Johnny Walker vs. Jamahal Hill
With only one win to show from his last four UFC outings, Walker is in real need of a win as he goes up against Hill, who by contrast has only lost one of his five UFC fights and is coming off a KO victory over Jimmy Crute last time out.
Walker made his mark in the UFC as a daring and unpredictable striker who was finishing fighters in his early UFC bouts with anything from flying knees to spinning backfists. However, after a couple of losses saw him leaving the Tristar gym to join SBG Ireland we’ve seen a clear change in style, particularly in his last outing where he was far more restrained than before, looking to operate more like a counter-striker on the outside.
It’s understandable in some ways as he is a tall, lanky fighter who in this bout will have a 2″ height and 3″ reach advantage over Hill, and it does leave him less vulnerable to being caught than when in the middle of his prior acrobatic antics. However his new style really didn’t pay off for him against Thiago Santos as he looked unsettled, hesitant to engage and lacked the potency that made him such a threat in the first place.
Perhaps he just needed more time to adjust to his new gameplan, but even if that is the case he still faces a tough challenge here as Hill is a very assured, technical striker who strikes with volume, but also possesses big knockout power too.
Even if Walker reverts back to his old wildman style I still feel that Hill has the ability to best him in the striking department here, so I’m picking him to get a second round TKO finish here.
Prediction: Jamahal Hill to win by TKO in Rd2 – Bet @ Sportsbet
Kyle Daukaus vs. Jamie Pickett
Daukaus has a patchy record in the UFC so far, with a win, two losses and a bizarre no-contest against Kevin Holland last time out, while Pickett lost his first two UFC fights before rallying with two decision victories.
Pickett’s last three-round fight was only a month ago and he’s taking this match-up on only a week-and-a-half’s notice after Julian Marquez pulled out, with the bout now being moved up to a 195lb catchweight.
Pickett is a striker who will hold a 4″ reach advantage over Daukaus here, despite being an inch shorter in height. He’ll be hoping to find a finish sooner rather than later here before his gas tank is compromised, but he’s not been the heaviest hitter in his UFC run so far and on top of that his opponent has never been finished by strikes.
That’s partly because, while Daukaus can hold his own on the feet, he’s stronger in the grappling department and has a good submission game to play off of it, with a particular penchant for brabo chokes having sealed the deal for him several times in the past.
Daukaus also has very good cardio, so with Pickett coming in as a late replacement at a catchweight and not being at his best on the mat it seems likely that the longer the fight goes, the more it favors Daukaus and I’ll take him to secure a second round submission stoppage.
Prediction: Kyle Daukaus to win by decision – Bet @ Sportsbet
Parker Porter vs. Alan Baudot
Heavyweight action here with Porter having suffered a TKO loss in his promotional debut, but since having won two decisions in a row, while Alan Baudot has been TKO’d in both of his Octagon outings to date (though the last one was later amended to a no-contest due to his opponent failing a drug test).
Porter is certainly not a physical specimen and doesn’t have the broadest skill-set, but he has fairly solid fundamentals in the striking department, will fight at a good pace and has the cardio to maintain his output for all three rounds.
Baudot just hasn’t impressed much so far, but he too will look to offer up a high output offensively and does have a 3″ height and 4″ reach advantage to work with.
Baudot’s chin isn’t the best though and I think Porter’s more technical work and pressure will trouble him, while he’s also a bit more capable on the mat if he really needed to change things up. I’ll say he gets the job done on the feet though via a second round TKO.
Prediction: Parker Porter to win by TKO in Rd2 – Bet @ Sportsbet
Jim Miller vs. Nikolas Motta
UFC veteran Miller is coming off a rare KO victory last time out and after the match-up being postponed earlier in the year now finally gets to fight Contender Series newcomer Motta, who holds a 12-3 career record.
At 38, Miller is certainly on the last legs of his respected careers and that can be seen in his recent performances as he’s slower than he used to be, his body has taken a lot of punishment and his cardio has declined too. Nonetheless, he is able to lean heavily on a wealth of experience to remain a threat, whether with fairly solid boxing ability on the feet, or a crafty grappling game on top.
Motta is untested against this level of opponent, but from what we have seen of him he should be considerably faster than Miller and has the kind of power that could trouble him on the feet, while he has respectable takedown defense and the benefit of younger, fresher legs.
It’s quite possible Miller just gets him down early and finds a finish, but I actually like Motta’s quicker, more punishing work on the feet to pay dividends here, particularly later in the bout when the veteran’s energy reserves start to run low, leading Motta to a third round TKO stoppage.
Prediction: Nikolas Motta to win by TKO in Rd3 – Bet @ Sportsbet
Joaquin Buckley vs. Abdul Razak Alhassan
Buckley has had something of a ‘kill-or-be-killed in spectacular fashion’ run in the UFC so far, with three huge KO victories being tempered by a KO and TKO loss, while Alhassan has also proven to be a swashbuckling, all-action striker during his 5-4 run in the promotion.
It really does feel like the chance of a finish here is extremely high given the firepower on display, whether via thunderous punches or devastating kicks.
The powerfully built Buckley has the benefit of being nine years younger than Alhassan and has a 3″ reach advantage to work with. He can also push a respectable pace without overexerting himself, which means he’s still potent in the later stages of the fight.
On the other hand, while Alhassan is very dynamic and exciting to watch on the feet, he does tend to burn brightest in the opening round as he unleashes the full extent of his striking arsenal, and in fact his record shows that all 11 of his career victories have come by strikes in the first round, while three of his four losses were by decision, with the other being by KO.
These two are so dangerous on the feet than anything could happen and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see either having their hand raised after a highlight reel finish. Nevertheless, I think the more youthful Buckley will be a bit more composed and find the openings he needs to land a fight-ending strike in the second round.
Prediction: Joaquin Buckley to win by TKO in Rd2 – Bet @ Sportsbet
UFC Fight Night: Walker vs. Hill Prelims
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About the Author: Ross Cole
Ross Cole is one of the most prolific mixed martial arts writers in the world, having written more than 17,000 MMA news stories for MMA Insight, which he founded in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts, and reaching millions of die-hard MMA fans in the process. You can read more of Ross’s work at MMAInsight.com.