UFC Fight Night 171: Main Card - Previews & Predictions

At long last, there is actually a live sport to bet on during a weekday as UFC Fight Night 171 will be taking place on this Wednesday in Florida. After such an entertaining fight card on Saturday, MMA fans should be in the mood for more carnage and this event should help them quench their thirst. Unlike the last event, this card features less-prominent fighters among casual MMA fans but that does not mean that UFC Fight Night 171 should be a letdown by any means.

Anthony Smith vs. Glover Teixeira

Anthony “Lionheart” Smith enters the Octagon for the first time in roughly one calendar year as he will be looking for his 34th win in his MMA career. After losing to Jon Jones in a title fight via unanimous decision, Anthony Smith bounced back and knocked out UFC veteran Alexander Gustafsson in the fourth round. Now, Smith will be looking to continue his winning ways against another UFC veteran in Glover Teixeira.

Despite being 40 years old, Glover Teixeira enters this fight in solid form as he has won each of his last three fights. However, Anthony Smith is definitely a step-up in competition when being compared to the likes of Nikita Krylov, Ion Cutelaba and Karl Roberson so one has to wonder if the veteran will find a way to extend this current winning streak.

As for the fight itself, it is a battle of conflicting styles. Smith loves to stay in the stand up and demolish his opponents’ faces while Teixeira loves to win fights on the mat via elite level Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu so the outcome of this fight will most likely come down to which fighter controls the pace. I personally think that Smith is on another level when it comes to striking so I expect Teixeira to get thoroughly dominated on the feet which should prevent him from getting into quality takedown opportunities. As a result, I think that Smith will take care of business within these 25 minutes.

Prediction: Anthony Smith by KO/TKO (+125 FoxBet)

Ben Rothwell vs. Ovince St. Preux

Ben Rothwell was finally able to snap his losing streak in his last outing as he was able to knock out Stefan Struve in December 2019. However, that fight did not come without controversy as Rothwell hit Struve twice in a rather “sensitive region” which caused Struve to stay on the ground for several minutes. After being convinced to continue fighting by the referee, Struve ended up getting knocked out shortly thereafter. However, prior to the second illegal shot, Struve was actually winning the fight so one has to wonder just how much Rothwell has left in the tank against a quality opponent on Wednesday.

Ovince St. Preux has had a pretty streaky UFC career. After fighting for the interim UFC Light Heavyweight Championship in 2016, St. Preux has never been able to make it back up the mountain. He has had mixed results over the last few years and he even enters this fight having lost two of his last three bouts. Now, St. Preux will hope to use his brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu en route to another UFC victory.

Simply put, I think that this is a terrible matchup for Rothwell. In addition to being well past his prime, he has never been known for his wrestling prowess which could be a serious problem on Wednesday. St. Preux is an elite wrestler and submission artist so I would expect this fight to come down to his ability to get Rothwell out of his comfort zone by taking him down repeatedly. I expect that strategy to work as St. Preux should be able to do enough damage on the ground in order to win this fight.

Prediction: Ovince St. Preux by Submission or Decision (+140 FoxBet)

Alexander Hernandez vs. Drew Dober

Alexander “The Great” Hernandez has had a pretty successful stint up to this point in the UFC. He has won three of his first four fights with the lone loss coming at the hand of UFC veteran Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. However, Alexander Hernandez was able to bounce back from that loss as he won his last fight via decision against Francisco Trinaldo in July 2019. Now, Hernandez will be looking to add another UFC victory to his collection against an underrated opponent in Drew Dober.

Drew Dober has been a member of the UFC since 2013 so he has had to face some quality competition over the years. Now, he gets to add another solid opponent to his résumé on Wednesday. Dober enters this fight in solid form as he has won five of his last six fights with each of his last two fights ending via first-round knockout. Now, he will be looking to potentially extend that knockout streak assuming that he will be able to connect some lethal punches with Hernandez’s head within these 15 minutes.

