The UFC is back in action, as the Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada plays host to a card whom unfortunately lost its main event. In what was supposed to be a big Heavyweigbt showdown between Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis, the ongoing pandemic forced Blaydes out due to testing positive for COVID. Now, Anthony Smith and Devin Clark take center stage. Smith desperately needs a win to stay relevant at 205, while a win by Clark would introduce a new contender.
UFC Vegas 15 Main Card on ESPN+/ESPN2 (10 p.m. ET):
205 lbs.: Anthony Smith vs. Devin Clark – At first, I thought this was a three round fight. One in which I saw Devin Clark taking. I mean, he’s got the wrestling to neutralize Anthony Smith for 15 minutes. Then I realized that both men accepted that this fight be a five rounder and Ive changed my pick to Anthony Smith. In my mind, Clark has shown cardio issues the later the fight goes. Hes also shown the inability to finish opponents. Throw in the fact that Smith is durable and has comeback to win countless times – and I have Smith taking this via late TKO.
170 lbs.: Miguel Baeza vs. Takashi Sato – This fight is going to be pretty awesome, as you have two strikers who have finishing power. While Miguel Baeza is the favorite, I’m going with Takashi Sato. I believe that Baeza is the more accurate and powerful striker, however against Matt Brown – he was rocked several times. Baeza endured the danger and even ate several shots, and eventually finished Matt Brown. So, he showed he can weather the storm.
However, Sato is more of a counter striker who has the power to put out anyone. Im going on a limb here, as I know Baeza has all the tangibles. Against my better judgment, give me Sato via KO.
265 lbs.: Josh Parisian vs. Parker Porter – Regardless if Josh Parisian doesn’t look completely ready for the UFC, Parker Porter looked so awful in debut that I’m overlooking that. In what should be a quick fight, give me Parisian to win via knockout.
145 lbs.: Bill Algeo vs. Spike Carlyle – This is your fight of the night. Spike Carlyle is a bundle of energy and strength, whom often puts forth a ridiculous pace out of the gate. His problems lie in cardio the later the fight goes and his overall wildness, which exposes himself to getting put in disadvantageous positions. Then again, Carlyle’s strength has literally reversed bad situations.
As for Bill Algeo, he proved he is UFC caliber. On short notice, he took on a former Bantamweight title challenger in Ricardo Lamas. In what was a back-and-forth fight, Lamas got the nod after a rather dominant third round. However, Algeo showed off his complete skillset and nearly finished Lamas several times. With a full training camp, I’m excited to see what more he can show.
With all that said, I’m going with Algeo. I believe that Carlyle will take the early portion of this fight. As the fight wanes on and the pace hardens, Algeo will start to turn the tide. In what will be a close fight, Algeo gets the decision nod.
135 lbs.: Norma Dumont vs. Ashlee Evans-Smith – I mean, Norma Dumont missed weight badly and didn’t look all that good in her UFC debut. Give me experience here, as I have Ashlee Evans-Smith grinding out a decision victory with her wrestling.
145 lbs.: Jonathan Pearce vs. Kai Kamaka – Jonathan Pearce might have a better showing than his quick defeat to Joe Lauzon, but Kai Kamaka is going to win this fight. Kamaka has a well rounded skillset, with his durability and striking abilities highlighted. While Pearce showed off his wrestling and striking in Dana White’s Contender series, I believe in Kamaka’s durability to withstand whatever he’s got. As long as Kamaka keeps this on the feet, he should outpace and outstrick Pearce en route to a decision vitory.
UFC on ESPN 18 Undercard on ESPN+/ESPN2 (8 p.m. ET):
135 lbs.: Martin Day vs. Anderson dos Santos – This should be a fun battle, as both men are finishers. I liken Martin Day though, as Anderson dos Santos hasn’t showed an effective ability to get his opponents to the ground nor land enough volume on the feet. Day nearly doubles him in significant strikes landed, which leads me to believe he takes this fight via decision
125 lbs.: Gina Mazany vs. Rachael Ostovich – This is a toss up. Gina Mazany will step into the Octagon with 1-4 UFC record, 1-5 if you count TUF. She’s been finished in her last two fights and even got cut briefly from the promotion. Rachael Ostovich hasn’t fared much better with a 1-2 UFC record, losing her last two by submission. A failed PED suspension cost her a year too. With a loss here, either one of of them can get cut. As for my prediction, give me Mazany. She’s dropping down to Flyweight and will carry even more physical strength over opponents. I expect a bunch of takedowns for Mazany en route to a decision victory.
125 lbs.: Malcolm Gordon vs. Su Mudaerji – I was very impressed by Su Mudaerji in his last fight against Andre Soukhamthath. Mudaerji dominated Soukhamthath from start to finish, showing off his striking arsenal in the process. As for Malcolm Gordon, he faltered in his UFC debut just as I expected. His lack of durability is so problematic. He simply has no chin. In a fight against a sniper of a striker, who possesses relatively good power – Gordon will fall very quickly if he doesn’t attempt to grapple. In my opinion, he won’t get the chance. So with that, give me Mudaerji to win via knockout.
140 lbs.: Nate Maness vs. Luke Sanders – I believe that Luke Sanders has the better skillset, however his long layoff combined with his lapses in fights give me pause for concern. Nate Maness also holds advantages in height and reach. If Sanders can’t put out Maness early, he going to have a tough time making it the full three rounds. Sanders just seemingly finds a way to get cracked or put into a disadvantageous position the later the fight goes. So with that, give me Maness to win this fight via TKO.