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UFC Fight Night 80 – Namajunas vs VanZant predictions

The UFC strawweights continue to produce exciting matchups in 2015, as even an injury to top contender Joanne Calderwood produced an arguably more intriguing main event.

#7-ranked Paige VanZant (6-1-0), replacing Calderwood, takes on #3-ranked Rose Namajunas (4-2-0) to get the hectic UFC December schedule started.

Welcome back to The Crossfire.

MMA Crossfire

MMA Crossfire Expert Cassie Wiseman checks in with her thoughts on the main card.

Cassie Wiseman
MMA Crossfire Expert Cassie Wiseman. She is a martial artist with over six years of study. Training primarily in South Korea, the proud Canadian from Roberts Arm, Newfoundland is proficient in Taekwondo, Hapkido, and Muay Thai kickboxing. Image courtesy Steve Bartlett

MAIN CARD (10PM ET/7PM PT)

ELIAS “THE SPARTAN” THEODOROU (11-0-0) VS THIAGO “MARRETA” SANTOS (11-3-0)

UFC Fight Night 80
Opponents Elias Theodorou of Canada and Thiago Santos of Brazil face off during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in inside MGM Grand Garden Arena on December 9, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Wiseman: These guys are known for their kicks. Theodorou throws more, but when it comes to power, it’s Santos who has the advantage there. Lets recall the Santos vs. Hall fight. Crazy kicks thrown by Santos! Now, the difference going against Santos in this match is that Theodorou will mix up his striking with wrestling, which will make Santos think twice. Santos on his back? Well, he does have a ground game, but both he and

Theodorou prefer to keep things standing. Preferred, but Theodorou will use this to keep Santos thinking, use pressure and pace to test the gas tank of Santos. It will be an entertaining fight, but with strengths in more than mainly Muay Thai, I see Theodorou taking things where he wants them.

Wiseman Prediction: Elias “The Spartan” Theodorou via unanimous decision.

SAGE “SUPER” NORTHCUTT (6-0-0) VS CODY “THE FIST” PFISTER (12-4-1)

UFC Fight Night 80
Opponents Sage Northcutt and Cody Pfister face off during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in inside MGM Grand Garden Arena on December 9, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Wiseman: Honestly, I don’t know where Pfister gets off with these “kid” comments towards Northcutt. Who cares if he comes from financially sound parents or whatever, this is about skills in the fight business. Northcutt hasn’t fought the level of fighters that Pfister has fought, this is a true fact. However, the way Northcutt moves, his skill versatility, his speed, and power. Really, I don’t see how Pfister wins this fight. He is a machine when it comes to cardio, but he is a decision type of fighter with his wrestling. Northcutt has precision counter-striking, fast kicks, wrestling of his own, and a submission game. Above all, he is an aggressive finisher. I know people are trying to end the hype train that Northcutt is on, but Pfister isn’t the fighter to do it.

Wiseman Prediction: Sage “Super” Northcutt via TKO

#15 JIM MILLER (25-6-0, 1NC) VS MICHAEL “MAVERICK” CHIESA (12-2-0)

UFC Fight Night 80
Opponents Jim Miller and Michael Chiesa face off during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in inside MGM Grand Garden Arena on December 9, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Wiseman: I see this fight being a BJJ match. Cheese always reminded me of Clay Guida in his fighting style. He uses his strikes to get on the inside of the pocket, then gets a takedown. He will weigh on his opponent and look for submission attempts, or just weigh down throwing non-threatening punches. Miller likes to strike, but has a solid ground game too. Miller has more KO power than Chiesa, but make no mistake, this fight will be on the mat. That means looking primarily at their ground games, where I give the advantage to Miller. He’s fought higher level competition, been in the game forever, and has better takedown defence. I see Miller using striking to do more damage whether in the standup or on the mat.

Chiesa is a trooper, so this is going the distance, but combine Miller’s striking and ground game, I see him deciding  where the fight takes place, then using his experience to keep himself out of trouble while posing threats to keep Chiesa on the defence.

Wiseman Prediction: Jim Miller via unanimous decision.

MAIN EVENT

#3 ROSE “THUG” NAMAJUNAS (4-2-0) VS #7 PAIGE “12 GAUGE” VANZANT (6-1-0)

UFC Fight Night 80
Opponents Rose Namajunas and Paige VanZant face off during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in inside MGM Grand Garden Arena on December 9, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Wiseman: I love these two ladies, both are beasts. Something I’ve noticed while watching VanZant’s fights over is that she tends to come out hard right from the beginning. It’s easier to do that when the opponent stays on the defence. Namajunas doesn’t care about getting hit, so I see her not moving backwards the entire fight like VanZant is used to. Plus, Namajunas is the fighter who can jump into an arm bar. She can make things happen when others wouldn’t know what to do. She has more experience, seems more focused now that ever, and is a savage who just plunges forward regardless.

Wiseman Prediction: Rose Namajunas via submission.

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