For the ninth consecutive week, the UFC is back in action. Headlining the event, is a Lightweight contest between two of the most exciting fighters in the UFC. If you enjoy crazy spinning kicks, then you’ll love Edson Barboza. If you like a fighter who will sit in the pocket and wing punches until someone falls, then you’ll love Justin Gaethje. One thing is sure, this fight won’t last five rounds. And the winner, will be one step closer in an absolutely stacked division to UFC Gold. Just make sure you don’t miss this one because it’s going to be action packed from start to finish.
UFC on ESPN 2 Main Card on ESPN (7 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Edson Barboza vs. Justin Gaethje – What an exciting main event we have in store. Perhaps, it’s due to the dynamic Barboza, who will throw the craziest kicks, either debilitating your legs or putting out your lights. Or maybe it’s Gaethje, who has never been in a boring fight in his career. If you’ve ever played Rock Em Sock Em before, they actually based the two fighters off of Gaethje. I’m only kidding, but his style is essentially going to toe-to-toe and living by the sword, and dying by the sword.
As for a prediction, I’ve got Gaethje. While Barboza will probably leg kick the hell out of Gaethje in the onset, I have some weird inking that Gaethje will actually use his wrestling. And in doing so, he’s going to land some really hard ground-and-pound on a durable, yet sometime chinny Barboza. In the end, the blows will be too hard and come in bunches, causing the referee to step in. So with that, I have Gaethje winning via TKO
185 lbs.: David Branch vs. Jack Hermansson – Despite knocking out Thiago Santos and nearly Luke Rockhold, I’m not high on Branch. Unless he lands early or he can take you down, then you’re in no threat immediately afterward. Hermansson has succumbed to grapplers, but his improved takedown defense should aide him in keeping this upright. On the feet, he’s the way better striker and has shown legit power. Branch isn’t exactly durable, so with that, I have Hermansson via TKO.
145 lbs.: Josh Emmett vs. Michael Johnson – Unless Emmett can land that haymaker or potentially go back to his wrestling ways, I don’t see how he keeps pace with Johnson’s pressure and volume striking. In a battle of who tires out quicker, I’ll go with Emmett, leaving the Johnson the victor via late TKO stoppage.
115 lbs.: Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Michelle Waterson – This is a tough fight to call. On one hand, I believe Waterson is the better all around fighter, as well the bigger threat of pulling out a finish. One the other hand, Kowalkiewicz is good striker, who should physically hold an easy strength advantage over the rather tiny Waterson. In a close one, I’ll edge Kowalkiewicz based on the apparent strength advantage that should aide her in keeping this on the feet and putting\keeping Waterson on the cage.
205 lbs.: Paul Craig vs. Kennedy Nzechukwu – This is a pick em fight to me. Craig is the more experienced, yet physically less gifted fighter. Nzechukwu is very green and been feasting on the regional talent. In a coin flip, I’ll go with Nzechukwu via decision based on physical strength’s and Craig’s very one dimensional game.
145 lbs.: Sheymon Moraes vs. Sodiq Yusuff – While Moraes can get outpointed in this fight, I do feel like this is too soon for the young Yusuff. Moraes has only lost two fights in his career, one to Featherweight contender Zabit Magomedsharipov and the other to Bantamweight title challenger Marlon Moraes. Gifted with power, I expect Moraes to tag Yusuff and disrupt his flow. At some point, Moraes will land and go in for the kill. So with that, I have Moraes winning via TKO.
UFC on ESPN 2 Prelims on ESPN (5 p.m. ET):
115 lbs.: Jessica Aguilar vs. Marina Rodriguez – Aguilar is a shell of herself at this point, showing immense toughness though in each fight. So with that, I have Rodriguez winning via decision.
155 lbs.: Desmond Green vs. Ross Pearson – This is going to be an interesting scrap, but I believe the youth and durability of Green will prevail in what should be an all out striking contest. So with that, I have Green winning via decision.
145 lbs.: Kevin Aguilar vs. Enrique Barzola – This is going to be a really close fight, but I edge Barzola on his ability to succeed in taking his foes down. In six UFC fights, Barzola has landed 37 takedown’s. So with that, I have Barzola winning his fifth straight on the heels of his wrestling via decision.
185 lbs.: Kevin Holland vs. Gerald Meerschaert – Even though he’s a bit too cocky, talking a lot during fights, Holland is a rising talent. This fight is not an easy one either, but Holland’s already gone toe to toe with Light Heavyweight title challenger Thiago Santos and John Phillips. The Santos fight in particular was interesting, as Holland ate every punch Santos threw and actually was tagging him to the point in which Santos resorted to taking Holland down. In the fourteen UFC fights prior to fighting Holland, Santos had landed two takedowns. In the fight against Holland, he landed three.
Meerschaert’s only chance in this fight is to grind down Holland and not get tired in the process. On the feet, it’s a wrap. So with that, I’ve got Holland taking this via in the later rounds via TKO.
UFC on ESPN 2 Prelims on ESPN+ (3:30 p.m. ET):
135 lbs.: Ray Borg vs Kasey Kenny – Somehow, Borg managed to go up ten pounds in weight and still miss the 136 lbs. mark. Nevertheless, Borg should be able to dictate and handle the newcomer Kenny over three rounds. Maybe Borg gets a submission win, but I’ll go with a decision victory.
125 lbs.: Maryna Moroz vs. Sabina Mazo – Other than upsetting Joanne Calderwood, Moroz’s best performance was in her last fight against Angela Hill. She finally let her hands go, which has halted her from any success in the octagon. All that aside, Moroz is inconsistencies are too hard to trust. So with that, I have the UFC newcomer Mazo winning via decision
135 lbs.: Mark De La Rosa vs. Alex Perez – Fun scrap, but I got Perez taking it. Both will bring pace and volume striking, but its the bigger Perez who will physically grind down De La Rosa. In the end, Perez will TKO a battered De La Rosa in the later rounds.