Two lanky knockout artists are set to clash in the main event of this Fight Night come Saturday. Johnny Walker keeps finding himself in main event slots even after a lackluster few fights. Jamahal Hill has now been fast tracked to main event status, after rebounding from a career defining loss to Paul Craig.
I’ve already taken a look at the prelims, and they seem pretty eventful. You can view my prelim predictions here.
It’s time to break down my predictions for the main card of UFC Fight Night: Johnny Walker vs Jamahal Hill.
Joaquin Buckley vs Abdul Razak Alhassan
The main card kicks off with a fight that has no right to go the distance. These are two men with 21 knockouts in their combined 24 wins. Joaquin Buckley has solidified his place in the UFC since that wonderful KO of Impa Kasanganay back in 2020 (I know we’ve all seen it by now but I’ll put a GIF anyway). Buckley puts high pressure on his opponents, dipping down and storming into their guard to get up close and personal with nasty hooks.
This style of fighting from Buckley may have found him success in a majority of fights, but it has been his crux in some. It was the dipping of Buckley’s posture that allowed Allesio Di Chirico to land that knockout head kick against him. Buckley may bully with power and aggression, but his shorter frame (5’8) puts him at a major disadvantage to anybody that can keep him at distance. A good example of this was his fight against Kevin Holland, and again, Di Chirico met Buckley first with that stunning head kick.
Abdul Razak Hassan has a 100% finishing rate, all knockouts, all in the first round. So first round finishes are this man’s bread and butter. He’s a very upright and composed fighter, with a spectacular killing instinct and good shot selection (clearly, 11 first round KOs!).
Hassan most recently knocked out the aforementioned Allesio Di Chirico with a head kick, sort of avenging Buckley’s own head kick loss to Di Chirico in a way. True irony here would be for either of these fighters to win with head kick and come full circle (weirder things have happened, i.e. Weidman snapping his shin after snapping Silva’s shin).
Bull versus the Matador
I think this fight boils down to whether Hassan can deal with Buckley’s strength and pressure. Buckley also has a major Mike Tyson-like intimidation factor that could help him in this fight. Hassan’s last defeat came at the hands of Khaos Williams, and there was visible intimidation from Hassan in that fight. I believe that loss to Khaos was caused by a nervousness and stiffness that was produced by a type of fear that could come around in this fight also.
Granted, Hassan’s last victory was very similar to Buckley’s last defeat. If Buckley dips into another head kick, it’s game over, but I assume he’s covered this hole in his game now. This is why I’m choose Joaquin Buckley by KO/TKO.
My pick – Buckley by KO/TKO
Jim Miller vs Nikolas Motta
Jim Miller is still going strong. The submission ace is now 38, and still winning fights at a decent level in the UFC. Miller last made an appearance last October, knocking out Erick Gonzalez with a solid left hook. Fun fact about this fight: this fight has the largest disparity between fighters in terms of amount of UFC fights. As in, Jim Miller has something like 37 UFC fights and Nikolas Motta is making his debut.
UFC newcomer Nikolas Motta is a DWCS alumni coming into this fight with a record of 13-3. Motta likes to apply the pressure on his opponents and overwhelm them with his ruthless striking. A majority of Motta’s professional victories have come by KO/TKO, and it’s his main route to victory against the heavily weathered Miller.
The road to success in this fight for Miller lies in his grappling. Unfortunately for Motta, Miller knows how to use cardio as a weapon. I expect that Miller will nullify the striking offense of Motta in this fight with well timed takedowns. We can anticipate that Miller will have the innate advantage on the ground, given that he’s a tried and tested veteran at the highest level.
Let’s just hope that Jim Miller is on the resurgence and he isn’t just playing his part as a gatekeeper to the ranked fighters.
