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UFC Hamburg predictions

Gallery Photo: UFC on FOX 5 photos

Let’s not kid ourselves, UFC Hamburg is not a good card, but it’s 2018 so we should be more than used to these types of events (on the bright side this card starts Sunday morning).

UFC Hamburg is being headlined by an intriguing and very relevant fight, depending on the outcome, between light heavyweights ‘Shogun’ Rua and Anthony Smith. Despite the lackluster card, UFC Fight Night 134 has some gems here and there, as it also features an important 205-pound contest in Glover Teixeira vs. Corey Anderson, flashy prospect Marc Diakiese’s first fight in 2018, and a fun heavyweight scrap pitting Stefan Struve vs. Marcin Tybura.

What: UFC Hamburg (UFC Fight Night 134)

Where: Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg, Germany.

When: Sunday, July 22. The three-fight UFC Fight Pass preliminary card begins at 10:30 a.m. ET, the four-fight FOX Sports 1 preliminary card begins at 12:00 p.m. ET, and the six-fight main card begins at 2:00 p.m. ET also on FOX Sports 1.

Mauricio Rua vs. Anthony Smith

It’s 2018 and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua is in the discussion for challenging for the UFC light heavyweight title. Crazy.

The 36-year-old Pride FC legend is currently on a three-fight winning streak and he’s ranked eighth in the division. Whether you think “Shogun” is the leading man for the next title shot or not, you do have to acknowledge he’s at least part of the conversation (keep in mind the horrible state of the 205-pound division).

But to keep his name in the hat, “Shogun” will have to defeat Anthony Smith, and in convincing fashion.

It’s clear that the former UFC champ is past his prime, but I do find him to be capable of beating decent opposition. Rua has tons of experience under his belt and he’s got a technical and still somewhat powerful stand up game. His ground game is not outstanding, but he won’t really need it to be against Anthony Smith.

Meanwhile, Smith is a big light heavyweight with good stand up and scary power. Smith is a well-rounded grappler. He’s not super skilled on the ground, but knows just enough to be able to avoid getting submitted and, depending on the opposition, be able to get a dominant position here and there.

I think Smith’s relative youth, superior strength and athletic ability could give ‘Shogun’ issues, even to the point of costing “Shogun” a lopsided loss. I also think that Rua’s experience and better fluidity on the feet could prove too much for Smith. Tough pick, but I’m going with the veteran here. To me, “Shogun” is more a lot more advanced than Smith on the feet. I have some reservations on picking “Shogun” mainly due to his chin, but I think the inactivity that he’s had in the past few years has somewhat been restoring. We saw a much more durable “Shogun” last year against Gian Villante.

Pick: Rua

Glover Teixeira vs. Corey Anderson

Fun matchup.

Glover Teixeira was at one point one of the scariest light heavyweights on the planet. He doesn’t seem to carry that same aura there days, but he’s still a very skilled guy that’s capable of beating top-notch talent. The Brazilian is a very technical boxer with heavy hands. He’s also a skilled ground fighter with good takedowns, heavy top control, and strong submissions. Teixeira has lost some speed, agility and durability over the years, but he does seem to remain a powerful man.

Corey Anderson is the younger and more athletic fighter here, by far. Skills wise, Anderson is a very composed striker who possesses great wrestling and can mix both things up well. Overall, Anderson is a very efficient fighter who can successfully execute game plans.

Skills wise Teixeira is the superior fighter here. However, I do think that Anderson’s athleticism closes that gap in skill. He’s quicker than Teixeira, and his output and pace should also be higher than Teixeira. I think we’re going to see Anderson getting the better of the exchanges during the fight, but I think Teixeira will eventually land something big and stop Anderson.

Pick: Teixeira

Vitor Miranda vs. Abu Azaitar

Vitor Miranda, 39, is one of the older guys in the UFC’s middleweight division. He’s solid on the feet, as he’s technical and uses range well. Miranda is not a bad athlete, but he doesn’t really have any outstanding physical abilities.

Abu Azaitar is a wild card. He’s constantly on attack mode, which makes him very dangerous but also very susceptible to getting caught by a counterstrike. Azaitar is a heavy puncher with good takedown defense.

I think Azaitar is going to overwhelm Miranda early and get a stoppage win.

Pick: Azaitar

Marcin Tybura vs. Stefan Struve

If you’ve been reading my predictions for a while, you probably already know how I feel about Marcin Tybura. I find him to be one of the most underrated heavyweights in the UFC. The Polish fighter is extremely complete. He’s a skilled striker on the feet and possesses an advanced grappling game. Tybura also has a solid chin, a good amount of experience, great cardio, quick movement and keeps a solid pace.

Stefan Struve is the tallest fighter on the UFC roster, but he’s not great at using his range. Struve has a very good guard and technical striking. He’s not too consistent with his performances. Sometimes he looks great; sometimes he doesn’t.

I think Tybura should get the win here. He’s more complete than Struve. I don’t see Struve catching him on the feet or on the ground. Tybura will dictate where the fight goes, and be the fighter with the higher output. I see Tybura winning a decision.

Pick: Tybura

Danny Roberts vs. David Zawada

Danny Roberts is a very quick and agile fighter who moves lightly on his feet and strikes hard. Roberts has technical striking and good power to go with it. He’s been knocked out before and has shown to have some holes in his defense. On the other hand, David Zawada is a bit more well-rounded and durable than Roberts, but he might not be as dangerous with his striking attacks.

This could be a very entertaining fight. I think Zawada has what it takes to withstand Roberts attacks, but I don’t see him stopping Roberts. I think Roberts will land more often over the course of 15 minutes.

Pick: Roberts

Nasrat Haqparast vs. Marc Diakiese

I love this matchup. It can easily be Fight of the Night.

Nasrat Haqparast is a young, talented fighter with very aggressive striking, solid power and a fantastic pace. Haqparast’s strengths don’t lie on the ground, but he’s a good enough grappler to keep out of trouble. Marc Diakiese is another young, talented striker with very similar attributes to Haqparast. Diakiese is a bit more flashy and explosive than Haqparast. Diakiese is also more experienced.

This should be a fun stand-up war. Diakiese’s issues have come to guys that can mix things up with grappling and striking. I’m not sure Haqparast can do that a high enough level to give Diakiese significant issues. This fight will mostly take place on the feet, where Diakiese should have an advantage.

Pick: Diakiese


Nick Hein def. Damir Hadzovic

Emil Weber Meek def. Bartosz Fabinski

Nad Narimani def. Khalid Taha

Justin Ledet def. Aleksandar Rakic

Manny Bermudez def. Davey Grant

Darko Stosic def. Jeremy Kimball

Damian Stasiak def. Liu Pingyuan

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