More fights are coming to Fight Pass and FOX Sports 1 this weekend (Sun. Jan. 15, 2017) when UFC Fight Night 103: “Rodriguez vs. Penn” storms Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, Arizona. MMAmania.com’s Patrick Stumberg continues the UFC Fight Night 103 “Prelims” party with the second (and final) installment of a two-part undercard preview series.
Old school vs. new school in the arid Arizona desert …
The first Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) event of 2017 pits former Lightweight champion, B.J. Penn, against blue-chip Featherweight prospect Yair Rodriguez, this Sunday evening (Jan. 15, 2017) inside Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, Arizona.
Elsewhere on the FOX Sports 1-televised card, Joe Lauzon takes on Marcin Held in a grappler’s delight and Ben Saunders returns to the Octagon once again to take on veteran Court McGee.
We’ve got three more UFC Fight Night 103 “Prelims” matches to break down even though the FOX Sports 1 portion will feature four bouts. That’s because we included the 155-pound showdown Devin Powell vs. Drakkar Klose in part one of our UFC “Phoenix” Fight Pass undercard preview last night (read that here). Nevertheless, time’s a-wastin:’
135 lbs.: Frankie Saenz vs. Augusto Mendes
Three consecutive UFC victories — one of them a decision over Iuri Alcantara in the face of +700 odds — set up a battle with Urijah Faber that saw Frankie Saenz (11-4) acquit himself well in defeat. There would be no moral victory against Eddie Wineland, though, who handed Saenz the first knockout loss of his career via brutal right hands.
Saenz won and twice defended the King of the Cage Bantamweight title before joining UFC, all three wins via stoppage.
Augusto Mendes (5-1) brought a tremendous grappling pedigree into his UFC debut, a short-notice battle with future 135-pound champion Cody Garbrandt. Unfortunately, “Tanquinho” didn’t get an opportunity to put that Brazilian jiu-jitsu prowess to use before “No Love” flattened him with a huge right hand.
He owns three wins by submission and one via technical knockout.
This could definitely wind up being closer than I’m giving it credit for, but this fight seems all wrong for “Tanquinho.” The Brazilian doesn’t have the sort of Demian Maia/Rani Yahya death touch where all he has to do is grab your leg to doom you to five minutes of back control. Saenz has the wrestling pedigree to keep this standing and, rough as he is on the feet, Mendes is just as much so and lacks his experience.
Saenz has quite a bit going for him here, too much for Mendes’s jiu-jitsu pedigree to overcome. He takes an ugly decision via effective striking and takedown defense.
Prediction: Saenz via unanimous decision
265 lbs.: Oleksiy Oliynyk vs. Viktor Pesta
A professional fighter since 1997, Oleksiy Oliynyk (50-10-1) emerged as an unexpected contender with first-round finishes of Anthony Hamilton and Jared Rosholt in his first two UFC bouts. “Boa Constrictor” next fought almost two years later, losing a decision to Daniel Omielanczuk in Sioux Falls.
That loss snapped an 11-fight finishing streak dating back to 2012.
Viktor Pesta (10-3) rebounded from his Octagon debut loss to Ruslan Magomedov with an upset of Konstantin Erokhin as a +600 underdog in Sweden. He’s yet to continue that success, suffering knockout losses to Derrick Lewis and Marcin Tybura in his last two fights.
He was originally set to face Damian Grabowski before “Polish Pitbull” suffered an injury.
Well this is a toss up if I’ve ever seen one. Both men have underperformed in recent fights and their styles could mush together into a deathly boring affair. Plus, I’ve generally been very bad at picking both of their fights.
Eh, let’s go with Pesta.
Oliynyk’s just got so much wear — he looked old and worn down against Omielanczuk. Pesta’s 13 years younger than him and a strong enough wrestler to take those creaky joints to the woodshed. I’ll be rooting for Oliynyk, but time catches up with us all. Pesta grinds his way to a decision victory.
Prediction: Pesta via unanimous decision
155 lbs.: Tony Martin vs. Alex White
The towering Tony Martin (10-3) got off to a rough start in UFC, running out of gas against Rashid Magomedov, Beneil Dariush and Leonardo Santos in a 1-3 run. Against Felipe Oliveira in Jan. 2016, he seemed to put his cardio issues behind him and tapped the Brazilian in the third round.
Eight of his 10 wins have come by submission.
Alex White (11-2) roared out of the UFC gate with an 88-second knockout of Estevan Payan, only to lose some steam with consecutive losses to Lucas Martins and Clay Collard. He replaces the injured Erik Koch on a month’s notice. Injury kept him out of action for all of 2015, after which he returned to action with a win over Artem Lobov in February.
He owns five wins by submission and four by (technical) knockout.
When Martin’s got some gas in the tank, he’s a beast. His physicality is ridiculous for the division and he does excellent work from top position, attacking with constant submissions. The gas tank is the rub, though — in all three of his UFC losses, he’s faded and been subsequently dominated. Against original opponent Erik Koch, that would have been a serious point of consideration even with his solid late-fight efforts with Oliveira. Against White, a natural Featherweight, it isn’t.
White just doesn’t have the size, strength or ground prowess to tire out Martin before the big man does something unpleasant to his arm joints. First-round finish for Martin.
Prediction: Martin via first-round submission
Eh, what else are you going to do on the Sunday before Martin Luther King Day? See you then, Maniacs.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 103 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, and then the remaining under card balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the FOX Sports 1 main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.
Final UFC “Prelims” Prediction Record for 2016: 173-107-6
Source:: mma mania