UFC on FOX 15 goes down tonight night live from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
The event is headlined by a key middleweight bout featuring former Strikeforce champion Luke Rockhold taking on former UFC light heavyweight title holder Lyoto Machida.
BJPENN.com’s Chris Taylor recently sat down with former UFC and PRIDE veteran Phil “NYBA” Baroni to discuss this weekend’s UFC on FOX 15 main card bouts.
Here are their predictions for the final four fights of the evening:
Women’s Strawweight: Felice Herrig vs. Paige VanZant
Taylor: Let me start off by saying that I am super excited for this fight. In my opinion, Felice Herrig should have a definitive advantage in the stand-up game due to her Muay Thai experience. However, “12 Gauge” is no pushover, and will likely bring a blistering pace to this fight. I think the fight will be close, but Vanzant will find a way to use takedowns and some good ground and pound to eventually out-point Herrig on the judges scorecard.
Prediction: Paige Vanzant wins by unanimous decision
Baroni: It’s the young hottie vs. the OG babe. Paige has a lot of tools and a variety of different skills she can use to win this fight. She has a legit ground game and can really cause Felice a lot of problems if she gets on top. But, Felice reps the OG and I pick her to weather the storm and use her physicality she has worked long and hard to develop to hold off Paige’s initial burst of offense. As the fight goes into the mid way point of the second round, Felice will use her experience and horse power to stifle Paige and slow down the fight. Once Herrig has control of the pace, she will be able to steal round two and then take round three for the decision win.
Prediction: Felice Herrig wins by unanimous decision
Featherweight: Max Holloway vs. Cub Swanson
Taylor: Max Holloway is currently riding a five-fight win streak with 4 of those 5 victories coming by way of stoppage. The Hawaiian has looked very impressive in his most recent octagon appearances and stands the only man in the past eight years to take current featherweight #1 contender Conor McGregor to a decision. “Blessed” has also never been knocked out in his career, which is very important to note, as Swanson is one of the divisions hardest hitters. I think the fight will be very competitive while both men are on their feet. However, I eventually see Holloway taking Swanson to the mat where he will score the submission win late in the fight.
Prediction: Max Holloway wins via third-round submission
Baroni: Cub is tough and has a wide open style. I believe he is the more powerful and dynamic striker and will keep Holloway at bay and on the run. Max has legit skills on the feet too, but the fire power Swanson brings in to this fight will be too much for Holloway to handle. I see things starting to go Cub’s way in the second frame, with an eventual TKO going down in round three.
Prediction: Cub Swanson wins via third-round TKO
Middleweight: Ronaldo Souza vs. Chris Camozzi
Taylor: Let’s be honest. This is a rematch that makes zero sense and was put together just to keep “Jacare” on the fight card. Camozzi and Souza first met in May of 2013 with “Jacare” scoring an easy first-round submission win. Since their first encounter, Souza has reeled of three-straight victories, while Camozzi has gone 1-3 with his lone win coming outside of the UFC promotion. So the question really is – what should we expect to be different this time around? The answer is: NOTHING. Souza should again make quick work of Camozzi (who took this fight on short-notice), and this time I see him winning by way of TKO.
Prediction: Ronaldo Souza wins via first-round TKO
Baroni: Jacare’s fight to lose here. He’s the better grappler, he’s stronger and he’s faster than Chris Camozzi. Souza will also be the better prepared fighter, as Chris is taking the fight on short notice. “Jacare” has far better technique and is equally more athletic, so it’s really an uphill battle for Camozzi. I think Chris will be lucky to see the third round of this one. “Jacare” by a surprising TKO mid way through the second frame.
Prediction: Ronaldo Souza wins via second-round TKO
Middleweight Main Event: Luke Rockhold vs. Lyoto Machida
Taylor: How can anybody not be excited for this fight?! We have the former Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold taking on the always dangerous former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida. Both men are fantastic in the stand-up game and are equally difficult to takedown too the mat. Rockhold is the bigger and younger fighter of the two and I think that will benefit him in this bout with Machida. If Rockhold can utilize his kicks and lead jab to keep Lyoto at bay, I think he can out-point and frustrate Machida. However, “The Dragon” is the master of cat and mouse games and almost always finds a way to land that one devastating blow. With all that said, my guess is that Luke Rockhold is probably a little more hungry than the former champ Lyoto Machida, and that extra bit of championship desire will be the difference in what should be a five-round war.
Prediction: Luke Rockhold wins by unanimous decision
Baroni: Rockhold is on a mission! He is a giant middleweight when it comes to height and reach and his appetite for a UFC Championship might prove to be his biggest weapon when it comes to beating Machida. Rockhold is training hard at AKA and is reaping all the extra benefits of being a good-looking UFC star. Machida on the other hand has been there and done that. I am not a big proponent of older fighters dropping weight classes. There’s a reason you never see it done in boxing. It’s not what an older fighter should be focused on. Rockhold, a true big middleweight, will outsize, out-strength and out-speed a depleted Machida on route to a decision victory. Rockhold is just going to out-hustle “The Dragon” in this one. Expect Luke to use his size, takedown defense and a host of flashy kicks to get the W.
Prediction: Luke Rockhold wins by unanimous decision
Do you agree with the predictions of our staff writer Chris Taylor and the “New York Bad Ass” Phil Baroni? Who do you have winning these four main card bouts? Sound off Penn Nation!