By Matt Koontz
UFC Fight Night Boise: Dos Santos vs. Ivanov: This fight card is stacked, and it is like it was kept a secret. The UFC barely advertised this card and most fans seem to know nothing about this card. It is a shame because this card will be one of the best FS1 cards of 2018. I am excited for the entire card top to bottom.
UFC Early Prelims UFC Fight Pass (6:30 PM/ET):
Jessica Aguilar (19-6) vs. Jodie Esquibel (6-3): This fight in the women’s strawweight division kicks off the night. Both women with a win might find a number next to their name next week. Both women tend to let fights go the distance and I think Aguilar will pick up the split decision win.
Mark De La Rosa (9-1) vs. Elias Garcia (3-0): This fight in the flyweight division is going to represent two new fighters for the UFC. De La Rosa lost his only fight in the UFC and Garcia is making his debut in the UFC. This fight could be fun as I think both fighters are a little underrated on their feet, but this will go to the ground as both fighters are better on the mat. I have Garcia picking up a 3rd round submission victory.
#8 (7) Liz Carmouche (10-6) vs. Jennifer Maia (15-4-1): This is the main event of the UFC Fight Pass prelims and it should be a good fight. Liz is a well-known UFC vet and is coming off a loss where the judges really messed up and robbed her of a win she really deserved and will be out for blood. Carmouche is a better stand-up fighter than she is on the mat, but she can still be dangerous on the mat. Jennifer Maia is an Invicta fighter making the transition to the UFC and she is dangerous. I think Maia will pick up a nice win via unanimous decision.
FS1 Prelims (8 PM/ET):
Kurt Holobaugh (17-4) vs. Raoni Barcelos (11-1): This fight kicks off the televised prelims and will take place in the featherweight division. Raoni is making his UFC debut and for the fans who haven’t seen his fights they should know that he has fast and powerful hands. His stand-up is dangerous and could make himself a dangerous threat in this division. Kurt is making a true comeback to the UFC as he was gone for 4 years before his return in July 2017 but it was overturned to a no contest. Kurt has developed his skills and is a more complete fighter now and could be a steady fighter in the UFC. I think he will get this fight to the ground if he can because he has the superior ground game. I have to say this fight could be great and I think Barcelos picks up a 2nd round KO victory.
Justin Scoggins (11-4) vs. Said Nurmagomedov (11-1): This flyweight fight is going to be an interesting one. Said is the cousin of Khabib and his lone loss in his career is to Magomed Bibulatov. He will be making his UFC debut and is a dangerous fighter, a Russian and European MMA champion. His opponent Scoggins is a very interesting fighter with some of the most unorthodox striking in this division. He is unpredictable and dangerous on his feet but will need to avoid the mat against Said, if he does he will pick up the win. I believe Said picks up the 3rd round submission win.
#10 (10) Darren Elkins (24-5) vs. Alexander Volkanovski (17-1): This fight in the featherweight division is going to be incredible as it sets us up for fight of the night. Elkins has proven that no matter how much trouble he is in that he is still a threat. He could pick up the win no matter how rocked and out of it he is. This guy is a freaking monster and someone who keeps getting underestimated by the fans and other fighters even. His opponent Volkanovski though is extremely dangerous as well and enters this fight on a 14-fight win streak including 4-0 in the UFC. If he picks up this win you will surely find a number next to his name. I have no idea how to pick any striker against Elkins because he seems unbreakable, but I am going to take Volkanovski in this one. Volkanovski wins in the 2nd round via KO.
NR (15) Eddie Wineland (23-12-1) vs. #12 (13) Alejandro Perez (22-6-1): This is the main event of the televised prelims and takes place in the bantamweight division. Eddie is a great stand-up fighter with some really impressive striking. He has power in his hands and can end a fight quick with his strong hands. He is a wrestler but seems to use that more to stay standing and stop takedowns. His opponent Alejandro Perez is also a monster with his striking. I think Perez is better on the mat than Wineland and the more complete mixed martial artist. I believe Perez wins this fight in the 2nd round via KO.
FS1 Main Card (10 PM/ET):
#6 (6) Cat Zingano (9-3) vs. #7 (7) Marion Reneau (9-3-1): The first fight of the UFC Boise main card will take place in the women’s bantamweight division. Marion is making some noise in this division and could put herself in the top 5 with a win here and get herself one win away from a title opportunity. Cat Zingano is trying to turn around a tough loss and get back on track with a win here. This fight will be gritty and probably go the distance as these two will be very even and put on a good fight for the UFC fans. I believe Cat wins this one and starts her climb back up this division. Cat wins via unanimous decision.
