Cleat Geeks

UFC Fight Night 120 Predictions

UFC Fight Night 120 will be held on November 11, 2017 at Ted Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk, Virginia. The event will mark the first time that the promotion will visit the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. There will be a three fight preliminary round on the fight network another preliminary round of four fights on Fox Sports 1 that includes two women’s fights, and the main event card has a 6 fight card also on Fox Sports 1.

Joe Lauzon vs. Clay Guida

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You might be shocked to know that these two fighters are only 33 and 35 at this point in their careers. It sure seems like they’re both in their 50s. Both fighters will enter the Octagon for the 25th time, putting them tied for third place all-time for most fights in UFC history. Lauzon has alternated wins and losses in his last 8 fights, unable to put together back-to-back wins since 2013-2014. Guida, on the other hand, has had his fair share of losses recently, getting back on track with a unanimous decision win over Eric Koch this past June after losing 6 of his past 9. Neither of these guys are fighting for their jobs, but the loser will likely fall back into permanent gatekeeper status. While the winner won’t be fighting for a title anytime soon, this is a fight that really determines who still has something left for some up-and-comers in the lightweight division. Lauzon has good stand up and power in his shots while his BJJ remains some of the best the UFC has ever seen. Guida is a wrestler with an endless gas tank and uses feints to set up his unorthodox striking. Lauzon is 3 inches taller and will have a 1.5-inch reach advantage come Saturday and he can use that to thwart the attacks from Guida. Neither fighter resembles the one we saw years ago but this could be an entertaining scrap as they’ve combined to take home 22(!!!) performance bonuses. This fight should produce a fire fight between two savvy veterans, who have nothing to fight for but pride and money. Lauzon is the taller fighter and the more durable. He’ll use his improved boxing skills to keep Guida away long enough to win a decision.

 

Raphael Assuncao vs. Matthew Lopez

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This fight is eerily similar to the match-up we saw earlier this year when Jeremy Stephens, a top-five featherweight was matched up against unranked prospect Renato Moicano. Lopez is currently ranked 13th in the bantamweight division according to the UFC rankings, while Assuncao is ranked 4th, with his only loss in his last 10 has come to current Champion TJ Dillashaw. He’s bounced back since that UFC 200 defeat by taking split decisions from Aljamain Sterling and Marlon Moraes. Lopez is still quite unknown at this point. He was picked up from the UFC as part of Dana White’s Looking for a Fight series on YouTube and has won 2 straight since dropping his debut via arm-triangle to Rani Yahya in July of last year. His most recent performance, a first-round TKO of hard-hitting Johnny Eduardo, netted him the opportunity of a lifetime. Assuncao will give up 2 inches of height and 2.5 inches of reach on fight night but has much more of a sample to choose from. He’s fought just 3 times since October of 2014 due to injuries and hasn’t looked the same as before. Lopez is well-rounded and very durable. If Assuncao is able to drag him to the ground, he’s in big trouble. Lopez came to the scale missing weight and presumably very drained for the biggest fight of his life. Assuncao will end this one in the second with a submission.

 

Nate Marquardt vs. Cezar Ferreira

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I think last week was Johny Hendricks’ final fight in the Octagon and I think this week will be the end of Nate Marquardt’s. He’s 3-8 in his last 11 fights and goes up against Cezar Ferreira, who’s also been somewhat inconsistent since winning The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil in 2012. Marquardt is much like Hendricks, a little too small for middleweight but a little too large to cut to welterweight without trouble. Nate will give up 1 inch of height and a 4-inch reach advantage to Ferreira, coming off two consecutive decision losses. Cezar will look to get back on track as well as he had a three-fight win streak snapped when he lost to Elias Theodorou back in February via unanimous decision. The Brazilian has been unfairly criticized for his lack of performances in the UFC. He’s had numerous last-minute opponent changes and has tried his hand at 170 pounds, which Image result for Andrei Arlovski vs. Junior Albinilasted only one fight. He’ll get back on track against “Nate the Great,” on his way to a unanimous decision in a lackluster fight.

