Hello again fans and friends, it’s time for another round of “Prelims Predictions”. As my new “dark horse favorite”, I’ve done my best to constantly highlight the under-appreciated “UFC Prelims LIVE” specials that air on both Facebook and Spike TV. At their worst, they serve as additional free fights that are usually passable and mostly entertaining. And at their best, these preliminary mini-events are huge sleeper hits that sometimes steal the show. And there’s a lot of good-looking fights on the UFC 132 undercard, so let’s dive right in with “UFC 132 ‘Cruz vs. Faber 2’ Prelims Predictions”.
Jeff Hougland vs. Donny Walker: This is an interesting case of two UFC newcomers making their UFC debuts against each other. That doesn’t usually happen, so there must be a good reason for it. I think the reasoning behind this fight is that both men are veterans that are currently on long win-streaks: Walker has fought since 2004 and has won his last six fights, Hougland has been fighting since 2002 and won his last eight. But the fact that Hougland was once 1-4 as a professional, with all four losses by stoppage, shines a very harsh light on him. Plus, Walker has faced some decently-big names in his day. Since I haven’t seen either man fight, I don’t know how likely it is that they’ll finish this fight. So I’m picking Donny Walker to win, period.
Anthony Njokuani vs. Andre Winner: I think Anthony Njokuani still has some fight left in him. Even though he lost his UFC debut, it was a “Fight of the Night” performance. Njokuani is a very skilled striker, and with this fight likely staying on the feet for the majority of the bout, I’ve got to favor Njokuani to win. Winner has never been KO’d before, but I think there’s a first time for everything. Anthony Njokuani wins by TKO in Round 2.
Brad Tavares vs. Aaron Simpson: It’s a tough fight to call, really. Tavares is the one that’s unbeaten, Simpson has lost two of his last three. But Simpson has faced the tougher competition, and that’s the kind of Octagon experience that wins fights. Tavares has only been to a decision once, Simpson started his career a perfect 6-0 with six stoppages. I think it’s going to be a close fight, but ultimately, the high-level fight experience of Aaron Simpson will win out. Aaron Simpson wins by Split Decision.
Brian Bowles vs. Takeya Mizugaki: Takeya Mizugaki is always willing to step in there with the best fighters in the world… he just never beats them. He’s never beaten a top-flight Bantamweight, and the last time he tried he was choked unconscious so badly that part of me was scared for his health. Bowles looked pretty good in his UFC debut, and I think he’s hungry for another shot at a championship. Brian Bowles wins by either TKO in Round 2 or KO in Round 1.
George Sotiropoulos vs. Rafael dos Anjos: Rafael is good, make no mistake about that. It’s just that George is better. This fight will play itself out almost exclusively on the ground, and that fight favors the man who was thought of as the UFC’s Lightweight submission magician. Dos Anjos is too good on the ground, so he will not get submitted. But he will be controlled, and George Sotiropoulos will take a Unanimous Decision win.
Melvin Guillard vs. Shane Roller: I really think this new Melvin Guillard can’t be stopped, at least not until he faces some of the best talent in the division. Guillard still has the tenacity and explosive finishing ability he’s always had, but he now has the technique and skill that comes with training at one of the best MMA gyms in the world and quite possibly ever. Roller certainly won’t make it easy for him, but I do think Guillard wins this fight. So I’ll play it a bit safe and say that Guillard will take a Unanimous Decision, although it wouldn’t surprise me if either of these fighters finished this fight quickly and dramatically.