Cleat Geeks

UFC Fight Night 119: Brunson vs Machida Predictions

UFC Fight Night 119 will be held on Saturday October 28, 2017 at Ginásio do Ibirapuera in São Paulo, Brazil. This card has been changed several times with fighters withdrawing for various injuries. On September 19, promotional newcomer Carlos Felipe was flagged for a potential USADA violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collected July 29. On October 20, it was announced that Felipe accepted a two-year suspension retroactive to the date of his provisional suspension. He tested positive for metabolites of stanozolol, 16β‐hydroxy‐stanozolol and 3’‐hydroxy‐stanozolol. The following is the preview and predictions for the 6 matches that still make up and are scheduled for the event.

John Lineker vs. Marlon Vera

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The main card in Brazil kicks off with a fight that should entertain the crowd and fans. This fight pits the 5th-ranked fighter in the division against a non-ranked opponent who is very dangerous on the ground. Lineker hasn’t been in the Octagon since last December at UFC 207 when he dropped a unanimous, one-sided decision against former Champion TJ Dillashaw. In his 10 months away from the Octagon, Vera has upset Brad Pickett and submitted Brian Kelleher and has quietly put together a 3-fight win streak. Lineker is well-versed and does have good takedowns, although he won’t likely look to use his wrestling against the BJJ Black Belt. Lineker was forced up to bantamweight when he failed to make the flyweight limit on multiple occasions. He finds himself very undersized in the bantamweight division but is still 4-1 against good competition in the division. Lineker is clearly the better and more aggressive fighter. He has some of the best body shots in the division and he’ll use those with his power to put Vera away in the second via TKO.


Thiago Santos vs. Jack Hermansson

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This fight isn’t getting a lot of hype but it’s my pick for the Fight of the Night. Santos and Hermansson both have a high finishing rate with serious power and this fight should play out mostly on the feet. Both fighters have put together 2-fight win streaks after being submitted. Both guys have stayed active in their respective careers and have fought for multiple promotions. Although you could apply the “journeyman” label to both fighters, one of them has the chance to earn a big fight in their next contest with a win. Santos is a black belt in Muay Thai while his counterpart is a kickboxer who prefers to strike at range. This fight will be fun and bloody. Hermansson will win a back-and-forth decision.


Francisco Trinaldo vs. Jim Miller

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Much like the fight before it, these two fighters are eerily similar in their styles. They’ve both put together long winning streaks in their careers but struggled against the elite of the division. Trinaldo’s most recent trip to the Octagon came back in March when he was submitted by former lightweight title challenger Kevin Lee while Miller dropped a decision to former lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis in July. Miller is just 4-6 in his last 10 fights in the UFC but he always comes to fight and he likes to dirty box and turn his fights into brawls. Trinaldo will gladly oblige and that should make for a very entertaining scrap between 2 of the most well-rounded fighters in the 155-pound division. Both guys are comfortable on their feet and on the ground and I expect a little bit of everything in this one. Although Miller has been fighting for much longer, Trinaldo is 5 years older at 39. For that reason, give me Miller with a split decision win.


Pedro Munhoz vs. Rob Font

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Like the rest of the fights on this card, this is another great match-up pairing by the UFC. Munhoz has won 3 straight while his opponent has won 2 straight. Both fighters are currently ranked in the top-15 of a strange bantamweight division and have the opportunity to jump into the top-10. Munhoz has finishes in 3 of his 4 wins while Font has won all 4 of his bouts by submission, KO or TKO. Font will enjoy a 6-inch reach advantage and that will play a big part in this fight as Munhoz will likely look to get this fight to the mat where he can display his BJJ black belt skills. Font was knocked out viciously by John Lineker but has looked very good in his UFC career. Munhoz has been the only person who’s given Jimmie Rivera any kinds of trouble in his short time in the UFC and that speaks volumes for his skills. This fight could go either way but despite the reach disadvantage, I like Munhoz to control this fight on the ground and wrap up a limb with a second-round submission.


Demian Maia vs. Colby Covington

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After his most recent performance, a unanimous decision loss to Tyron Woodley that set the record for fewest strikes landed in a five-round fight, it’s hard to be excited for Maia’s return to the Octagon. Colby Covington has been campaigning for a big fight since his unanimous decision win over Dong Hyun Kim. I don’t think we will ever see Maia challenge for a title again in the UFC but a win for Covington will get him very close. Maia is ten years older than Covington and his BJJ background speaks for itself and he could arguably be the best BJJ practitioner the UFC has ever seen. Unfortunately, Covington’s background is primarily his wrestling. He could fall right into the trap of Maia, but I don’t think there’s anyone in the division dumb enough to enter the world of Demian Maia. This fight could easily be a headliner for this card and I expect a very intriguing chess match. Covington is supremely confident right now and I just have to think Maia isn’t based on their most recent performances. Covington has the same kind of confidence Weidman had in his run to the top, I’m aboard the Covington train until it derails. He’s out to make a statement and he’ll clip Maia in the second and finish with strikes on the ground.


Derek Brunson vs. Lyoto Machida

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I think at this point it almost goes without saying that Americans have not fared well in the land of Brazil in enemy territory. Fortunately for Brunson, his opponent has dropped 3 out of 4 with his only win in that span coming against C.B. Dolloway and hasn’t found since July of 2015 returning from a USADA test fail. Brunson got back on track after losing two straight to Anderson Silva and interim Champion Robert Whittaker when he knocked out fan favorite Dan Kelly in June. Brunson has solid wrestling but he’s fallen in love with his knockout power as he’s finished his last 5 fights with strikes. For most, standing with Machida has not turned out well. He fought Whittaker with reckless abandon and threw wild haymakers and wound up getting countered for the better part of 4 minutes before he was finished towards the end of the first round. Lyoto Machida, although he’s seen better days, is one of the best counter strikers we’ve ever seen and he’ll gladly play that role if Brunson fights recklessly again. Machida looked like a future middleweight Champion after beating Mark Munoz and Gegard Mousasi in his first two fights at 185 pounds. He gave Chris Weidman all he could handle in the Championship rounds of their UFC 175 title fight but ultimately fell short in a decision. He bounced back with a first-round TKO of C.B. Dolloway in December of 2014 before being submitted by Luke Rockhold in April of 2015. Just two months later he ran into the buzzsaw that is Yoel Romero and was finished in the third round. He’s dropped 3 out of 4, has been away for 28 months and is coming off a 2-year suspension for a failed drug test at age 39. There’s not a lot to like about this fight for Machida, he’s become more chinny in the latter part of his career and Brunson hits really hard. If Machida can win this fight, I’ll climb back on the train, but this is Brunson’s fight to lose even in Brazil. Brunson by first-round KO is the pick.



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