After an exciting event in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the UFC travels 12,000 miles to it’s next destination in Beijing, China. Headlining the event is a rematch between two Heavyweight contenders in Francis Ngannou and Curtis Blaydes. In the first fight, Ngannou was able to shrug off most of Blaydes takedown attempts. While on the feet, it was competitive, but Ngannou’s power proved to be too much. By the end of the second round, Blaydes eye was swollen shut and the doctor waved off the contest in result. The victory by Ngannou was a big one, aiding him to bigger fights and ultimately a title shot.
Two years later, Blaydes is on the rise and Ngannou has fallen off. Blaydes has not lost since the first meeting, winning five fights including big ones over Mark Hunt and Alistair Overeem. As for Ngannou, the Cameroonian has suffered back to back defeats including a title fight against then Champion Stipe Miocic. Another defeat would be crippling for Ngannou’s title aspirations.
Let’s get to the Predictions!
UFC Fight Night 141 Main Card On Fight Pass (6:30 a.m. ET):
265 lbs.: Curtis Blaydes vs. Francis Ngannou – As much as I’d like to believe Ngannou can rid of the demons and get back to knocking out fools senseless, his lack of wrestling is such a glaring hole. It’s what cost him from being a Champion. Blaydes on the other end is the complete package and his heavy wrestling style is going to be a problem all night for Ngannou. After what should be a wrestling clinic for three rounds, in the fourth, a tired Ngannou will eventually succumb to Blaydes ferocious ground-and-pound. So with that, I got Blaydes evening the score via TKO.
265 lbs.: Alistair Overeem vs. Sergey Pavlovich – While Pavlovich is long overdue for his UFC debut, I’m not quite sure that it being against Overeem is exactly what I was thinking. I mean, he is quite fast on the feet for a Heavyweight and has legit power. However, he’s up against one of the very best strikers to grace the octagon. Armed with an arsenal of strikes and a more patient style, Overeem has evolved to avoid being hit so often. Of course, his chin has always proven to be an issue in fights. In this one, it could be too, but experience and the several routes of victory courtesy of his arsenal of strikes has me favoring the Reem to win this via knockout.
135 lbs.: Vince Morales vs. Song Yadong – This is going to be a be a fun fight, but Song should prevail. In his two UFC fights, I’ve been impressed. Song throws in volume, has some nice pop in his hands, is extremely fast and has excellent head movement that sets up hard counter punches. Morales might have some moments early, but I expect the pace and accumulation of strikes from Yadong to result in a late TKO victory.
170 lbs.: Li Jingliang vs. David Zawada – This fight reeks of being the Fight of the Night. Jingliang always brings it and has never shied away from brawling. He’s also an underrated wrestler with smothering top control. As for the Zawada, the German showed in his UFC debut a relentless and aggressive fighting style. Literally wherever the bout went, Zawada was attacking. He showed an excellent ability to scramble, a real prowess for submissions and durability. With all that said, while Jingliang has the wrestling and power edge, I think Zawada’s volume and ability to be on the attack even in a disadvantageous position aids him to a split decision victory.
UFC Fight Night 141 Prelims On Fight Pass (3 a.m. ET):
170 lbs.: Alex Morono vs. Kenan Song – Morono is a scrapper, but he’s also wildly inaccurate with his striking and extremely susceptible to being taken down. I expect Song to dictate where this fight goes, batter Morono and eventually put him away late in the fight. So with that, I have Song winning this fight via TKO.
125 lbs.: Lauren Mueller vs. Wu Yanan – Don’t know either, but I’ll go with Mueller via decision.
265 lbs.: Rashad Coulter vs. Hu Yaozong – Both these guys came up from the regionals beating several cans. However, it’s Coulter who’s three UFC fights deep and shown heart and some power in his hands. Despite a real cardio problem, I expect Coulter to notch his first UFC victory. I just don’t think Yaozong has the striking chops or chin to make it in the UFC. So with that, I have Coulter winning via knockout.
115 lbs.: Jessica Aguilar vs. Weili Zhang – Not too familiar with Zhang, but if she’s got solid takedown defense, then she’s got this in the bag. If not, which I’m doubting, then I see the former Strawweight queen taking her down at will. So with that, I have Aguilar winning this fight via decision.
135 lbs.: Martin Day vs. Liu Pingyuan – Not too informed about Day, but I was in ways impressed by Pingyuan’s debut. He showed decent takedown defense, a durable chin and ability to turn it on late in fights. His hesitancy early is a problem, but I chalk that up to UFC jitters. Anyways, my prediction is that Pingyuan wins this fight via decision.
115 lbs.: Syuri Kondo vs. Yan Xiaonan – Despite winning both UFC fights via decision, make no mistake about, Xiaonan has some fight ending power. The opposite could be said about Kondo, who lacks in the power department and will find it hard for her foe to respect anything she throws. In what should be dominant fight by Xiaonan, I see the accumulation of strikes eventually finishing Kondo via TKO
185 lbs.: Kevin Holland vs. John Phillips – While Phillips is extremely heavy handed, that all goes away when you grapple with the inept. I mean, his weakness is glaring and Holland’s literally a takedown away from locking up a submission victory. In fact, that’s exactly what I foresee happening.
125 lbs.: Louis Smolka vs. Sumudaerji – I’m not impressed with Sumudaerji’s body of work. Every time the Chinese striker stepped up in competition, he failed. And while he might be a better striker then Smolka, he certainly doesn’t have the grappling to even make this bout competitive. I envision Smolka quickly taking this bout to the floor and eventually locking in a submission.