The UFC is back in action for the second leg of the triple-header on Fight Island. Headlining the card is two Welterweight contenders in Michael Chiesa and Neil Magny – whom both enter this bout on three fight win streaks. The implications are high, as the the winner would catapult themselves into the mix for title consideration in a wide-open Welterweight division.
UFC on ESPN 20 Main Card – ESPN/ESPN+ (12 P.M. ET):
170 lb.: Michael Chiesa vs. Neil Magny – This is a great fight and I feel that depending on the pace, it could go either two ways. My first thought is that the longer the fight goes, the more it leans to Magny. The man is a cardio king and will absolutely thrive in the Championship rounds. My other thought is that if Chiesa finds ease in taking Magny down, I believe that it will only be a matter of time before ‘Maverick’ secures a submission. Magny has evolved as a fighter and notably has shown good offensive wrestling abilities – but defensively, he’s hit or miss. Against grapplers, he’s struggled. In my opinion, Magny will struggle here. Chiesa is physically strong and going to ragdoll Magny to the ground – hold top control, advance and lock in a submission.
170 lb.: Warlley Alves vs. Mounir Lazzez – Unless Alves can catch Lazzez with a submission early, this fight should be a wrap by the end of the second or third round for Lazzez. Between the non-existent cardio of Alves and the volume of Lazzez, it’s only a matter of time before ‘the Sniper’s’ lands the finishing blow. So with that, give me Lazzez to win via knockout.
205 lbs.: Isaac Villanueva vs. Vinicius Moreira – This is a slop fest between two struggling fighters seeking their first UFC win. I guess I’ll go with the striker Villanueva to get the job done via KO.
125 lbs.: Roxanne Modafferi vs. Viviane Araujo – Modafferi is very tough and has shown the abilities to hang with anyone and even beat those she’s supposed to lose too. The underdog role is a usual for her and quite frankly – she thrives in that role. However, Araujo is a different beast. She is well rounded and no joke on the feet. If Modafferi can’t get this to the ground, she’s going to look like a fish out of water compared to Araujo. In the end, give me the Brazilian to win via decision.
125 lb.: Matt Schnell vs. Tyson Nam – This should be a fun fight, one in which I have Nam ultimately winning. I feel that Nam’s size and power at Flyweight is such a threat to anyone in the weight class. If he would throw more and not be so hesitant, knockouts would come a plenty. Regardless, eventually Nam will find Schnell chin and knock him out.
145 lb.: Lerone Murphy vs. Douglas Silva de Andrade – I’m conflicted because Silva de Andrade is better than he get’s credit for. He’s fought a lot of tough competition thus far in the UFC and he holds a victory over Marlon Vera. However, his striking defense is a concern. Against a solid striker with power like Murphy, that could be an issue. Throw in the fact the Murphy holds a two inch height and five inch reach advantage and I’m leaning Murphy to win. Let’s say via KO.
UFC on ESPN 20 Prelim’s – ESPN/ESPN+ (9 A.M. ET):
185 lbs.: Omari Akhmedov vs. Tom Breese – I believe that the more talented and gifted fighter is Breese. However, it all depends on his mental state. It’s something that has plagued Breese and if it’s under control – the potential can finally break out. With all that said, I’m actually siding with Akhmedov. He’s one of the more underrated fighters in the UFC. I mean, before losing to Weidman, Akhmedov was 5-0-1 in his previous six fights. Some of those wins include Zac Cummings, Ian Henisch and Abdul Razak Hassan. Add Breese to that list, as I have Akhmedov winning via decision.
135lb.: Ricky Simon vs. Gaetano Pirrello – While Simon has a shaky chin, I expect him to go to his strength in this fight – wrestling. Expect a rinse and repeat of takedowns by Simon, ultimately tiring Pirrello in the later stages. From there, Simon locks in a fight ending submission.
125 lb.: Su Mudaerji vs. Zarrukh Adashev – While Adashev is the more decorated striker, I feel that he lacks the necessary MMA experience to advance at this stage. This also isn’t the easiest fight. Mudaerji is a fellow striker, who is big for the weight class. In this particular fight, he holds a three inch height and seven inch reach advantage. In the end, I’m a Mudaerji believer. He’s got solid striking and power, and with the size advantage – I’m envisioning a first round knockout victory for Mudaerji.
185lb.: Dalcha Lungiambula vs. Markus Perez – The fact that Lungiambula is moving down from Light Heavyweight gets me concerned about his cardio, but at the same time – afraid for his opponents due to his power and size. While Perez is as tough as they come, I’m expecting the massive Lungiambula to impose his will and knock Perez out in the opening round.
125 lb.: Francisco Figueiredo vs. Jerome Rivera – There is a lot of hype coming from Figueiredo because he is the brother of the Flyweight Champion Deiveson Figueiredo. While I do believe he wins his debut, I caution expectations until we get a glimpse at his cardio on the UFC level. Anyways, give me Figueiredo to win via decision.
155 lbs.: Mike Davis vs. Mason Jones – This fight should be fireworks, as both men have proven to be finishers. While I believe Davis carries more power, it’s the two-division Cage Warriors champion Jones that I’m picking in this fight. I believe that Davis lacks striking defense and against tougher competition – you can’t hide from that. So with that, give me Jones to win via TKO.
135 lb.: Umar Nurmagomedov vs. Sergey Morozov – This is going to be a gritty and hard fought fight – one in which I lean Nurmagomedov. While I believe that Morozov has fought the better competition and is by far Nurmagomedov’s toughest fight – ultimately I feel that leg kicks and grappling of the Dagestani will lead him to a decision victory.