Rory MacDonald and Tarec Saffiedine will battle for welterweight contender status when the Ultimate Fighting Championship heads to the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, Canada for the UFC Fight Night 54 card.
It’s certainly not the most stacked card in the history of MMA, but it does have a few intriguing matchups like Daron Cruickshank vs. Anthony Njokuani, which should be an entertaining striking battle.
Here are my UFC Fight Night 54 predictions:
Rory MacDonald vs. Tarec Saffiedine
Rory (17-2-0, 6 KOs) looked awesome during his last outing, scoring a unanimous decision victory against Tyron Woodley. Saffiedine (15-3-0, 5 submissions) was just as impressive during his last fight, his UFC debut, earning a victory against South Korean striker Hyun Gyu Lim.
Some would assume this is a relatively easy matchup for Rory, but that really isn’t the case. Saffiedine is the technically superior striker, and he should be able to edge out a decision if a kickboxing match breaks out when these two collide at UFC Fight Night 54.
Saffiedine’s takedown defense is excellent when he brings his A-game, and I expect him to show up on form come fight time, meaning this will be an extremely close contest. If the judges give Saffiedine a fair shake when it’s all said and done, given the fact he’s fighting a Canadian in Canada, he should have done enough to pick up a “W.”
Prediction: Saffiedine wins via decision.
Raphael Assuncao vs. Bryan Caraway
The last man to defeat current bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw, Assuncao (22-4-0, 10 submissions) will try to take a step closer to a title shot when he takes on Caraway on Oct. 4. Caraway (19-6-0, 17 submissions) has had some success lately, racking up wins against Johnny Bedford and Erik Perez, but his primary strength, his grappling, likely won’t help him much against Assuncao.
The Brazilian is a significantly better striker, and he’s also the more accomplished grappler. Factor in the fact Raphael should be able to dictate where the fight takes place given his solid takedown defense, and it’s hard to see Caraway emerging victorious from this one.
Prediction: Assuncao wins via decision.
Remaining UFC Fight Night 54 predictions:
Chad Laprise defeats Yosdenis Cedeno
Elias Theodorou defeats Bruno Santos
Patrick Holohan defeats Louis Gaudinot
Daron Cruickshank defeats Anthony Njokuani
Nordine Taleb defeats Li Jingliang
Jake Lindsey defeats Olivier Aubin-Mercier
Jason Saggo defeats Paul Felder
Pedro Munhoz defeats Jerrod Sanders
David is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and boxing practitioner who has watched and studied MMA for the past 9 years. Send him your questions @davidkingwriter.
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