The UFC’s global expansion continues, as the promotion makes its first trip to Denmark. The city of Copenhagen welcomes a sneaky fun card. Oddly though, only two Danish fighters are on the card in Nicolas Dalby and Olympian Mark Madsen. Given Madsen is the co-main event, he should get a major pop and the crowd excited for a fantastic main event. The two men that will be stepping out last are two rising Middleweight contenders in Jack Hermansson and Jared Cannonier. Hermansson has won four consecutive fights, the last being an impressive five round decision victory over Jacare Souza. As for the former Heavyweight Cannonier, the drop to Middleweight has led to two stoppage victories and big main event fight! The winner of this fight potentially could be next in line for a title shot after Paulo Costa.
UFC Fight Night 160 Main Card on ESPN+ (2 p.m. ET):
185 lbs.: Jack Hermansson vs. Jared Cannonier – After defeating Jacare, I don’t think you can doubt Hermansson ‘s skill and legitimacy as a contender. The Joker’s got an effective jab and really good wrestling, which seems problematic for a guy like Cannonier. However, I’m sold on Cannonier at Middleweight. He’s shown excellent takedown defense, and power in his punches and leg kicks. I’m still unsure of what his cardio looks like, but it’s very possible we’ll see it in a five round fight.
As for a prediction, while Hermansson is the more we’ll rounded fighter, has cardio and is highly likely to control this fight on the mat – I’m more inclined to side with Cannonier. I believe in the TDD and his power is a game changer. Hermansson is very durable, but Cannonier has shown the ability to sap opponents with body kicks. I see the same happening here, eventually opening up the head strikes. In the end, I see Cannonier walking away with a massive TKO victory.
155 lbs.: Danilo Belluardo vs. Mark Madsen – This is a showcase for Madsen, whom should easily takedown and control Belluardo throughout the fight. In the later rounds, I see the Dane locking in a submission and getting a massive pop from his native country.
170 lbs.: Gunnar Nelson vs. Gilbert Burns – This is a fun fight, but I believe Nelson should win this. While Burns is no slouch on the feet and certainly a wizard grappling, he’s also coming up 15 pounds to fight a grappling heavy Nelson. Burns is an ox of a man to begin with, but I have a feeling he’s going to get outmuscled here. While Burns cardio will be better, Nelson’s strength advantage will aid him in controlling this fight either against the cage or on the mat. So with that, I have Nelson winning via decision.
205 lbs.: Ion Cutelaba vs. Khalil Rountree – While Rountree’s last performance against Eryk Anders was impressive and his new style was extremely effective, I’m curious to see how he does against a volume striker whom walks forward at all times. Part of me see’s Rountree countering and eventually dropping Cutelaba, but bigger part of me see’s Cutelaba neutralizing Rountree’s ability to kick with his pressure. In doing so, Rountree will be backpedaling and uncomfortable at times. In the end, I see Cutelaba overwhelming Rountree with strikes, winning via TKO.
205 lbs.: Michal Oleksiejczuk vs. Ovince Saint Preux – It’s sad to see OSP wane in the Light Heavyweight division. It seems the fights and wars have gotten to him and this fight in particular does him no favors. Oleksiejczuk is a technician on the feet, attacking the body often. Against a fighter with cardio issues like OSP, expect those body punches to have a massive effect by round two. So with that, I have Oleksiejczuk winning via TKO.
170 lbs.: Nicolas Dalby vs. Alex Oliveira – Unless Daley can hold down Oliveira or weather the early storm, then its possible that his UFC return is a success. However, Oliveira is too dynamic on the feet and his grappling, as well as ability to be dangerous off his back makes him a tough out for anyone, let alone Daley. So with that, I have Oliveira winning via TKO.
UFC on ESPN+ 18 Prelims Card on ESPN+ (11 a.m. ET):
185 lbs.: Alen Amedovski vs. John Phillips – I don’t think it’s possible to trust Phillips at this time. He’s been easily outwrestled and outboxed, the later being surprising given that’s his world. Amendovski looks to have fast hands and power, but I see him dragging Phillips to the mat several times en route to a decision victory.
185 lbs.: Alessio Di Chirico vs. Makhmud Muradov – Tough fight to call, as I believe this one is going to be close. While good, I just can’t get behind Di Chirico’s low output on the feet. Muradov looks to have speed and can push a pace that breaks fighters. While I don’t see Di Chirico getting broken by the pace, Insee him being outpointed on the feet though. So with that, I have Muradov winning via decision.
170 lbs.: Siyar Bahadurzada vs. Ismail Naurdiev – I gotta say, Naurdiev’s debut was one of the best I’ve seen in the UFC. The talent beamed that night. However, in his sophomore fight, he looked completely lost dealing with wrestling. Now, Bahadurzada is not a wrestler, but he can and will if he gets hurt. And since Bahadurzada loves to wing power punches, I can see him getting hurt often and resorting to wrestling. In a close, but entertaining fight, I see Bahadurzada getting the nod via split decision.
155 lbs.: Giga Chikadze vs. Brandon Davis – Chikadze has an excellent kickboxing record, but his MMA record is padded by fighting absolute cans. Davis is as tough as they and thrives for the brawl. That’s a slight problem for me though, as striking with Chikadze is the only way he can lose this fight. Chikadze has zero wrestling, so if Davis attempts any wrestling he wins this. Given his lack of winning, I venture to guess he fights smart and wins this fight via decision.
135 lbs.: Macy Chiasson vs. Lina Lansberg – Chiasson is just running through everyone with sheer power and I don’t see that stopping here. Lansberg is starting to become an effective wrestler, but I’m not sure she can takedown and hold her Chiasson down. On the feet, Chiasson holds the edge with her jab and knees. Given Lansberg’s toughness and durability, I’ll say she holds on and Chiasson takes the fight via decision.
155 lbs.: Marc Diakiese vs. Lando Vannata – Honestly, Vannata has all the talent in the world, but his fight IQ and overall willingness to win are troubling. Until he fights smart, I won’t pick him. So with that, I have Diakiese winning via decision.
135 lbs.: Nohelin Hernandez vs. Jack Shore – Hernandez had a pretty rough debut and I don’t see his second time around being any different. Shore is going to rinse and repeat with takedowns, at the same time putting on a show in his debut. I’m predicting Shore gets a late stoppage win, say via submission.