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UFC Fight Night 98 predictions

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After almost a month without UFC events, the promotion is back in business with a solid card taking place in Mexico City. This event will be headlined by a pivotal lightweight bout featuring former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos vs. top contender Tony Ferguson. This card also hosts the finale of the third season of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America, along with the UFC debut of a Bellator veteran – Marcin Held.

What: The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America 3 Finale

Where: Arena Ciudad de México

When: Saturday, Nov. 5. The three-fight UFC Fight Pass prelims begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, the four-fight FOX Sports 1 preliminary card begins at 8 p.m. ET, and the six-fight main card begins airing on FOX Sports 1 at 10 p.m. ET.

Rafael dos Anjos vs. Tony Ferguson

What a tough fight to predict. This is one of those fights where you can make a solid argument for each fighter to win the bout, and I'd probably agree with either theory. Rafael dos Anjos was the king of the 155-pound division just a few months ago. The Brazilian has tons of experience fighting elite guys, a strong ground game that can shut down many opponents, and very technical striking with decent power. On the other hand, Ferguson is a wild, unorthodox striker with explosive and unpredictable grappling.

This should be a close fight, but I feel the momentum is behind Ferguson.

Dos Anjos is coming off a first-round technical knockout loss to Eddie Alvarez, while Ferguson is on a crazy eight-fight winning streak. Dos Anjos is has also left the gym that helped him get the lightweight belt – Kings MMA. I see Ferguson landing wild shots on dos Anjos and mixing in some sneaky submission attempts that will force the former champ to work. I believe Ferguson's style will confuse dos Anjos.

Pick: Ferguson

Diego Sanchez vs. Marcin Held

Here's a fun fight between a skilled prospect vs. a proven veteran. Held, who was surprisingly released by Bellator, and quickly picked up by the UFC, is just 24 years old and already has 26 fights under his belt. He has decent striking and does a great job at transitioning from the stand-up to his dangerous ground game and leg-lock system. Meanwhile, Sanchez's fighting style is much different than Held's. 'The Nightmare' grinds out victories, as opposed to maneuvering his way to them like Held does. Sanchez is more experienced than Held, and also operates at a higher and faster pace.

Although Held is a solid favorite in this bout, and I think Sanchez is a bit past his prime, I have a feeling Held's first UFC win will have to wait.

I think these two guys will quickly hit the ground and stay there. See, Sanchez is crazy enough to grapple with Held, and that will be his key to victory. Sanchez is one the most underrated ground fighters. In his 35-fight career, Sanchez has never been submitted, facing high-level grapplers such as Nick Diaz Jim Miller, Jorge Santiago and the list goes on. Sanchez also avoided to get submitted in a grappling match against Ryan Hall, who has a similar game to Held's.

I see Sanchez defending Held's submission, staying on top, and riding out a unanimous decision. I mean, even the great Marcelo Garcia had trouble submitting the guy.

Pick: Sanchez

Ricardo Lamas vs. Charles Oliveira

I think this is the easiest fight to pick in the main card. Lamas was forced to extend his training camp by a month and is ready to rip someone's head off, while Oliveira didn't look so great at weigh-ins, missing weight by nine pounds. Lamas is very well-rounded with good jiu-jitsu defense to avoid getting submitted by Oliveira. Oliveira might have better pure muay thai than Lamas, but with grappling involved, Lamas' MMA striking might be more effective. I see Lamas dictating the pace, landing good shots, and even controlling Oliveira on the ground and against the cage.

Pick: Lamas

Martin Bravo vs. Claudio Puelles

This is the finale of the lightweight tournament of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America. It might be flying under the radar in the United States, but we're looking at two of the best featherweight Hispanic prospects – Bravo and Puelles. Bravo, who fights out of Mexico, is 23 years old with a professional record of 10-0. He's well-rounded and fights with a lot of pressure. Bravo has what my high school wrestling coach used to call "the funk", an instinct or natural skill that's not necessarily technique but it somehow works. Puelles is quite the opposite. The 20-year-old Peruvian is 7-1 as a professional fighter and fights extremely technical. Puelles has decent striking and an impressive ground game with sneaky leg locks. Every move he does is calculated.

Puelles' grappling skills and takedowns should give him an edge in this one.

Pick: Puelles

Beneil Dariush vs. Rashid Magomedov

Both these guys are not too far from becoming contenders at 155. Dariush and Magomedov are a bit similar, as they're skilled grapplers with good control. However, I think Dariush is a bit more polished and has faced some tougher competition in his career. Still tough fight to pick.

Pick: Dariush

Alexa Grasso vs. Heather Jo Clark

Grasso will be looking to prove in her home country that she belongs in the UFC and that she could even be the future of the strawweight division. But she has no easy test in front of her, as she's fighting an experienced Clark that has a well-rounded skillset and is tough to finish. I think Grasso's takedown defense should avoid the fight from hitting the ground, leaving her superior striking get her a win in Mexico City.

Pick: Grasso

Undercard
Erik Perez def. Felipe Arantes
Marco Beltran def. Joe Soto
Max Griffin def. Erick Montaño
Douglas Silva de Andrade def. Henry Briones
Sam Alvey def. Alex Nicholson
Marco Polo Reyes def. Jason Novelli
Enrique Barzola def. Chris Avila