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UFC Fight Night 98 predictions: 'Mexico' Fight Pass 'Prelims' undercard preview, Pt. 2

More fights are coming to Fight Pass and FOX Sports 1 this weekend (Sat., Nov. 5, 2016) when UFC Fight Night 98 storms Arena Ciudad de Mexico in Mexico City, Mexico. MMAmania.com's Patrick Stumberg wraps up his TUF: "Latin America 3" Finale "Prelims" party with the second installment of a two-part undercard preview series below.

Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Bangfiesta.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to Mexico City this Saturday evening (Nov. 5, 2016) on FOX Sports 1, pitting former lightweight ruler Rafael dos Anjos against surging slugger Tony Ferguson in the five-round main event.

In addition, Martin Bravo takes on Claudio Puelles in the finals of The Ultimate Fighter: "Latin America 3," while Ricardo Lamas squares off with Charles Oliveira, and Beneil Dariush meets Rashid Magomedov in a clash of rising lightweights.

Four fights remain, so let’s not waste anymore time. If you missed yesterday's preview of the first three bouts click here.

135 lbs.: Erik Perez (16-6) vs. Felipe Arantes (18-7-1)

After three first-round finishes in his first three Octagon appearances, "Goyito" hit a 1-2 stretch with losses to Takeya Mizugaki and Bryan Caraway. A seventeen-month layoff followed, since which he’s defeated Taylor Lapilus and Francisco Rivera. He is two years younger than Arantes at twenty-six.

A 3-3-1 run at featherweight, capped off by a loss to Andre Fili, lead to "Sertanejo" moving down ten pounds in 2015. There, he’s submitted Yves Jabouin and Jerrod Sanders, both of them by armbar. He’s knocked out seven opponents and submitted another six.

This is a terrific, evenly-matched fight that is more than worth your attention. Both men are proven finishers on the feet and the mat and neither appears content with going to a decision. I’ve got Arantes, whose game is a little more polished and who excels at capitalizing on the sorts of openings Perez’s aggression leaves.

Arantes’ wrestling still isn’t where it needs to be to crack the division elite, but he’s a match for anyone without the bulldozing takedowns he’s struggled with in the past. He and Perez trade punches and submission attempts for an entertaining fifteen minutes before Arantes gets his hand raised.

Prediction: Arantes by unanimous decision

140 lbs.: Marco Beltran (8-3) vs. Joe Soto (16-5)

Beltran, a member of the inaugural TUF: Latin America cast, reached the semifinals before losing a decision to teammate Jose Alberto Quinones. He's since won three straight in the UFC itself, including an impressive submission of TUF: Brazil 4 winner Reginaldo Vieira his last time out.

Soto entered the UFC on a six-fight winning streak, which came to an abrupt end five rounds into his last-second title shot against T.J. Dillashaw. Losses to Anthony Birchak and Michinori Tanaka followed, although he managed to choke out Chris Beal in June for his first victory in the promotion. He replaces Guido Cannetti on just four days' notice.

I've got this one a lot closer than the Tapology users do. Soto's got the better résumé, but he's also struggled to impose his wrestling in the UFC and seems to be outmuscled by the rest of the division; being a phenomenal scrambler doesn't matter much when you can't consistently take it to the mat.

Still, he's so much more battle-tested than Beltran that it's hard to pick against him. A Beltran win wouldn't surprise me at all, but Soto's veteran savvy and scrappiness ought to carry him to a submission midway through.

Prediction: Soto by second-round submission

170 lbs.: Erick Montaño (7-4) vs. Max Griffin (12-3)

Mexico’s Montaño picked up a pair of first-round stoppages on his way to the Ultimate Fighter: Latin America 2 finals, where he upset teammate Enrique Marin by split decision. This set up a bout with Randy Brown, who choked "Perry" out with a power guillotine early in the third. He’s submitted four opponents and knocked out another two.

Max "Pain" made his short-notice Octagon debut with eight wins in his previous nine fights, culminating in a forty-three-second knockout of UFC veteran David Mitchell. He couldn’t handle Colby Covington’s wrestling, however, and succumbed to punches midway through the third round. He has six wins by knockout, four of them in the first round.

Montaño just isn’t all that good. He’s a grappling specialist with flimsy submission defense and neither his striking nor his wrestling are anything to write home about. Griffin has his own issues, especially his tendency to give up the back, but I’m not convinced Montaño can both survive his power and wrestle consistently enough to exploit that flaw.

So long as Griffin doesn’t come in looking to grapple like Brown did, he should be able to keep it standing and take Montaño out early.

Prediction: Griffin by first-round TKO

135 lbs.: Enrique Briones (16-5-1) vs. Douglas Andrade (23-1)

Fighting for Team Velasquez on The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America, Briones fell in the quarterfinals to a vicious Marlon Vera upkick. He’s gone 1-1 in the UFC itself, choking out castmate Guido Cannetti and becoming the first man to last the distance with Cody Garbrandt in a losing effort. "Henry Bure" has knocked out eight opponents and submitted six.

Andrade entered the UFC with seven consecutive knockouts, but fell short against fellow striker Zubaira Tukhugov in his promotional debut. One year later, he dropped to bantamweight and upset Cody Gibson in Porto Alegre. He’s knocked out eighteen opponents overall.

I’m actually torn on this one. Andrade has ferocious power and showed much better counter-wrestling than I expected against Gibson, but he’s only fought twice in the last three years and faced late in that fight. At the same time, the Vera upkick was the only time Briones has ever been knocked out as an amateur or professional; even Garbrandt couldn’t put him away, although he did score a knockdown.

Still, he can be hurt and I’m willing to put at least some of the blame for Andrade’s cardio issues on it being his bantamweight debut. With more time to acclimate to the weight cut, the Brazilian’s athletic edge and raw power should carry the day. He blitzes Briones early for an impressive finish.

Prediction: Silva de Andrade by first-round TKO

MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 98 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, and then the remaining under card balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the FOX Sports 1 main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.

A terrific main event and some solid matchups scattered across the card; sounds like a quality Saturday to me, Maniacs.

Current UFC "Prelims" Prediction Record 2016: 130-81-5

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