Well, UFC Sydney wasn’t a good card to begin with, and on top of that, it has taken several hits with withdrawals from Mark Hunt, Jesse Taylor, Joanne Calderwood and Jeremy Kennedy. This card is now being headlined by a decent heavyweight bout between former champ Fabricio Werdum and top-10 contender Marcin Tybura. This event also features a fun welterweight match-up in Tim Means vs. Belal Muhammad, and a women’s bout between Bec Rawlings and Jessy Rose-Clark in the newly inaugurated flyweight division.
What: UFC Sydney (UFC Fight Night 121)
Where: Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney, Australia.
When: Saturday, Nov. 11. The three-fight UFC Fight Pass preliminary card begins at 6:30 p.m. ET, the four-fight FOX Sports 1 preliminary card begins at 8 p.m. ET, and the six-fight main card begins at 10 p.m. ET also on FOX Sports 1.
Fabricio Werdum vs. Marcin Tybura
I like this fight a bit more than the original booking between Mark Hunt and Marcin Tybura. I think Fabricio Werdum vs. Tybura is more interesting, and I think people might be underestimating this matchup.
Although Tybura might not be as well known as Werdum, and might not carry the same accolades, Tybura is a game fighter here that’s capable of pulling off an upset. I think the Tybura is extremely underrated and I find him to be one of the most complete heavyweights in the UFC. Tybura has great cardio, is quick in everything he does, keeps up a solid pace, and he’s not weak guy either despite being one of the smaller heavyweights. The Polish fighter has a diverse striking arsenal and a small-man’s jiu-jitsu game (much like Werdum). On top of that, Tybura has a great chin and a good amount of experience.
I think we already know what Wedrum brings to the table. The former UFC champion has one of the best jiu-jitsu games in the business. Werdum is slick on the ground and can attack from all kind of positions on the ground. The Brazilian has also great muay-thai and usually fights very smart and composed. Werdum is also extremely tough and experienced.
Obviously, Wedrum should be the favorite here. After all, Werdum is the better fighter, at least on paper. I think Wedrum should get his way here on the feet, and if the fight were to go to the ground, Wedrum should also have an advantage. I don’t think this will be a wipeout like many believe. Tybura is solid and has the tools to put a competitive fight against Werdum.
Bec Rawlings vs. Jessy Rose-Clark
Bec Rawlings will be stepping in the Octagon for the first time as a flyweight.
Rawlings has had a pretty lengthy career fighting high-level competition in Invicta FC and the UFC. Rawlings is currently 3-2 in the UFC, and interestingly enough, her only wins in the UFC have been in her home turf. The 28-year-old fighter is a tough striker that can put solid combinations together. Rawlings keeps a high pace and is very durable.
UFC newcomer Jessy Rose-Clark is a very strong fighter that usually competes at bantamweight. At flyweight, Rose-Clark should be a powerhouse. Rose-Clark is good boxer that has decent takedowns and a strong clinch control.
Rawlings should have an advantage on the feet. The Australian might not be as technical as Rose-Clark in the striking department, but she’s quicker, has a higher striking output, and also has a wider variety of strikes. Rose-Clark is clearly the stronger fighter here and she should have the ability to control Rawlings against the cage. I think this could be a close fight, but I see Rawlings getting a decision here.
Tim Means vs. Belal Muhammad
I’d say this is one of my favorite fights on the card. Both Tim Means and Belal Muhammad are very skilled fighters that are just a step or two away from breaking into the the rankings.
Means has tall and lanky frame and he has learned to utilize it well in his fights. “The Dirty Bird” likes to beat his opposition using his reach, high-volume attacks, and some dirty boxing in the clinch. Means is tough and gritty, and also possesses a very good ground game.
Muhammad is a very talented fighter that can wrestle and be dominant on the ground. The former Titan FC champ is also a skilled striker that can cause damage on the feet.
This is a tough fight to call. Part of me thinks that Muhammad can edge Means in a decision by pinning Means against the cage and taking him down every now and then to score points. Yet, Means’ volume and tenacity can overwhelm Muhammad just as it has with many other fighters. I think Means is far more experienced than Muhammad, and I see Means scoring big on the feet.
Jake Matthews vs. Bojan Velickovic
I like this fight, and I think it will be a fun one.
Jake Matthews was regarded as a bright prospect that was on the rise. At one point, Matthews was 4-1 in the UFC. Now, the 23-year-old fighter will be looking to snap a two-fight skid. Although many might not be so high on Matthews anymore, I still think we’ve yet to see the best of him. The Australian fighter has a very complete game. Matthews has solid stand up, can hit hard, and he’s very proficient on the ground.
His opponent, Bojan Velickovic, has a pretty complete arsenal, but he looks most comfortable on his feet. Velickovic has had issues against strong grapplers in the past, but has also shown improvement in that area as he continues his career in the UFC. Velickovic is also very athletic and experienced, having over 20 fights in his record.
I think Matthews can strike with Velickovic and find some success there. However, Matthews’ biggest advantage is on the ground, and I expect him to utilize that against Velickovic. Velickovic is extremely tough, so I’m not sure if Matthews will be able to get a finish here.
Elias Theodorou vs. Dan Kelly
Here’s a fight between two mid-tier middleweights that has the chance of being a real stinker. These two fighters are solid competitors, but stylistically, I’m not too fond of this booking.
Elias Theodorou is not amazing in any particular area of the fight game, but he’s pretty well-rounded and fights composed. The Canadian finds a good deal of success in the judges’ scorecards with his counter striking. Theodorou also has some takedowns in his arsenal.
On the other hand, Dan Kelly, is one of the most interesting fighters at middleweight. At 40 years of age, Kelly is still giving many fighters problems. Kelly might not look dangerous, as he doesn’t have an imposing frame, but he’s one of the trickiest guys to fight at 185 pounds. Kelly likes to fight at an odd range and he’s constantly clinching, landing shots from close quarters.
I believe Theodorou is a big favorite here and there is definitely a chance he just goes out there and starches Kelly. However, I think it’d be foolish to think that Kelly can’t get a win here. I think Theodorou can stick and move on his was to a decision, but i have a feeling Kelly will make things ugly and give Theodorou issues at close range. The only two guys that have defeated Kelly have done it with a good ol’ power punch, and I don’t think Theodorou has that tool.
Alexander Volkanovski vs. Shane Young
Alexander Volkanovski finally has a fight for UFC Sydney. The Australian fighter had two opponents – Jeremy Kennedy and Humberto Bandenay – pull out from the card, but the UFC managed to find him promotional newcomer Shane Young on just few days’ notice.
Volkanovski is a solid featherweight that can go pretty far in the UFC. “The Great” is extremely strong for the weigh class and has a very solid wrestling base. Volkanovski is very durable and carries a good amount of power behind his strikes. I don’t see many wholes in Volkanovski’s game, he can do well in many areas of the fight game.
Like Volkanovski, Young is also pretty well rounded. The 24-year-old has good takedowns, decent boxing, and dangerous submissions.
I find Young to be a tad more savvy on the ground than Volkanovski. However, Volkanovski is clearly the better athlete and more dominant fighter. I think Volkanovski can win this fight on the feet. And if it were to go to the ground, Volkanovski should be explosive enough to blast his way out of submissions.
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Eric Shelton def. Jenel Lausa
Tai Tuivasa def. Rashad Coulter