This fight appears like a total toss-up to me and oddsmakers seem to agree. Both fighters have very diverse skill sets which should lead to a very even fight. As a result, I think that this fight should be a pretty long one as both fighters should be unable to get a huge advantage over each other during these three rounds. However, Hernandez has gotten the victory in five of his first six decisions so he knows how to acquire points on some scorecards which might just be enough to sway this fight in his favor.

Prediction: Alexander Hernandez by Decision (+200 Fanduel)

Ray Borg vs. Ricky Simon

Despite only being 26 years old, Ray "The Tazmexican Devil" Borg has already established quite an impressive résumé in the UFC. Borg fought for the UFC Flyweight title back in 2017 before bouncing around between the Bantamweight and Flyweight divisions for the last few years. Now, Borg will return to Bantamweight for this fight after defeating Rogério Bontorin in the Flyweight division earlier this year via unanimous decision. However, the constant weight class shifts have not exactly worked out in Borg’s favor considering the fact that he has missed weight in two of his last three fights which resulted in him forfeiting a percentage of his recent purses. Now, Borg will be looking to make weight for once and to acquire his 14th MMA victory on Wednesday.

Unlike his opponent, Ricky Simon enters this fight in below average form as he has lost each of his last two fights to the likes of Uriah Faber and Rob Font. Now, Simon has the chance to get himself back on track against another well-known UFC fighter on Wednesday. However, Simon did start his MMA career with a 15-1 record so he has the ability to take control of any fight. The only question remaining is if he can find some of that earlier magic that appeared to vanish during his last two UFC appearances.

Since both of these fighters tend to go the distance in their respective fights, I expect this fight to last the whole 15 minutes. Simon has a huge reach advantage in this matchup so he should be looking to control the distance in order to prevent Borg from getting on the inside. However, Borg is the significantly better wrestler so I expect him to take advantage of any openings as soon as possible. As a result, I think that Borg will most likely land a few takedowns and sit on Simon for a few rounds which should be enough to get him the victory.

Prediction: Ray Borg by Decision (+250 FoxBet)

Karl Roberson vs. Marvin Vettori

Karl “Baby K” Roberson has been a pretty good fighter so far in his UFC career. Since joining the organization in 2017, Roberson has won five of his first seven fights. However, he has yet to beat a true contender and all of his victories have come against lesser competition. Now, he has the chance to change that as he will be matched up against a future contender on Wednesday. Roberson has the skills to win this fight but the only question will be if he can limit Vettori’s success in the ground game.

Mavin “The Italian Dream” Vettori has been flying under the radar during his UFC career. Despite only losing twice in his last seven fights, he has proven that he can compete with the best at the Middleweight division. Back in 2017, Mavin Vettori fought against Omari Akhmedov and it was called a draw. To put that into perspective, Akhmedov has not lost a fight since 2016 and he has started to climb up the rankings as a contender. However, Vettori’s most impressive result actually came in his first fight after Akhmedov as he faced off against current Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya in 2018. In that fight, Vettori was very competitive and even managed to win the fight on one judge’s scorecard before losing in a split decision. Vettori has won both fights since that split decision loss and he will be looking to extend that winning streak on Wednesday.

Even though Roberson is a pretty good fighter, I think that Vettori is just a bit too much for him to handle. It is one thing to beat up a bunch of underwhelming fighters but it is another thing to fight with the best in the division and almost squeak out a victory. Vettori has battled fighters better than Roberson already so I think that he should be able to do enough to get the job done here in Florida.

Prediction: Marvin Vettori by Decision (+140 FoxBet)

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Scott Reichel

Scott Reichel is a University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate with an insane passion for sports. His commitment to endlessly researching statistics helps separate him from other handicappers with regard to MLB, NBA, NCAAB, NCAAF, NHL, and NFL coverage. Scott also shares his passion for sports on StatSalt's YouTube page where he does a daily show called Scott's Selections and he is a sports betting expert. We are very happy to have Scott as a part of our StaSalt team and you will not be disappointed in following him daily.

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