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UFC Fight For The Troops 3: Predictions

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UFC Fight For The Troops 3 goes down tomorrow on November 6th at Fort Campbell in Fort Campbell, Kentucky featuring a main event of Tim Kennedy taking on Rafael Natal in the middleweight division and a co-main event that will see Liz Carmouche take on Alexis Davis in the woman’s bantamweight division.

Here are our MMAInsider.net staff picks.  Feel free to share your picks in the comments!

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Middleweight Bout – Rafael Natal (17-4-1) vs Tim Kennedy (16-4)

DR: Natal is a scrappy fighter who specialises in his grappling once the fight hits the mat, while Kennedy is a well rounded fighter who never stops working. Natal has made a steady start to his UFC career going 5-2-1 and currently finds himself riding a three fight winning streak while Kennedy recently debuted with a unanimous decision victory over Roger Gracie. Despite Natal being with the UFC for longer, it’s Kennedy who I feel has been fighting the stronger competition, with the thirty four year old having faced the likes of “Jacare” Souza, Robbie Lawler and Luke Rockhold during his time with Strikeforce. I see this one panning out in a similar way to Kennedy’s bout with Gracie and expect him to control the standup portions of the fight, stuff the majority of takedowns and neutralize Natal on the ground when it does hit the mat. With this being the main event the fight is set for five rounds and I’m not sure if Natal will be able to keep up with the pace of Kennedy for the full duration and see the American coming out with a decision victory in front of the troops. – Kennedy via Decision

CG: Tim Kennedy, while not the most exciting fighter to watch, is one of the most durable and scrappy fighters to be currently competing in the sport. His lone loss in which he suffered a stoppage, of any kind, was in his debut 12 or so years ago and this is a guy who has been in there with Ronaldo Souza, Luke Rockhold, Robbie Lawler, and most recently Roger Gracie. The fact he was able to go the distance with each of those men, and sports a 2-2 record against them, is a small victory in itself. Rafael Natal might sport the longer UFC resume, but he hasn’t been facing the same tier of talent in my opinion. Though he is a talented Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt it’s hard to see a situation in which he succeeds where ‘Jacare’ and a Gracie failed. That would be his best chance to get the win here and I think Kennedy has the acumen to prevent that from happening. I expect this fight will largely be played out on the feet and should favour the Army Special Forces Staff Sergeant. – Kennedy via Decision

 

Women’s Bantamweight Bout – Liz Carmouche (9-3) vs Alexis Davis (14-5)

DR: Like most of the female fight’s we’ve seen thus far in the UFC, I’m expecting this one to be an all out war and a strong candidate for ‘Fight of the Night’. Both girls have a similar style in the way the like to push forward and work an aggressive pace with their striking to set up a takedown and work from top position with ground and pound and/or look for a submission. With both competitors having previously fought in the likes of Strikeforce and Invicta FC, prior to the UFC opening up a women’s division, they are no strangers to tough competition and this is likely to be a tightly contested affair. If Davis has an edge it’s perhaps in her pure jiu jitsu but Carmouche is the slightly larger fighter and a stronger wrestler which may well lead to her dictating where the fight takes place. This is likely to be a close one but I see Carmouche continuing to push the pace and gain the dominant positions which will slowly wear down Davis, leading to a late stoppage from the ex Marine. – Carmouche via (T)KO

CG: Carmouche has only lost to former, or current, world champions in Marloes Coenen, Sarah Kaufman, and Ronda Rousey. The one hole in her game, if you were to call it that, has been facing top level submission players, and Alexis Davis happens to be just that. Fifty percent of Davis’ wins have come via submission and she also happens to hold black belts in BJJ as well as Japanese Jiu-Jitsu. So she is a well versed grappler who trains under Cesar Gracie. Carmouche will undoubtedly be the heavy crowd favourite in this bout due to that fact she is a Marine fighting a Canadian on an American military base but I’m not completely convinced that will be enough to overcome what I’m viewing as a ground disadvantage. I’m expecting to see Davis get the better of the ground exchanges en-route to a submission win marking her fourth straight win and improving her UFC record to 2-0. – Davis via Submission

