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Justin Gaethje
Justin Gaethje will headline the UFC on FOX 29 card Saturday night.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

UFC 223 and the Conor McGregor bus attack chaos have overshadowed UFC on FOX 29. It’s very unfortunate that this FOX card is flying under the radar because it has some great bookings that are not only important for the company, but also promise to be just fun fights. UFC on FOX 29 is being headlined by a fantastic lightweight matchup between lightweight contenders (and brawlers) Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje. This card also features an interesting 170-pound contest between Carlos Condit and Alex Oliveira, the second UFC fight for prospect Israel Adesanya, who takes on Marvin Vettori, and several other good fights.

What: UFC on FOX 29

Where: Gila River Arena, Glendale, Ariz.

When: Saturday, April 14. The six-fight UFC Fight Pass preliminary card begins at 3:30 p.m. ET, the four-fight FOX preliminary card begins at 6 p.m. ET, and the four-fight main card begins at 8 p.m. ET also on FOX.

Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje

I can’t wait for this fight.

Dustin Poirier is tough as hell and he’s really good at brawling. Poirier is a very well-rounded fighter — he can wrestle, grapple, strike and clinch at a pretty high level. “The Diamond” thrives under pressure. What makes Poirier so dangerous is that he’s relentless in everything he does. He’ll put it on his opponents on the feet with his crisp boxing and solid power or on the ground with his slick submissions and dominant control.

Justin Gaethje is not too much different from Poirier. Gaethje is a guy that enjoys to get into fire fights, and he’s great at luring his opponents into them, too. Gaethje has plenty of power behind his punches and kicks. He also has a bottomless gas tank that allows him to carry a ridiculous pace few can keep. Unlike Poirier, Gaethje doesn’t really threaten on the ground, but he does have great takedown defense that allows him to keep the fight where he wants and that’s on the feet.

This will likely be the most exciting fight in Gaethje’s short run in the UFC. I don’t think it will go all five rounds, but I certainly see it going past the second. Technically, Poirier is slightly better than Gaethje, but that doesn’t mean he’ll walk away with the win. Poirier’s chin has cost him fights before in the past, and I think that might be the case here.

I do believe Poirier is the best he’s ever been and I think he’s been improving a lot. It wouldn’t surprise me if Poirier walks away with a win here, but since I have to make a pick, I slightly favor Gaethje. I think this will be a brawl and it will come down to durability.

Pick: Gaethje

Carlos Condit vs. Alex Oliveira

It sucks that we can’t see Carlos Condit vs. Matt Brown, but Alex Oliveira is not a bad replacement at all.

Carlos Condit is tall, rangy and strikes with volume. Condit is not known to be a power puncher, but he makes up for that with the pace and speed he brings to the Octagon. Condit doesn’t have great takedown defense, but he’s savvy off his back and can threaten from there.

Alex Oliveira is pretty well-rounded. “Cowboy” is a very strong grappler with good striking and respectable power. Oliveira is a dangerous opponent for anyone in the welterweight division.

I think the old Condit beats Oliveira. However, after watching his fight with Neil Magny, I’m not sure we have a vintage Condit today in 2018. Look, he may come in here and look better than ever, but I just don’t think that’s the most likely outcome. If this were a five-round fight I’d give “The Natural Born Killer” a better chance to win. But being a three-rounder, I think Oliveira will exploit Condit’s suspect takedown defense and control him enough to win a decision.

Pick: Oliveira

Israel Adesanya vs. Marvin Vettori

Good fight for Israel Adesanya.

Marvin Vettori is tough, has size, and he’s decent everywhere. But besides that, I don’t think the Italian fighter has anything that stands out in particular. Vettori has the size and power to back up Adesanya against the cage, but I don’t think for long. This will likely look like the Rob Wilkinson fight, but perhaps a bit more competitive.

Adesanya is far more skilled on the feet than Vettori, and I think he has the takedown defense and clinch work to buy himself enough time to get a stoppage.

Pick: Adesanya

Michelle Waterson vs. Cortney Casey

One of the smallest fighters in the strawweight division will take on one of the biggest. Michelle Waterson vs. Cortney Casey is a pretty good booking and it’s going to be interesting to see how it plays out given their different body types.

Waterson has great striking and solid grappling. But you can say the same thing for Casey. I think on the feet Waterson might get the better of the exchanges. She’s quicker than Casey, and just seems a lot more comfortable there. When it come to grappling, I think Casey’s size along with her skills could give Waterson trouble.

I have a hard time seeing how this one could play out, but I think Waterson takes this one via decision.

Pick: Waterson


Tim Boetsch def. Antonio Carlos Junior

Muslim Salikhov def. Ricky Rainey

John Moraga def. Wilson Reis

Brad Tavares def. Krzysztof Jotko

Gilbert Burns def. Dan Moret

Lauren Mueller def. Shana Dobson

Yushin Okami def. Dhiego Lima

Arjan Bhullar def. Adam Wieczorek

Alejandro Perez def. Matthew Lopez

Luke Sanders def. Patrick Williams