UFC on FUEL TV 3: Poirier vs. Korean Zombie Predictions
We’ve got a rare mid-week card to break down as the UFC returns to Fuel TV with an event headlined by featherweight contenders Dustin Poirier and “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung.
I’m flying solo on this one, but don’t worry – the joint efforts of The Roar’s UFC community writing team will return for the number events, with UFC 146 next up in a couple weeks.
(Erin Tierney, Sam Brown, and myself will connect like Voltron to bring you three sets of prediction for that blockbuster card, but for Wednesday’s show, it’s all me.)
Here we go.
Dustin Poirier (12-1) vs. Chan Sung Jung (12-3)
There’s a good chance that the winner of this one ends up facing the winner of the UFC 149 title fight between Jose Aldo and Erik Koch. As such, you can expect both Poirier and “TKZ” to be coming out looking to earn an impressive win.
While Jung is coming off a seven-second knockout of Mark Hominick, I can’t put too much stock into that performance; Hominick wasn’t himself, threw a careless punch, and paid for it. Though Jung gets all the credit for capitalizing on my fellow Canadian’s mistake, I don’t see anything like that happening here.
Poirier has the markings of a special fighter – a guy who goes out and dominates the opponents he’s supposed to dominate, and keeps getting better with each appearance. With is initial UFC 143 opponent Koch now slotted opposite Aldo later this summer, you can be sure “The Diamond” will be out to prove he belongs in the title conversation himself.
The key for Poirier is to push the pace, and force Jung to fight his style of fight. If he can get Jung going backwards, and breaking from the more structured, technical approach he’s shown lately, the 23-year-old American featherweight should score another impressive finish.
Prediction: Dustin Poirier by TKO, Round 2
Amir Sadollah (6-3) vs. Jorge Lopez (11-2)
In a battle of welterweight Muay Thai practitioners, I have to give the edge to Sadollah. While he has fewer total fights, each of his nine appearances have come in the UFC; by comparison, this is just the second trip into the Octagon for Lopez.
This is a pivotal fight for Sadollah, who won Season 7 of The Ultimate Fighter, but has yet to find consistency in the cage. He’s coming off a one-sided decision loss to Duane Ludwig, and a loss here could be the end of the line for the charismatic kickboxer.
To find success, he needs to pressure Lopez from the outset; be the one dictating where the fight takes place, and be the first one to throw in every exchange.
Don’t be surprised is Sadollah works to close the distance, and fight from the clinch, using more of his Sambo background in this one, as Lopez struggled mightily in the grappling department against Justin Edwards in his UFC debut.
Prediction: Amir Sadollah by Unanimous Decision
Jeremy Stephens (20-7) vs. Donald Cerrone (17-4)
Call me crazy, but I’m thinking we see an upset in this one.
Cerrone looked disinterested at the weigh-ins. Maybe that was a product of having to cut weight, and he’ll be back ready to whoop ass when the time comes, but as a guy who has talked in the past about the importance of having his mind straight heading into a fight, I’m now leaning towards “Lil Heathen” here.
This has the potential to mirror Stephens’ fight with Sam Stout, another talented, technical kickboxer who is hard to put away. Stephens landed a number of power shots in that one, and Cerrone isn’t one to shy away from an exchange, so a repeat is certainly possible.
I also like that Stephens has spent a portion of this camp working with Eric Del Fierro and the team at Alliance MMA; you’re only as good as the people you train with, and the team at Alliance are some of the best.
Prediction: Jeremy Stephens by Unanimous Decision
Jeff Hougland (10-4) vs. Yves Jabouin (17-7)
This one is probably going to come back and bite me, but I’m siding with the underdog here as well.
While Jabouin has won back-to-back fights since dropping to bantamweight, they’ve both been split decisions, and I personally thought he lost the second of those two meetings. While he’s a talented, exciting striker, his weakness is on the ground, and that’s where Hougland’s strengths lie.
Provided his conditioning is a little better than when he made his UFC debut last summer, I can see this turning into a series of takedowns and clinches from Hougland, as he does just enough to edge out a decision.
Prediction: Jeff Hougland by Unanimous Decision
Fabio Maldonando (18-4) vs. Igor Pokrajac (24-8)
This light heavyweight contest should be a brawl.
Pokrajac has won back-to-back outings after starting his UFC career with a 1-3 mark. Last time out, he needed just 35 seconds to stop Krzysztof Soszynski, a strong follow-up to his first round finish of Todd Brown nine months earlier. Maldonado, on the other hand, comes in off an entertaining loss to Kyle Kingsbury, his first defeat in nearly four years.
While the trending says “Pokrajac,” I’m picking Maldonado. The former professional boxer hits like a truck, and I just can’t see Pokrajac standing in with him for the full 15 minutes and coming away victorious. At some point, the Brazilian lands a big shot, wobbles Pokrajac, and finishes him off.
Prediction: Fabio Maldonado by TKO, Round 3
Tom Lawlor (7-4) vs. Jason MacDonald (25-15)
Lawlor is an entertaining character at weigh-ins and during his walk to the cage, but neither of those things help him once he’s in the Octagon. Submissions have been his kryptonite, and MacDonald has the jiu-jitsu game to hand him a fourth loss in five appearances.
MacDonald is trying to ensure that he gets to compete at UFC 149 this summer, where he plans to retire in front of family and friends. While I think it happens either way, a win guarantees it, and the Canadian should be able to get the job done inside the distance.
Look for him to bring this fight to the ground, and hunt for a submission. Lawlor leaves himself open pretty frequently, and his spotty conditioning doesn’t help him much as the fight drags on. MacDonald should capitalize on both, and win his way to a farewell fight in Calgary this summer.
Prediction: Jason MacDonald by Submission, Round 2
Preliminary Card Predictions
Marcus LeVesseur over Cody McKenzie – Unanimous Decision
Brad Tavares over Dongi Yang – Unanimous Decision
Carlo Prater over TJ Grant – Unanimous Decision
Rafael dos Anjos over Kamal Shalorus – Submission, Round 2
Jeff Curran over Johnny Eduardo – Submission, Round 3
Francisco Rivera over Alex Soto – TKO, Round 1