Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is back on television this weekend with its UFC on FOX 29: “Poirier vs. Gaethje” mixed martial arts (MMA) event, taking place this Saturday night (April 14, 2018) inside Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona.
UFC on FOX 29 is headlined by top-ranked lightweight bangers Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje, who may not get into title contention with a win, but will undoubtedly bring the violence for the JUST BLEED fans of UFC.
In the UFC on FOX 29 co-main event, former welterweight No. 1 contender, Carlos Condit, throws hands with Alex Oliveira after original opponent, Matt Brown, was forced to bow out with injury and surrender his “Immortal” nickname.
Before we take a closer look at those two fights, as well as the remaining main card bouts featuring Israel Adesanya vs. Marvin Vettori and Cortney Casey vs. Michelle Waterson, take a look at what “Prelims” expert Patty Stumberg had to say about the supporting cast here and here.
Odds and betting lines can be dissected here.
155 lbs.: Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier (22-5, 1 NC) vs. Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje (18-1)
Nostradumbass predicts: Dustin Poirier is a complete fighter, with above average skills in just about every department. Well rounded, “The Diamond” has 10 knockouts against seven submissions and doesn’t have any problem going the distance. So why hasn’t Poirier competed for a division title?
If you land clean, he goes down.
That might seem like harsh criticism for a fighter who’s only been knocked out twice under the UFC banner and both Conor McGregor and Michael Johnson are legitimate power punchers, but I also saw him dropped by featherweight washout Diego Brandao.
I don’t see any way Poirier lasts 25 minutes against a maniac like Justin Gaethje.
One of the reasons they call Gaethje “The Highlight” is because ... well, every time he steps into the cage it’s going to be a war, evidenced by his splits against the aforementioned Johnson and Eddie Alvarez.
Great for the fans, bad for the brain cells.
Gaethje doesn’t strike me as the type of fighter to be rattled by losing an undefeated streak and I expect the exact same “Highlight” we’ve seen in previous fights. That sort of blitzkrieg may have Poirier looking for the takedown, but considering Gaethje was a NCAA Division I All-American, I doubt he’s going to get it.
Final prediction: Gaethje def. Poirier by technical knockout
170 lbs.: Carlos “Natural Born Killer” Condit (30-11) vs. Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira (17-5-1, 2 NC)
Nostradumbass predicts: When Carlos Condit stepped into the cage against Georges St-Pierre in late 2012, the former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) welterweight champion had captured five straight with three violent finishes, part of a torrid streak that won him 12 of 13.
Since then, Condit is just 2-6.
I wish I could say he was just having a tough stretch, but I think the Neil Magny lost told us a lot about where his head is at. Condit has long flirted with retirement after nearly 20 years of head trauma and he already has a successful business outside of fighting.
Like most fans, I was supremely pissed that Matt Brown got hurt and had to bail, because “The Immortal” would have undoubtedly brought out the best version of Condit. Instead we get Alex Oliveira, who on a good day fights like a bloodthirsty savage and on a bad day, gets crushed like a rusty tomato can.
Which “Cowboy” will appear in Glendale?
The Brazilian quietly put together a 7-3 run with five finishes and he’s threat wherever the fight takes place. Yancy Medeiros was able to keep him at bay, but I don’t like how Condit always seems flustered when he can’t get his offense going exactly the way he wants it.
There’s a reason he has 11 losses.
From a technical standpoint, Condit is the superior fighter. But he’s not shown that in his performances over the past few years and before every fight he says he’s motivated, ready to go to war, etc., etc., then shows up and lays an egg.
Barring the perfect opponent, which is no longer available, Condit has mentally checked out.
Final prediction: Oliveira def. Condit by submission
185 lbs.: Israel “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya (12-0) vs. Marvin “The Italian Dream” Vettori (12-3-1)
Nostradumbass predicts: Israel Adesanya is the middleweight flavor of the month and for good reason. He’s a terrifying striker who crossed over to mixed martial arts after a 75-4 run on the kickboxing circuit.
In addition, he stands a towering 6’4” and has a staggering 80” reach.
But let’s also try to put things in perspective. Like Michael “Venom” Page before him, it’s easy to look good when you’re consistently fighting the second and third string. That’s a nice way of saying, “beat someone in the top 15 before anointing yourself the next middleweight champion.”
Cue the: “Remember when (insert flashy new prospect here) was the next (former champion here)?”
Fortunately for “The Last Stylebender,” he’s going to continue to work his way through the shallow end of the division against unranked Marvin Vettori, the young Italian upstart who crossed over from Venator FC and put together a 2-1-1 record for UFC.
He’s looked fairly average in those performances and “The Italian Dream” is by no means fit to keep this standing. Expect him to wait for an opening and shoot for the takedown, something that 12 other opponents undoubtedly planned to do ... before going down in flames.
Every fighter has a weakness. Sometimes it can be something as simple as overconfidence. But we don’t know where Adesanya can be exploited because he hasn’t faced anyone good enough to find out. Until that happens, it’s going to be more of the same.
Final prediction: Adesanya def. Vettori by technical knockout
115 lbs.: Cortney “Cast Iron” Casey (7-5) vs. Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Waterson (14-6)
Nostradumbass predicts: Cortney Casey has a great nickname in “Cast Iron” and its apropos when you consider how tough she’s been inside the Octagon, even in losing performances to Claudia Gadelha and Felice Herrig.
Unfortunately, she just hasn’t been able to maintain any sort of consistency, leaving her at No. 10 in the official rankings. To her credit, Casey is well rounded and balances three knockouts against three submissions.
Is it enough to turn away Michelle Waterson?
“The Karate Hottie” jumped out to an electric start under the UFC banner, finishing Angela Magana and Paige VanZant in back-to-back fights. Then it all fell apart, leading to consecutive losses to Rose Namajunas and Tecia Torres.
That's the upper echelon of the division, so it’s forgivable.
Waterson is the superior striker but technical prowess can be nullified by wanton aggression. The question heading into this fight is how well “Cast Iron” can penetrate the flying limbs of Waterson’s karate attack.
I don’t like her chances.
Final prediction: Waterson def. Casey by unanimous decision
There you have it.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC on FOX 29 fight card on fight night (click here), starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on FOX at 6 p.m. ET, before the FOX main card start time at 8 p.m. ET.
For much more on this weekend’s FOX event click here.