The UFC returns to Australia this weekend for a card stacked with prime 10 fighters and prospects hoping to earn a spot within the rankings when this occasion unfolds on Saturday (Sunday native time).

On the prime of the invoice, former heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum appears to be like to construct on his lightning-quick submission win over Walt Harris in October when he faces Marcin Tybura in a matchup of fighters each hoping to earn a spot within the title race in 2018.

Within the co-main occasion, the ladies’s flyweight division will kick off with an all-Australia battle as former Final Fighter competitor Bec Rawlings takes on Invicta FC veteran Jessica-Rose Clark. Additionally on the cardboard, always-exciting striker Tim Means will tackle Belal Muhammad, whereas former Final Fighter Nations winner Elias Theodorou returns to motion in opposition to native favourite and four-time Olympian Dan Kelly.

In right this moment’s fantasy preview, we’ll look at these fights and several other extra to see who has the benefit going into Saturday night time and if there could be an upset or two brewing at UFC Combat Evening: Werdum vs. Tybura.

SPLIT DECISION

These are the fights which might be simply too near name, however a number of minor variations between favourite and underdog could lead on one fighter to victory and the opposite to defeat.

Bec Rawlings vs. Jessica Rose-Clark

As the brand new UFC girls’s flyweight division prepares to crown its first champion in December, Bec Rawlings and Jessica-Rose Clark are each going to try to make a press release for future title competition after they conflict at 125 kilos.

Bec Rawlings of Australia walks into the arena before facing Seohee Ham of South Korea in their women's strawweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on March 20, 2016 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)Rawlings has all the time been thought-about a troublesome out for anybody when she was competing at 115 kilos, however she was struggling by means of rigorous weight cuts that drained her earlier than ever entering into the Octagon. Now that she’ll get the possibility to combat at flyweight, Rawlings hopes to maximise her second probability within the UFC beginning along with her bout this weekend.

As for Clark, she accepted this combat on quick discover however she was already coaching for a distinct bout whereas nonetheless competing at Invicta FC so she’s not going to be ailing ready for this matchup. Very similar to Rawlings, Clark is as powerful as they arrive, with a gritty type contained in the cage proven largely by means of her placing, the place she assaults with actual ferocity. Generally Clark will get a bit sloppy when she begins winging punches with an opponent, however she’ll undoubtedly have a keen participant in a slugfest by going through an analogous fighter in Rawlings.

Rawlings loves a very good brawl and he or she’s by no means afraid to simply chunk down on her mouthpiece and throw punches with an opponent. Though she’s shifting up a division, Rawlings will nonetheless take pleasure in a little bit of a measurement benefit on this combat and he or she’s going to have the added bonus of not going by means of a strenuous weight minimize. If Rawlings can lastly match her will and need along with her performances contained in the cage, she’s going to be a very enjoyable addition to the flyweight division. Rawlings hits laborious, she’s good within the clinch and he or she’s not afraid to take the combat to the bottom.

Clark is way the identical and he or she’s undoubtedly confronted some powerful competitors in recent times, however being underneath the intense lights of her UFC debut, to not point out preventing in entrance of her residence nation followers, could be the distinction between getting a win or falling to a defeat. Rawlings has been right here earlier than and whereas the stress is unquestionably ratcheted up now that she’s lastly getting the possibility to combat at 125 kilos, she’ll look to shine in her flyweight debut in a attention-grabbing affair with Clark that might steal the present. Ultimately, Rawlings nonetheless maintains a slight benefit based mostly on her UFC expertise.

Prediction: Bec Rawlings by unanimous choice

Jake Matthews vs. Bojan Velickovic

Following a stint at light-weight after showing on The Final Fighter, Jake Matthews will enterprise as much as 170 kilos for his combat this weekend in opposition to powerful as nails welterweight competitor Bojan Velickovic.

Velickovic has confronted his share of ups and downs contained in the Octagon, however he is undoubtedly proven a ton of grit and dedication as effectively. Most just lately, Velickovic battled for 3 hard-fought rounds with Darren Until simply earlier than Until went on to knock out Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in his subsequent combat. Whereas Velickovic did not win that combat, the truth that he took Until to a call reveals what sort of toughness he exudes in all of his matchups.

This time round, Velickovic will look to make use of his measurement and energy to check Matthews as he strikes as much as welterweight for the primary time within the UFC. After all, Matthews was all the time an enormous fighter for 155 kilos so it is no shock that he moved up a division, however following two straight losses, he is acquired a number of stress driving on his shoulders this weekend. At his finest, Matthews is an imposing pressure with a powerful placing assault and a really stable floor recreation. He averages greater than three vital strikes landed per minute whereas mixing in additional than two takedowns per 15 minutes within the Octagon.

