After a rare week off, the UFC is back in action, as the APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada plays host to what could be a card filled with finishes. Headlining […]
After a rare week off, the UFC is back in action, as the APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada plays host to what could be a card filled with finishes. Headlining the event is a pair of Heavyweight hopefuls in Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Augusto Sakai. Both men enter this fight off losses, but due to prior success, they have positioned themselves in high order as they garner the main event. A win here is essential for both, as the Heavyweight division is tough one to fight for the belt. For one, the Champion only defends the belt seemingly two times a year at most. So winning is a must. As for this main event, it should be a fun one. You have Rozenstruik, who has legitimate one punch knockout power and Sakai, who overwhelms and finishes opponents with volume. In what should be a good one, I’m not so sure it last five rounds – so don’t blink!
UFC Fight Night 189 Main Card On ESPN+ (7 p.m. ET):
265 lbs.: Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs. Augusto Sakai – This is an interesting main event. Jairzinho Rozenstruik is the better fighter, as he has one punch knockout power to go with durability, excellent striking defense and stout takedown defense. His issue though is a hesitancy to let his hands go and it showed in his last fight against Cyril Gane. Meanwhile, Augusto Sakai is a workhorse on the feet, overwhelming opponents with sheer volume more times than not. With good cardio and durability too, Sakai is a problem for most Heavyweights. The issue in this fight though for me with Sakai, is that this is five rounds. With his volume and attacking style, you’re telling me that he’s going to avoid a clean strike from Rozenstruik? Unfortunately, I think not. So with that, give me Rozenstruik to get back in the winner’s circle via knockout.
265 lbs.: Walt Harris vs. Marcin Tybura – I like Walt Harris, I really do. I just can’t get behind him in this spot. If he doesn’t finish you in round one, then his cardio just leads him to defeat. In fact, in his fifteen UFC fights, only twice has he gone to a decision. He lost both of them. On the other hand, Marcin Tybura enters this fight on a four fight win streak, with a renewed confidence. His chin has been suspect in the past, but during this win streak, he’s eaten some hard shots from power punchers. It’s not overly concerning to me, but I am wary Harris certainly can put the lights out. However like I said before, Harris is a one round fighter and Tybura is going to eat that up. With a good mix of striking, clinch work and wresting, I fully expect Tybura to drag this fight into deep waters and submit Harris.
185 lbs.: Roman Dolidze vs. Laureano Staropoli – I actually believe that Laureano Staropoli might be the better fight, especially considering the competition he’s fought thus far and the chin he’s showed. However, he’s moving up from Welterweight and Roman Dolidze moved down from Light Heavyweight. That to me just feels like Dolidze is going to be way bigger and stronger, which is going to be a big problem should Dolidze decide (key words) to use his grappling. Given that I’m going with him to win via submission, I do believe he does fight smart I suppose.
170 lbs.: Miguel Baeza vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio – It’s a real shame that injuries halted the rise of Santiago Ponzinibbio. He lost valuable years and time in the octagon, and in reality, a legit chance to fight for the belt. I mean, before his last fight, Ponzinibbio had won seven straight and nine of his last ten. With finishes over Court McGee, Gunnar Nelson and Neil Magny, the Argentinian was a legit contender. Unfortunately a return to the octagon against Li Jingliang didn’t go well, as Ponzinibbio got knocked out in round one. Enter Miguel Baeza as the next opponent for Ponzinibbio and it could be a tough go. The one thing I will say though that helps Ponzinibbio, is that while Baeza has knockout power, he doesn’t throw combinations really. If he can avoid the big punch, he could very well do what he does best, outland opponents and win.
I’m not ready to write off Ponzinibbio, but this is a tough fight either way you slice it. Baeza has shown to have excellent power and he also boast a legit ground game. I believe he is going to land something that changes the complexion of the fight, aiding him to locking up a submission victory.
185 lbs.: Gregory Rodrigues vs. Dusko Todorovic – This fight isn’t going the distance and I’m teetering on a pick. Gregory Rodrigues may not look like the best striker, in part because he’s a wizard on the ground, but he throws hands and has legit power. His chin however is a concern. As for Dusko Todorovic, he was very hyped entering the UFC and Punahele Soriano kind of halted the hype train a bit. Todorovic is notably a workhorse, boasting cardio, pace and striking volume. What he has lacked, is striking defense. That’s a huge red flag and recipe to get knocked out. It’s why I’m teetering in my prediction, as I believe with his stout takedown defense and volume should in essence, wear and eventually break down Rodrigues.
