The Octagon travels overseas this weekend, as the highly-anticipated UFC Fight Night 130 event (UFC Liverpool) goes down from the Echo Arena this evening with a live FOX Sports 1 fight card.
With only hours to go before the big event, it’s time for the latest installment of the MMANews.com Staff Predictions Roundtable.
In this edition, MMANews.com staff writers Matt Boone and Fernando Quiles, Jr. will take a closer look at the main card scheduled for tonight’s event, giving fans insight, analysis and predictions for each televised match.
Tonight’s main card features a six-fight lineup headlined by Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson vs. Darren Till in featured Welterweight attraction. The co-main event of the show features another Welterweight tilt, as rising contender Neil Magny meets Craig White.
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- Welterweight: Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson vs. Darren Till
- Welterweight: Neil Magny vs. Craig White
- Featherweight: Arnold Allen vs. Mads Burnell
- Featherweight: Jason Knight vs. Makwan Amirkhani
- Welterweight: Claudio Silva vs. Nordine Taleb
- Middleweight: Eric Spicely vs. Darren Stewart
UFC FIGHT NIGHT 130 STAFF PREDICTIONS
Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson (14-2-1) vs. Darren Till (16-0-1)
Matt Boone: Nothing could screw up the anticipation fight fans have for this matchup, right? Wrong. It happened again. On Saturday morning the news broke that Till missed weight, tipping the scales at 174.5 for his 170-pound bout against the number one ranked Welterweight contender in the UFC. It will be interesting to see if the streak continues, as fighters who have missed weight in the UFC in 2018 have gone on to win their respective fights in every single case thus far. The odds makers have this extremely close, as the fight is nearly at Pick’m status with less than 24 hours to go before the big showdown. I will acknowledge that Till is an impressive up-and-comer, but I think he’s a bit over-hyped at this point, riding momentum off of essentially one breakout performance against “Cowboy” Cerrone. I’ve got to put my money on the former two-time title challenger in this one. (Prediction: Stephen Thompson)
Fernando Quiles, Jr.: Either Darren Till is in for his coming out party, or a dose of reality. Stephen Thompson has only lost to Tyron Woodley and Matt Brown in his professional MMA career, so getting him to fold is no easy task. Does Till have the style to do it? I believe Till has the knockout power to have anyone reeling, but Thompson is so good at frustrating opponents and making them miss. He has showed no signs of slowly down and is likely to keep that pace going for five rounds against Till. I expect a frustrated Till to be countered often and never get his offense going. (Prediction: Stephen Thompson)
CONSENSUS: Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson (2-0)
Neil Magny (20-6) vs. Craig White (14-7)
Matt: I hate this matchup for Magny, as he is a promising contender that has been hit-or-miss against upper echelon competition. He’s coming off of a win over Carlos Condit in his last outing, however prior to that, he was 2-2 in his previous four, with wins over Johny Hendricks and Hector Lombard and losses to Rafael dos Anjos and Lorenz Larkin. I think he doesn’t have much to gain in this one, and a lot to lose. Having said that, I think he’ll pull off the “W.” (Prediction: Neil Magny)
Fernando: Craig White is stepping up on short notice for an injured Gunnar Nelson. White is on a four-fight winning streak and he’s put it together under the Cage Warriors banner. With that said, his path to victory is very narrow. Neil Magny has had some tough outs against Rafael dos Anjos and Lorenz Larkin, but he is just on another level compared to someone like White. I expect takedowns and solid ground control from Magny. He’ll either earn a TKO stoppage or submission here. (Prediction: Neil Magny)
CONSENSUS: Neil Magny (2-0)
Arnold Allen (12-1) vs. Mads Burnell (9-2)
Matt: Allen comes into this one riding an impressive five-fight win streak, while Burnell is 50/50 in his last two Octagon appearances. The odds makers have Allen set as a two-to-one favorite, and I think he’ll get the job done in Liverpool. (Prediction: Arnold Allen)
Fernando: Arnold Allen is slowly becoming a threat in the featherweight division. At the age of 24, there’s no need to rush. He’ll be facing Mads Burnell, who is also 24. Burnell will look to work his jiu-jitsu here, but I think Allen will avoid dangerous positions. I expect Allen to be more crisp on the feet, leading to a decision win. (Prediction: Arnold Allen)
CONSENSUS: Arnold Allen (2-0)
Jason Knight (20-4) vs. Makwan Amirkhani (13-3)
Matt: To me, this is one of the more difficult bouts to call on this card. I like each guys chances, and the odds reflect similar sentiments, as Knight sits at -170 and Amirkhani at +145, making this a tough one to put money on. By all accounts, Knight should pull this off, but I’ll go with the upset pick here. (Prediction: Makwan Amirkhani)
Fernando: This bout is expected to produce fireworks. Jason Knight is one who doesn’t mind a good scrap and Makwan Amirkhani has put away a number of opponents in the opening round. I see Knight’s pressure dictating the pace of the fight here. I think they go the distance with Knight earning a unanimous decision. (Prediction: Jason Knight)
CONSENSUS: DRAW (1-1)
Claudio Silva (11-1) vs. Nordine Taleb (14-4)
Matt: Aside from the Magny-White bout, where Magny is a six-to-one favorite, this fight has the longest odds on the main card for the UFC Liverpool event. Silva sits at +290, while Taleb is a three-and-a-half to one favorite at -355. I think those odds should be much closer, although I agree Taleb is the favorite. (Prediction: Nordine Taleb)
Fernando: Claudio Silva hasn’t fought in over three years. His last bout was a split nod over Leon Edwards. His opponent, Nordine Taleb is in search of his third straight victory. If Silva was active I would’ve picked him, but I think the inactivity raises a huge question mark. We’ve seen fighters such as Georges St-Pierre and Dominick Cruz have success despite long layoffs, but they are in an elite class. I’m not so sure that Silva can reach that level. (Prediction: Nordine Taleb)
CONSENSUS: Nordine Taleb (2-0)
Eric Spicely (10-3) vs. Darren Stewart (7-3)
Matt: Stewart will be a clear fan-favorite in the main card opener, which features him taking on Spicely in a bout where both guys come into the cage off of multiple losses in their last few outings. Spicely dropped his last two Octagon fights, while Stewart has lost his last three, and has a No Contest in his only other Octagon appearance. The U.K. fans will be cheering on Stewart to get his first “W” and because of that, I think this has a good chance of being a “feel-good” undercard moment. (Prediction: Darren Stewart)
Fernando: Fans in Liverpool will certainly be rooting for Darren Stewart to land the homerun shot to get the main card started. Stewart has gone 0-3, 1 NC in the UFC and there is a chance that he needs a win to remain on the roster. I think Eric Spicely’s grappling will doom Stewart here. I expect a submission win for Spicely. (Prediction: Eric Spicely)
CONSENSUS: DRAW (1-1)
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