The Ultimate Fighting Championship will head to the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego California for the UFC Fight Night 71 card on July 15. It’s a decent card, with a bunch of competitive matchups. The main event features heavyweights Frank Mir and Todd Duffee, while fast rising star Al Iaquinta takes on his toughest test till date in Gilbert Melendez.
Here are my UFC Fight Night 71 Predictions:
Frank Mir vs. Todd Duffee
Mir (17-9-0, 9 submissions) looked good during his last outing, scoring a knockout victory against Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva at UFN 61. Despite the fact he was coming off a two-year layoff, Duffee (9-2-0, 9 KOs) was just as impressive during his last outing, knocking out Anthony Hamilton 33 seconds into their fight.
Duffee hits as hard as anyone else in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s heavyweight division, and he is the technically superior striker heading into this contest. Mir will have the advantage if the fight hits the canvas, but Duffee’s takedown defense should be good enough to stop Mir’s not so impressive takedowns.
Duffee’s chin has been suspect in the past, so he certainly can’t afford to get careless against Mir who has knocked out a couple of respected strikers over the years.
Still, if Duffee is able to keep the fight standing, it’s hard to see Mir, who seems to be in the final stages of his MMA career, getting out of the first round.
Prediction: Todd Duffee wins via KO.
Gilbert Melendez vs. Al Iaquinta
“Raging Al” has been on fire lately, racking up four consecutive victories against respected veterans like Ross Pearson, Joe Lauzon, and Jorge Masvidal.
Iaquinta (12-3-1, 6 KOs) will be taking a serious step up in competition when he faces Melendez (22-5-0, 11 KOs) at UFC Fight Night 71 though. “El Nino” is coming off consecutive loss, but those were against two of the best fighters in the division and he carried himself well on both occasions.
It’s safe to say Melendez still has a lot left in his tank.
The striking exchanges between these two should be somewhat even, but Melendez will have a slight advantage in the wrestling department. More importantly, Iaquinta’s fight IQ has been questionable at times, and one mistake against a world class fighter like Melendez will likely be one too many.
Prediction: Gilbert Melendez wins via TKO.
Remaining UFC Fight Night 71 Predictions:
Tony Ferguson defeats Josh Thomson
Marion Reneau defeats Holly Holm
Kevin Lee defeats James Moontasri
Alan Jouban defeats Matt Dwyer
Sam Sicilia defeats Yaotzin Meza
Jéssica Andrade defeats Sarah Moras
Manvel Gamburyan defeats Scott Jorgensen
Rani Yahya defeats Masanori Kanehara
Sean Strickland defeats Igor Araujo
Lyman Good defeats Andrew Craig
Kevin Casey defeats Ildemar Alcântara
David is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and boxing practitioner who has watched and studied MMA for the past 9 years. Send him your questions @davidkingwriter.
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Don’t forget to check out my UFC Fight Night 71 Predictions FightPicks shortly before the prelims start. Up +12.85 units so far this year.