UFC Fight Night 205 Main Card On ESPN/ESPN+ (7 p.m. ET): 265 lbs.: Curtis Blaydes vs. Chris Daukaus – The Main Event comes in the Heavyweight division, as Curtis “Razor” […]
UFC Fight Night 205 Main Card On ESPN/ESPN+ (7 p.m. ET):Embed from Getty Images
265 lbs.: Curtis Blaydes vs. Chris Daukaus – The Main Event comes in the Heavyweight division, as Curtis “Razor” Blaydes takes on Chris Daukaus. A winner of five of the last six fights, including most recently defeating Jairzinho Rozenstruik, Blaydes has his eyes set on a title shot. Checking in at 4th in the rankings, it’s only a matter of time before the UFC can’t deny the body of work Blaydes has put forth. Meanwhile, Daukaus most recently saw a five-fight win streak snapped against Derrick Lewis. A fight that could of catapulted himself into the title picture. Given another big opportunity here, Daukaus has the chance to crack the division’s top five with a victory.
As for a prediction, I have Blaydes winning. While Daukaus presents issues on the feet, having won eleven of his twelve victories via knockout, Blaydes presents an even bigger issue with his wrestling. Number one all-time in the Heavyweight division in control time, top position time and takedowns landed, Blaydes is one of the best wrestlers to grace the octagon. Having gone 10-3 with one no contest in fourteen fights inside the octagon, Blaydes has been a disruptive force at Heavyweight. The only problem for him, is that he was defeated twice by the current UFC Heavyweight Champion, Francis Ngannou. However, as long as he keeps winning, eventually he can’t be denied of a title shot. First thing’s first, take out Chris Daukaus. A fast striker, with the ability to swarm and knockout opponents with volume. Having never been taken down, mainly due to the fact that he has been knocking opponents out in round one, it remains to be seen if Daukaus can in fact keep Blaydes from getting this fight to the mat. If he can, game on. If he can’t, game over. I happen to be on the side of the latter. So with that said, I predict Blaydes to win via TKO.Embed from Getty Images
125 lbs.: Alexa Grasso vs. Joanne Wood – The Co-Main event of the evening comes in the Women’s Flyweight division, as Joanne “Jojo” Wood takes on Alexa Grasso. Having lost two straight and three of the last four, Wood is in desperate need of a win. Still ranked 7th, Wood is positioned in a spot where a title shot isn’t out of the grasp. However, she will need to string together a pair of wins for that to even be possible. Meanwhile, Grasso has won two straight since debuting at Flyweight. With Valentina Shevchenko needing fresh faces to fight against, Grasso has positioned herself right in the title mix. First things first, take out Wood.
As for a prediction, I have Wood winning. While Grasso has looked great at Flyweight and it’s nearly impossible to trust Wood, stylistically I like this fight for the Scottish native. The reason being, Wood has had issues with wrestlers or grapplers with good submission abilities. Grasso is a pure striker that has zero submission victories and has only attempted five takedowns in eight fights inside the octagon. That’s not to say her grappling isn’t good, but more so that she prefers to keep the fight on the feet. A place in which Wood happens to be at her best. Landing 7.28 significant strikes per minute at Flyweight, Wood is in a class of her own. Equipped with excellent cardio, Wood can strike for days. In fact, she has eclipsed 100 total strikes six times. No slouch herself, Grasso is landing nearly 5 strikes per minute. With good cardio and durability, Grasso isn’t one to shy away from a firefight. So with all that said, expect this to be a close striking affair. However, I believe Wood takes it via decision based on her slight edge in output.Embed from Getty Images
125 lbs.: Askar Askarov vs. Kai Kara-France – We have a potential number one contender’s fight in the Flyweight division, as Askar “Bullet” Askarov takes on Kai “Don’t Blink” Kara-France. Unbeaten in mixed martial arts, Askarov has made his presence known inside the octagon. In four fights under the promotion, Askarav has a draw against the former Champion Brandon Moreno, a win over the third ranked Alexandre Pantoja and wins over former title challengers Tim Elliott and Joseph Benavidez. Not too shabby if you ask me. Meanwhile, Kara-France comes into this a winner of two straight and three of the last four. Most recently knocking out the former Bantamweight Champion Cody Garbrandt in the opening round, Kara-France has his eyes set on turning this opportunity into a title shot.
