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The curtain jerker comes in the Bantamweight division, as Louis ‘Da Last Samurai’ Smolka takes on Vince ‘Vandetta’ Morales. Having not yet fought in 2021, Smolka will look to shake off any rust and build off his victory over Jose Alberto Quinonez in December of 2020. Since returning to the UFC in 2018, Smolka has won three fights at Bantamweight. A division in which he fared better in, winning eight of his ten fights at 135 pounds. Meanwhile, Morales most recently snapped a two-fight skid, as he defeated Drako Rodriguez. The victory was Morales’ second inside the octagon and much needed, as his job was undoubtedly on the line. One could even say, this too is also a must win for Morales.

Prediction

This is an intriguing fight between two fighters near the bottom of a stacked bantamweight division. In order for any of these two to make their presence, they will need to build momentum. Given both come into this fight off a victory, this is that chance. Louis Smolka first signed with the UFC in 2014. While Smolka built up a 5-1 record in his first six fights inside the octagon, a subsequent four-fight losing streak and release from the promotion followed. After building himself back up on the regional scene, Smolka returned to the UFC in 2018. With fairly well rounded abilities, Smolka isn’t afraid wherever the fight goes. Known for his finishing abilities, of Smolka’s seventeen wins, only two have come via decision. The same could be somewhat said about Morales, who has won seven of his ten victories via stoppage. However, Morales is a striker, who isn’t afraid to load up to garner a knockout.

As for a prediction, I’m going with Morales. I believe that of the two, he is the better striker with more disruptive power on the feet. Obviously Morales’ takedown defense has been exploited and will likely be tested, but he has shown an ability to pop right back up. If Smolka was more of a specialist in any one area, I’d have more faith in him. However, he isn’t. So with that said, I predict that Morales wins this fight via decision.

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