The Nova Scotian event boasts six fights on the main card of the UFC event. The stakes are high in the heavyweight main event, but, suspense is also brooding around Johnny Hendricks and his move to middleweight. Other prospective fights in the main card are sure to provide a thrill and using the Verdict MMA app, I will share my fight predictions for tonight’s card.
Derrick Lewis vs. Travis Browne
One thing is certain in this fight; it will not go to decision. Both of these fighters look for knockout finishes and both of them have the ability to end fights.
Entering this fight, Derrick Lewis has momentum and a reputation for knocking people out. According to UFC Fight Metrics, he has won his last five fights and has seven first round finishes out of his 17 wins, 88% of which have ended via knockout. Although his take-down defense is 57%, which means exhausting the behemoth with grappling may be a key to victory. Lewis may not rush his opponent but, he will look to use his strength and one-punch power to neutralize the enemy.
Travis Browne is hoping to rebound from two consecutive losses, from former champions, Fabrico Werdum, and Cain Velasquez. 60% of Browne’s losses come by way of knockout which may not bode well for him against Lewis. This being said, Browne has proven to be dynamic in his knockouts, using kicks and elbows incredibly effectively. Another noteworthy subject is, according to reports from Mike Bohn, Edmond Tarverdyan (Rousey’s coach, who has been criticized endlessly for his methods) will not be cornering him in this fight. There is ambiguity around this as earlier in February, Jed Meshew stated Browne denied claims that he left Tarverdyan. If Tarverdyan is absent, this may forebode a reinvention of Browne.
Interestingly, there has been discussion surrounding the apparent size and reach disparity between the fighters but, when assessed, there doesn’t seem to be any significant difference in these measurements at all. Though Browne is four inches taller than his opponent is, they have the same arm reach (45′), and a difference of two inches in leg reach.
This being said, Lewis will most likely want to control the centre of the octagon and avoid being cornered, whereas Browne will want to move around Lewis and use his kicks as a range finder and as a vicious weapon. The grappling exchanges will also be interesting as both fighters have submission victories but, with the extra weight, Lewis may have a strength advantage.
I believe Lewis will be able to find Browne’s chin. After having a sense of how to approach Browne in the first round, Lewis will finish him in the second round. The longer the fight goes (remember, it is five rounds), the better it is for Browne. Another real possibility is Browne using movement and his height to stunt any offense from Lewis.
Regardless, the fight will be thrilling and we will either see the resurgence of Browne, or Lewis’ entry into the top of the division.
Lewis by second round KO/TKO.
Johnny Hendricks vs. Hector Lombard
Both fighters are desperate to end their losing streaks approaching tonight’s fight. The former welterweight champion, Johnny Hendricks, has lost his last three, whereas Lombard has been knocked out in has last two fights and had his win against Josh Burkman overturned after he failed a drug test. Hendricks has also been notorious for having weight issues at welterweight, which prompted him to move to the middleweight division.
Johnny Hendricks rose up the welterweight ladder with his wrestling and knockout power. His conditioning was never great in welterweight but, it may bet better in this division. Though Lombard has great wrestling defense and an Olympic background in judo, Hendricks may want to try and tire Lombard in the first round to make a finish easier in the second round. This being said, Hendricks is always looking for the knockout punch so, don’t be surprised if he wins in the first round. Conversely, Hendricks goes to decision over 50% of the time and of his losses, 83% went to decision.
Lombard wins mainly by way of knockout but, has not excelled in the UFC as many thought he would and at 39 years of age, he may be past his prime. Lombard will most likely look for a knockout in the fight as well but, he may also try to grapple with Hendricks and test his opponent’s stamina. Lombard does bring with him an experienced career but, I do not suspect it will help him against Hendricks.
I see Hendricks as a hungry fighter who wants to reclaim his stake at the top of the UFC and to leave rock bottom, he has to defeat Lombard. This could be a boring, grinding fight that goes to decision but, I believe in Hendricks. The former champion has the ability to finish and I think he will do just that to Lombard after fatiguing him in the first round.
Hendricks by second round KO/TKO.
All Fight Predictions
The rest of my fight predictions for tonight are below; the match-ups are on the left and my predictions are on the right.
All correct fighters were chosen (albeit they were not perfect predictions) and the main event was predicted down to a tee. Additionally, Hendricks and Lombard put on a great match, and Gavin Tucker has certainly solidified himself tonight. Overall, I placed in the top 10% of the world!