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UFC Fight Night 85 predictions

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The UFC returns to Australia for its first fight since the major upset of Ronda Rousey in November, but the card this time is part of the Fight Night series. It features old war horses on one last push for title shot relevancy in the main event with a fixture of other prospects and ranked contenders jockeying for position the rest of the way down.

What: UFC Fight Night: Hunt vs. Mir

Where: Brisbane Entertainment Center, Brisbane, Australia

When: Saturday, the two-fight Fight Pass card starts at 7 p.m. ET, the four-fight Fox Sports 1 preliminary card starts at 8 p.m. and the six-fight main card kicks off at 10 p.m.

Mark Hunt vs. Frank Mir

Whenever fighters get this old, you never know when the bottom is going to drop out. Is Hunt's legendary chin going to hold up? Will Mir gas too quickly? Are both still willing to pull the trigger? It's just so hard to say. Hunt won his rematch against Antonio Silva, but didn't look great. Mir was on a win streak, too, before running into Andrei Arlovski and is long in the tooth, anyway. I'd argue Mir has a bigger advantage on the ground than Hunt does on the feet, but even then, it's hard to say that with much confidence. Ultimately, though, I'm going to side with the American. If the fight goes long, I don't like his chances, but I don't think Hunt's the same after the beating he took from Miocic. He seemed hesitant against Silva and while Mir isn't the striker Hunt is, he can still do damage anywhere. Hard to predict this one, but I'm leaning Mir.

Pick: Mir

Neil Magny vs. Hector Lombard

This card is full of close match-ups, this being one of many. Magny's improvement is undeniable. He's tightened up his defensive jiu-jitsu, excelled at the jab and can tie offense to his clinch in myriad ways. Lombard, for his part, has been active due to a suspension for a banned substance. On the scales yesterday, however, he looked exactly the same as he always has. The question here is what kind of Lombard is going to show up? If it's the one we are accustomed to seeing at welterweight, this is a tough out for Magny. Lombard's speed, power, takedown defense and ability to avoid control make him tough to handle. If he's something less than that, this is Magny's fight to lose. We just don't know what we're going to get and until we do, I'll side with the ATT welterweight.

Pick: Lombard

Jake Matthews vs. Johnny Case

This is a very tough call. Both fighters are young, very well rounded and entirely capable of winning this. A prediction here, even if correct, is very much a shot in the dark (more than usual). That said, I'm going to side with Case. He's a little better in the scramble and more dominant on top. There's a physicality to his game that should allow him to shut down Matthews in the event the fight gets into close quarters or Case needs to slow the action. Still, expect this one to be tight and fought until the final bell.

Pick: Case

Dan Kelly vs. Antonio Carlos Junior

This should be a strong performance for the Brazilian. Kelly is older, but battle tested and tough. He won't go away quietly. However, the jiu-jitsu world champion has dramatically improved his game. On the floor, he should win handily, but even if he can't get it there, it shouldn't matter much. His striking isn't elite, but infinitely better than it used to be. Most importantly, he can pressure into range, a skill that takes advantage of a particular weakness of Kelly's.

Pick: Carlos Junior

James Te-Huna vs. Steve Bosse

Te-Huna is the more skilled fighter of the two by a wide margin and both have taken a ton of damage, so neither holds up all that well to punishment. But that refinement in offense is what should save Te-Huna here. He should be able to avoid any blitzes or diversify his attacks, e.g. secure a takedown, in the event of a problem. I'm not particularly confident in either guy's chances, but generally speaking, skills win fights and Te-Huna has more of those.

Pick: Te-Huna

Bec Rawlings vs. Seohee Ham

Ham is a bit undersized even for strawweight and is more technically refined than Rawlings. This is her fight to lose. That said, Rawlings is ultra aggressive at times and surprisingly crafty on the floor. If Ham minds her defensive responsibilities, avoids being muscled against the cage and lets her hands go just enough to make Rawlings reset and rethink, she should be fine. Rawlings is a tougher out than she's often given credit, but Ham is up to the task.

Pick: Ham

Preliminary card:

Alan Jouban def. Brendan O'Reilly
Dan Hooker def. Mark Eddiva
Rin Nakai def. Leslie Smith
Richard Walsh def. Viscardi Andrade
Ross Pearson def. Chad Laprise
Alan Patrick def. Damien Brown

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