Don’t let the time-zones fool you; the UFC is headed to Australia this weekend for UFC Fight Night 33. While Australia is several hours ahead of the Western Hemisphere in time, the event will show Friday during primetime hours. This card has some serious potential for some explosive fights, so make sure you catch this one.
Dylan Andrews vs. Clint Hester
The action starts off in the middleweight division between two strikers who competed on the 17th season of The Ultimate Fighter. Both Andrews and Hester displayed phenomenal striking skills, but they’re very different when it comes to style. Hester has some serious Muay Thia skills in the clinch, as he displayed against Bristol Marunde, but has some solid punching combinations courtesy of his tight swinging patterns. Andrews also is technical on the feet, but can get a little sloppy during heated exchanges. Andrews is an extremely tough fighter so hurting and expecting him to throw up the white flag is merely impossible. I favor the vast arsenal of Clint Hester in this bout, and will pick him to out-strike Andrews for a decision.
Clint Hester via Unanimous Decision
Pat Barry vs. Sao Palelei
Pat Barry has hit quite the stump in the road as of late, but a rebound fight against Sao Palelei could bring him back to his winning ways. Sao is a stand-out Australian heavyweight fighter with a plethora of finishes on his record. In his UFC debut, Sao didn’t quite perform to expectation when he suffered from extreme fatigue, but did manage a third-round TKO. Sao the type of guy that can do lots of damage in small spaces, and can really bully his opponent around. Barry, being the kickboxing veteran that he is, will definitely want to keep this fight at range, but the question is can he? I believe Palelei has the chance to score a big upset here if he can pressure Barry to a clinch, and beat him up from there. Barry’s chin is nothing more than questionable at this point, so I’m going to take a shot on this one and bank on a first round TKO for Palelei.
Sao Palelei via 1st Rd TKO
Ryan Bader vs. Anthony Perosh
If you’re Australian, this must be a very concerning match-up for you. Former top contender Ryan Bader squares off against the 41 year-old Australian, Anthony Perosh. While the Aussie is coming off of a spectacular performance over Vinny Magalhaes where he upset the Brazilian in 14 seconds, it’ll be hard to do that twice. Ryan Bader is a bulldozer at the least, and I expect nothing less than a flawless performance from Bader. In nearly every aspect of the game, Bader has the better skillset. I expect a first round TKO for Bader as he doesn’t even take a chance on the ground, and goes straight to head-hunting.
Ryan Bader via 1st Rd TKO
Shogun Rua vs. James Te Huna
The odds in this fight really favor Shogun, but given the amount of spirit and power possessed in James Te Huna, an upset here isn’t too far out of the picture. Many are claiming this fight to be a stand-up war between the Muay Thia skills of Rua against the powerful hands of James Te Huna. If this is the case, then I give Te Huna very even odds. It’s clear Shogun doesn’t quite have the explosive nature he used to, so we could see Rua in for a rough night against a harder hitter in Te Huna. Ontop of that, Te Huna is a guy that will goe toe-to-toe with you, and isn’t known for backing down. Rua on the other hand seems to get rocked and dropped about every fight he is in, so a brawl with Te Huna is not the most intelligent gameplan. I’m actually predicting Rua to look for the first chance to get this to the ground. There, he has much better odds, and could display his mysteriously good ground game. I’ll bank on one round of half-brawling, half-ground work, but the second round is where Rua finds his opening.
Shogun Rua via 2nd Rd Submission
Antonio Silva vs. Mark Hunt
Quite the intriguing match-up in our main event as the towering giant, Antonio Silva, meets kickboxing veteran, Mark Hunt. Again, if you were to take a look at these names you’d expect this to be a brawl. If it is, it definitely favors Hunt. Hunt has an iron chin and is way better with his hands than Silva. On the other hand, Silva has the massive length advantage, and is also way better on the ground. It’ll be interesting to see the shortest heavyweight face off against one of the tallest, but it should be fun nevertheless.
On the feet, expect Hunt to going low and coming high. This will catch Silva even when he’s covering up because of the height differences and Silva’s predictable movements. The place that Silva should have the most success in is on the ground. If you remember, Silva’s top game is a scary weapon, just ask Fedor Emelianenko. If Silva can get this fight to the ground, maintain top control, he should be able to pound Mark Hunt out for a TKO stoppage. If not, he risks getting clubbed out of consciousness by one of Hunt’s haymakers. I’m going to go with Bigfoot on this one, and bank that his own chin supports him long enough to land in top position and absolutely dominate the fight.
Antonio Silva via 3rd Rd TKO