Matthews may need to show this right into a grind as a result of he is giving up top and attain to Velickovic, who will undoubtedly be the larger man going into the combat. Velickovic is unquestionably extra of a striker, who will attempt to land energy photographs from the surface however has no downside going three rounds both if that is what it takes to get the win. If Velickovic can put the stress on Matthews early, he might be able to put on down the Australian fighter after which actually lean on him by the third spherical. Velickovic is a former middleweight, and so long as he makes use of that measurement and energy to his benefit, he ought to be capable of bully Matthews across the Octagon en path to a call win. Don’t be shocked if Velickovic is ready to end as effectively as a result of he is been drawn into various slugfests throughout his profession and he appears to all the time have the innate potential to outlive whereas his opponents are left staring up on the lights questioning what simply occurred.

Prediction: Bojan Velickovic by unanimous choice

Will Brooks vs. Nik Lentz

In a battle of former teammates from American Prime Crew in Florida, Will Brooks faces off with Nik Lentz in a combat that might turn out to be a battle of positions.

Will Brooks punches Ross Pearson in their lightweight bout during The Ultimate Fighter Finale event at MGM Grand Garden Arena on July 8, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC)Lentz is a infamous grinder who likes to push his opponents in opposition to the cage wall and work for takedowns in addition to punishing them to the physique and head with a grimy boxing type that is laborious to contest at occasions. Lentz averages practically 4 takedowns per combat though he is struggled a bit extra at occasions getting opponents to the bottom since returning to the light-weight division. Nonetheless, Lentz is sort of a magnet within the Octagon, gluing himself to an opponent and simply sporting them down spherical after spherical after spherical.

Now Brooks isn’t any stranger to wrestling, as he is additionally proven excellent tendencies each offensively and defensively, together with practically two takedowns per combat on common. On the ft, Brooks is a bit more numerous, touchdown greater than 4 vital strikes per minute with unimaginable accuracy of just below 59 p.c. Brooks additionally has much better defensive abilities on the ft than Lentz and that might play an element on this battle of attrition.

The place Brooks seemingly takes over in a combat reminiscent of that is together with his energy and endurance over three rounds whereas wanting to make use of his power to muscle out of Lentz’s takedowns and grappling exchanges. Brooks is a really sturdy fighter at 155 kilos and his potential to reverse positions with Lentz in opposition to the cage after which counter together with his personal offensive wrestling might give his former teammate suits on this combat. Brooks has stumbled a bit since arriving to the UFC, however this combat might give him the proper alternative to shine.

Prediction: Will Brooks by unanimous choice

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KNOCKOUT PICKS

These are the fights that seem like a bit extra one-sided, however do not forget that that is MMA, the place something can – and often does – occur.

Fabricio Werdum vs. Marcin Tybura

Any time there is a heavyweight matchup, full disclosure should be made that something can occur, however that being mentioned, it is awfully laborious to choose in opposition to former champion Fabricio Werdum in his principal occasion matchup in opposition to Marcin Tybura.

Now make no mistake, Tybura is as powerful as they arrive on this division and he is confirmed it with three wins in a row, together with two by the use of knockout. Tybura may be very effectively rounded with nice accuracy in his placing, the place he is touchdown over 51 p.c of his photographs whereas additionally showcasing very stable protection on the ft. Tybura isn’t any slouch on the bottom both, however his finest weapon there’ll in all probability be his 80 p.c takedown protection, as a result of getting caught on the mat with Werdum is a recipe for catastrophe on this combat.

The actual fact is that Werdum simply has so some ways to win that it is powerful to choose in opposition to him. He is a floor wizard, as proven in his final combat, as he wrapped up a submission in opposition to Harris nearly instantly after they hit the mat, and his boxing has come a good distance over the previous few years. In reality, Werdum used his placing to batter former champion Cain Velasquez earlier than finally latching on to a fight-ending guillotine choke submission.

So long as Werdum would not underestimate Tybura, which might be a large mistake, he ought to be capable of discover a solution to both out strike or out grapple the Polish heavyweight to get one other win. The perfect wager can be for Werdum to tug Tybura down after which showcase his world-class Brazilian jiu-jitsu abilities to get one other submission win. Tybura will definitely put up a combat, however Werdum ought to nonetheless discover a solution to get the win.

Prediction: Fabricio Werdum by submission, Spherical 2

Elias Theodorou vs. Dan Kelly

Elias Theodorou of Canada punches Cezar Ferreira of Brazil in their middleweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event inside the Scotiabank Centre on February 19, 2017 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC) Any time Dan Kelly fights, he all the time appears to drag off a shock, and this weekend could also be no totally different, however he undoubtedly has a troublesome matchup on his fingers with Elias Theodorou trying to make a press release in Australia.

