UFC Fight Night 121 tips: Best bets for Werdum v Tybura
We make our pick for Saturday Night's main event in Sydney, plus two other fights on a packed card in Sydney.
Fabricio Werdum v Marcin Tybura
Saturday night’s main event has been overshadowed somewhat by an incident in which Werdum allegedly attacked fellow UFC fighter Colby Covington with a boomerang.
The Brazilian could now face assault charges, but should put his potential legal troubles aside with a win over Polish heavyweight contender Tybura.
The 32-year-old has won three successive fights, including a comfortable points victory over Andrei Arlovski in June, but Werdum is by far the most accomplished fighter he’s ever faced.
A real legend of the sport, the 40-year-old combines tricky, rangy striking with a strong clinch game and truly great Jiu-Jitsu.
He fought Walt Harris at the start of October and showed how easily he can dominate an opponent who’s not comfortable on the mat, submitting the American in just 65 seconds.
Tybura has a decent ground game and should manage to last longer than that, but it’s still not his greatest strength and the gulf in class between these two will quickly become very clear.
A second successive submission win for Werdum is a safe bet.
Bec Rawlings v Jessy Rose-Clark
Fighting in her home country for the first time since March 2016, Rawlings is poised to snap a two-fight losing streak against UFC newcomer and fellow Australian Rose-Clark.
Rawlings has a record of six wins and just one defeat on home turf, with her only loss coming in her first professional fight six years ago.
Rose-Clark has also only suffered one defeat in Australia, but she’s faced inferior opposition up until now and this is a huge step up in class for the 29-year-old.
She should give Rawlings a good fight, but the former Invicta strawweight title challenger is the superior fighter both on the feet and the mat, and should use her greater experience at this level to control the fight for all three rounds.
Tim Means v Belal Muhammad
This has fight-of-the-night potential, featuring two evenly matched welterweights who will stay on their feet and go toe-to-toe.
Means stepped into this fight to replace Jesse Taylor, and is rightly the favourite after taking an impressive points victory against Alex Garcia the last time he was in the Octagon.
‘The Dirty Bird’ is one of the biggest fighters in this division at 6ft 2in, and is also one of the most exciting, with 18 knockouts from his 27 career wins.
He could have trouble putting away Muhammad, who has three wins from five in the UFC.
The 29-year-old is a solid technical striker, though he has only won by stoppage four times in 14 fights and will have a four-inch height disadvantage on Saturday night.
His best chance is to outbox Means from the outside, but he will struggle to maintain the distance against the taller man and will be in real danger against such a powerful striker if he decides to stand and trade blows.
It’s hard to see how Muhammad will manage to evade the American for three rounds, and a knockout win for Means is the likeliest outcome.