UFC Fight Night 135 headlined by Lightweight contender Justin Gaethje and James Vick is this Saturday night, August 25th. The octagon touches down in Lincoln, Nebraska and the prelims are on UFC Fight Pass, the prelims on FS2, and the main event on FS1. The first fight starts at 3:30 PM Pacific time and the main event starts at 7.
Featured Matchup: Michael Johnson (18-13) -110 vs. Andre Fili (18-5) -120
The Ultimate Fighter season 12 veteran Michael Johnson has 18 UFC fights under his belt, but on the wrong side of a three-fight losing streak at the moment. Andre “Touchy” Fili is four years younger and on a two-fight win streak, though he hasn’t fought anywhere near the same competition as Johnson has recently.
Why Michael Johnson Will Win
Watching both fighters in their recent bouts, its evident Johnson has a hand speed advantage when it comes to the boxing game. Fili prefers to strike over grapple, making this matchup a tough one for Fili to overcome. Johnson lands more significant strikes per round and defends strikes at a better percentage, 57%. Here’s the now infamous shot he gave to Khabib that wobbled the still perfect (26-0) fighter.
For Johnson to have superior striking numbers going up against the likes of Khabib, Gaethje, and Poirier signals bad times ahead for Andre Fili. The Team Alpha Male fighter has recently won two close decisions against Dennis Bermudez and Artem Lobov, not the cream of the crop in the UFC. Lobov is known as a pure brawler and to not be able to separate his skills from doesn’t bode well for his matchup with the speedy Michael Johnson.
Johnson’s critics would point out he hasn’t won a fight in two years. That win was against now top contender Dustin Poirier and Johnson ended the fight in brutal knockout fashion. Since then he fought Justin Gaethje then Darren Elkins in two absolute slugfests. He lost to Gaethje by unanimous decision, but hurt him in the boxing game throughout and did the same to Elkins but got caught in a choke in the second round.
Fili doesn’t pose the same challenge on the ground as Johnson’s previous opponents. He won’t have to worry about as many possibilities and will be able to let the hands fly. Michael Johnson has a great shot to bounce back and start a winning streak Saturday night in Lincoln Nebraska.
Other Fighters to Back
Deiveson Figueiredo (14-0) -160
The young Brazilian prospect is undefeated at 14-0 and 3-0 in the octagon. He takes on UFC veteran of 8 years John Moraga, who is 8-5 in octagon action and currently on a three-fight win streak. Watch our last “One to Watch” to see how athletic and ferocious Figueiredo is, his skills pose early problems for the older Moraga.
The vet Moraga looked extremely drawn out from his weight cut Friday morning and needs that energy to overcome Deiveson. These men have 8 finishes in the UFC between them, coupled with the intense stare down on Friday we can expect fireworks from this matchup. Figueiredo simply has more tools to finish the fight in multiple ways.
James Vick (13-1) -150
James Vick is on a four-fight win streak and rapidly rising up the loaded Lightweight ranks. Justin Gaethje is going the opposite way, undefeated outside the UFC but now on the wrong end of two straight. Vick poses a terrible matchup problem for Gaethje. “The Texecutioner” is the tallest Lightweight in the UFC at 6’3 and has a ridiculous 76’ reach.
Vick struggles against takedowns but he won’t give that one thought Saturday against Gaethje, considering he hasn’t landed a single UFC takedown yet. He’ll be able to focus strictly on boxing and point fighting from the outside. Gaethje is a slow target and never stops walking forward, he’ll look to take out Vick’s legs with kicks but I don’t see that happening before Vick takes him out.
Eryk Anders (10-1) -1000
This matchup is a lopsided one, Anders should be 3-0 in the UFC, however, a controversial decision didn’t go his way in Brazil fighting the legend Lyoto Machida last time out. Anders should be looking to bounce back against someone higher up in the ranks; instead, he takes on Tim Williams who didn’t show a whole lot against Oskar Piechota in his lone UFC loss. He looked sloppy on the feet en route to a quick first round KO. Anders is a University of Alabama football product and a tremendous athlete. His ground control is top notch and will even have the stand-up advantage in this matchup; the odds at -1000 show how one-sided this one is.