In reality, this fight comes down to who’s chin last the longest and that’s a crapshoot. However, a prediction must be made and I will go with Dusko Todorovic, who enters this fight with a full camp as opposed to Rodrigues who is on short notice. I’ll say Dusko wins via TKO.
185 lbs.: Antonio Arroyo vs. Tom Breese – If Tom Breese is mentally in the right place, he should take this fight. If not, Antonio Arroyo will most likely capitalize. However, Arroyo’s last fight showed he has little to no takedown defense and a bad gas tank. If anything, Breese offers cardio and perhaps if on the feet Arroyo is getting the better of him – we could be in store for his first UFC takedown. I mean it shouldn’t be hard to get, especially in the later rounds. So with that, give me Breese to win via decision.
UFC Fight Night 189 Prelims Card On ESPN+ (4 p.m. ET):
145 lbs.: Makwan Amirkhani vs. Kamuela Kirk – It’s hard to trust Makwan Amirikhani, but this step down in competition should aid him here. Now, Kamuela Kirk looks the part and has shown to be a solid grappler, but I’m not sure he’s ready for ‘Mr. Finland’. With experience, decent striking and a strong top game, I believe that Amirikhani will bounce back here and win via TKO.
125 lbs.: Montana De La Rosa vs. Ariane Lipski – I feel like Montana De La Rosa has fought the who’s who, and while she has slipped up on a lot of fights – a willingness to win and overall improvements has glistened in each fight. While Ariane Lipski comes in with a vast experience in striking, she has struggled with her takedown defense. That weakness will be exploited and I firmly believe that De La Rosa will dominate on the ground – eventually locking in a fight ending submission.
265 lbs.: Tanner Boser vs. Ilir Latifi – Honestly, I’m not sure. On one end, I see Tanner Boser who is bigger, just using his reach and leg kicks to pepper Ilir Latifi for three rounds. On the other end, I see Latifi using his wrestling and strength to neutralize Boser’s striking volume. Given I’m at a stalemate, give me the upset minded Latifi to win via decision.
170 lbs.: Muslim Salikhov vs. Francisco Trinaldo – It’s crazy to believe that this will be Francisco Trinaldo’s twenty third UFC fight. The Brazilian debuted in 2012, and has never lost back-to-back fights. Given the level of competition he has faced, that’s somewhat hard to believe. However, the 42 year old enters this fight on a three fight winning streak and quite frankly, given his move up to Welterweight, he might be better with renewed cardio here. In fact, I believe he upsets Muslim Salikhov. The reason behind this prediction is that Salikhov doesn’t have the volume to swarm or overwhelm Trinaldo. He also hasn’t faced anyone who’s a grappler and physically strong since Alex Garcia – a fight he lost. If Trinaldo can mix in some takedowns or push Salikhov against the fence for periods of time, I believe he walks away the winner via decision.
155 lbs.: Mason Jones vs. Alan Patrick – If anything, Alan Patrick is physically very strong and if he gets his hands on you, he most likely will take you down. However, injuries have slowed down his career and with age, his durability is questionable at best. Mason Jones though is an exciting fighter, who throws hands and with bad intentions. He might not have the best takedown defense and probably will get taken down by Patrick early, but his cardio and Patrick’s lack thereof will eventually come into play. When that point hits, Jones will tee off on Patrick, finishing the Brazilian for his first UFC victory via TKO.
125 lbs.: Manon Fiorot vs. Tabatha Ricci – Anything can happen, but the fact that Tabatha Ricci enters this on short notice against an absolute tank in Manon Fiorot, doesn’t spell well for her. In fact, I see this fight ending early, with Fiorot winning via knockout.
145 lbs.: Sean Woodson vs. Youssef Zalal – This fight comes down to Sean Woodson’s takedown defense. Should he keep this fight upright, then on the feet his volume alone will carry him to a decision victory. However, if Youssef Zalal can get this to the ground, the route to victory is there for the ‘Moroccan Devil’. Wrestling is always factor, but Zalal isn’t exactly world class. I do believe perhaps he can land a few, but nothing that impacts the fact that Woodson outlands him on the feet for a decision victory.
155 lbs.: Jordan Leavitt vs. Claudio Puelles – Neither men are strikers, so I don’t expect this fight to take place much on the feet. On the mat is where both of these men live, and I don’t have a read whom may better – other than the fact that Jordan Leavitt track record shows he will attack submissions from wherever. That’s a dangerous attribute to have, one in which will nab Leavitt his second UFC win via submission.