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UFC Fight Night 93 predictions, preview, and analysis

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Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is back on UFC Fight Pass tomorrow (Sat., Sept. 3, 2016), because it created a digital streaming service and now needs something to put on it. Fortunately for us, there is no shortage of mediocre fights these days.

That includes the five-round heavyweight headliner, which takes place inside Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg, Germany, pitting former champion Andrei Arlovski against fellow ex-division titleholder Josh Barnett. In the light heavyweight co-main event, Alexander Gustafsson looks to get back into the 205-pound title hunt at the expense of Polish puncher Jan Blachowicz.

Kicking off the afternoon fight card will be a lightweight affair featuring Tae Hyun Bang, whose nickname, sadly, is not "Gang," opposite the rough-and-tumble Nick Hein. Once they've finished up their 155-pound duties, Ryan Bader and Ilir Latifi will slug it out for light heavyweight bragging rights.

If you're looking for analysis of the UFC Fight Night 93 "Prelims," we have previews and predictions for all the preliminary card fights deconstructed by Patrick Stumberg here and here. As luck would have it, Stummy also did a comprehensive breakdown of all the UFC "Hamburg" odds and betting lines here.

Now then, let's get crackin'.

265 lbs.: Andrei "Pitbull" Arlovski (25-12, 1 NC) vs. Josh "Warmaster" Barnett (34-8)

Nostradumbass predicts: About a decade ago, this would have been one of those legendary fantasy fights. Now ... well, it's a UFC Fight Pass main event -- on a Saturday afternoon -- which should tell you a lot about where both headliners are currently at in their respective careers.

Andrei Arlovski is coming off back-to-back technical knockout losses to Stipe Miocic and Alistair Overeem. That makes nine of 12 defeats by way of knockout, and that's a frightening statistic when talking about the longterm health of a combat sports fighter.

That said, I don't want to shovel dirt into his grave just yet.

Miocic is the heavyweight champion and Overeem is the No. 1 contender, so it's not like he's been crushed by cans. In fact, he's the one doing the recycling these past few years, taking out middle-of-the-pack'rs Frank Mir and Travis Browne, among others.

Barnett, meanwhile, hasn't really done much since crossing over from the ranks of Strikeforce, where he padded his record with "wins" over the likes on Nandor Guelmino and Brett Rogers. Of his 34 wins, just one of them is over a current fighter ranked in the top 10.

That's Mark Hunt (No. 7), who was submitted by "The Warmaster" over a decade ago.

Arlovski has formidable ground skills, thanks to his background in Sambo, but his last submission came against Tim Sylvia way back in 2005 and Barnett is too dangerous with his grappling to start experimenting. Besides, the Belarusian is clearly the more powerful striker.

Don't expect Barnett to stick to the script.

Getting Arlovski to the floor will not be easy, even for an experienced catch wrestler like Barnett. But he can smother him against the fence and make this fight ugly. I've seen both fighters go five rounds without a dramatic decrease in performance, so this match up will likely boil down to the imposition of wills.

I do not have high hopes for this fight, from an entertainment standpoint.

Final prediction: Barnett def. Arlovski by unanimous decision

205 lbs.: Alexander "The Mauler" Gustafsson (16-4) vs. Jan Blachowicz (19-5)

Nostradumbass predicts: It's hard to know where Alexander Gustafsson's head is at after suffering yet another crushing defeat. Not only has "The Mauler" come up short in two very close title fights, he was also obliterated in front of his hometown fans in the main event of UFC on FOX 14.

Credit Anthony Johnson, eater of souls.

Working in his favor is the fact that he's still just 29 years old, and the aforementioned losses to Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier established him as one of the most dangeround light heavyweights on the roster, even in defeat. His biggest weakness, unsurprising as a result of his large frame, is cardio.

He's only got three rounds this time out, but he's also coming off an extended layoff.

Jan Blachowicz is the fresher, more active fighter. That said, he's also coming off an unspectacular run at 205 pounds, in spite of a brilliant career on the European circuit. His UFC debut win over Ilir Latifi was undoubtedly his finest moment, but it was wasted by consecutive losses to Jimi Manuwa and Corey Anderson.

Manuwa, it should be noted, was crushed by Gustafsson in 2014.

Blachowicz is a rugged, powerful fighter who somewhere along the way forgot how to finish fights, ending up in front of the judges in seven contests over the past five years. Against the bigger and rangier Gustafsson, who can also wrestle, I find it difficult to build a credible case for the upset.

Final prediction: Gustafsson def. Blachowicz by unanimous decision

205 lbs.: Ryan "Darth" Bader (20-5) vs. Ilir "The Sledgehammer" Latifi (12-4, 1 NC)

Nostradumbass predicts: When Ilir Latifi debuted inside the Octagon back in 2013, thanks to a late injury to Swedish broski Alexander Gustafsson, nobody in the combat sports community expected him to be around very long. Especially after getting jabbed to death by Gegard Mousasi.

Yeah, about that...

"The Sledgehammer" is more than just sexy horse poses, evidenced by his 5-1 record post-"Dreamcatcher." More importantly, Latifi has finished four of those five wins with extreme violence, which makes this a dangerous fight for opponent Ryan Bader.

Depending on what kind of gameplan "Darth" adheres to.

Bader's chin has failed him on three separate occasions, but not because he's overtly brittle. What fells The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 8 champ is his inability to resist a phone booth fight, something that never pays dividends against heavy-handed strikers.

Anthony Johnson, for example.

If the Bader who fought intelligently against fellow power-punching wrestlers like Quinton Jackson and Rashad Evans shows up tomorrow in Hamburg, I expect him to cruise to a unanimous decision win. If he wants to go punch-for-punch with Latifi, they'll be cleaning him off the cage floor with a sponge.

Based on the discrepancy in height and reach, I favor the former.

Final prediction: Bader def. Latin via unanimous decision

155 lbs.: Tae Hyun "Supernatural" Bang (18-9) vs. Nick "Sergeant" Hein (13-2, 1 NC)

Nostradumbass predicts: Tae Hyun Bang has not won back-to-back fights in over seven years, and is just 2-2 under the UFC banner. The highlight of his time inside the Octagon was a second-round finish over The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) standout Kajan Johnson.

But this is UFC Fight Pass, so a main card placement does not surprise me.

At age 33, I think we've seen all we're going to see from the "Supernatural" South Korean. Of his 18 wins, nine have come by way of knockout/technical knockout, while the balance went to a decision. Zero submissions after 12 years in the fight game is a bit disconcerting, but there's a first time for everything.

Just not here.

Nick Hein was expected to return to action earlier this year, but found himself sidelined due to injury. Dating back to his No Contest in 2012 (accidental cut), the "Sergeant" went on a 7-1 tear, capped off by consecutive wins over Yusuke Kasuya and Lukas Sajewski.

But all that glitters is not gold.

The Tiger Muay Thai product has just one finish dating back to 2010, which means most of his fights from this decade have ended up in the hands of the judges. I would not expect his Bang-fest to be any different, though I do expect his momentum to be the difference maker.

Final prediction: Hein def. Bang via unanimous decision

There you have it. will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 93 fight card on fight day (click here), starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. ET, followed by the remaining main card balance on Fight Pass at 3 p.m. ET.

You've heard from me, now let's hear from you. Who gets it done tomorrow night in Hamburg?

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