The UFC is in Adelaide, Australia for UFC Fight Night 142 and former UFC heavyweight champion No. 7 Junior Dos Santos (19-5-0) and undefeated No. 11 Tai Tuivasa (8-0-0) square off to move closer to the title shot conversation.
The long road back to title contention continues for “Cigano,” 34, since losing the belt to Cain Velasquez back in 2013 at UFC 166. He’s 3-2-0 since, and missed an opportunity last year to recapture the crown, losing to Stipe Miocic at UFC 211. Meanwhile, Tuivasa’s respect and hospitality for his opponent is only exceeded by his will to win.
Kenai Andrews checks in with his thoughts on the main card.
MAIN CARD (10PM ET/7PM PT)
JIM CRUTE (8-0-0) VS. PAUL CRAIG (9-2-0)
Andrews: Crute said during the weigh-in that he saw the nervousness of Craig and we have seen Craig nervous of fighters in the cage before, with Tyson Pedro and Khalil Rountree for example. I was going to go with Craig, but after this development, Crute gets my pick.
Andrews Prediction: Jim Crute via TKO
SUMAN HOKTHARIAN (8-0-0) VS. SODIQ YUSUFF (7-1-0)
Andrews Prediction: Both fighters making their octagon debut. Sodiq wants to strike, Suman wants to submit. Tough one to call, but I will go with the striker.
Andrews Prediction: Sodiq Yusuff via TKO
JAKE MATTHEWS (13-3-0) VS. TONY MARTIN (13-4-0)
Andrews: Tough bout to call. I like Matthew’s striking and footwork and if he can keep the fight standing should get the decision.
Andrews Prediction: Jake Matthews via UD
MAURICIO RUA (25-11-0) VS. TYSON PEDRO (7-2-0)
Andrews: Rua has been solid even though he was stopped by Smith in his last fight. But he can be dragged to the ground and submitted, but can Pedro do that? He can, but I think Rua knocks him out first.
Andrews Prediction: Mauricio Rua via TKO
#10 MARK HUNT (13-13-1, 1NC) VS. #15 JUSTIN WILLIS (7-1-0)
Andrews: Does Hunt have anything left in the tank? Barely, but he will let it all go in his retirement fight at home, which gives him more than a punchers chance. But I have to go with “Big Pretty,” who should take advantage of this opportunity.
Andrews Prediction: Justin Willis via TKO
#7 JUNIOR DOS SANTOS (19-5-0) VS. #11 TAI TUIVASA (8-0-0)
Andrews: Tuivasa has not faced the calibre of dos Santos. Meanwhile, Dos Santos has only lost to the top of the division, but he is facing a determined youngster with a nation behind him. I think the youngster pulls off the upset.
Andrews Prediction: Tai Tuivasa via TKO