As tends to be the norm for most UFC cards on international turf, very few of the bouts on the UFC Fight Night 75 card have any sort of heavy implications. Save for major injuries to any of the sport’s top title contenders, virtually all of the fights on this card are free of any title-shot implications, too.
That’s not to say the fights on this card won’t be exciting, though — because they stand as good a chance as any other card.
Headlining the card is a heavyweight matchup between two top-15 fighters, eighth-ranked Josh Barnett and 11th-ranked Roy “Big Country” Nelson. Supporting that card in the co-main event is a hit-or-miss middleweight matchup between two of the division’s best, but most patient strikers in Gegard Mousasi and Uriah Hall.
Nearly all of the remaining bouts feature some of Japan’s most talented mixed martial artists — all of whom will surely receive a warm welcome in the UFC’s annual trip to the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
Predictions and analysis for the top fights on the main card are as follows:
Josh Barnett vs. Roy Nelson
At first glance, you see striker vs. grappler. It’s hard to blame you, because with 20 of Josh Barnett’s 33 victories coming by submission and 13 of Roy Nelson’s 20 coming by knockout, you’d be wise to assume so.
But as we saw in Barnett’s latest victory against Frank Mir in 2013, he’s a pretty crafty striker when in the clinch. And as we’ve been told numerous times before, “Big Country’s” a six-year Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under the tutelage of Renzo Gracie. So, yeah, these two are capable of doing a bit more than what’s expected.
That’s not to say Barnett would be wise to keep it standing, or that Nelson should be comfortable taking it to the mat — they know what they’re good at, and they should do everything in their power to take advantage of their respective gifts.
That said, Barnett and his submission-happy road to victory are more aptly suited for a five-round affair. Despite proving naysayers wrong about competing as a woefully overweight fighter, Nelson’s only able to keep that charade going for about two rounds before his body starts to fail him. Remember what a gassed “Big Country” looked like against Daniel Cormier or Stipe Miocic in 2013? OK, good. Now picture the same man, only two years older. Oh, and add about 10 more minutes of exhaustion into the mix.
Barnett will look to close the distance and smother Nelson early, tiring him out enough to sink in one of the dozens of submissions he’s got in his arsenal before the judges have a say in the matter.
Prediction: Barnett def. Nelson via submission
Gegard Mousasi vs. Uriah Hall
You have to admire Uriah Hall for forcing himself into the deep waters of the middleweight division. Earning victories against fighters like Oluwale Bamgbose, Ron Stallings and Chris Leben is fun and all, but it never really told us anything we didn’t already learn from his stint in the Ultimate Fighter house two years ago. Hall looks about as impressive as anybody does when paired with lesser competition, but he struggles when faced with top-level talent.
He’ll have a chance to shed himself of that stigma on Saturday when he steps in to fight Gegard Mousasi.
Easily Hall’s stiffest test as a professional fighter (I’ll remind you Chris Weidman was only 2-0 before defeating Hall in 2010), it’s hard to picture him coming out victorious here. He’s easily one of the better pressure strikers in the division, but he’s also facing one of the more patient stand-up fighters in the game.
Mousasi’s been in there with better strikers in the past; give it about a round before you realize it’s too much, too soon for “Primetime.”
Prediction: Mousasi def. Hall via decision
Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Chico Camus
Like many of the talented fighters in the UFC’s flyweight division, Kyoji Horiguchi is merely a victim of his own circumstances. He’s too small to move up to 135 pounds, but he’s also not yet skilled enough to dethrone Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson. There’s still the chance that he develops into the guy to beat Johnson, especially considering he’s a 24-year-old fighter with a mere five years of professional experience. For now, he remains another bullet point on the champion’s resume.
With some of the stiffer strikes in the flyweight division, Horiguchi’s Saitama opponent Chico Camus could be in for a long, or short, night here. He’s not quite the offensive wrestler that stifled the Japanese fighter last time out, so he may not be built to take it to Horiguchi in what ways we’ve seen him lose twice before.
Prediction: Horiguchi def. Camus via TKO
Predictions for the remaining main card bouts are as follows:
- Takeya Mizugaki def. George Roop via decision
- Diego Brandao def. Katsunori Kikuno via TKO
- Mizuto Hirota def. Teruto Ishihara via decision
UFC Fight Night 75 takes place at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama Japan. The main card will be televised at 10 p.m. ET on Saturday, Sept. 26 on FOX Sports 1.