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UFC on FOX 18: Johnson vs Bader predictions

Ryan Bader (21-4-0) is enjoying an unexpected run in the light-weight division.

Criticized for his less-than-exciting style, the man who once tapped to Tito Ortiz at UFC 132, has reeled of five consecutive decision wins as an overwhelming underdog.

His confidence has never been higher, but now he faces #2-ranked  Anthony Johnson (20-5-0), who took the champion Daniel Cormier to his limits before running out of gas at UFC 187.

MMA Crossfire Expert Cas Wiseman runs it down the main card:

Cassie Wiseman

UFC ON FOX 18

MAIN CARD 8PM ET/5PM PT

SAGE NORTHCUTT (7-0-0) VS BRYAN BARBERENA (10-2-0)

Wiseman: Barberena has knockout power, when he is the aggressor and sets things up. Northcutt fights long, can counter-strike, and doesn’t need to worry about takedowns as he has close to 50% submissions. With that said, Northcutt mixes things up from his karate stance with kicks, to his grappling that he showed off in his last match. Barberena doesn’t mix things up like he needs to which would open up a chance for him to throw a bomb. That’s his biggest downfall.

Wiseman Prediction: Sage Northcutt via submission.

#14 LURI ALCANTARA (32-6-0, 1NC) VS JIMMIE RVIERA (18-1-0)

Wiseman: Rivera is a well-rounded fighter, but Alcantara can do everything he can do and then some. Alcantara is the faster fighter, mixing things aggressively. He can go from a warrior in the standup with kicks and awkward-angle strikes, to a ground game in a matter of seconds. Alcantara moves and transitions so fast that no one can keep up with him. That’s his secret weapon: Speed and muscle memory of each movement. Rivera just doesn’t have those skills to counter what he is going to have to endure.

Wiseman Prediction: Luri Alcantara via submission.

#8 JOSH BARNETT (34-7-0) VS #7 BEN ROTHWELL (35-9-0)

Wiseman: These guys both have good records, so this matchup is fantastic! Rothwell has the power advantage, but there are always pros and cons to that. When a fighter realizes that they can end a fight quickly, then often rely solely on that power. Rothwell has often fallen victim to that. Going against a major threat like Barnett, the problem is that Barnett will use his wrestling to get things to the mat where he has the advantage. Barnett has knockout power too, but I’m feeling confident that he won’t want to stand and trade with Rothwell like he did with Roy Nelson.

Then again, if you can withstand a punch from Nelson, you’re pretty much set for the rest of the division. I see these guys countering each other’s skill setting. Barnett has the advantage on the mat, but Rothwell isn’t a fool off his back. He can defend most things, but if things are finished I see it being submission. Otherwise, this is going to be a rock ’em sock ’em kind of match.

Wiseman Prediction: Josh Barnett via unanimous decision.

MAIN EVENT

#2 ANTHONY JOHNSON (20-5-0) VS RYAN BADER (21-4-0)

Wiseman: This fight hurts me. It hurts me because there is a fear in the back of my mind that Bader will just use his wrestling to grind out a decision win. That’s my biggest fear for this match. Bader is skilled, but he lacks that finishing quality because of his fighting style. Johnson, he can end anything in a blink of an eye. The biggest question is whether or not Johnson will be able to withstand the wrestling? And, will his cardio hold up? We saw both of these tested in the Cormier match, so of course Bader will use the same game plan. Johnson has brought in a grappling and wrestling coach to The Blackzilians, so only time will tell if he will be able to defend enough. However, I see the cardio and wrestling of Bader just being like the Cain Velasquez of old, and merely wearing him down. Trust me, for the sake of trying to stay awake, I hope I’m wrong.

Wiseman Prediction: Ryan Bader via unanimous decision.

@Wiseman_Report

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