The UFC is back in action, live from the APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. Headlining the card is a pair of Heavyweight contenders in Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Ciryl Gane. In […]
The UFC is back in action, live from the APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. Headlining the card is a pair of Heavyweight contenders in Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Ciryl Gane. In what should be an excellent fight, the winner of this fight should be aligned for something special. Rozenstruik enters this fight 5-1 in the UFC, with all five wins coming via knockout. Gane enters with a 4-0 UFC record, finishing three of his fights – two of them coming via submission. In what should be a good one, I’d advise watching this potential Chess Match (with big moves) with close eyes.
UFC Vegas 20 Main Card on ESPN+ (8 p.m. ET):
265 lbs.: Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs. Ciryl Gane – This is good main event, with big implications for the winner. In my opinion, the winner will fight Derrick Lewis in a number one contender’s fight, should all plans at Heavyweight go smoothly. As far as this fight goes, Gane has the upper-hand in the striking department. He’s got the Muay-Thai abilities, the speed, the volume and overall athleticism. Rozentruik however has the power edge and perhaps cardio should this fight go into the Championship rounds. Despite being knocked out by Ngannou in the blink of an eye, Rozenstruik’s chin is very solid too. As for a prediction, if Gane mixes in his sneaky grappling, this fight is all his. Should he entertain a five round scrap on the feet, the possibility of Rozenstruik landing a knockout blow increases. Throw in the unknown cardio of Gane should this fight go deep and I’m going upset. It only takes one, and I feel that overly patient Rozenstruik will find that one. So with that, I have Rozenstruik winning via KO.
205 lbs.: Magomed Ankalaev vs. Nikita Krylov – I believe that the hype around Ankalaev is warranted, but I do believe that Krylov is no push over. I mean, he’s faced the current Light Heavyweight Champion Jan Blachowicz, Johnny Walker and former title challengers Glover Teixeira and Ovince St. Preux. Krylov is a solid striker, with good cardio and grappling abilities. Meanwhile Ankaleav is a dynamic striker with legit knockout abilities. Of his five UFC victories, four have come via knockout and three of them in the very first round. While I don’t foresee a first round knockout, I do see one eventually happening. Ankalaev is coming into his own and his counter striking is excellent. Krylov will have his moments, but I do believe he gets caught and finished via TKO.
125 lbs.: Montana De La Rosa vs. Mayra Bueno Silva – De La Rosa is tough, durable and game for any Flyweight. However, every time De La Rosa has gotten a jump up in competition, she has struggled. While Silva isn’t exactly a big jump up, her ground skills alone make her a scary opponent to face. In her two UFC victories, she has won by armbar in the first round. If De La Rosa is to win this fight, she needs to avoid grappling and push the fight into deep waters. I don’t see that happening however, as I believe Silva will get this fight to the mat and do what she does best – submit opponents.
135 lbs.: Pedro Munhoz vs. Jimmie Rivera 2 – This is a rematch, with the first fight taking place in 2015 and ending in a split decision victory for Rivera. Like the first one, this is going to be a coin-flip. The majority, if not the whole fight, will take place on the feet. Given that, I lean Rivera. His ability to avoid being hit against Munhoz’s volume edge is going to be interesting, but Rivera’s pressure and clinch work against the cage could be the deciding factor in edging out rounds. In the end, give me Rivera to win yet again, via split decision.
145 lbs.: Alex Caceres vs. Kevin Croom – If the Caceres that fought the last two fights shows up, then I feel he should realistically win this fight. His inconsistencies in the Octagon and fighting up and down to competition is well documented though. Every Caceres fight is usually tight and borderline untouchable when predicting. Given all that, I’m going on a limb and going with Croom. He just seems like the fighter that is going to make this fight wild and crazy, and ultimately sink in a fight ending submission.
UFC Vegas 20 ‘Prelims’ Under Card on ESPN+ (6 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Alexander Hernandez vs. Thiago Moises – This is one of those fights that you favor someone (Hernandez), but you recognize their weaknesses and could very well see the opponent (Moises) exploiting them in the later rounds. Should Hernandez have his cardio concerns locked down, then he should definitely win this fight. His skillset neutralizes Moises, and his pressure alone will make it an uncomfortable three rounds for the Brazilian. In the end, I see Hernandez winning via decision.
135 lbs.: Alexis Davis vs. Sabina Mazo – Davis is a tough customer, but given age and the over year layoff, it’s tough to side with her. Make no mistake, Davis has the skillset to win this fight. I’m just not overly sure what to expect from Davis given the circumstances. Mazo is younger, faster and throws with volume. If anything, she should outpoint the veteran Davis just based on that. So with that, give me Mazo to win via decision.
135 lbs.: Vince Cachero vs. Ronnie Lawrence – I’m not familiar with either, but I do know that Lawrence is the grappler here and I usually liken that. He scored twelve takedowns, landing at 70% clip in his Dana White Contender series bout. On the other side, Cachero was taken down five times on seven attempts in his UFC debut against Jamall Emmers. I expect Lawrence to go to the well and takedown Cachero at will for the decision victory.
205 lbs.: Maxim Grishin vs. Dustin Jacoby – This is a tough fight to call. On one hand, I liken the experience of Grishin and the fact that he’s just a bonafide winner. After starting out his career 7-4, Grishin has since went on a 24-4-2 tear. With a 71% finishing rate, Grishin is a tough out for anyone and in my opinion, a top twenty five Light Heavyweight. However, the missed weight cut has me leaning off him. I expect this fight to be gritty and go the distance. While Grishin might start fast, it’s the kickboxing and cardio of Jacoby that will edge him out the later rounds. In the end, I see Jacoby winning via decision.