MMA Record: 7-1
UFC Record: 3-1
Notable Wins: Paul Craig, Khalil Rountree
Notable Losses: Ilir Latifi
Last Fight: Submission win over Saparbek Safarov
Fighter Profile: One of the best young fighters from Australia, Pedro has quickly emerged as a future contender in the UFC light heavyweight division. He has tremendous finishing skills as all of his career wins in pro MMA have come by stoppage, including three stoppage wins in the UFC alone. He has good striking and good submission skills and is a well-rounded fighter. His takedown defense needs some work as we saw in his loss to Latifi, but considering he is a young fighter he should be able to improve that aspect of his game. The UFC needs fresh blood at 205lbs, and Pedro has the opportunity to make a name for himself off of OSP.
MMA Record: 22-11
UFC Record: 10-6
Notable Wins: Maurico “Shogun” Rua, Yushin Okami, Nikita Krylov
Notable Losses: Jon Jones, Ryan Bader, Jimi Manuwa, Ilir Latifi, Volkan Oezdemir
Last Fight: Submission loss to Ilir Latifi
Fighter Profile: Once a contender at 205lbs, OSP has settled into a role as a gatekeeper in the UFC light heavyweight division. Though he’s looked brilliant at times in the Octagon, he’s looked very beatable at other times and has been very inconsistent inside the Octagon. At times he’s shown big knockout power and amazing submissions on the ground, but at other times he’s shown a poor chin and poor submission defense. He’s a good fighter but has just too many flaws in his game to truly make a run for the light heavyweight title. OSP is hanging on to his top-10 spot in the light heavyweight division, but maybe not for much longer.
Fight Breakdown: This is a huge fight for Pedro because if he can beat OSP he should jump into the top-10 at light heavyweight for good. Pedro has looked really good in the UFC so far and considering how young he is, I can only see him getting better from here. Even when he loses, I think Pedro is going to learn and get better. I can’t say the same thing for OSP. I think we’ve seen the best that he has to offer in the UFC already. At times he’s looked amazing, such as when he had back-to-back Von Flue chokes, but at other times he’s looked really bad, getting brutally knocked out or choked out. Like Alistair Overeem in the heavyweight division, I think OSP has been pushed into this role as a gatekeeper by the UFC matchmakers in the light heavyweight division. I’m not sure if he likes the role he’s been put into, but I think the UFC is making the right call by using him as a stepping stone for younger fighters. And in this case, I think the younger fighter wins. I don’t like OSP’s submission defense at all, and I think Pedro taps him out here.
Prediction: Tyson Pedro via submission