The UFC is back in action, live from the Apex in Las Vegas! Headlining the event is the return of the former Welterweight King Tyron Woodley against the rising Welterweight contender in Gilbert Burns. Woodley looks refreshed and ready to reclaim his throne, but Burns whom just finished Demain Maia is no stepping stepping. He is a contender and will be in the mix should he win. Either way, this should be a fun one.
UFC Fight Night Main Card on ESPN/ESPN+ (9 p.m. ET):
170 lbs.: Tyron Woodley vs. Gilbert Burns – This is a really fun fight and I’m not sure what to expect. I mean, Woodley hasn’t fought in over a year since losing his title. He was supposed to take on Leon Edwards, but that fight was cancelled due to the coronavirus. Now he finds himself against a hungry Gilbert Burns, who is riding a five fight win streak. Three of those victories have come at Welterweight, which has been successful move thus far by Burns. His most recent fight came against Demain Maia, where Burns became the first fighter since Nate Marquardt in 2009 to stop Maia.
As for a prediction, I’ve got Woodley. The man seems to be in a fighting first mentality and despite being 38 years old, his skill set is a handful for any fighter. While Burns has shown legit striking chops aided by some power, he doesn’t have the explosiveness or legit bombs that Woodley features. Burns is also a BJJ specialist, but Woodley’s 92% takedown defense is going to be a beast to crack. In the end, I envision this fight takes place on the feet and while both men will get their licks in. It’s Woodley’s power that ends this. So with that, I have Woodley winning via knockout.
265 lbs.: Blagoy Ivanov vs. Augusto Sakai – This is interesting given the smaller cage. I also feel like this fight is going to get sloppy at some point. Not because they lack skill, but because they are so durable. I expect the gas tanks to run empty by the third round, with probably Sakai being the fresher of the two. In the end. Ivanov’s counters I believe will be the more significant blows of the fight, thus giving him the decision victory.
150 lbs.: Billy Quarantillo vs. Spike Carlyle (Catchweight) – I smell either a fight of the night or an early finish. Both men are finishers by nature, with Quarantillo riding a five fight finishing streak and Carlyle with three consecutive first round finishes. The big difference in this fight for me is how big and powerful Carlyle is. The man’s got legit power. And as long as he keeps this fight on the feet, which I believe he can, he’s going to eventually land a finishing blow. So with that, I’ve got Carlyle taking this fight via TKO
155 lbs.: Roosevelt Roberts vs. Brok Weaver – I think Roberts rolls here. He’s too well rounded for Weaver. Aside from toughness, Weaver doesn’t exactly stand out in any one area. Roberts however has showed it all thus far in the UFC. He mixed his wrestling in well with his striking, resulting thus far in three UFC victories. Make it four, as Roberts wins via submission.
125 lbs.: Mackenzie Dern vs. Hannah Cifers – I love the scrappiness of Cifers. Her toughness, pressure and volume striking can give any fighter fits, especially those with a limited gas tank. However, Dern is going to have a significant size advantage over the rather small Cifers. That size advantage is everything, as Dern’s power shots and overall strength are going get this fight to fight to mat. From there, the heavy top control of Dern is going to lock up a fight ending submission.
UFC Fight Night ‘Prelims’ Card on ESPN/ESPN+ (6 p.m. ET):
125 lbs.: Katlyn Chookagian vs. Antonina Shevchenko – This fight should take place mainly on the feet and is going to come down to who will strike with more volume. In my opinion, Chookagian has been erratic with her volume. Of her nine UFC fights, she has landed 70 or more strikes in three fights, with 105 being the most. Her last two victories have been the other two times, so a corner appears to have been turned. Shevchenko is solid, but I’m not seeing enough volume out of her or a wrestling game to give me some concerns of not picking Chookagian via decision.
170 lbs.: Daniel Rodriguez vs. Gabriel Green – Think this is a little too short of notice for Green. Rodriguez is a killer, whom finished Tim Means in his debut. I see Rodriguez throwing those power shots early and catching Green, eventually winning via TKO.
205 lbs.: Klidson Abreu vs. Jamahal Hill – This fight is an interesting one. Abreu can strike, but is more of a grappler and submission artist. If he can get this fight to the mat, I like his chances. Hill is a striker all the way, and a dam good one. While his takedown defense was iffy in his debut, he did get up each time and landed over 100 strikes. In the end, I think Hill gets it done. Abreu likes to stand and trade too long, and I believe Hill will keep his distance and pick apart the Brazilian for a decision victory,
125 lbs.: Tim Elliott vs. Brandon Royval – This fight is going to be frantic and fought at a high pace. Elliott is one of the most exciting fighters in the Flyweight division. His scrambles are bar none. However, Elliott has dropped three of his last four fights and desperately needs a win. The one thing that irks me about Elliott is his ability to put himself in disadvantageous positions and get submitted. Now, that could happen here, as Royval has won by submission in six of his ten victories. However, Royval is taking this on short notice and Elliott is seasoned pro. In the end, I have Elliott winning via submission.
135 lbs.: Casey Kenney vs. Louis Smolka – This is going to be no contest. Smolka had his run at Flyweight, but at Bantamweight, I just don’t see the success being the same. Kenney is a stud and has already fought and beaten some top fighters. His grappling skills are excellent and are what I see him implementing heavily in this fight. So with that, I have Kenney wining via submission.
145 lbs.: Chris Gutierrez vs. Vince Morales – Not too familiar with both men, but I’ll go with Gutierrez via decision.