Halifax, Nova Scotia will play host to the UFC’s 105th Fight Night with a bout roster filled with some matchups that are flying well beneath the radar. The main event, a heavyweight rumble between Derrick Lewis and Travis Browne, promises excitement, and every fight beneath it looks like it will deliver the hits (quite literally).
Of particular note on this show is the 185 lb. debut of Johny Hendricks. Hendricks has had several problematic weight cuts over the last few years, so the move up may just see the one-time welterweight king back in the W column again. At the very least, we’ll likely be seeing a much healthier Big Rig.
This card has been very well matched, but there are a few fights with quite a large price gap, so there is plenty of potential to make beaucoup points, courtesy of the underdog action on the card. Let’s get into the breakdown to find out exactly which fighters are ripe for an upset.
Santiago Ponzinibbio $9,200 / Nordine Taleb $7,000
Ponzinibbio had a rough start, but has bounced back incredibly well over the last few years. He’s fast and powerful, but has some holes in his takedown game, an area that Taleb has plenty of advantage.
Taleb is a strong grappler who packs a hellacious punch when the opportunity presents (ask Erick Silva about that). Many will remember that Taleb was on two consecutive seasons of The Ultimate Fighter, and while both runs ended up a bust, the UFC saw fit to keep him on the roster where he seemed to evolve into the fighter he was meant to be, evidenced by his 4-1 run in the promotion so far.
Taleb’s relentless pressure and smothering style will be the key to a victory over Ponzinibbio.
Nordine Taleb via DEC
Cezar Ferreira $8,200 / Elias Theodorou $8,000
Ferreira aka ‘Mutante’ is an excellent kickboxer and grappler. His striking is top notch and has some sting, but isn’t particularly powerful. He’s on a 3-fight win streak, but over regional level competition.
Canadian hair god, Elias Theodorou has cardio for days, a superb kicking game and great wrestling. His striking is more than competent, and overall, he presents as the better athlete. His grinding, relentless style will be the key to a win here, and I think he gets it pretty handily.
Elias Theodorou via DEC
Thiago Santos $8,300 / Jack Marshman $7,900
Santos is a polished striker with plenty of speed and power at his disposal. Currently on a 2-fight skid, Santos might be feeling the pressure to secure a win, lest he get his walking papers.
Marshman is on a 7-fight win streak and has plenty of momentum behind him to keep winning. He’s a fantastic striker and packs plenty of power (13 KOs). He’s also a skillful grappler with five submissions to his credit.
Despite Santos having lost his last two bouts, this is a close fight and should provide plenty of fireworks, but Marshman’s power will be the key here and should net him the victory.
Jack Marshman vis (T)KO
Hector Lombard $8,500 / Johny Hendricks $7,700
Hector Lombard is a compact powerful man, who routinely throws rockets to down his opponents. He’s got excellent grappling and is nearly impossible to take down. Age and an ill-fated drop to 170 have not been kind to the Cuban, but he’ll still prove to be a tough out for Hendricks, especially if he lands one of those heat seekers on Johny’s chin.
Johny Hendricks is on a 3-fight skid, but against top-tier competition, and at a weight that clearly didn’t agree with him. The move up to 185 should see plenty of that legendary power more accessible to him, and might extend the old gas tank a bit, as well. Johny’s wrestling is top notch, and should nullify Lombard’s takedown attempts, should he decide to go that route.
In the end, Hendricks’ skill-set, combined with a healthier weight, should put him back in the win column.
Johny Hendricks via (T)KO
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