Search icon


21st Nov 2015

UFC Monterrey: SportsJOE picks the winners so you don’t have to

Tough act to follow


Tough act to follow.

It may not be the most stacked card, but there are enough big names and future prospects fighting at UFC Fight Night 78 to make it worth watching.

24-year-old hot welterweight rising star takes on the tireless Neil Magny in the main event while a featherweight clash between UFC stalwart Diego Sanchez and number four-ranked featherweight Ricardo Lamas.

Olympic gold medalist turned undefeated flyweight Henry Cejudo also faces the toughest test of his career when he takes on number three-ranked Jussier Formiga.

Here is what our MMA writers’ records look like thus far.

Darragh The Quizmaster Murphy: 135-77

Bourbon Ben Kiely: 134-78

Neil Magny (16-4) v Kelvin Gastelum (11-1)

DM: I was initially going for an underdog victory but then I re-watched Gastelum’s dismantling of Nate Marquardt.

It won’t be anywhere near as easy a night as the one that Gastelum enjoyed in June because Neil Magny is always a game opponent and this is the perfect gauge to learn how far the former TUF winner has come.

The five-round element will be interesting due to Gastelum’s continued struggles with his cut to 170 lbs but he looked pretty healthy at last night’s weigh-ins.

Magny is a very intelligent range-fighter and he could cause some trouble for Gastelum early on but Kelvin’s bullheadedness will eventually find a way through Magny’s guard and he should have a distinct striking advantage but I have a feeling that this will actually end up on the mat late on and Gastelum will snatch a hold of his beloved RNC. Gastelum via submission (round four)

BK: If Gastelum makes weight comfortably (yes, I’m writing this before the weigh-ins), this should be a relatively easy night’s work for him.

Magny, while a solid fighter, has no business being that high up the rankings, although his standing is understandable considering his win record and that victory over Erick Silva.

Gastelum is more aggressive, has a higher fighter IQ, is more technical and is just plain better than Magny. However, a bad weight cut might result in a repeat of that hollowed out husk of a fighter we saw get hospitalised by Tyron Woodley. Gastelum via KO (round three)

UFC 183: Woodley v Gastelum

Ricardo Lamas (15-4) v Diego Sanchez (25-7)

DM: Every ounce of my being wants Diego Sanchez to win this but his first fight at 145 lbs is nothing resembling an easy welcome.

I was slightly tempted to lean towards the first ever TUF winner just based on his tendency to be awarded razor-close split decisions over the years but I can’t see that happening against Lamas.

Lamas has only lost to elite competition over the years and Diego Sanchez has so many miles on his clock that his jaw has to come unstuck at some point, hasn’t it? Lamas via decision

BK: Sanchez’s wild, swing for the fences offence coupled with his human-punching bag, Homer Simpson-esque defence style makes him an exciting fighter to watch, but Lamas is on another level.

Lamas looked very mediocre against Jose Aldo and even worse against Chad Mendes, but they are two of the greatest fighters in the division. The Nightmare shouldn’t give him anywhere near as much trouble. Lamas by decision

Jussier Formiga (18-3) v Henry Cejudo (9-0)

DM: Henry Cejudo will certainly have to work to keep his unbeaten record intact but the inevitable flyweight challenger should have the beating of Jussier Formiga.

Formiga should be able to punish Cejudo just a little bit for his over-aggressiveness but that same over-aggressiveness is what’s going to give the Olympic gold medal winner the W.

The pace pushed by Cejudo will nullify the undoubtedly improved boxing of Formiga and I anticipate a fairly lopsided decision. Cejudo via decision

BK: People may be getting tired of hearing this in the context of Cejudo, but it takes a truly special individual to win an Olympic gold medal. Cejudo is no different.

Not only is he athletically superior and a better wrestler than Jussier Formiga, he is also a more technical, aggressive striker.

He’s certainly going to get a crack at Mighty Mouse’s belt and I’m glad he’s not rushing into it. If he spends his time wisely and steadily improves his own game at a faster rate than Demetrious Johnson, we could get a hell of a title fight between the two somewhere down the line. Cejudo via TKO (round three)

PHOENIX, AZ - DECEMBER 13: Henry Cejudo (L) squares off with Dustin Kimura during the UFC Fight Night event at the at U.S. Airways Center on December 13, 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Erick Montano (6-3) v Enrique Marin (8-2)

DM: See Ben Kiely.

BK: Like the majority of fight fans, I had absolutely no interest in watching TUF Latin America 2. You know what they say about sequels…

Enrique Barzola (10-2-1) v Horatio Guitierrez (2-1)

DM: See Ben Kiely

BK: If the UFC don’t even care about this fight, why should I?

UFC don't care

Efrain Escudero (24-9) v Leandro Silva (18-3-1-1NC)

DM: I just don’t know what to make of Efrain Escudero but Leandro Silva is just too disjointed for me to confidently pick him.

I would  not be shocked to see Silva beat the TUF 8 winner as the Brazilian is undeniably the better athlete but Escudero is looking decent right now and he’s only 29, meaning that he could still back up the hype that was being showered on him back in 2008. Escudero by decision

BK: I went for the boring pick in Rosholt the main card opener at UFC 193 and it paid off, so why not continue the trend and go for Leandro Silva to utilise his grappling prowess to nullify Escudero’s striking? Silva by decision