As for a prediction, I have Askarov winning. While I anticipate this fight to be an entertaining, Askarov has been a force inside the octagon. Backed by excellent grappling and cardio, Askarov has landed eleven takedowns and over eighteen minutes of control time in four fights. With his striking coming along, it’s only a matter of time before Askarov has the target on his back in the Flyweight division. Having said that, Kara-France is a good challenge. A powerful striker with good takedown defense, Kara-France has made his presence felt to the tune of a 6-2 record in the UFC. Even better, Kara-France has won his last two fights via first round knockout. However, I believe Askarov’s grappling is going to be a neutralizer. One that limit’s Kara-France on the feet and ultimately aids Askarov in a decision victory.
170 lbs.: Matt Brown vs. Bryan Barberena – We have a scrap in the Welterweight division, as Matt “The Immortal” Brown takes on Bryan “Bam Bam” Barberena. Coming off an impressive knockout victory over Dhiego Lima, Brown continues to excite inside the octagon. However, at 39 years old, Brown may likely be in his final run. Meanwhile, Barberena is coming off a hard fought decision victory over Darian Weeks. No stranger to battles, Barberena has been involved in three “Fight of the Night’s”. Surprising honestly, considering everyone of his fights seems like a slugfest.
As for a prediction, I have Barberena winning. While this fight can go either way, I believe durability will be a major factor in deciding the victor. Having seen Barberena endure punishment among the best of them, in the two times he was stopped via strikes, it took 163 strikes by Vicente Luque and 89 strikes by Randy Brown before “Bam Bam” was put away. Even in his most recent fight, which Barberena won, he endured 118 strikes. On the other hand, Brown has been dropped six times in his last seven fights. Of those seven fights, he has lost three of the four via knockout. In the end, unless Brown implements a heavy wrestling attack, I believe Barberena’s high output, cardio and pace is going to engulf Brown. So with that said, I predict that Barberena wins via TKO.Embed from Getty Images
265 lbs.: Ilir Latifi vs. Aleksei Oleinik – To kick off the main card, we have a fight in the Heavyweight division, as Alexey “The Boa Constrictor” Oleynik takes on Ilir “The Sledgehammer” Latifi. At 44 years of age and on a three-fight losing streak, this may very well be Oleynik’s last stand in the UFC. Still searching for win number sixty, this would be the opportune time to cash in. Otherwise, it may have to come on the regional scene. Meanwhile, Latifi most recently snapped a three-fight skid with a victory over Tanner Boser. His first win as a Heavyweight, which is remarkable given he used to fight at 185 pounds.
As for a prediction, I have Latifi winning. While this fight has crapshoot written all over it, there are a few factors that lean me towards Latifi. For one, Latifi has no neck and has never been submitted in twenty-three fights. Given Oleynik’s game revolves around submitting opponents, I’d say there is an unlikelihood he’s going be able to do such. Then again, Oleynik has submitted forty-six opponents. However, Latifi being a wrestler and borderline juggernaut, I don’t see a scenario where Oleynik will be able to do much off his back. Latifi smothers opponents, holding position and never really puts himself in harm’s way. On the feet, Latifi has knockout power, but that’s about it. Never exceeding more than forty-four strikes in his fourteen appearances inside the octagon, Latifi can be thoroughly beaten by a volume striker. Something which isn’t in the card for Oleynik, who’s technique on the feet involves power overhand strikes. A strategy that hasn’t always worked out for him given his shaky chin. So with all that said, I predict that Latifi will win via TKO.
