A breakdown of the fights on the main card of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 133 card at CenturyLink Arena in Boise, Idaho, with picks from the Review-Journal’s Adam Hill and Heidi Fang:
Junior dos Santos (18-5) vs. Blagoy Ivanov (16-1-1)
Line: Dos Santos -175
Storyline: Dos Santos, the former heavyweight champion, returns after a year away from the cage as he served a USADA suspension for a positive drug test he later successfully argued was the result of a tainted supplement. His last time in action was a first-round knockout loss to Stipe Miocic in a May 2017 title bout. Ivanov makes his UFC debut in a headlining bout with some fanfare. The former World Series of Fighting champion has won five straight fights since his only career loss to top UFC contender Alexander Volkov on a Bellator card in 2014. This is a massive step up in competition for Ivanov, who hasn’t fought anyone on that level since the loss. The former world sambo champ has the tools necessary to have success at the highest levels, so this will be a great test. Dos Santos is still more than capable of big performances, but hasn’t been the same fighter on a consistent basis since a brutal loss to Cain Velasquez.
Hill’s Pick: Ivanov by second-round submission
Fang’s Pick: Dos Santos by third-round knockout
Sage Northcutt (11-2) vs. Zak Ottow (19-5, 1 No Contest)
Line: Northcutt -145
Storyline: Northcutt has tried to move up to welterweight twice in his UFC career. It resulted in his only two losses. He is 5-0 as a lightweight, yet elected to give it another shot at 170 pounds for this fight as he continues to grow into his body. Despite nearly three years in the UFC, he is still just 22 years old. Northcutt, the living and breathing love child of sunshine and lollipops, is an athletic freak. He has moved around to several gyms as he tries to soak up as much knowledge as possible, settling at Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, Calif., for this camp. Ottow has alternated wins and losses over the five fights since joining the UFC. He will look for his first two-fight winning streak here as he comes off a knockout of Mike Pyle in March. His toughness and experience should pose another interesting test for Northcutt as he seeks his first win at welterweight in the UFC.
Hill’s Pick: Northcutt by decision
Fang’s Pick: Northcutt by first-round knockout
Dennis Bermudez (17-8) vs. Rick Glenn (20-5-1)
Line: Bermudez -225
Storyline: Bermudez may need a win more than any other fighter on the card as he comes in on a three-fight losing streak. Neither fighter is afraid of a brawl, so this matchup has the potential to be very entertaining. Bermudez, however, may choose to go more conservative considering his predicament. It may actually serve him well. He is effective with low kicks and has the ability to take down opponents when the situation calls for it. Particularly against a taller opponent like Glenn, Bermudez may look to use the kicks to get inside and then shoot. Glenn has been susceptible to takedowns and has a tendency to get stuck on his back. If Glenn can fight from the outside or stuff shots and work into the clinch, he’ll be in good shape.
Hill’s Pick: Bermudez by decision
Fang’s Pick: Glenn by decision
Randy Brown (10-2) vs. Niko Price (11-1, 1 No Contest)
Line: Brown -130
Storyline: Price has come out victorious four of the five times he has stepped into the UFC octagon, though one win was vacated as a result of a positive marijuana test. Only one of his 11 victories has gone the distance as he has recorded seven knockouts and three submissions. Brown, who was signed to the organization through his appearance on “Lookin’ for a Fight,” has also found success as he has gone 4-2 in six appearances. One of the welterweights can take a huge step forward in this matchup.
Hill’s Pick: Price by decision
Fang’s Pick: Brown by second-round knockout
Myles Jury (17-2) vs. Chad Mendes (17-4)
Line: Mendes -140
Storyline: Mendes was knocked out by Conor McGregor and Frankie Edgar in the last half of 2015. He hasn’t fought since. Mendes was suspended two years by USADA for a violation of the UFC’s anti-doping policy and finally returns to action more than 30 months after his last competition. He’s a very strong wrestler who was able to add knockout power to his game. He actually matches up pretty well with Jury, as well. Mendes should be able to pressure Jury and stay in close where he can stifle Jury’s ability to strike at a range where he’s comfortable. The time off may be the biggest obstacle for Mendes to overcome. It’s possible he will either be rusty or too excited early in the fight. That’s where Jury may be able to take advantage. It could be a long night if he lets Mendes get comfortable again.
Hill’s Pick: Jury by decision
Fang’s Pick: Mendes by decision
Cat Zingano (9-3) vs. Marion Reneau (9-2-1)
Class: Women’s bantamweight
Line: Reneau -130
Storyline: Zingano was undefeated and on the verge of stardom in early 2015 when she was getting ready to step in the cage and fight Ronda Rousey for the UFC women’s bantamweight title. A demoralizing 14-second defeat followed by a series of injuries and back-to-back decision losses has brought her to this pivotal moment in her career against Reneau, who is hoping to secure a title shot at 41 years old with a third-straight win. Zingano has endured personal tragedy and injuries in addition to the three setbacks in the cage. Her first win since 2014 would be a massive achievement. Her explosive power make her a very live underdog in a bout where both have excellent grappling skills. Reneau would be on a four-fight winning streak if not for a disappointing draw against Bethe Correia. She knows the window may be closing on her opportunity to win a UFC belt.
Hill’s Pick: Zingano by second-round submission
Fang’s Pick: Zingano by decision