Kelly’s awkward placing type, mixed together with his Olympic-level judo, will all the time make him a nightmare to cope with contained in the Octagon. Simply ask Rashad Evans, Antonio Carlos Junior or any of the opposite fighters he defeated within the UFC who in all probability checked out him as a pace bump on their solution to ranked competition. It is protected to say that Theodorou will not make that very same mistake, particularly contemplating that he is bouncing again from a loss to Brad Tavares in his final combat.

On this combat, search for Theodorou to make use of his five-inch attain benefit to maintain Kelly on the surface earlier than swooping in together with his wrestling to maintain the Australian guessing. Kelly has feasted on fighters who do not respect his talent set, however Theodorou is not more likely to be a kind of folks. Theodorou is aware of that sleeping on Kelly might lead to a loss and that is why it is extra possible that he is put all the things into his coaching camp to make sure he returns residence with a win.

Whereas Theodorou can use a grinding type that usually slows the tempo of his fights all the way down to a crawl, that could be simply the technique to preserve Kelly off steadiness for 3 consecutive rounds earlier than the Canadian middleweight earns a call victory.

Prediction: Elias Theodorou by unanimous choice

Adam Wieczorek vs. Anthony Hamilton

UFC newcomer Adam Wieczorek will look to make an affect in his first combat as he takes on Octagon veteran Anthony Hamilton, who returns following a TKO loss in his final combat that had him considering retirement.

Hamilton nonetheless possesses the identical sort of knockout energy that helped him get wins over fighters reminiscent of Damian Grabowski and Ruan Potts within the UFC. He additionally has an important staff behind him with coaches reminiscent of Greg Jackson in his nook. Nonetheless, Hamilton has fallen by knockout in his previous two fights and that does not bode effectively whereas going up in opposition to one other heavyweight with energy in Wieczorek.

At 6-foot-5 inches tall and 250 kilos, Wieczorek is an enormous, highly effective heavyweight with lengthy vary and loads of energy in his punches. Wieczorek has additionally proven nice submission abilities on the bottom, the place he is wrapped up a slew of armbars and chokes all through his profession. Wieczorek enters the combat on a seven-fight win streak and he hasn’t gone to choice as soon as throughout that point. In reality, Wieczorek’s solely loss got here to present UFC heavyweight Marcin Tybura within the second combat of his profession, however he nonetheless managed to go the space in that combat.

Contemplating Hamilton’s fragile state following a pair of powerful losses, search for Wieczorek to return out aggressively and search for the knockout within the opening spherical. If Wieczorek can land an early barrage, Hamilton might wither from the storm and hand the Polish heavyweight his first UFC win.

Prediction: Adam Wieczorek by knockout, Spherical 1

UPSET SPECIAL

Belal Muhammad vs. Tim Means

Belal Muhammad stands on the scale during the UFC Fight Night weigh-ins at T-Mobile Arena on July 6, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC)Tim Means may simply be some of the ferocious and nasty strikers within the welterweight division, however he’ll have a battle on his fingers this weekend as he faces Belal Muhammad in Australia. The chances makers have Means as a really stable favourite, however do not sleep on Muhammad as a result of he is confirmed folks fallacious earlier than and this could be one other probability for him to drag off the upset on Saturday night time.

Muhammad is all the time going to be a troublesome matchup as a result of he is practically not possible to foretell. He is acquired a powerful placing arsenal on the ft, the place he lands greater than 4 vital photographs per minute with over 42 p.c accuracy. Muhammad additionally averages just below three takedowns per combat, which shall be an enormous weapon in defending Means’ nasty soiled boxing type, the place he likes to get in shut and simply batter his opponents with elbows and knees.

Means will really take pleasure in a stable three-inch attain benefit, however he not often likes to strike from the surface. As a substitute, Means loves to shut the space and punish fighters from the clinch, however that might enable Muhammad the opening to get takedowns that might finally frustrate the New Mexico native. Muhammad may be very sensible together with his technique and there is little doubt his coaches could have him able to bait Means ahead after which search for the takedown to negate his energy on the ft. Muhammad can also be very sturdy for all three rounds, so he will not tire from that type of assault as he appears to be like to plant Means on the mat and hammer him on the bottom for 15 minutes.

Now it is protected to say that Muhammad cannot afford to make many errors or Means will make him pay. however relating to upset picks, that is nearly as good a alternative as any on the cardboard. Muhammad has steadily improved since arriving within the UFC and this might be one other probability for him to shine on the principle card on Saturday night time.

Prediction: Belal Muhammad by unanimous choice

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