UFC on Fox 14 – Preview, Picks, Betting Tips And Start Times

redmond seery

For just the fourteenth time in the history of the promotion, Fox will host a UFC event this Saturday night. The card, which takes place in the Tele2 Arena in Stockhom, Sweden, is interesting from top to bottom with two Irish fighters on the prelims and the light-heavyweight title contender being figured out in the main event.

Alexander Gustafsson vs. Anthony Johnson

When Jon Jones convincingly beat Daniel Cormier to defend the UFC light-heavyweight title at the start of the month, this fight between Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Johnson took new meaning. Now, without doubt, the winner of this fight will be next in line for a title shot – and deservedly so. Alexander Gustafsson is the only man to trouble the aforementioned Jones in his career to date when he took at least two rounds in the 2013 fight of the year before losing a close, somewhat controversial decision. Matchmaking oddities and injuries have prevented the rematch from happening so far but, with a win over Johnson, it can’t be denied any longer. The win, though, isn’t as easy as that. Anthony “Rumble” Johnson has taken the light-heavyweight division by storm since he decided to give up cutting weight. The Blackzilian trained former WSOF star is undefeated since coming back to the UFC having beaten Rogerio Nogueira and Phil Davis in dominant fashion.

Johnson is a powerful, athletic freak who is ok with eating a shot while exploding in to land one of his own. He has efficient offensive wrestling and has a wonderful takedown defence. Gustafsson is a very different type of fighter. The Swede is a tall man who uses his size well. He has some of the best footwork in the division and uses it to change angles before landing combinations coming in. His wrestling is probably on a level with Johnson where both men are happy to use it to stay on the feet. When making my pick here I have to favour Gustafsson. Johnson is an extremely dangerous fighter with knockout power but the more elite your opponent the harder it is to land that one devastating blow. I think Gustafsson will realise that and play a safe game for the opening two rounds. I see him circling away from the power right hand of Johnson early before opening up with his hands after the pop goes from Rumble’s paws. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him finish in the last ten minutes.

Pick – Gustafsson via TKO

Dan Henderson vs. Gegard Mousasi

In the co-main event, former Strikeforce veterans battle it out in a somewhat fun, but fairly meaningless, middleweight bout. Since coming back to the UFC Dan Henderson has missed out on a title shot and lost four of his six fights – beating Shogun Rua on both occasion – and drops down to 185 lbs here. Mousasi has had a similarly rocky UFC road with wins over Mark Munoz and Ilir Latifi but losses to Lyoto Machida and Jacare Souza.

As a fighter, Dan Henderson, at 44, is well past his prime but still has that one weapon that can equalize any advantage – the H-Bomb. If Hendo lands his over-right hand cleanly, it’s almost certainly curtains for his opponent. The only problem is, he hardly ever lands it anymore. Henderson used to be an extremely gifted wrestler but has become a one-dimensional striker. Mousasi will know that. The Dutchman is a much more technically gifted fighter on his feet and will have a huge speed advantage against Henderson. Just like in the main event, expect Mousasi to avoid the big power shot at all costs. Once he can do that, he shouldn’t have too much trouble taking home a decision.

Pick – Mousasi via decision

Phil Davis vs. Ryan Bader

With the top of the light-heavyweight division becoming smaller by the day, the meeting of Ryan Bader and Phil Davis has real title implications for 2015. Davis has been a long time prospect at 205 lbs but has never taken that next step towards a title. Of late, he has had an up-and-down time of it with wins over Lyoto Machida and Glover Texeira and losses to Rashad Evans and Anthony Johnson. Bader has a similarly eventful record after fighting some of the very best in the world. The TUF 7 winner has a win over former champion Quinton Jackson and is currently riding a three bout streak but had previously lost to champion Jon Jones, Tito Ortiz and Glover Texeira.

Both of these guys are decorated college wrestlers who have added a nice striking attack to their arsenal. Davis is the much taller man, is the more technical with his hands, has great submissions thanks to his long limbs and adds in his takedowns well. Bader is a fast power puncher and power wrestler who brings it every time. If there was any man I’d expect to get a takedown it would be Davis but I fully expect the wrestling to negate itself here and for this to become a kickboxing match. Bader will know that Davis has had a problem with power strikers before (see: Johnson, Rumble) and will be trying to get inside to land in big quantities. Davis’ use of his size and distance will be all important in stopping that from happening. I think Davis can get his kicks, jab and clubbing right hand popping early and stop Bader from getting inside too much. The longer the fight goes the more it favours Davis. I think he’ll banish the Bader attacks early and take the decision.

