Another weekend, another UFC event. This card has a good line-up of bouts with several up-and-coming fighters. UFC Austin is being headlined by a fun, but also important, welterweight contest between veteran Donald Cerrone and rising contender Yancy Medeiros. This card also hosts a number of interesting fights as it features two important divisional bouts in Derrick Lewis vs. Marcin Tybura and James Vick vs. Francisco Trinaldo, the return of seasoned vet Thiago Alves, and a lightweight bout pitting Sage Northcutt against Thibault Gouti.
What: UFC Austin (UFC Fight Night 126)
Where: Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.
When: Sunday, Feb. 18. The two-fight UFC Fight Pass preliminary card begins at 6 p.m. ET, the four-fight FOX Sports 1 preliminary card begins at 7 p.m. ET, and the six-fight main card begins at 9 p.m. ET also on FOX Sports 1.
Regardless of the outcome, this will likely be a fun fight to watch. Both Donald Cerrone and Yancy Medeiros like to keep things on their feet, and they’re both good at it too.
Cerrone is currently on the worst stretch of his MMA career. “Cowboy” is 0-3 in his last three trips to the Octagon, falling short to Jorge Masvidal, Robbie Lawler and most recently Darren Till. Cerrone is a well-rounded righter with a wicked ground game and dangerous striking. Perhaps Cerrone’s biggest downfall is his inability to absorb punishment. Cerrone has been wobbled before and hurt with body shots.
With this bout, Medeiros has the opportunity to become a player in the 170-pound weight class and make the public start seeing him as a contender in the division. Medeiros is tough, scrappy and resilient. The Hawaiian is very well-rounded, and he’s very consistent with his performances.
This is a tough call. This is not the typical washed-up veteran vs. prospect fight. Both guys are capable of winning this bout. Sure, Medeiros might be catching Cerrone on a bit of a slide, but Cerrone is also getting a step down in competition. The Hawaiian has proven to be extremely durable and resilient. I see Medeiros taking Cerrone’s best shots ad eventually landing enough of his own to get a stoppage win.
Stylistically, this is a very intriguing fight.
Derrick Lewis is a highly dangerous fighter. “The Black Beast” has good boxing skills, a good ability to get back to his feet when taken down, and a granite chin. Lewis is also a very strong heavyweight that possesses scary knockout power. Lewis didn’t look too good in his last outing against Mark Hunt, which makes me wonder how he’ll look this time around.
I find Marcin Tybura to be underrated. The Polish fighter has the potential to become a serious contender in the division. Tybura is extremely complete. He’s a skilled striker with an advanced grappling game, a solid chin, and a good amount of experience. Tybura also has great cardio, quick movement, keeps up a solid pace, and he’s not weak despite being one of the smaller heavyweights.
This fight is fascinating. It’s power and force vs. endurance and efficiency. I think Lewis is capable of sleeping anyone at heavyweight, but I don’t like his chances against Tybura. I see Tybura being the far more efficient and effective fighter here. Tybura is far more technical than Lewis. He should be able to get the better of the striking exchanges and every now and then get some control against the cage or even a takedown.
James Vick is on the mission to make a name for himself in the UFC. But he’s been given the worst possible fight to contribute to his cause. Francisco Trinaldo is relatively unknown to the masses, but he’s as dangerous as anyone at 155 pounds.
Trinaldo is an extremely tough veteran and possesses a great grappling game. “Massaranduba” has great, powerful takedowns and a ridiculous top control. Trinaldo is a fantastic athlete. He’s also a competent striker with good movement and power.
Unlike Trinaldo, Vick is not a superb grappler, but his striking is very advanced. Vick fights long and moves well. “The Texecutioner” is very technical and accurate with his stand up game.
Part of me thinks Vick will chop down Trinaldo to win a decision. But an even bigger part tells me Trinaldo will get this fight to the ground and stop Vick there. I see Trinaldo closing the distance on Vick and winning the fight with his grappling and constant pressure.
This could very well be Fight of the Night.
Curtis Millender is an athletic fighter with a strong stand up game. Millender has power, he’s quick and explosive. But despite being a good striker, Millender seems to be years behind Alves. We know that Alves has some of the cleanest striking in MMA. Alves can put together destructive combinations with ease.
This should be a fun fight. I see Alves picking apart Millender with vicious leg kicks and combinations.
Steven Peterson is a well-rounded fighter that likes to pressure his opponents. Peterson has decent wrestling and likes to be persistent with takedowns. Peterson doesn’t have the best striking defense, but he’s extremely tough which makes up for that to some degree.
Meanwhile, Brandon Davis is a fighter that likes to keep the fight on the feet. Davis can keep a solid pace, but he doesn’t seem carry much power. Davis has smooth movement and likes to strike often.
I think Davis is the better striker here, but doubt he puts away Peterson. Being relentless with his takedowns, I see Peterson controlling Davis with takedowns and clinch work.
This should be a showcase fight for Sage Northcutt.
Thibault Gouti has pretty decent striking with good power behind his punches. He can very well connect on Northcutt, but I don’t think that’s a likely outcome. Northcutt is by far the more athletic and technical fighter here. “Super” Sage should be able to find success anywhere he decides to take the fight. I see Northcutt overwhelming Gouti on the feet and getting a stoppage victory.
Geoffrey Neal def. Brian Camozzi