UFC Fight Night Halifax provides a clash of the heavyweights as Travis Browne look’s to get his career back on track against Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis. Lewis has been tearing through the division and is looking for a dominant victory over a genuine big name, to press his case for a title shot.
The co-main event is a clash of two former welterweight’s, as Hector Lombard welcomes Johny Hendricks to the middleweight division.
We take an in-depth look at the three main fights and provide our predictions for every match-up on what will be a spectacular night of fights.
Derrick Lewis 17-4 vs Travis Browne 18-5
NICK: This is a huge fight, pitting together two careers that have been heading in opposite directions. Browne looked like he had the world at his feet, a future world champion. Whether it is that useless coach of his or other circumstances, he’s been on a very steep slide in recent fights. Result aside, he has looked an absolute shadow of his former self. The strength, the movement, has all dissipated dramatically. Lewis on the other hand has been the complete opposite. From the doldrums of the division he has launched himself into a complete tear. First round KO after first round KO, a couple of big scalp decisions and he’s in the midst of launching himself into title relevancy. A dominant victory here is exactly the catalyst for that. This fight really could be anything and that largely depends on which Travis Browne shows up. If he goes back to his roots and comes out with solid movement and smart striking, there’s every chance he puts Lewis out. The key to that would be mixing in some takedown attempts. Early in his career he proved to be very adept at sneaking in well-timed take downs with dominant top control. Lewis has also shown weakness in defending the takedown. He has however shown brutish strength by dominating fighters in the wrestle and with vicious power in his shots. He also has unusual athleticism for a very thick built man. Browne has looked far too lethargic and vulnerable in recent fights, for me to have any confidence in him here. I think he may have some early success in the striking exchanges, but Lewis will over power him as the fight goes on. Whether it ends in a violent barrage against the cage, ala the Arlovski fight, or dominant ground and pound, I don’t see Browne going the distance with Lewis. PREDICTION: Derrick Lewis via TKO in Round 3
ZAC: Usually a Heavyweight on a five fight win streak would be the talk of the town, so to speak. That’s not the case for Derrick Lewis for one reason or another, he’s been overshadowed by the Hulking Frenchman Francis Ngannou who recently demolished Andrei Arlovski in the first round. One would think that a similar performance from Lewis would throw his name right back into consideration for a title fight, or perhaps even a match up with Ngannou. The man standing in his way is Travis Browne, a UFC veteran and once a feared heavyweight winning three knockout of the night awards in a row. The Travis Browne we have seen recently, pales in comparison to the fighter we have seen in the past. Browne has won only one fight in his last four outings and that came under very controversial circumstances. Who can forget the photo of Matt Mittrione’s eye ballooned up, after suffering multiple eye pokes from Browne. A win over Lewis would definitely turn things around for Browne in a Heavyweight division that lacks depth. I think the key to victory for Browne is to use movement and range; he’s a very athletic guy and has some great technical striking techniques. For Lewis it will be business as usual do what “The Black Beast does best, close the distance and throw heavy leather. We saw in the Roy Nelson fight that Lewis is very hard to take down and hold down, so that should negate Brownes obvious BJJ advantage. I don’t think this one will go the distance, which isn’t exactly a bold prediction when it comes to heavyweights. There are only two ways I see this going; Lewis knocks Browne out with one mighty blow or Hapa picks the Black Beast apart and eventually overwhelms him with strikes. PREDICTION: Derrick Lewis via KO in Round 2
Johny Hendricks 17-5 vs Hector Lombard 34-6-1
NICK: A middleweight move for Johny Hendricks has been a long time coming. Not only has he significantly struggled to actually cut to the 170 limit, but the disparity between his recent performances and that of the early Johny Hendricks indicate that it may have been severely dampening his abilities. There’s every chance that without the severe weight cut, we see the Hendricks of old. Hector Lombard is the perfect test for this. Lombard is quite the enigma. One hell of a Judoka with powerful hands, he can finish a fight in an instant. There will be flashes of brilliance in the first round by Lombard, but I think it will end there. Hendricks has the chin to get through any wild shots that Lombard lands and will come into his own towards the end of the first round. I get the feeling we’ll see some of his strength return and he’ll be able to dominate the flow of the fight on the feet, in the clinch and when he decides to take it to the ground. I don’t think we’ll see a vintage Hendricks here, but I do think it will be a significant improvement. PREDICTION: Johny Hendricks via unanimous decision
