losses were the most devastating yet, a 102-second submission loss to Michel Prazeres and a brutal knockout loss to Drew Dober.
This will be his return to Welterweight after five fights at 155 pounds.
When was the last time Burkman looked good in a fight? The only person he’s beaten since 2014 is K.J. Noons, who was 2-4 (1 NC) in his previous six fights. He looked … okay against Patrick Cote before getting knocked out and his fight with Zak Ottow was moderately close, but there hasn’t been a single moment in his current UFC tenure that made me think, “damn … that’s impressive.”
While Morono is a bit of an overachiever and is still too wild with his punches, he’s 10 years younger than Burkman and has the volume striking to win a fairly wide decision. Burkman’s chin and wrestling better be absolutely on point, because otherwise we’re getting another forgettable performance from “People’s Warrior” that sees him outworked or stopped by a wayward punch.
Prediction: Morono via unanimous decision
Still four more UFC Fight Night 126 “Prelims” undercard bouts to preview and predict tomorrow, including the Octagon debut of a “Contender Series” standout and the return of a Lightweight finisher. See you tomorrow, Maniacs!
Remember, too, that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 126 card this weekend, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. ET, and then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 7 p.m. ET before the FOX Sports 1 main card action kicks off at 9 p.m. ET.