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UFC Fight Night 113 preview, predictions for ‘Nelson vs Ponzinibbio’

UFC 194: Maia vs. Nelson Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is back on television this weekend (Sun., July 16, 2017) with the UFC Fight Night 113 mixed martial arts (MMA) event on FOX Sports 1, because fuck your Sunday plans, a bunch of people have to beat the shit out of each other inside a steel cage.

Leading the charge in the welterweight main event is Gunnar Nelson and Santiago Ponzinibbio, who battle for a spot in the 170-pound rankings. That’s really all we can say about them because neither competitor is ranked in the top five and nowhere near a title shot.

In the UFC “Glasgow” co-main event, No. 8-ranked Joanne Calderwood defends her home turf opposite unbeaten Cynthia Calvillio, while Paul Felder and Stevie Ray collide in lightweight action.


To check out what’s good on the UFC Fight Night 113 “Prelims,” airing on both UFC Fight Pass and FOX Sports 1, head over to our two part breakdown here and here. UFC “Glasgow” odds and betting lines can be located here.

Let’s get to the six-fight main card.

170 lbs.: Gunnar “Gunni” Nelson (16-2-1) vs. Santiago “Gente Boa” Ponzinibbio (24-3)

Nostradumbass predicts: It’s hard to know where Gunnar Nelson stands in the welterweight division, though from a rankings perspective, No. 8 sounds about right. He was expected to be the next big thing at 170 pounds, but his lack of urgency and lazy counterstriking cost him a close decision against Rick Story.

As for Demian Maia, Nelson was simply outgrappled by a superior fighter.

I don't want to read too much into his decision loss to the former middleweight No. 1 contender, who’s made a mockery of the welterweight division — to the tune of seven straight wins — after a rough start back in 2014.

Losing to Maia is nothing to be ashamed of.

As an MMA fighter, Nelson is fairly complete. In addition to his top shelf jiu-jitsu, “Gunni” holds a black belt in karate and has no problem throwing hands when the situation calls for it.

Not that Santiago Ponzinibbio is a slouch on his feet.

The Argentinian holds 13 knockouts and 19 finishes in 24 wins, but he’s also a fighter who lives and dies by the sword. “Gente Boa” has been knocked out twice in his combat sports career, including a 2015 loss to Lorenz Larkin.

To his credit, Ponzinibbio has been able to bounce back with four straight wins — and two finishes — and recently turned away Nordine Taleb at UFC Fight Night 105, so like the Icelander, there will be a certain degree of momentum heading into this fight.

That’s a good thing.

Both combatants have beaten good, but not great opponents. Nelson has seven wins inside the Octagon and six of them have come by way of submission, so there’s no question the more aggressive Ponzinibbio will be looking for the knockout.

Unfortunately for him, he has to somehow get close enough to land without getting taken down or tied up against the fence.

Not likely.

Final prediction: Nelson def. Ponzinibbio by submission

115 lbs.: Joanne “Jo Jo” Calderwood (11-2) vs. Cynthia Calvillo (5-0)

Nostradumbass predicts: Joanne Calderwood has been something of a fan favorite after her unsuccessful run on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 20, where she was upended by Rose Namajunas in the reality show quarterfinals.

“Jo Jo” redeemed herself in the live finale, turning away Seo Hee Ham by unanimous decision, but she’s since struggled to stay consistent. While a 3-2 record isn’t dreadful, the fact that she’s been finished by submission in both losses is troubling.

Especially against a fast-rising strawweight like Cynthia Calvillo, who captured both of her UFC wins by way of rear-naked choke. She’s not as tall as Calderwood and her reach is a bit shorter — concerning in the face of the Scot’s Muay Thai — but she’s faster and much more agile.

This is going to be a good fight.

The key to victory is aggression. In order for Calderwood to keep herself upright, she must control the center of the Octagon and keep her opponent in reverse through a bevy of strikes. Likewise, Calvillo will have to power through the initial blitzkrieg and get this fight to the floor using her above-average wrestling.

I like her chances.

Final prediction: Calvillo def. Calderwood by submission

155 lbs.: Paul “Irish Dragon” Felder (13-3) vs. Stevie “Braveheart” Ray (21-6)

Nostradumbass predicts: After eight appearances inside the Octagon, which resulted in a 5-3 record, Paul Felder has yet to crack the top 15 at 155 pounds, Safe to say that at age 32, the clock is ticking.