UFC Fight Night 205 Prelims Card On ESPN/ESPN+ (4 p.m. ET):Embed from Getty Images
125 lbs.: Jennifer Maia vs. Manan Fiorot – We have a ranked battle in the Women’s Flyweight division, as former title challenger Jennifer Maia takes on Manon “The Beast” Fiorot. Having traded wins and losses for the past six fights, Maia will need to find some consistency, should she want to position herself for another crack at the title. Checking in at 4th in the rankings, it’s very possible that a string of two or three wins could do it. Meanwhile, Fiorot has taken the division by storm. A winner of eight straight, three of which have come inside the octagon, Fiorot looks ready to make the next step. One in which could catapult her into the top five should she win.
As for a prediction, I have Fiorot winning. There are times where the saying “The changing of the guards” makes sense. This would be one of them, as Fiorot brings forth a skillset worthy of giving even the Flyweight Champion Valentina Shevchenko a tough fight. An excellent striker, with a prominent background in karate, kickboxing and Muay Thai, Fiorot has often made quick work of opponents. In fact, in her eight wins, she has stopped six foes via strikes. With good takedown and evolving grappling, it’s only a matter of time before Fiorot becomes the most feared women opposite of Valentina Shevchenko. First things first, defeat Maia. A well rounded fighter, who has shown comfortability in standing or grappling. However, the problem with Maia is that she is strong in any one area. A little slow in her approach, she can be defeated by those faster and stronger in their strength’s. Seeing that Fiorot fits that description, I’m in the belief that this will be a rough night for Maia. So with that said, I predict that Fiorot will win via TKO.Embed from Getty Images
170 lbs.: Neil Magny vs. Max Griffin – We have a pivotal fight in the Welterweight division, as Neil “Haitian Sensation” Magny takes on Max “Pain” Griffin. A winner of four of his last five fights, Magny has been one of the most consistent Welterweights for over the last six years. Checking in at 9th in the rankings, Magny remains in good standings. However, he will need to make a run in a stacked Welterweight division to stand out. Meanwhile, Griffin comes into this fight a winner of three straight. Having started his UFC tenure 3-6, Griffin has righted the ship and has been presented a huge opportunity. A chance to knock off a top ten opponent.
As for a prediction, I have Magny winning. While Griffin has been on a tear of late, this is a step up in competition. One in which Griffin has been presented with before and hasn’t quite been able to get over. Griffin is a good boxer and wrestler, who is one of the more durable fighters in the Welterweight division. However, Magny is a neutralizer. Always coming into a fight with a game plan, Magny is one of the more cerebral fighters to step inside the octagon. With excellent size, cardio for days and a well rounded game, Magny will attack your weakness from start to finish. There’s a reason why he’s won eighteen fights in the UFC. So with that said, look for Magny to outpoint and outmuscle Griffin against the cage, winning via decision.
155 lbs.: Marc Diakiese vs. Viacheslav Borshchev – We have a showdown in the Lightweight division, as Marc “Bonecrusher” Diakiese takes on Viacheslav “Slava Claus” Borshchev. Coming into this bout on a two-fight skid and a loser of five of his last seven, this may be Diakiese’s last stand. An unfortunate circumstance, especially considering the buzz around him when he won his first three fights inside the octagon. Meanwhile, Borshchev comes into fight off a successful UFC debut. One in which he stopped Dakota Bush in the opening round via a liver punch. With four straight wins heading in, the momentum is in Borshchev’s favor.
As for a prediction, I have Borshchev winning. While there was a time where Diakiese seemed destined for greatness, that notion has seemingly faded. A talented and dynamic striker, Diakiese has made his living off beating opponents on the feet. Of late, that hasn’t always been the case and it’s why I’m going with Borshchev. A talented striker himself, with a kick boxing background, Borshchev mixes his strikes well with his kicks. Always throwing heat and not one to be held down, Borshchev seems like a guy you need to put away or he will put you out. In a what should be scrap, I believe Diakiese will feel the power and fade after trying to wrestle. Eventually, Borshchev will land a fighting ending blow, winning via knockout.Embed from Getty Images
135 lbs.: Sara McMann vs. Karol Rosa – We have an intriguing fight in the Women’s Bantamweight division, as Sara McMann takes on Karol Rosa. Having lost three of the last four fights, McMann is in desperate need of win. Once a highly regarded prospect, McMann has quiet lived up to the hype. At 41 years old and with a 6-6 record inside the octagon, this may be McMann’s final act. Meanwhile, Rosa has rattled off six consecutive wins, four of which have come inside the octagon. Checking in at 12th in the rankings, Rosa is on the cusp of cracking the top ten.
