Two former UFC Heavyweight champions prepare to throw down in Hamburg, Germany as Andrei Arlovski and Josh Barnett headline UFC Fight Night: 93. “The Pit Bull” will be eager to avoid the first three-fight losing skid in his UFC career, but the “Warmaster” won’t be particularly accommodating. Read on below for our complete breakdown of that hard-hitting heavyweight bout, as well as the other three main card fights.
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UFC Fight Night 93: Arlovski vs. Barnett Main Card Preview
Why Arlovski will win: Yes, Arlovski has lost two fights in a row, but those losses came against the current champion, Stipe Miocic, and the No. 1 contender, Alistair Overeem. He hasn’t had too much trouble taking care of fighter much closer to his level, though. He stopped both Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva and Travis Brown as he began his second stint in the UFC with a four-fight win streak.
Arlovski is the more accomplished striker of the two, and should have the significant edge on the feet. 17 of his 25 career fights have been by knockout/TKO. Apart from the power in his hands, Arlovski also has the ability to utilize kicks. Arlovski’s excellent takedown defense should help keep the fight on the feet, exactly where he wants it to be.
Why Barnett will win: Barnett may not be the all-around striker Arlovski is, but he’s still has the power in his hands that, coupled with Arlovski’s increasingly questionable chin, can alter the fight. Barnett’s bread and butter, though, is his excellent grappling. He can neutralize Arlovski’s striking edge by engaging him in the clinch and scoring with his dirty boxing.
And if he can take Arlovski down, Barnett – a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt – should have the edge in the submission game. Of his 34 career wins, 20 have come via submission. Arlovski will be a threat to go for leglocks, but Barnett has the more varied ground game that can attack Arlovski in a bunch of different angles.
Writer’s Prediction: Barnett (-155) puts Arlovski away with a first-round TKO.
Why Gustafsson will win: As the lopsided odds suggest, Gustafsson is clearly the superior fighter. He has lost three of his last four fights, but all three of those were against the top guys in the division. He’s an outstanding boxer with cardio for days, and will simply be able to pick the kickboxer Blachowicz apart if the fight remains standing.
Why Blachowicz will win: Blachowicz’s path to victory is admittedly pretty tough, but it’s there. He’ll be ready to go the distance if necessary; seven of his last eight fights have gone the full 15 minutes. He can also look to score some very hard kicks to slow the shifty Swede down. And if the fight somehow goes to the mat, Blachowicz has a dangerous BJJ game that can surprise and submit the Swede.
Writer’s Prediction: Gustafsson (-800) outclasses Blachowicz as he rolls to a second-round TKO.
Why Bader will win: Despite Bader’s disappointing KO loss to Anthony Johnson – you’re not the first to get rocked by Rumble, Ryan – the fact remains he’s a much-improved fighter. He’s no longer the prototypical wrestler with one-dimensional stand-up. He displayed his improved striking in his unanimous decision win over Rashad Evans, as he was able to effectively control the former champion on the feet.
With his refined technical striking as well as his superior quickness and athleticism, he can basically run rings around the immobile and reach-disadvantaged Latifi en route to a comfortable win.
Why Latifi will win: Latifi will be full of confidence coming into this fight thanks to a current three-fight win streak. He may not have excellent reach, but if he does land, he has enough power in his fists to alter any fight with one punch. Three of his last four wins have come via KO. He’s a fairly strong wrestler, and is capable of taking Bader down if things aren’t going his way on the feet. At the same time, he will also be tough for Bader to take down to the mat.
Writer’s Prediction: Latifi (+170) lands a big shot and upsets Bader with a second-round stoppage.
Why Hein will win: Hein knows more than one way to get a win. He can use his strength in the clinch, where he can grind down opponents en route to a decision. All four of his UFC fights have gone the distance, and he has won three of them. He will also be dangerous on the ground, where he can utilize his black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Why Bang will win: Bang will be the bigger and longer fighter in this matchup, and has the tools to maintain the distance against Hein. He possesses fairly decent takedown defense, which is crucial since he’s not much of a grappler. He is the more conditioned fighter, though, and will be un likely to wear down as the fight goes along.
Writer’s Prediction: Hein (-280) grinds out yet another unanimous decision victory over Bang.
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