UFC Fight Night 130 Preview and Picks
The UFC makes it first visit to Liverpool, England as Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson and Darren Till square off in a pivotal welterweight division battle. One of the fights I was looking forward to was scrapped as due to a medical condition and Davey Grant was not allowed to compete. So there are now 11 fights on the card, and most of them should be entertaining. There might not be as many 1st round stoppages as we’ve seen in the last two events, but there should be some entertaining fights for sure.
Eric Spicely (10-3) vs Darren Stewart ((7-3)
We all love home dogs, and I believe we have one in Darren Stewart. Stewart has yet to win in the UFC, and the London product is in serious danger from being cut from the UFC. Stewarthas some skill and he’s run into some tough luck since entering the UFC in 2016. Along comes Eric Spicely, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt with some notable wins in UFC over the likes of Thiago Santos and Alessio Di Chirico. Spicely is on a two fight losing streak with his most recent loss coming at the hands of Gerald Meerschaert via 2nd round TKO. There is one thing we saw in that fight against Meerschaert, Spicely doesn’t react well to pressure, and getting hit hard. Darren Stewart is the kind of guy that can apply that pressure, and if he can keep this fight on the feet he will win the striking battle, he’s the much quicker guy and definitely has more power. I think the home crowd really gets behind Stewart here, and I see Stewart getting a win here in the 1st round.
The Pick: Stewart via 1st rd TKO
Jason Knight v Makwan Amirkhani
About a year ago Jason Knight looked like a true rising star rattling off 4 straight wins, but in his last two fights he’s taken some serious punishment getting knocked out by Ricardo Lamas and being absolutely dominated by Gabriel Benitez. Amirkhani is coming off a split decision loss to Arnold Allen, a fight in which I thought he won. Before that first UFC loss he had 3 straight wins, 2 of those wins via 1st round submission and 1st round knockout. I think this is yet another bad matchup for Knight as while he has good Jui Jitsu his striking leaves little to be desired. Amirkhani’s solid greco-roman wrestling base will neutralize Knights submission game and while his striking isn’t the greatest I believe he can wear down Knight as the fight goes on. It wouldn’t shock me to see Amirkhani get a submission win either but I think he wins a decision.
The Pick: Amirkhani by unanimous decision
Darren Till vs Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson
Let me preface this by saying I am a big fan of Darren Till. He has some great striking, a wicked nasty left hand and some brutal elbows. Till is also huge for the welterweight division. One thing that makes gives me pause when looking at this fight is that this being the first UFC event in Liverpool, it almost makes you think that this fight is made for Till to win. If this was a 3 round fight, I would more than likely favor Till, but with it being a 5 round fight I give the edge to Thompson. Thompson and Till are both southpaws, and have a somewhat similar fighting style, yet Thompson is superior when fighting at range and will switch to orthodox at times which makes him hard to defend and hard to read. This style I feel will give Darren Till problems. Many put a lot of stock into Darren Till’s early stoppage of Donald Cerrone, and I was on Till in that fight pretty big because I thought it was just a horrible matchup for Cerrone…by no means was it a fluke and it was an impressive win. Thompson is simply a different kind of fighter with a lot of experience. The fact that this is a five round fight I disagree with the line movement. Till has stated he will knock out Thompson in the second round. How will Darren Till react when Thompson is still in front of him in the 3rd round? I think ultimately the ability that Thompson has and his superior cardio will prove to be too much for the young scouser. Till has a really bright future in the UFC, but I think this will be a valuable learning experience for Till.
The Pick: Thompson via unanimous decision
Have a safe Memorial Day weekend and enjoy the fights!