After UFC 205, one the greatest cards in the history of MMA, we get a not-so-great card – UFC Fight Night 99. Although this might not be anywhere near as good in comparison to the UFC cards we've been getting lately, this card hosts some interesting storylines, as it features a rematch between Gegard Mousasi and Uriah Hall, the debut of a former Bellator heavyweight champion, and a high-profile fight between top flyweights Kyoji Horiguchi and Ali Bagautinov.
What: UFC Fight Night 99
Where: The SSE Arena, Belfast, Northern Ireland
When: Saturday, Nov. 19. The 10-fight Fight Pass preliminary card starts at 12:15 p.m. ET, while the four-fight Fight Pass main card starts at 4 p.m. ET.
These two first fought at UFC Fight Night 75 in Saitama, Japan. It was a fight that offered an interesting clash of styles. Mousasi entered the cage as the favorite in many people's eyes, as he had the experience and ground game advantage, and you could also make a solid case that his striking, although very different in style, was probably better than Hall's. On the other hand, Hall was a flashy, very explosive athlete with a striking game that when on could be a problem to anyone in the division. I don't think perception has changed this second time around.
Mousasi is a fighter, that unlike Hall, has always been consistent with his performances, and at this point, we know what to expect from "The Dreamcatcher." Hall is a very different story, as he sometimes shows glimpses of greatness and promise in his fights, but sometimes also falls flat in his performances. You never know with Hall, as he can come up with some type of spinning technique that could knock you out cold at any time. But I think this fight is going to go very much like the first round of their first fight. I see Mousasi mixing things up, taking down and controlling Hall on the ground to get a victory in Belfast.
Ross Pearson vs. Stevie Ray
I like this matchup because I think their styles favor both fighters and that should bring the best out of them, leaving us with a fun fight on our hands. Both Pearson and Ray are tough as nails, hard hitters that always look to move forward. Both Europeans strike very similar, but Person is a bit more flat-footed as he has more of a traditional muay-thai style. Meanwhile, Ray moves often and looks to stay on his toes at all times. I think movement is going to be key in this one.
This a tough fight to predict, as I have a hard time seeing Pearson drop three in a row against a short-notice opponent. Yet, I see Ray's chin holding up to Pearson's bombs, and I see the Scottish fighter using his movement to get the better of the veteran. Also, it wouldn't surprise me if Ray mixes in a takedown or two.
Will Volkov be able to avoid getting pinned against the cage or get taken down by Johnson? I think the answer to this question will essentially determine the outcome of the fight.
Volkov is a former Bellator heavyweight champion with a professional record of 27-6. He stands at 6-foot-7 and uses his height very well with his striking. He's fast with his strikes, works at a decent pace, and is very technical with his stand up, mixing in a good variety of strikes. Johnson is a solid boxer but significantly slower than Volkov. The American is tough, durable, and can frustrate opponents by pinning them against the cage. That could be trouble for the Russian fighter. However, I see Volkov using his speed and range to avoid any kind of grappling with Johnson, turning the fight into a striking battle where he should have the edge over Johnson.
I think it's clear that Lobov's worst matchup is against someone that can take the fight to the ground. And Ishihara is not much of a wrestler, so that makes this fight interesting. Lobov is a tough brawler that carries power in both hands. Ishihara might not be as powerful as Lobov, but I believe he's the quicker, and more technical fighter. I see Ishihara moving in and out, dodging bombs, and landing quick combinations on the Russian. I think the ladies' man gets a decision here and makes a big statement with his performance.
Magnus Cedenblad def. Jack Marshman
Kyoji Horiguchi def. Ali Bagautinov
Kevin Lee def. Magomed Mustafaev
Anna Elmose def. Amanda Cooper
Justin Ledet def. Mark Godbeer
Alexander Yakovlev def. Zak Cummings
Marion Reneau def. Milana Dudieva
Brett Johns def. Kwan Ho Kwak
Abdul Razak Alhassan def. Charlie Ward