ZAC: I’m just going to call this one for what it is, two welterweights that can’t make the cut anymore fighting at middleweight. On one hand I hate this fight and on the other I love it. I hate it because in my opinion, neither of these guys would stand a chance with the top 5/6 guys in the middleweight division. Couple that with the fact that neither of these guys have won more than one fight in the last two and a half years and it doesn’t exactly have a lot of relevance. On the other hand we have two of the hardest hitters the welterweight division has ever seen, fighting each other without having to destroy their bodies to make the weight. These guys have nothing to lose going into this, it’s pretty much a must win fight for both men. I don’t see a long and prosperous career for either at this weight division. I’m hoping these two just meet in the middle and throw bungalows until the others head literally comes off his shoulders. The other option is the shell of Johny Hendricks gets paraded into the octagon again like we have seen in his last two fights, Hector dominates him with his grappling pedigree and then we continue to wonder why Hendricks keeps doing this when his heart and head obviously aren’t in it. PREDICTION: Hector Lombard via TKO in Round 1
Elias Theodorou 12-1 vs Cezar Ferreira 12-5
NICK: I’m really excited to see how this fight goes down. When you have two exceptional grapplers face off against each other, you either get an exceptional bout of grappling poetry… or they negate each other so effectively that they are forced to fight it out on the feet. If it end’s up staying on the canvas I think Ferreira is well placed to pull off an impressive submission. I can see Theodorou maintaining most of the dominant positions whilst Ferreira snipes for the cheeky submission. In saying that though, I think this fight will take the second route and remain on the feet. Theodorou is a very, very smart fighter. A flashback to his Sam Alvey victory, and it’s exceptionally clear that he hold’s the striking advantage in this fight. Whilst his grappling is elite, smart fighters are good at pinpointing their competitive advantage and capitalizing on that. Ferreira has exceptional BJJ, but with Theodorou’s pedigree I can’t see him being able to take him to the ground and look to use his smart submissions. Theodorou is the one that will dictate where this fight is fought. If he keep’s it standing, I find it very difficult to see anything but a Theodorou victory. PREDICTION: Elias Theodorou via unanimous decision
ZAC: This is a really even match-up. Two guys that are well-rounded and are looking to break into the top 15 of the middleweight division. Ferreira has been mentored by former UFC Champion Vitor Belfort, who took him in at a young age and allowed him to train with him. Theodorou is one of the most talented fighters to come out of Canada in recent times, winning the ultimate fighter nations tournament. Ferreira will have a 3 inch reach advantage which will help him keep Theodorou at bay whilst on the feet, where he may be at a disadvantage. Ferreira will most likely look to take Elias down, negate his striking and implement his own Jiu Jitsu game which is where he has the clearest way to victory. The threat of the takedown may also affect Elias’ game plan, we’ve seen very kick heavy offense from him in the past. He won’t want to risk having one caught and being dragged down by Ferreira. He is a very creative striker with good timing, stance changes and creative attacks and his high output may overwhelm Cezar on the feet. This definitely makes for a lot of possibilities and makes it difficult to predict. PREDICTION: Elias Theodorou via unanimous decision
|Derrick lewis vs Travis Browne||Lewis||Lewis|
|Johny Hendricks vs Hector Lombard||Hendricks||Lombard|
|Sam Sicilia vs Gavin Tucker||Tucker||Sicilia|
|Elias Theodorou vs Cezar Ferreira||Theodorou||Theodorou|
|Sara McMann vs Gina Mazany||McMann||McMann|
|Paul Felder vs Alessandro Ricci||Felder||Felder|
|Nordine Talen vs Santiago Ponzinibbio||Ponzinibbio||Ponzinibbio|
|Carla Esparza vs Randa Markos||Esparza||Esparza|
|Aiemann Zahabi vs Reginaldo Viera||Zahabi||Zahabi|
|Jack Marshman vs Thaigo Santos||Santos||Santos|
|Gerald Meerschaert vs Ryan Janes||Meerschaert||Janes|