As if the opening month of 2016 hasn’t already been ignited, UFC looks to close out January with a mixed bag of awe inspiring potential. Heavy hands, athleticism, wrestling grappling/submissions…you name it, UFC Fight Night in New Jersey will have it.
Fists will be driven into faces…bodies will be driven into mats…submissions will be applied in a way that drives victims into agonizing pain.
How will these scenarios apply to each bout?
Here’s fight night at the Prudential Center, as I see it…
“Super” Sage Northcutt vs. Bryan “Bam Bam” Barberena (Lightweight Division Bout)
With 80% of Barberena’s wins coming by way of knockout, many can fond comfort in him having a flare for putting guys to sleep. Such a practice can prove to be a daunting task for the knockout artist, facing one of the company’s most elusive, versatile and craftiest fighters. Northcutt, in his unblemished run, has yet to have a fight go to the judges’ table. If he doesn’t knock his opponents out, he’s either rendering them to begging for mercy or unconscious. If that isn’t enough, he averaged an astonishing 6.78 take downs per bout, batting 1.000 on them all. In the world where it pays to be multidimensional, look for “Super Sage” to outclass “bam Bam” winning the opening bout in the form of a submission.
Iuri “Marajo” Alcantara vs. Jimmie “El Terror” RIvera (Bantamweight Division Bout)
The key to victory in this 135 pound clash is fighting your fight. Alacantra is a grappler who excels in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It would behoove him to close as much distance and keep this fight to the ground as much as possible. The latter could present issues as Rivera has successfully defended every take down that has been attempted on him. In addition, he lands 6.73 strikes a minute. In addition, no one has been able to land a take down on “El Terror”As tempting as it is to go with the Brazilian, I’ll pass and go with the New Jersey native. Rivera continues his impressive run of stuffed take downs, upsetting the 14th ranked “Majaro” in his homecoming bout.
Josh “The Warmaster” Barnett vs. Ben Rothwell (Heavyweight Division Bout, Co-Main Event)
Oh what fun it will be to see these big behemoths go at it. Neither fighter’s efforts can be questioned, as they leave it all in the octagon every time the cage closes. While both carry scud missiles for hands, Barnett’s arsenal moves at a quicker rate. Couple that with his wrestling skills and Barnett will prove to be too overwhelming of a foe for Rothwell. “The Warmaster” will render Rothwell motionless, knocking him out in the second round.
Anthony “Rumble” Johnson vs. Ryan “Darth” Bader (Light Heavyweight Division Bout, Main Event)
The similarities between these two are marveling. Both sit atop the division as far as most powerful hands are concerned, both are exceptional wrestlers and both have approached the doorstep of the division title and are looking to return and surpass previous levels achieved. After struggles with maintaining weight at 170 and 185 pounds, Anthony Johnson has found a home in the 205 pound weight class. His only loss came at the hands of current division king Daniel “DC” Cormier for the vacated title at UFC 187. On three separate occasions, Bader has fought in bouts that could’ve catapulted him into a title shot, but he’s come up short all three times.
Now here comes a fourth attempt!
With all of their similarities, what separates them is the chin. Ryan Bader has shown his chin is susceptible to the right punch or kick. Johnson is Bader’s most powerful opponent to date. While Bader will be anything but a pushover, it looks like he will lose yet another fight that could warrant him a title shot, with the right result. “Rumble” knocks out Bader, by the third round, at best.
UFC Fight Night in New Jersey airs Saturday, January 30th at 8pm on Fox. Make sure you return here to TNP Sports for a full recap of this stacked main card.
Written by Antoine Hoffman