UFC Nashville – Thompson vs. Pettis: Main Card Staff Picks

Stephen Thompson UFC Nashville
Credit: Mike Sloan/Sherdog.com

UFC Nashville represents Anthony Pettis’ welterweight debut and Cageside Press has their picks set for the ESPN+ card.

Staff Writers
Barber vs. Aldrich
Pena vs. Peterson
Formiga vs. Figueiredo
Makdessi vs. Pineda
Blaydes vs. Willis
Thompson vs. Pettis
Jason Payne (49-10)
Drake Riggs (47-12)
Heath Harshman (46-13)
Steve King (44-15)
Joe McDonagh (43-16)
Mike Straus (42-17)
Bryson Hester (35-15)
Paarth Pande (41-18)
Ben Smith (17-8)
Jay Anderson (40-19)
Josh Evanoff (40-19)
Dan Doherty (39-20)
Shawn Bitter (39-20)
Eddie Law (32-21)
Mike McClory (24-14)
Jesse Gillette (36-23)
Adam LeBarr (14-9)
Keith Shillan (0-0)
Cory Groeneveld (0-0)
Ryan Fortune (0-0)

The main event of UFC Nashville pits former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis against Stephen Thompson. Pettis fought twice last year, submitting Michael Chiesa in what was a great performance. His second fight was a great bout against Tony Ferguson that was a Fight of the Year candidate where he came up short. Stephen Thompson is recovering from a knee injury he suffered last May against Darren Till. Thompson has received two title shots, and could return to the title picture with Tyron Woodley no longer holding the belt. 19 of 20 writers picked Wonderboy.

The co-main event is a heavyweight battle between Curtis Blaydes and Justin Willis. Blaydes is one of the most promising heavyweights around, winning six times in between losses to Francis Ngannou (one being overturned due to marijuana usage). Justin Willis is undefeated since his professional debut and is 4-0 in the Octagon, most recently defeating Mark Hunt. All but two writers picked Blaydes.

Veteran John Makdessi battles the young Jesus Pinedo. Pinedo has won 12 of his last 13 fights, recently defeating Devin Powell in his promotional debut. Makdessi has been in the UFC since 2010 and has a 9-6 record in the Octagon and has defeated Ross Pearson and Abel Trujillo recently. Makdessi was unanimously picked.

Jussier Formiga and Deiveson Figueiredo will fight for a top contender spot in the flyweight division. Formiga is on a three-fight win streak having defeated Sergio Pettis most recently. Figueiredo is 15-0 in his career with four of those fights coming in the UFC. Deiveson Figueiredo was picked by 11 writers while nine picked Jussier Formiga.

Luis Pena will be making his featherweight debut (he ended up missing by two pounds) against Steven Peterson. Pena was a member of The Ultimate Fighter Season 27 but an injury stopped his run after one win in the house. He is 1-1 in the Octagon and coming off a loss against Mike Trizano. Steven Peterson is also 1-1 in the promotion, most recently defeating Matt Bessette. All but two writers picked Pena.

Opening up the UFC Nashville main card will be Maycee Barber taking on JJ Aldrich at flyweight. Barber is 6-0 with five stoppages and looks to be a future star. Aldrich is 7-2 with a three-fight win streak in the Octagon. 18 of 20 writers picked Barber.