UFC Boise Predictions: Can Junior dos Santos Return to Form?

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Junior dos Santos
Image Credit: Per Haljestam of USA TODAY Sports

The time has finally arrived for UFC Boise.

Tonight (July 14), UFC Boise will be held inside the CenturyLink Arena in Boise, Idaho. This marks the UFC’s first trip to Boise. In the main event, former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos will do battle with former World Series of Fighting heavyweight title holder Blagoy Ivanov.

“Super” Sage Northcutt gets the call for the co-headlining spot. Sharing the Octagon with him will be Zak Ottow. Dennis Bermudez will look to rebound from three straight losses when he meets Rick Glenn. Randy Brown has some momentum off his victory over Mickey Gall and he hopes it transitions well into his bout with Niko Price.

Plus, fans will get to see the return of Chad Mendes. The former featherweight title challenger will throw leather with Myles Jury. Getting the main card started will be a women’s bantamweight clash between Cat Zingano and Marion Reneau.

With those details out of the way, let’s get down to business:

Junior dos Santos vs. Blagoy Ivanov

I like this match-up. Why waste any time getting Ivanov right in the thick of things? Ivanov is a strong heavyweight despite his smaller frame in the division. He has quick hands and solid grappling thanks to his sambo and judo backgrounds. A weakness of Ivanov is that he doesn’t have the best footwork. This is where dos Santos has a clear advantage.

While “Cigano” once happily went head hunting with great success, he’s taken a lot of damage in his career. Realizing this, dos Santos takes a more measured approach. “Cigano” certainly hasn’t lost a step when it comes to movement, however. He’ll likely try to stick and move. If he’s able to frustrate Ivanov on the feet, then I expect some clinch positions. In the end I’ve got dos Santos beating Ivanov to the punch and staying out of danger for a decision win.

Prediction: Junior dos Santos

Sage Northcutt vs. Zak Ottow

Following back-to-back victories over Michel Quinones and Thibault Gouti, Northcutt finds himself in the co-headliner of a UFC event. Northcutt has certainly made use of his time at Roufusport and Team Alpha Male. The question remains whether or not it’ll be enough to overcome his Achilles heel when it comes to submissions.

Ottow is a ground specialist. He holds a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and has 10 submission wins. Throw in his significant experience advantage and it makes it hard to pick Northcutt based off of athleticism and improvements alone. Northcutt could pull off a win, but I’ve got Ottow via submission.

Prediction: Zak Ottow

Dennis Bermudez vs. Rick Glenn

This feels like a must-win scenario for Bermudez. A loss means four in a row for Bermudez and with the sport constantly evolving, it would seem like Bermudez gets left behind with another defeat. “The Menace” is still a solid athlete with great wrestling, a frenetic pace and cardio to last.

If Bermudez can avoid Glenn’s knockout ability, then a win could very well be in his reach. Glenn hasn’t finished an opponent since 2016 and has yet to do so in the UFC. Glenn does a good job utilizing his reach, but I don’t believe that will deter Bermudez. I’ve got “The Menace” picking up his first win since Aug. 2016.

Prediction: Dennis Bermudez

Niko Price vs. Randy Brown

Brown showed great patience and top control over Mickey Gall, who has proven to be dangerous on the ground. It was a solid showing from Brown, who showed he can fight smart and not rush things. His patience will be tested against Price.

Price takes more chances than Brown. Most of Price’s opponents can’t handle his aggression. Vicente Luque was the only fighter to turn the tables on Price and was able to submit him. In the end, I think Price’s style will overwhelm Brown.

Prediction: Niko Price

Chad Mendes vs. Myles Jury

We’re about to find out if the dreaded “ring rust” has any impact on Mendes. “Money” has been out of action since Dec. 2015. Mendes has only lost to Jose Aldo, Conor McGregor, and Frankie Edgar. All three fighters are former UFC champions. Mendes’ bread and butter is definitely his wrestling and it’s no secret that he will try to take Jury down.

Jury wasn’t exactly active either until last year. “Fury” fought twice in 2017 after not competing since Dec. 2015. Jury has good striking and solid jiu-jitsu, but I don’t think he can find anything off his back. Mendes’ top control is too good and he’s never been submitted in 21 bouts.

Prediction: Chad Mendes

Cat Zingano vs. Marion Reneau

I think Zingano is a good example of “ring rust” having a negative impact. Zingano fought once in 2015, once in 2016, and didn’t compete at all in 2017. She has returned back in March and lost. “Alpha” hasn’t won a bout since Sept. 2014. She certainly is putting in the effort to turn her misfortunes around, even calling upon Ronda Rousey’s judo coach for assistance.

Reneau does a lot of things right. She’s technical on the feet, she can submit you off her back and she’s just a solid fighter in all aspects of MMA. Most importantly is that Reneau is consistent. Whether she wins or loses, it’s hard to see her have an “off” night. With that said, I see this fight going to a decision with Cat Zingano doing enough to sway the judges in her favor due to her aggression.

Prediction: Cat Zingano

That’ll wrap up the UFC Boise predictions. Be sure to stick with MMA News for live coverage of the event. The prelims begin on UFC Fight Pass at 6:30 p.m. ET. The action transitions to FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET. UFC Boise’s main card starts at 10 p.m. ET and will remain on FS1.