My pick – Jim Miller by UD
Parker Porter vs Alan Boudot
I’m surprised this fight got a slot on the main card, but maybe the UFC think they have a heavyweight knockout on their hands. Alan Boudot is yet to notch a win in the UFC. It can’t be denied he has knockout power, but he’s been thoroughly outmatched in every fight at the highest level.
What Boudot lacks is, well, just about everything. He seems like quite a tentative fighter who hasn’t been able to impose his will as of yet. He rarely sits down on a punch, and always sets on the backfoot whenever his opponent applies the pressure.
Parker Porter is a relatively short, stocky heavyweight who has had decent success in the UFC. Porter likes to apply forward pressure with his opponents, and it’s made easier by his low center of mass. Porter has massive legs and a huge midsection, which means he’s practically immovable to a lot of heavyweights when he steps on the gas. Although Porter was knocked unconscious by Chris Daukaus not long back, I don’t think Boudot can achieve the same.
Like I said, Boudot has a bad habit of giving ground to his opponents, which is something you don’t want to do against someone like Porter. I anticipate Porter will apply the pressure and put Boudot on the backfoot, we could even see Porter engage in wrestling and ground fighting against the inexperienced Boudot.
My pick – Porter by sloppy UD
Kyle Daukaus vs Jamie Pickett
I was surprised to see that Kyle Daukaus doesn’t have a single knockout to his name. He’s like a skinnier, grappling counterpart to his brother Chris. If Kyle had the striking of Chris then I’d say this is a surefire victory for Kyle, since Jamie Pickett is rather one dimensional, however this isn’t the case.
When we saw Daukaus fight Brendan Allan, he fought mostly against the fence before being caught with a flush knee. What ensued was a grappling exchange on the ground that Daukaus eventually found himself in control of. This is exactly where Kyle should be looking to find himself in this fight against Pickett.
Jamie Pickett is fairly one dimensional. He’s a muscle bound, tall puncher who walks his opponents down and wings his shots to find the knockout. His last two fights have been rather uneventful though, especially the one against Laureano Staropoli. Staropoli, the inferior fighter to Kyle, managed to hold Pickett against the fence for a majority of the fight, and seeing this, I think Kyle could do it too.
Jamie Pickett won’t be able to apply that patented bullying pressure against Kyle, for fear of the takedown and inevitable grappling dominance. It’s because of this that I think Kyle will have his way against the fence with Pickett, possibly work in some takedowns, and control the fight on the floor.
My pick – Daukaus by UD
Jamahal Hill vs Johnny Walker
Johnny Walker is back! And he’s got a tough test ahead of him in the form of rising prospect Jamahal Hill. I honestly think this is a rather large mismatch in Jamahal’s favour.
Johnny Walker is a wildman, standing a solid 6’5, he has those fast twitch muscle fibers that allow him to jump 7′ in the air to land a knee on his opponent’s chin. Unfortunately for Walker, he’s recently hit a series of bumps in his career, and largely due to his own stylistic flaws.
For one, Walker always drops his hands when attacking. He’s like a glass cannon, going full assault but dropping his hands in the process. This bad habit has found him dropped by several opponents in his last few fights, including Cory Anderson and Ryan Spann (the latter of which he managed to beat). Walker has an uncanny ability to recover from being knocked on his ass, which is quite commendable, but I don’t think he’ll get a second chance against a hitter like Jamahal Hill.
Since his first defeat at the hands of Paul Craig, Jamahal Hill has since rebounded with a shock knockout over Jimmy Crute last December. Hill is extremely calculated on the feet, and he hits with both power and precision. He’s also not half bad on the ground, so overall he’s a very well rounded fighter, and his record shows this.
Hill has a knack for catching his opponents coming in, which worked greatly for him in his fight with Crute. He caught Crute with two smashing right hooks in two separate exchanges that both dropped the surging Aussie. I’m afraid that the hand dropping, wild nature of Walker’s offense will find him on the end of a Hill counter, and it will be lights out for the Brazilian.
My pick – Hill by KO/TKO