Pick – Davis via decision

Paul Redmond vs. Mirsad Bektic

After much campaigning online for the past year, Team Ryano’s Paul Redmond will finally get his shot at the UFC this Saturday. “Redser” has been a stand-out on the European scene for years, winning seven of his last eight outings. Against Mirsad Bektic, though, he will face by far the toughest task of his career. Fighting out of American Top Team Bektic is one of the biggest prospects in the UFC today and has won all eight of his professional bouts.

Redmond is an extremely talented fighter in all areas. He is best known for his toe-hold submission but his wrestling and striking have been constantly improving. Bektic is also very well rounded. His striking is crisp and powerful, he has good offensive and defensive wrestling and is ferocious when on the floor. Maybe the biggest issue going into this fight is the fact that Redmond is taking the bout on only just over two weeks’ notice and it will be the first time ever he has attempted to make featherweight after fighting at lightweight his whole career. Fighting someone at the level of Bektic with that preparation doesn’t bode well. If the fight hits the ground, there is a high chance Redmond rips off a toe and takes it home to Dublin but I think, on a full camp, Bektic should be able to keep this one standing for long enough to eek his way to a decision.

Pick – Bektic via decision

Neil Seery vs. Chris Beal

Opening up the entire card in Stockholm on Saturday will be another Team Ryano veteran as Neil Seery takes on TUF veteran Chris Beal. Seery is a long-time, multi-weight veteran of the sport who has impressed in his UFC career to date. The Dubliner lost a close decision to Brad Pickett in his debut in an display which won him many plaudits before he got his first Octagon win against Phil Harris at UFC Dublin. Coming out of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ house Beal has had plenty of hype behind him too and lived up to it with two wins, one of which was a highlight reel flying knee, to take his record to 10-0.

Beal has a very unorthodox style. He loads up on his shots and throws with wild power punches and kicks from all angles. He prefers the fight on the feet but isn’t a bad wrestler and is extremely fast in the transitions. Seery is a much more technically sound boxer and wears opponents down with a series of shots rather than just one big one. His wrestling had been questioned after the short-notice Brad Pickett fight but be showed vast improvements against Phil Harris; while he’s always dangerous with submissions on the mat. Since signing for the UFC Seery has spoken about wanting to showcase his boxing more – I think this might be just the opportunity to do that. The Dubliner has a tremendous ability to slip shots and counter with three or four. Against the head rushing Beal that should be a possibility regularly on Saturday. As always, the power punching of Beal is the big concern for Seery early but if his well-known iron chin holds up once more I see him taking Beal deep and winning the decision.

Pick – Seery via decision

SHORT PICKS

Akira Corassani vs. Sam Sicilia – Corassani via KO
Nico Musoke vs. Albert Tumenov – Musoke via decision
Kenny Robertson vs. Sultan Aliev – Robertson via submission
Andy Ogle vs. Makwan Amirkhani – Ogle via submission
Nikita Krylov vs. Stanislav Nedkov – Krylov via KO
Mairbek Taisumov vs. Anthony Christodoulou – Taisumov via submission
Viktor Pešta vs. Konstantin Erokhin – Erokhin via KO

BONUS PICKS

Fight of the night – Gustafsson vs. Johnson

Performance of the night – Gustafsson and Robertson

BET OF THE WEEK

This week I’ve gone for a treble of Gustafsson, Mousasi and Davis to just about treble your money

START TIMES

Early Prelims – Fight Pass at 9pm Saturday

Prelims – BT Sport 1 at 10pm Saturday

Main Card – BT Sport 1 at 1am Sunday

Podcaster, lead MMA writer and analyst for SevereMMA. Host of the SevereMMA podcast, out every Sunday. Economics and Mathematics graduate from UCC. Also write for Sherdog. Previously of hov-mma and fightbooth. As heard on 2FM, Red FM, Today FM and more. Follow me on twitter for updates @SeanSheehanBA and on Facebook Facebook.com/seansheehanmma