UFC Fight Night 113 | Nelson vs Ponzinibbio predictions

Gunnar Nelson smiles after defeating Brandon Thatch in their welterweight mixed martial arts bout at UFC 189 on Saturday, July 11, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
(AP Photo/John Locher)

Though it may be difficult to tell with all the chaos that is the Mayweather-McGregor world press tour, there’s some actual fighting taking place this weekend. The UFC heads across the pond to Glasgow, Scotland, as it pushes some of its brighter young stars.

Can Khalil Rountree make it two in a row in the UFC? Will Cynthia Calvillo continue to shine under the spotlight? Is Gunnar Nelson going to earn a big win over a top-15 opponent?

We try and answer these questions in our latest set of predictions for UFC Fight Night 113.

  • Leslie Smith def. Amanda Lemos via decision
  • Brett Johns def. Albert Morales via decision
  • Danny Henry def. Daniel Teymur via TKO
  • Galore Bofando def. Charlie Ward via TKO
  • Alexander Pantoja def. Neil Seery via submission
  • Danny Roberts def. Bobby Nash via decision

James Mulheron vs. Justin Willis 

A pair of UFC newcomers, there isn’t much to be said of either Mulheron or Willis. If nothing else, we’ll point to Mulheron’s heritage as an Englishman to assume he was put on this card for a reason. It doesn’t hurt that the man has more than twice as much experience as Willis does, either.

Prediction: Mulheron def. Willis via decision

Khalil Rountree vs. Paul Craig

Rountree carried a great deal of hype with him as he entered “The Ultimate Fighter” in 2016. He’s since lost most of it, losing in the televised tournament before being granted a second chance after an injury to somebody else who had advanced. The second opportunity didn’t amount to much, as he dropped a one-sided decision to Andrew Sanchez (who’s since moved on to compete 20 pounds lighter), and a first-round submission to Tyson Pedro. A heavy-handed knockout artist, Rountree likely can put away most light heavyweights with the right shot.

Craig, however, is going to do everything in his power to eliminate chances for that shot. A submission artist by trade, Craig represents everything that Rountree has struggled with in the past.

Prediction: Craig def. Rountree via submission

Jack Marshman vs. Ryan Janes

Nicknamed “The Hammer,” Marshman has picked up 62 percent of his 21 victories by knockout or TKO. He was overwhelmed by a more tactical striker in Thiago Santos the last time out, but he’s not facing somebody the caliber of “Marreta” here.

Marshman faces talented submission artist Janes, who looks to pick up his second victory inside the Octagon. His patented rear-naked choke submissions will certainly be a threat, but he’ll need to find a way to get the fight to the ground first.

Prediction: Marshman def. Janes via TKO  

Stevie Ray vs. Paul Felder

Felder is one of the most entertaining fighters at 155 pounds, while Ray is one of the most promising.

An aggressive striker who prefers to keep the fight on the feet so he can unleash hell on the man standing on the other side, Felder has picked up eight of his 13 victories by knockout or TKO.

Ray, meanwhile, has proven to be a more well-rounded fighter when the cage door closes. Splitting all his victories nearly evenly between knockouts, submissions and decisions, Ray has proven he can succeed just about anywhere.

Prediction: Ray def. Felder via decision

Joanne Calderwood vs. Cynthia Calvillo

Calvillo has enjoyed a blemish-free UFC career to date, winning in both her first tries inside the Octagon — two bouts that took place on pay-per-view main cards. She’ll make her way to cable TV Sunday in Glasgow, retaining her main-card streak when she meets Calderwood in the co-main event.

Calvillo is a talented grappler who also doubles as a volume-heavy striker. It’s the first of those skills that should have a heavy influence on her game plan against Calderwood. “JoJo” has yet to live up to the expectations created before her run on TUF, but she’s still one of the most talented fighters in the division, and easily the toughest test of Calvillo’s young career. A more seasoned fighter on the feet, she’ll have to stay there to beat this rising contender.

Prediction: Calderwood def. Calvillo via decision

Gunnar Nelson vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio

A matchup between the No. 8- and No. 14-ranked fighters in the UFC’s welterweight division, the disparity between where these two stand shouldn’t automatically discount Ponzinibbio’s (No. 14) chances here.

Nelson has made a name for himself by dispatching lesser foes with relative ease, earning six of his seven UFC victories (and 12 of 16 overall) by submission. His biggest victory was against Albert Tumenov, whom he surprisingly out-struck on the feet before forcing the tap. Nelson is a crafty striker, but it remains to be seen if that craftiness will be enough to outduel the tactical pressure of Ponzinibbio.

“Gente Boa” is 6-2 inside the Octagon, riding a four-fight winning streak that included him putting away an ultra-durable Court McGee last spring. A Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, Ponzinibbio has yet to suffer a submission defeat, but that streak may not last.

Prediction: Nelson def. Ponzinibbio via submission

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