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UFC Fight Night 105 predictions: ‘Halifax’ FOX Sports 1 ‘Prelims’ undercard preview

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UFC Fight Night 105 predictions: Halifax FOX Sports 1 Prelims undercard preview

More fights are coming to Fight Pass and FOX Sports 1 this weekend (Sun., Feb. 19, 2017) when UFC Fight Night 105: “Lewis vs. Browne” storms Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. MMAmania.com’s Patrick Stumberg continues the UFC Fight Night 105 “Prelims” party with the second (and final) installment of a two-part undercard preview series.

Two huge men with a penchant for brutal knockouts will take center stage this Sunday (Feb. 19, 2017) in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, as Derrick Lewis takes on Travis Brown in the main event of UFC Fight Night 105 inside Scotiabank Centre.

Elsewhere on the FOX Sports 1-televised card, Johny Hendricks squares off with Hector Lombard in a Middleweight scrap and The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) winners Elias Theodorou and Cezar Ferreira do battle at 185 pounds, too.

UFC Fight Night 105 will feature four “Prelims” undercard matches on FOX Sports 1 that remain to be vivisected (check out the Fight Pass portion here). Join me in the lab, won’t you?

170 lbs.: Nordine Taleb vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio

Though Nordine Taleb (12-3) came up short in both of his TUF bids, he has carved out a place for himself in the organization proper with a 4-1 record. His most recent fight saw him enact righteous vengeance with a one-punch knockout of Erick Silva after getting cheap-shotted.

This will be his first fight in 11 months because of injury.

Argentina’s Santiago Ponzinibbio (23-3) had a rough start to his UFC career, missing out on a shot at TUF: “Brazil” 2 gold because of injury and suffering a decision loss to Ryan LaFlare in his promotional debut. He has since established himself as a contender, winning five of his last six bouts with three brutal knockouts.

“Gente Boa” has just one decision win in the last six years.

Ponzinibbio is currently more than a 3:1 favorite and I’m inclined to call that fair. He’s got a decided speed and power advantage over Taleb, who still can’t quite parlay his huge frame into a complete striking game. Further, “Gente Boa’s” takedown defense has improved markedly, taking away a weapon that Taleb has relied quite a bit on in UFC.

Even though he’s already 30 years old, I have high hopes for Ponzinibbio’s future, while Taleb seems to have plateaued. Expect the Argentinian’s blistering combination punching to score a telling blow early.

Prediction: Ponzinibbio via first-round knockout

115 lbs.: Carla Esparza vs. Randa Markos

As the No. 1 seed on TUF 20, Carla Esparza (11-3) ran through the competition before choking out Rose Namajunas at the Finale to claim the inaugural women’s Strawweight strap. She fell to Joanna Jedrzejczyk in her first defense, but returned 13 months later with a decision win over Juliana Lima.

She will give up four inches of height to the 5’5″ Randa Markos (6-4).

Markos came out of nowhere to upset Tecia Torres and Felice Herrig in TUF house, reaching the semifinals before running afoul of the aforementioned Namajunas. She’s struggled to maintain that Cinderella performance in UFC, going 2-3 in the past two years.

Half of her wins have come by armbar.

There’s a fairly simple script I follow when picking an Esparza fight … it goes something like this.

if (Opponent.takedowndefense != GODLY) {
Esparza.wins++;
}
else {
Esparza.losses++;
}

Markos has solid power and offensive grappling. They won’t matter because she can’t stop Esparza from taking her down and dominating her on the mat. Esparza may not have the striking to hang with beasts like Jedrzejczyk who can shut down her wrestling, but Markos won’t have the chance to exploit that as she’s bulldozed relentlessly for 15 minutes.

Prediction: Esparza via unanimous decision

135 lbs.: Aiemann Zahabi vs. Reginaldo Vieira

The younger brother of Tristar mastermind Firas Zahabi, Aiemann Zahabi (6-0) entered professional mixed martial arts (MMA) in 2012 with a strong background in multiple martial arts. He’s brought them to bear well in the cage, ending all six of his fights inside the first round.

All but one of those fights lasted less than three minutes.

Anderson Silva’s third Bantamweight pick on TUF: “Brazil” 4, Reginaldo Vieira (13-4) rebounded from a quarterfinal loss to ultimately win the tournament after being given a second chance. He has fought just once since upsetting Dileno Lopes in the finals, a submission loss to Marco Beltran in July 2016.

Six of his nine submission wins have come by guillotine.

Zahabi definitely isn’t coasting on his name recognition — he’s a terrific grappler with solid power on the feet and what looks to be a very high ceiling. My only real concerns at the moment are his lack of quality opposition and the fact that he looks a bit slow.

Vieira is far and away the best opponent Zahabi’s ever faced, but I’m not sure the Brazilian can overcome the Tristar product’s wrestling. Zahabi sprawls-and-brawls before locking something up when Vieira overextends.

Prediction: Zahabi via third-round submission

185 lbs.: Jack Marshman vs. Thiago Santos

A veteran of BAMMA and Cage Warriors, Jack Marshman (21-5) entered UFC on a six-fight win streak that included four first-round finishes. His debut saw him overcome 2:1 odds to knockout Magnus Cedenblad in Belfast and earn “Performance of the Night” in the process.

He has scored knockouts in 13 wins and submissions in another five.

Despite an inauspicious 1-2 start in the promotion, Thiago Santos (13-3) quickly became a fighter to watch with four consecutive victories, three of which featured first-round knockouts. A knockout loss to Gegard Mousasi halted his momentum, which was further hobbled by a massive upset submission loss to Eric Spicely.

Six of his last seven wins have come by first-round knockout.

This should be all kinds of fun. Both men have vicious power and chins that have buckled in the past. And while this statement tends to be proven terribly wrong, it’s hard to imagine this lasting very long.

I’m leaning toward “Marreta,” who has a more diverse striking arsenal and looks to be a tad bit faster. Unless those two losses have severely gimped his trademark aggression, expect his power kicks to break Marshman down at range.

Prediction: Santos via first-round technical knockout

Someone’s going to sleep this weekend at UFC Fight Night 105. Hopefully, it’s not the audience. See you Sunday, Maniacs.

MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 105 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, and then the remaining under card balance on FOX Sports 1 at 7 p.m. ET, before the FOX Sports 1 main card start time at 9 p.m. ET.

Current UFC “Prelims” Prediction Record for 2017: 21-6

Source:: mma mania