 

Andrei Arlovski vs. Junior Albini

 

It’s hard to believe that Arlovski is still employed in the UFC. He’s lost 5 fights in a row since January of 2016 and all but his most recent loss came via stoppage. He’s come back from big losing streaks before and found himself only a fight away from the title before current Champion Stipe Miocic flattened him in that January 2016 bout. Albini has only had one fight in the UFC but he was able to beat Timothy Johnson by first-round TKO in a Performance of the Night bout. Arlovski’s game is well-known at this point, he’s a tall fighter with good striking but his chin has diminished rapidly over the last few years. Albini is still a big question mark at this point but he is 12 years younger and gets to fight one of the legends of the sport. This fight will be contested mostly, if not completely, on the feet. If Albini can make it a fire fight he can clip Arlovski and likely end his career in the UFC. Greg Jackson won’t allow that to happen as Arlovski will use his jab to keep the younger prospect at bay. Albini is still younger, faster and more explosive than his 38-year-old counterpart and he will land something significant in the third round and pounce for the TKO stoppage.Image result for matt brown vs. diego sanchez

 

Matt Brown vs. Diego Sanchez

 

Diego Sanchez will enter this bout for his 26th Octagon appearance and what should be one of his last. His opponent, Brown, enters having said numerous times that this will certainly be his curtain call. Diego Sanchez has fought at 145, 155, 170 and 185 pounds, respectively, throughout his career. He’s put his body through absolute torture and has beat some of the very best this sport has ever seen. He’ll be 2 inches shorter and giving up 3 inches of reach but he’ll find the perfect dance partner to engage in a slugfest for Brown’s final bout in the UFC, if he is to be believed. Sanchez’s last two losses have come via knockout after previously having never been knocked out, alarming for a guy who’s been involved in the wars he has. Brown has lost 5 of six since 2014, his only win in that stretch being a submission of Tim Means at UFC 189 in July of 2015. He’s battle-worn as well but these two are some of the most aggressive fighters on the planet. They both have underrated wrestling, top game and submissions. I say it’s underrated because it is there but you never see it because they prefer to stand and trade punches. Do that they will. One of them will fall and probably early. Unfortunately for Diego Sanchez, he’ll be the one laid out. Brown is too big for Sanchez and his aggression may cost him dearly. Enjoy this fight, it’s got Fight of the Night written all over it and may be a contender for Fight of the Year if it lasts more than a round. Brown rides off into the sunset a winner by first-round TKO.

 

Anthony Pettis vs. Dustin Poirier

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Aside from a shocking first-round knockout loss to Michael Johnson, Poirier has looked great since his 2014 loss to lightweight Champion Conor McGregor. He’s won 5 of 7 bouts since returning to 155 pounds, with the other fight being declared a no contest due to illegal knees Eddie Alvarez landed on him in a fight he was winning. Anthony Pettis got back on track with his first fight back at 155 pounds against Jim Miller, winning a unanimous decision easily. Both fighters’ last win was a unanimous decision win against Miller and they both looked the part of future contenders. Pettis has been to the top, fallen down on hard times and climbed back up in a different division, only to fall down again. There’s no shame at all in losing to Max Holloway and lightweight is where he belongs. Pettis looked like the Pettis of old when he fought Miller this past July and he will need to keep that momentum if he wants to beat Dustin Poirier. Poirier’s resume is still missing a win over a marquee name and this fight gives him the opportunity to shed his gatekeeper status and move into title contention. Poirier is currently ranked 8th at 155 pounds while Pettis finds himself ranked 13th, with the opportunity to jump right back into the top 10 and the title picture. Poirier’s game is quite simple and unfortunately for him, somewhat predictable. He’ll look to establish control from the center of the Octagon and be the aggressor, setting up his left hand from southpaw. Pettis won’t oblige initially and will find himself backing up to get the space he needs to fire off his unforeseeable kicks. Pettis has some of the very best striking in all of the UFC and aside from his fight to Holloway, has rarely been in trouble in the Octagon. This fight should stay mostly standing although a Poirier takedown attempt is not out of the question. Clay Guida, Eddie Alvarez and Rafael dos Anjos were able to push Pettis against the cage and stall his attack for minutes at a time and found great success so I wouldn’t be shocked to see Poirier employ the same strategy. Their height and reach are virtually identical, which makes this matchup even more intriguing. While I think Poirier is the better fighter at this point, it’s hard to envision how he beats Pettis. Unless he can get control in the clinch or throw him off his game with some trips or takedowns consistently, Pettis should be able to land the big shot over the course of 25 minutes. It will be entertaining while it lasts but Pettis lands something Pettis-like in the third and puts him away to climb back into the title picture.

 

 

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