#11 (12) Myles Jury (17-2) vs. Chad Mendes (17-4): The 2nd fight of the main card will be taking place in the featherweight division. Chad Mendes is making his return from a 3-year layoff following a 2-year suspension due to popping for PED’s. Chad is a great wrestler with powerful hands and is a dangerous fighter that will land takedowns just to use ground and pound. His opponent Myles Jury is a BJJ great but has some good striking. If Myles can win this one he will be in the top 10 looking for one more fight before getting a possible title shot. If Mendes can win he will find himself ranked in the middle of this division and a fight or two away from a possible title shot as well. I believe Mendes wins this fight via TKO in the 2nd round once he get the fight to the mat and uses his great ground and pound.
Randy Brown (10-2) vs. Niko Price (11-1, 1NC): Everyone be ready to watch a show because this fight is going to end in someone tapping or getting knocked out. Price might be one of the most underrated fighters in the welterweight division and I believe with a win here he will get a number next to his name. Price finishes almost every fight and he can do so with his hands or on the mat with his incredible submission skills. Brown wants to prove he is more than a Dana White looking for a fight guy. He isn’t as good on the mat and would probably find himself submitted if this goes to the ground. Brown is good fighter with the potential to become a contender in this division. I have Niko Price winning this fight via submission in round 2.
Dennis Bermudez (17-8) vs. Rick Glenn (20-5-1): This fight could be interesting in the featherweight division. Bermudez used to be royalty in this division but is riding a 3-fight losing streak and really needs to turn it around. His striking is what he needs to rely on here and try to finish this fight as he tends to let too many reach decision. Rick Glenn has been known to finish fights but has struggled to do so in the UFC and will need to against Bermudez. If Glenn can use his KO power and end this fight because Bermudez is dangerous from start to finish. I think Glenn will make this fight very interesting but Bermudez wins this one in the 3rd round by way of TKO.
Sage Northcutt (10-2) vs. Zak Ottow (16-5): The co-main event of the evening is taking place in the welterweight division. Zak will try to get this fight to the ground if he wants to survive and pick up a submission because he is the far superior ground fighter. Sage hasn’t really impressed me in his pas two wins as he has fought for the judges score card and looks like all he is fighting for is decision. Sage could become a title contender one day if he learned to push the pace and finish fights like he used to do but he seems to have picked up the scoring mentality that his gym provides. That’s why they have only 1 title and 0 successful defenses in that gym. He needs to stick to who he was and learn the wrestling and clean striking but keep his aggression. If this fight goes to the ground Zak will pick up the win but if it stays standing Sage is going to win this one. I believe Sage will keep this fight standing and pick up another unanimous decision win.
#8 (8) Junior Dos Santos (18-5) vs. Blagoy Ivanov (16-1-1): The main event of the evening surely will be an interesting fight. Ivanov is making his much-anticipated UFC debut and will be doing so against a UFC legend. Ivanov is a monstrous man with a whole lot of strength and powerful hands. Ivanov is a judo and sambo fighter and will have a true advantage on the mat and will be able to use his skills to get it there relatively simply. His opponent JDS is one hard hitting monster who can finish a fight in a matter of seconds with a flurry of punches or with just one clean shot. I am really interested by this fight and I know JDS is the favorite as he probably should be, but something tells me Ivanov is going to shock us and pick up a 4th round submission win.
Since I'm doing this ten minutes before the Fight Pass Prelims, I'll only do the PS1 Prelims and Main Card.
FS1 Prelims (4 Fights):
Featherweight Bout: Kurt Holobaugh, (17-4) vs. Raoni Barcelos, (11-1)
Prediction: Raoni Barcelos via 1st Round TKO
Flyweight Bout: Justin Scoggins, (11-4) vs. Said Nurmagomedov, (11-1)
Prediction: Said Nurmagmedov via Unanimous Decision
Featherweight Bout: #10 Darren Elkins, (24-5) vs. Alexander Volkanovski, (17-1)
Prediction: Darren Elkins via Unanimous Decision
Bantamweight Bout: #13 Alejandro Perez, (22-6-1) vs. #15 Eddie Wineland, (23-12-1)
Prediction: Alejandro Perez via Unanimous Decision
FS1 Main Card, (6 Fights)
Women's Bantamweight Bout: #6 Cat Zingano, (9-3) vs. #7 Marion Reneau, (9-3-1)
Prediction: Cat Zingano via Unanimous Decision
Featherweight Bout: #12 Myles Jury, (17-2) vs. Chad Mendes, (17-4)
Prediction: Myles Jury via 2nd Round TKO
Welterweight Bout: Randy Brown, (10-2) vs. Niko Price, (11-1), 1NC
Prediction: Niko Price via Split Decision
Featherweight Bout: Dennis Bermudez, (17-8) vs. Rick Glenn, (20-5-1)
Prediction: Rick Glenn via 1st Round TKO
Co-Main Event, Welterweight Bout: Sage Northcutt, (10-2) vs, Zak Ottow, (16-5)
Prediction: Sage Northcutt via 3rd Round Submission
Main Event, Heavyweight Bout: #8 Junior Dos Santos, (18-5) vs. Blagoy Ivanov, (16-1-1)
Prediction: Blagoy Ivanov via 2nd Round TKO