The time for talking is over as UFC on FOX 27 takes place tonight (Jan. 27).
Admittedly, there hasn’t been much trash talk leading up to this card but just roll with it. Tonight’s event will be the first UFC card of 2018 on big FOX. Many say this card doesn’t exactly kick things off with a bang.
While the star power isn’t there, the potential for some exciting action is. In the main event of UFC on FOX 27, Derek Brunson will look to climb the top of the middleweight mountain when he meets Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. The two met back in 2012 and Souza earned a knockout win in 41 seconds.
The co-main event features featherweight action between Dennis Bermudez and Andre Fili. Bermudez is looking for his first win since Aug. 2016, while Fili wants to emerge victorious in his second straight bout.
Also featured on the main card will be a lightweight scrap between Jordan Rinaldi and Gregor Gillespie. A welterweight clash between Drew Dober and Frank Camacho will open up the main card. The main card begins at 8 p.m. ET.
Time is wasting, so let’s get to the predictions:
Derek Brunson vs. Jacare Souza
This fight is intriguing and considered to be a tossup by many. When these two competed back in 2012, the difference in experience was abundantly clear. Brunson was considered a prospect with punching power. He had just lost to Kendall Grove, so matching him up with Souza right away wasn’t a brilliant move.
Fast forward to 2018 and “The Law” has only lost three times since that bout. One of those defeats was a controversial unanimous decision that went to Anderson Silva. Brunson has picked up key victories over Lyoto Machida, Uriah Hall, Sam Alvey, and Lorenz Larkin.
While Brunson is in the prime of his career at the age of 34, Souza is closer to having a foot out the door. The 38-year-old has found a great deal of success inside the Octagon, but it appears he isn’t as quick as he once was. Robert Whittaker had no trouble finding “Jacare” and pummeling him until the referee had seen enough. I’m not writing off Souza’s viability after suffering the first knockout loss of his career since 2008, but his long 30-fight career and age has to be taken into account.
One of the scary things about Brunson nowadays is that he has finally found some patience. After getting caught by Whittaker, Brunson has taken a more calculated approach to his stand-up. I think he’ll catch “Jacare” early on and put him away.
Prediction: Derek Brunson
Dennis Bermudez vs. Andre Fili
There’s nothing quite like seeing a fighter who has his or her back against the wall. It makes it even more intriguing when that fighter’s opponent is looking to seize a big opportunity. This is why fight fans could be in for a treat with Bermudez vs. Fili.
Another loss would put Bermudez on a three-fight skid. “The Menace” has been in that spot before and would like to avoid an unpleasant trip down memory lane. Meanwhile for Fili, he’s looking to break through and prove he can be consistent inside the Octagon. Since entering the UFC, Fili has been unable to string together two straight victories.
I expect Bermudez to turn to his wrestling for this fight. With two straight losses, it’s unlikely that Bermudez will want to put himself in harm’s way. While he does have striking ability, it’s best to grind out a win just to get your hand raised again. I think that’s what will happen here.
Prediction: Dennis Bermudez
Jordan Rinaldi vs. Gregor Gillespie
There are a lot of high hopes for Gregor Gillespie. The undefeated lightweight has showcased finishing abilities with four knockouts and four submissions. With wins over Andrew Holbrook and Jason Gonzalez, Gillespie hasn’t exactly been fighting slouches. With that said, Jordan Rinaldi may be his toughest test yet.
Rinaldi may not have A+ level striking, but it’s serviceable. His bread-and-butter lies in the ground game. Unfortunately for him, he’s dealing with an NCAA Division I All-American. Gillespie has excellent control and will work to bring the fight to the ground if he has to. I think Gillespie takes Rinaldi down as many times as he wants and avoids submissions.
Prediction: Gregor Gillespie
Drew Dober vs. Frank Camacho
This bout could produce fireworks. Neither man does anything spectacular, but they have finishing abilities and toughness. Both Dober and Camacho are coming off of rebound wins.
The two fighters have good stand-up and aren’t too shabby on the ground. Dober is known for pulling off takedowns when he needs them the most. Camacho can also score takedowns and has decent control much like his opponent.
I see both men canceling each other out in a lot of situations. A close decision wouldn’t be surprising. I think Dober will have his moments standing up, but will ultimately be outmatched in that department by Camacho. I also don’t believe Dober’s grappling will be enough to thwart the offense that Camacho will put on display.
Prediction: Frank Camacho
Be sure to stick with MMANews.com for live coverage of UFC on FOX 27 from the prelims and main card, to the post-fight interviews, highlights and the post-fight press conference.