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UFC Fight Night 134 predictions: ‘Shogun vs Smith’ Fight Pass ‘Prelims’ undercard preview

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Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is bringing a bevy of “Prelims” fights to both UFC Fight Pass and FOX Sports 1 this weekend (Sun., July 22, 2018) when UFC Fight Night 134: “Shogun vs. Smith” storms Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg, Germany. MMAmania.com’s Patrick Stumberg kicks off the UFC Fight Night 134 “Prelims” party with the first installment of a two-part undercard preview series below.

The inimitable Mauricio “Shogun” Rua returns to the cage for the first time in 2018 this Sunday night (July 22, 2018) when the Brazilian meets late replacement Anthony Smith inside Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg, Germany

The FOX Sports 1 fight card also features Glover Teixeira against Corey Anderson, Stefan Struve versus Marcin Tybura in an all-Europe heavyweight battle, and local standout Abu Azaitar’s Octagon debut opposite knockout artist Vitor Miranda.

Seven “Prelims” with some fresh faces are in store for the morning people among you. Let’s look at the first three airing at 10:30 a.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass.

135 lbs.: Manny Bermudez (12-0) vs. Davey Grant (8-3)

Bermudez caught the UFC’s eye with nine first-round finishes in his first eleven victories, including several in under two minutes. It took him a bit longer in his UFC debut, but he nonetheless got the finish via guillotine against Albert Morales. All but one of his eight submission wins has come by choke.

Grant, the runner-up on The Ultimate Fighter 18, has faced difficulties both in and out of the ring, debuting in 2013 and fighting just three times in that span. He was supposed to fight Bermudez in May, but came down with a staph infection just days before showtime. He stands two inches taller than Bermudez at 5’8.”

Bermudez’s ultimate ceiling will boil down to how well his wrestling develops. As lethal as his ground game is, it’s not worth squat if he can’t consistently get it to the ground. Grant is a capable enough wrestler for this to be an informative matchup and a decent test that I believe Bermudez can pass.

After seeing Grant struggle with Damian Stasiak, I don’t see him having a lot more success against a spry young submission artist, especially with nearly two years of rust to shake off. Bermudez scores an early takedown and secures a fight-ending choke on the way back up.

Prediction: Bermudez by first-round submission

205 lbs.: Jeremy Kimball (15-7) vs. Darko Stosic (12-1)

Kimball’s short-notice UFC debut against Marcos Rogério de Lima went disastrously, but “Grizzly” bounced back with a bonus-winning knockout of Josh Stansbury in just 81 seconds. Things went right back to disastrous, though, as he tapped to a Dominick Reyes choke in Detroit. All but one of Kimball’s victories since 2013 have come inside the distance.

A protégé of Mirko Cro Cop, Stosic has knocked out seven professional opponents, all but one of them in the first round. His current eight-fight winning streak includes two finishes in under a minute and a first-round stoppage via leg kicks. This will be his light heavyweight debut.

If you’ve got a dangerous new striker to welcome into the UFC, Kimball’s your man; he’s durable and skilled enough on the feet to pose a threat and too incompetent on the mat to start wrestling if things go south. He should be lunchmeat against Stosic, who packs quite a bit more power and can take things to the mat should he get into dire straits.

My only real reservation here is that Stosic is 230 pounds and built like a brick wall. Each leg alone look like it would have to cut to make lightweight. So long as he can drop the weight safely, though, this is a heavyweight against a blown-up middleweight. Stosic tears up that lead leg for a late finish.

Prediction: Stosic by third-round TKO

145 lbs.: Damian Stasiak (10-5) vs. Liu Pingyuan (11-5)

After getting outwrestled by Yaotzin Meza in his Octagon debut, Stasiak proved his grappling chops were still legit with impressive submissions over Filip Pejic and Davey Grant. He couldn’t do the same against fellow submission artist Pedro Munhoz and, one fight later, fell to Brian Kelleher’s relentless pressure in a Fight of the Night war. “Webster’s” seven submission wins include five by rear naked choke.

Liu, one of the stars of China’s Wu Lin Feng promotion, picked up five wins in 2016 and two more in 2017 before signing to the UFC. He was set to debut against Bharat Khandare in Shanghai, but wound up withdrawing due to injury, allowing Song Yadong to make his first Octagon appearance instead. He has won 11 of his last 12 after starting his pro career 0-4.

Liu looks like another solid prospect out of China. Going by his shirt in one of his more recent fights, he’s training out of Tiger Muay Thai, which is one of Asia’s best camps. He’s got power, plenty of aggression, and can finish things on the mat as well.

His issue right now is polish; he’s so fixated on the knockout that he tends to overextend with his power swings. In addition, he’s fairly unproven against decent opposition. If nothing else, Stasiak is tough as nails and has a nasty submission game. Liu has the tools to be a contender, but for right now, I say Stasiak capitalizes on his overeagerness to lock up an early finish.

Prediction: Stasiak by first-round submission

Tomorrow’s four fights previewed for FOX Sports 1 include a pair of strong featherweight prospects and Emil Meek’s latest appearance, so be sure to stop by and have a look with us.