The Brain vs. The Heart: UFC on FOX 18 Picks

Welcome to The Brain vs. The Heart. Everyone has that internal battle with themselves about which fighter you think will win vs. which fighter you actually want to win. The Brain vs The Heart takes you on a journey inside the mind (and heart) of IAMMA to tackle the battle head-on. Who will win? Let’s find out!

Bryan Barberena (+320) vs. Sage Northcutt (-390)

The Brain: Northcutt will look to continue his success against short-notice replacement Bryan Barberena. This fight will actually take place at welterweight. Barberena had been a lightweight, but was preparing for his welterweight debut. Both fighters were fairly large for the lightweight division so it will be interesting to see how they look at welterweight. In Sage’s last fight we finally saw how he dealt with adversity. While he wasn’t able to do much from bottom he did avoid taking a lot of damage and came back for a submission win. Northcutt is extremely athletic and that has taken him pretty far to this point. Barberena will be a stiff challenge for him though. Barberena is a powerful striker and is competent enough on the ground to challenge Northcutt there as well. Barberena could put an end to all of the hype, but I see Northcutt finding an opening and locking in the submission early in the fight. Northcutt by Submission

The Heart: Barberena is a solid fighter and I think he has a very legitimate chance of beating Northcutt. However, I really like what Sage has been able to do so far. Plus he’s been extremely active. This will be his seventh fight in the last nine months; three of those will have been in the UFC. I really enjoy active fighters and I enjoy watching Northcutt continue to develop. Northcutt by Decision

Iuri Alcantara (+150) vs. Jimmie Rivera (-170)

The Brain: This is probably my favorite matchup on this entire card. Both fighters have lots of experience, but Alcantara has faced much better competition so far. Rivera is almost ten years younger than Alcantara and looks to be getting better. Alcantara is a good striker and is extremely dangerous on the ground as well. He will also enjoy a 5” height and 3” reach advantage in this fight. Rivera has used high volume in his last few fights to outwork his opponents. However, he has been hittable as well. While Rivera has continued to look better, I think Alcantara has many more ways to win this fight. Alcantara by Decision

The Heart: I don’t think Alcantara gets near enough credit for being a very good fighter. That said, I really like what I’ve seen out of Rivera and I’d like to see his success continue. At only 26, Rivera can have a long career in the UFC if he chooses. Rivera by Decision

Josh Barnett (-140) vs. Ben Rothwell (+120)

The Brain: This fight isn’t a number one contender fight by any means, but in the heavyweight division, you’re never too far away from a title shot so this fight is still important. Both of these long-time veterans are fairly large, even for the heavyweight division and both have a fairly consistent output. That’s pretty much where the similarities end for these two. Barnett excels in the clinch and has a dangerous submission game on the ground as well. Rothwell is a pretty basic striker. He’s tough to put away, but defense has definitely been a weakness. I think Barnett will be able to deliver more damage and will get the nod on the scorecards. Barnett by Decision

The Heart: Both fighters have had long and successful careers. I’m honestly pretty neutral towards both of these fighters. I think Rothwell has a little more left in the tank than Barnett does and it’d be fun to see him make a run at the title. Rothwell by TKO

Anthony Johnson (-310) vs. Ryan Bader (+255)

The Brain: Johnson will have a 4” reach advantage and will have the power advantage as well. Rumble is an aggressive headhunter and tries to knock his opponents head off with almost every punch he throws. That aggression has cost him as he has a history of gassing in fights that he wasn’t able to finish in the first couple rounds. Since this is the main event this will be five rounds. Bader would be smart to work his wrestling game and try to wear Johnson out and secure a late finish. Bader’s striking gets by and he’s come a long way since he first entered the UFC. Trading strikes with Rumble is normally not a smart decision though. If this was only a three round fight I’d almost certainly give Johnson a big edge. With this being five rounds though, Bader does have a better chance. That said, I don’t think it’s going to end up mattering. I think Johnson will connect in the first two rounds and put Bader down for good. Johnson by TKO

The Heart: I really like Rumble, and I especially like how he’s managed to turn his career around by going up in weight. You definitely don’t see that too often. Johnson lost against Cormier and I think he’d lose to Jones as well, but he has the power to put anyone in the division away. Bader has done more than enough to earn a title shot, and I think a win over Johnson would secure the next shot after the Jones/Cormier fight. I think Bader loses to either fighter, but he’s earned a chance to try. Bader by Decision

The Brain holds the lead through two events with a 6-3 record. The Heart trails with a 4-5 record after going 0-4 in the last event.

Any questions or comments? Hit me up on Twitter @IAMMAEverlast or comment below.

About the Author:

IAMMA. MMA superfan looking to be the voice of the fans. Tune in to read my Brain vs Heart picks & MMA event recaps!