Middleweight Bout – Yoel Romero (5-1) vs Ronny Markes (14-1)

DR: This is yet another bout that is tough to pick on this card, Markes has impressed since arriving in the UFC, winning all three of his bouts and extending his current winning streak to seven. At just twenty-five years of age he is sure to be one to watch out for in the middleweight division but if there is one knock on the Brazilian so far it’s that he hasn’t been able to finish any of his opponents since arriving in the top MMA promotion in the world. Standing across from him is Yoel Romero, a fighter relatively inexperienced in MMA at 5-1 but after representing Cuba in wrestling for much of his life, including a silver medal in the 2000 Olympics for freestyle wrestling, he is no stranger to competitive action. Despite being thirty six years old, Romero is an explosive fighter who can end the contest at any moment, evident in his UFC debut where he put in a ‘Knockout of the Night’ performance against Clifford Starks. His wrestling credentials should allow him to dictate where this fight goes and it’s the Cuban I see coming out on top with another highlight reel finish. – Romero via (T)KO

CG: Ronny Markes enters this fight on the strength of an seven fight winning streak, three of which since signing with the UFC. This will be the well rounded Brazilians third fight at middleweight and it comes against a man known for his pure knockout power. Yoel Romero has a 5-1 mixed martial arts record with all five of his wins coming via knockout, and guess what? His lone loss was also suffered via knockout, to Rafael ‘Feijao’ Cavalcante. Being the more well rounded fighter, Markes sports four submission wins, you would expect that’s where Markes should be looking to take the fight, but the issue there lies in the fact that Yoel Romero is a former Olympic Silver medalist in wrestling for Cuba. That will make things interesting to see if, a very big if, Markes will be able to get this bout to the mat to try to secure a submission. I have my doubts about that possibility and am leaning towards the Cuban securing another knockout. – Romero via (T)KO

Lightweight Bout – Jorge Masvidal (25-7) vs Rustam Khabilov (16-1)

DR: I’ll be happy to go 50/50 on this card as here we have yet another fight that is incredibly tough to predict. Masvidal is no slouch having won five of his last six with the only loss coming to Gilbert Melendez. While he is a talented striker he showed in his recent submission victory over Michael Chiesa, via d’arce choke, that he is equally adept on the ground and will pose problems for Khabilov wherever the fight goes. Meanwhile Khabilov has shown that he has tremendous takedowns and grappling, coming from his Sambo background, which has earned him  two first round finishes inside the UFC, although the victory over Medeiros was rather fortunate due to a bizarre thumb injury suffered by his opponent. Masvidal is far more experience and has every shot of coming out victorious but I’m just about leaning towards Khabilov and his grappling to pull out another victory. – Khabilov via Decision

CG: Since returning the the lightweight division Jorge Masvidal has amassed an impressive 5-1 record, with that lone loss coming at the hands of former Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez. His most recent win was perhaps his most impressive as he submitted The Ultimate Fighter: Live Winner, and noted submission ace himself, Michael Chiesa in the second round handing him his first career loss. It was American Top Team products second submission to date, showcasing that he is continuing to evolve as a mixed martial artist. He takes on Russian phenom, no not Khabib Nurmagomedov, we’re talking about another one in Rustam Khabilov. Sporting a 16-1 record, with that lone loss being a spilt decision that could’ve gone either way, he has been impressive over his two fights for Zuffa as he holds two first round knockouts for the company. Masvidal will likely be looking to keep this a kickboxing match, while Khabilov will be seeking to utilize his Sambo background and make this into more of a wrestling match. It goes without saying whomever is able to implement their game plan should be the one who gets the nod, and I’m expecting that to be the man from Russia. – Khabilov via Decision

Lightweight Bout – Colton Smith (3-2) vs Michael Chiesa (9-1)

