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WSOF 18 predictions

Lucas Noonan, WSOF

WSOF stages a rare Thursday-night event, this time putting the bantamweight title up for grabs as champion Marlos Moraes will defend the belt against TUF: Nations veteran Josh Hill in the night's main event. The card also features rising Canadian prospects and MMA curiosity Cody McKenzie.

What: WSOF 18: Moraes vs. Hill

Where: Edmonton Expo Centre in Edmonton, Albert, Canada

When: Thursday, the five-fight preliminary card streams live on MMA Fighting at 6 p.m. ET and the four-fight main card goes live on NBC Sports at 9 p.m. ET.

Marlon Moraes vs. Josh Hill

Hill's a grinder. He likes to close the distance, secure a takedown against the cage and bang on opposition from top position. I just have a hard time seeing how that is going to give Moraes enough problems to either be finished or drop three of five rounds. Moraes has heavy hips in the center of the mat and creates proper spacing against the fence to prevent hand clasps or off balancing. In addition, Hill makes bizarre striking decisions on the feet, either not using effective set-ups or going for high risk maneuvers without a clear purpose. Doing that against a striker as heavy handed and with the kind of timing Moraes has is an incredibly bad idea.

Pick: Moraes

Derek Boyle vs. Shane Campbell

These two have fought before and Campbell came out the winner in what can only be described as a lackluster bout. I'm going to still side with him. The reason why is relative polish. Boyle comes out hard charging and that overwhelms opposition time to time, but Campbell has shown two things worth noticing. First, resiliency in the face of pressure. The Jerrid Burke fight speaks to that fact. Second, he's slightly more polished as a striker. He isn't massively better than Boyle, but he's got enough finesse and defensive instincts to find openings on Boyle's forward-first aggression.

Pick: Campbell

Andrew McInnes vs. Cody McKenzie

I mean, if you can't beat a guy with a limited skill set who says he treats MMA as a hobby, I'm not sure what to say really.

Pick: McInnes

Hakeem Dawodu vs. Tristan Johnson

Johnson's record isn't great (it's not terrible either), but it's slightly deceiving. He's lost his fair share of fights, but to mostly very good opposition. He isn't some warm body being brought in for Dawodu to pulverize. That said, I still favor the 'Mean' Canadian striker. Dawodu has very crisp combinations that change level, side and make use of multiple limbs. He doesn't quite have the finer points of takedown defense worked out, but he does have the basics. More importantly, he strikes a nice balance by incorporating urgent scrambling but not so much that he makes panicked decisions. He's also hard to push out of his rhythm, so he's got my vote.

Pick: Dawodu

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