Heavy men with heavy hands.
Two of the most powerful punchers in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight division will lock horns this Saturday (May 9, 2015) inside Adelaide Entertainment Centre in Adelaide, Australia, when Mark Hunt attempts to rebound from his knockout loss to Fabricio Werdum against Stipe Miocic, who is coming off a terrific war with Junior dos Santos.
UFC Fight Night 65 will also feature Australia's own Robert Whittaker, who will make his second appearance at Middleweight opposite Brad Tavares, as well as fan-favorite Anthony Perosh against Sean O'Connell.
The entire event, including the eight "Prelims" undercard matches, will stream live online via Fight Pass.
Check out the first four to set the stage for the upcoming mixed martial arts (MMA) evening "Down Under:"
185 lbs.: Dylan Andrews vs. Brad Scott
Despite being the final overall pick on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 17, Dylan Andrews (17-6) upset top pick Luke Barnatt and made it all the way to the semifinals before falling to Uriah Hall. He scored knockouts in his first two Octagon appearances, but will step into the cage on Saturday on a two-fight losing streak.
Just two of his wins are by decision, 12 of the remainder coming by way of knockout.
Brad Scott (9-3) was one of three Englishmen to reach TUF: "Smashes" Finale, where he dropped a decision to Australia’s Robert Whittaker. He’s split his next two bouts, choking out Michael Kuiper in Oct. 2013 and losing a controversial decision to Claudio Henrique da Silva the subsequent March.
This will be his first fight in 14 months.
I really don’t know what to make of Andrews. He’s got some quality power in his hands and a solid wrestling game. On paper, it’s baffling that he lost two rounds to perpetual underachiever Papy Abedi. There just seems to be something missing, some vital mental component that’s keeping him mired in mediocrity.
By all accounts, thankfully, Scott figures to be below even that level.
Scott struggled to stay on his feet against da Silva, who I’m still not convinced actually knows how to throw a punch. Careful pressure by Andrews, using his heavy hands to set up takedowns, should pay dividends against the Englishman.
So long as Andrews doesn’t freeze up, his physical abilities should carry him to a decision win.
Prediction: Andrews via unanimous decision
115 lbs.: Alex Chambers vs. Kailin Curran
Alex Chambers -- ranked NO. 10 -- wound up on the wrong end of Rose Namajunas’ rampage through TUF house, falling just 22 seconds into their opening round bout. She faced teammate Aisling Daly at the Finale and, despite Daly missing weight by a large margin, tapped to an armbar in the waning seconds of the first round.
"Astro Girl" is 12 years older than her opponent.
Kailin Curran (3-1) spent the first three fights of her career in the PXC promotion before getting called up to the big leagues. After a strong opening round against Paige VanZant, she succumbed to the young star’s pressure midway through the third round.
In addition to her pro record, she also went 4-1 (1 NC) as an amateur.
Curran’s big issue right now is that she has a one-note game, where said game is clinch takedowns. It wasn’t enough against VanZant, whose ridiculous pressure proved too much, but it might be enough against Chambers. "Astro Girl" struggled on the mat against Namajunas on the show and against Daly on the Finale. In addition, she’s capable of making Atomweight, meaning she could be at a size disadvantage.
Most importantly, though, Chambers is 36 years old, while Curran is 24 and improving. Expect Curran to control her way to a unanimous decision through a steady onslaught of clinchwork and throws.
Prediction: Curran via unanimous decision
170 lbs.: Vik Grujic vs. Brendan O’Reilly
Vik Grujic (6-4), competing as a Middleweight, scored one of the more brutal finishes of TUF: "Nations" before losing to Sheldon Westcott in the semifinals. He’s since gone 1-2 in UFC with a knockout win over countryman Chris Indich sandwiched between losses to Chris Clements and Nordine Taleb.
At 6’0," he is five inches taller than Brendan O'Reilly (5-1).
O’Reilly’s tenure in TUF: "Nations" Welterweight tournament proved a short one as he tapped to Kajan Johnson in the opening round. In UFC proper, he struggled in his debut against the grappling of TUF: China winner Zhang Lipeng en route to his first career defeat.
At 26, he is 11 years his opponent’s junior.
Grujic may not be a world-beater or anything close to it, but I’m hard-pressed to find reasons to pick against him. O’Reilly’s coming up from Lightweight, looked terrible on the show, lost to a very mediocre Zhang Lipeng in his debut, and his last win was against a guy who was 1-4.
He’s also, I remind you, giving up almost half a foot of height and four inches of reach.
Grujic ought to hold a comfortable advantage wherever the fight goes. I say he takes a wide decision through superior striking and the occasional takedown.
Prediction: Grujic via unanimous decision
125 lbs.: Alptekin Ozkilic vs. Ben Nguyen
With a win over World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) veteran Antonio Banuelos, Alptekin Ozkilic (9-3) punched his ticket to UFC and got to work with a decision over Darren Uyenoyama. Unfortunately, "The Turkish Delight" went winless in 2014 after losing entertaining fights against prospect Louis Smolka and the brick-fisted John Lineker.
Ozkilic -- who coached wrestling for Dominick Cruz on TUF 15 -- had previously only lost to fellow UFC flyweight Chico Camus.
Ben Nguyen's (13-5) big break came when his knockout of Julian Rabaud, which featured a Ninja/Bonello moment at the weigh-ins where Rabaud got in his face, went viral. After defending his newly-won Nitro MMA title in Oct. 2014, Nguyen enters UFC on a seven-fight win streak with five finishes.
This will be his Flyweight debut after competing at 135 pounds in his prior bout.
Alp may not be elite, but his 1-2 UFC record belies his abilities. He was doing well until his cardio failed him against Smolka and put in a solid performance against Lineker, even getting the better of the Brazilian on the feet in the early going.
In all likelihood, he’s too big a step up for Nguyen.
The Tiger Muay Thai-trained product has some impressive power and aggression, but he doesn’t have the wilting body attack and terrific takedown defense that Lineker used to drain Ozkilic’s stamina. Further, Ozkilic likely possesses the best wrestling attack Nguyen has ever dealt with.
Much like the early rounds with Lineker, expect Ozkilic to blunt Nguyen’s aggression with careful range striking and constant takedown attacks for a decision win.
Prediction: Ozkilic via unanimous decision
Four more UFC Fight Night 65 "Prelims" bouts to preview and predict tomorrow, including several more Aussies and a Kiwi.
Stop by same time tomorrow for the usual, Maniacs!
Remember, too, that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 65 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7:45 p.m. ET right on through the Fight Pass main card at 11 p.m. ET.