DR: I can’t say I’ve been overly impressed with Colton Smith thus far, during his time on TUF where he won the Season 16 tournament, or in his recent loss to Whittaker. Smith appears to be a bit of a one trick pony who has excellent top control and can really stifle an opponent on the mat. However, if he can’t get the takedown then as we saw in the Whittaker bout, he’s not the most well rounded fighter. Chiesa is a bit of ground specialist himself, known largely for his submissions and is also a TUF winner, having won Season 15. I do feel though that it’s Chiesa who has shown more improvements to the rest of his game and he also has tremendous size and reach for a lightweight which should allow him to get the better of the striking during their encounter. One thing I will say about Smith is that he proved in the Whittaker bout that he’s certainly tough and won’t go down easily but I don’t think he has enough tools to outpoint Chiesa in this one. – Chiesa via Decision

CG: Kicking things off on the main card we see a battle of TUF winners as current U.S. Army member Colton Smith makes his lightweight debut against Team Alpha Male’s Michael Chiesa. As I’ve stated in numerous other prediction posts I am always leery when a fighter makes a divisional adjustment. Competing for the first time at a weight other than the one you have grown accustomed is never, in my opinion, something to be taken lightly. Smith has said his cut has gone great, and he was also able to train at elevation for the first time as the Army allowed him enough time to move his camp down to New Mexico where he trained with Greg Jackson and his camp. Statements such as those do remove some of my trepidation when I weigh the pros and cons of this bout from Smith’s “corner” of the cage. He does use a grappling heavy style and tries to “Fitch” his opponents, something that has enabled him to gain two submission wins over his three career victories. The problem for Colton is that his opponent also has a grappling heavy style, but has enjoyed a fair amount more success showcased by his 9-1 record with seven submissions over that time. He had enjoyed six straight submission wins prior to dropping his last fight to Jorge Masvidal, and this is where my trouble picking lies. Being submitted by a fighter not known for his submission prowess when you are known for yours takes away from my almost certainty in picking Cheisa here. Being that Smith is known for his grappling and submission game it makes me wonder if he will be able to duplicate what Masvidal accomplished. At the end of the day I’m still going with Chiesa. – Chiesa via Decision

Lightweight Bout – Bobby Green (20-5) vs James Krause (20-4)

DR: Green via Decision

CG: Krause via Submission

Bantamweight Bout – George Roop (14-9-1) vs Francisco Rivera (9-2 (1nc))

DR: Roop via Decision

CG: Rivera via (T)KO

Featherweight Bout – Steve Siler (23-10) and Dennis Bermudez (11-3)

DR: Siler via Decision

CG: Siler via Decision

Women’s Bantamweight Bout – Amanda Nunes (8-3) vs Germaine de Randamie (4-2)

DR: de Randamie via (T)KO

CG: Nunes via (T)KO

Middleweight Bout – Chris Camozzi (19-6) vs Lorenz Larkin (13-1 (1nc))

DR: Larkin via Decision

CG: Larkin via Decision

Lightweight Bout – Yves Edwards (42-20-1) vs Yancy Medeiros (9-1)

DR: Edwards via Decision

CG: Medeiros via Decision

Welterweight Bout – Neil Magny (8-2) vs Seth Baczynski (18-10)

DR: Magny via Decision

CG: Baczynski via Decision

Middleweight Bout – Derek Brunson (10-2) vs Brian Houston (4-0)

DR: Brunson via (T)KO

CG: Brunson via (T)KO

 

Current scores after 14 events:

Chuck Grace:  – 93/141 (66%)

Dave Reid:  – 85/141 (60%)

Jordan Smith:  – 83/141 (59%)

Chris Pohlman: – 66/105 (63%)

Dane Ford:  – 50/83 (60%)

Paul Bruens – 44/60 (73%)

Douglas Keast: – 11/23 (48%)

Remember if you want to compete with the MMAInsider.net crew then head on over to MMAFantasyFever.com and go head to head with us!

About Dave Reid

Dave is an avid MMA fan and the content officer for MMAInsider.net If you would like to get in touch with him you can email him at dreid@mmainsider.net or follow him on twitter @davereiduk

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