The best thing you can say about “The Irish Dragon” is that he puts on fun fights. That’s hardly a knock, as I’d much rather see an inconsistent fighter go for broke in every bout than a undefeated fighter play-it-safe in order to tip-toe into a title shot.

Felder has 10 finishes in 13 wins, including last February’s destruction over Alessandro Ricci.

Scotland’s Ray is also unranked, but at 5-1 under the UFC banner, it’s probably only a matter of time. Especially when you consider “Braveheart” recently turned away a pair of established veterans in Ross Pearson and Joe Lauzon.

Not too shabby.

Both Felder and his opponent share similar stats across the board. Not just in height and reach, but also in takedowns and takedown defense. Ray is probably the more complete fighter, and certainly more consistent, but something tells me he’s going to get lured into a phone booth fight once the fists start flying.

Advantage: Felder.

Final prediction: Felder def. Ray by technical knockout

185 lbs.: Ryan Janes (9-2) vs. Jack “Hammer” Marshman (21-6)

Nostradumbass predicts: Ryan Janes is a slick submission specialist with seven taps in nine victories, though his ground game did not hold up against Gerald Meerschaert and the Canadian was forced to surrender his last time out.

I’m not sure how far Janes can go in the crowded middleweight division, though I do know he doesn’t have a lot of time to make some noise, as he’s roughly one month out from his 36th birthday.

This is a young man’s game.

Jack Marshman is hardly a spring chicken and there is something to be said for his mileage. “Hammer” has an impressive 18 finishes in 27 wins, but has also been knocked out four times in six losses.

That said, there isn’t much Janes can throw at him that he hasn’t already seen. Marshman has rocked and socked his way around the globe and stands at 8-2 across his last 10 bouts.

Unless Marshman flops into guard or does something to silver-platter an extremity, he’s likely to spend three rounds beating Janes to a pulp.

Final prediction: Marshman def. Janes by unanimous decision

205 lbs.: Khalil “War Horse” Rountree (5-2) vs. Paul “Bearjew” Craig (9-1)

Nostradumbass predicts: Most fight fans will recognize Khalil Rountree from his run on TUF 23. One of the early favorites to win the season, “War Horse” was defeated during the show, brought back, then defeated again in the live finale.

His next trip to the cage resulted in a submission loss; however, Rountree broke into the win column by knocking out Daniel Jolly. That bout was over in less than a minute, so it’s unclear if “War Horse” was able to make improvements to his cardio or ground game.

We’re likely to find out against Scotland’s Paul Craig, a towering light heavyweight with eight submission finishes in nine wins. That doesn’t include his three subs on the amateur circuit, though I am a little worried about his knockout loss to Tyson Pedro last March.

Rountree is about as good at submissions as “Bearjew” is at knocking people out. But outside of the deranged Rousimar Palhares, most submission fighters are unable to make their opponents panic and back into the fence. Hulking power punchers, on the other hand, can -- and usually do.

There’s a reason they coined the phrase “teeing off.”

Final prediction: Rountree def. Craig by technical knockout

265 lbs.: James “Juggernaut” Mulheron (11-1) vs. Justin “Big Pretty” Willis (4-1)

Nostradumbass predicts: I never heard of James Mulheron and I reckon most of you haven’t either. That’s because “Juggernaut” is a late replacement for the ailing Mark Godbeer and hasn’t seen much of the big stage, save for 2016’s Bellator win over Neil Grove in London.

He typically likes to stand and bang and while he touts the kimura as his favorite submission, the Brit’s only tap came on the amateur circuit way back in 2012 and was — you guessed it — a kimura.

Fortunately for Mulheron, he draws a newcomer in Justin Willis, who made a successful debut for World Series of Fighting (WSOF) by knocking out Juliano Coutinho, which really doesn’t mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of things.

Willis does train out of American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) so he comes from a great camp and despite being a fat guy, moves pretty well and doesn’t run out of gas, likely from his days playing college football.

There isn’t much of case to be made for either fighter, but it’s hard to bet on a guy who’s walking into the cage on a week’s notice, so unless Willis leaves his chin high and tight, he should be able to make this a first-round’r.

Final prediction: Willis def. Mulheron by technical knockout

There you have it. will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 113 fight card on fight night (click here), starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. ET, and then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 1 p.m. ET, before the main card start time at 3 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1.

For more upcoming UFC events click here.

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