As for a prediction, I have Rosa winning. While the odds aren’t nearly as far apart as I thought they would be, I consider this a mismatch. McMann is a pure wrestler, who lacks striking and submission defense. A real catch-22, as McMann’s game plan is predicated on taking opponents down and smothering them. However, she’s been submitted in four of her last eight fights. With an inability to dominate in her own strength, McMann exudes the notion of being a wildcard. What is more known in this fight, is that Rosa has excellent takedown defense, stuffing twelve of thirteen takedown attempts. Rosa is also an excellent striker, landing a ridiculous 7.88 significant strikes per minute. A number in which ranks number one all-time in the Women’s Bantamweight division and more than triples Sara McMann. Having said that, this fight won’t last very long as long as Rosa keeps it upright. And even if McMann gets this fight to the ground, by round three, she will have very little in the tank. So with that said, I predict that Rosa will win via TKO.
135 lbs.: Danaa Batgerel vs. Chris Gutierrez – The Bantamweight division plays host to a fun scrap, as Danaa “Storm” Batgerel takes on Chris “El Guapo” Gutierrez. A winner of three straight and eight of the last nine, Batgerel is beginning to make his presence known. With the last ten victories coming via stoppage, Batgerel prefers the judges stay home when he steps inside the octagon. Meanwhile, Gutierrez has been on quite the roll. Having gone 5-0-1 since losing his UFC debut in 2018, Gutierrez has positioned himself for a perhaps a ranked foe should he win.
As for a prediction, I have Batgerel winning. While I expect this fight to be a scrap, Batgerel brings forth disruptive power that can change the complexion of any fight. Having knockout out three straight opponents in the first round, including the durable Brandon Davis, it’s clear that Batgerel can shut the lights out with one punch. Landing 6.28 significant strikes per minute, Batgerel is an active striker who can also go the distance if need be. In fact, one of Batgerel few decision victories came over Kai Kara-France. The one worry is his takedown defense, but given Gutierrez is a striker, I don’t expect much grappling. Instead, I see a striking match, in which Gutierrez will look to chop down Batgerel early with leg kicks. However, Batgerel will adjust and time the leg kick, eventually landing a big shot. One in which stuns and ends Gutierrez’s night. So with that said, I predict that Batgerel will extend his win streak to four via TKO.Embed from Getty Images
125 lbs.: David Dvorak vs. Matheus Nicolau – We have a pivotal fight in the Flyweight division, as David “Undertaker” Dvorak takes on Matheus Nicolau. A winner of sixteen straight, three of which have come in the UFC, Dvorak is on quite the tear. Checking in at 10th in the Flyweight division, Dvorak with a win, could very well be in the title conversation. Meanwhile, Nicolau has made the most of his second UFC stint. Having rattled off back-to-back wins over Manel Kape and Tim Elliott, Nicolau is proving himself to be among the best at Flyweight. Checking in at 8th in the division, Nicolau has a chance to crack the top five and truly announce himself as a legitimate contender.
As for a prediction, I have Nicolau winning. While Dvorak has been a force at Flyweight, I believe he will see his first defeat in nearly ten years. Nicolau is a well rounded fighter, who is ranked in many statistical categories in the Flyweight division. With solid striking, which features volume, power and accuracy, Nicolau can be a handful to deal with on the feet. Having excellent takedown defense, as well as some good wrestling and grappling, Nicolau is championship material. The fact that he beat Kape and Elliott only solidifies that. Being that he is 8th in the rankings and 5-1 in six UFC fights, there is a strong case he could be a fight away from a title shot with a victory. It won’t be entirely easy though, as Dvorak too is well rounded. Winning ten straight fights is hard, let along sixteen. Dvorak is a high output striker, who puts together excellent combinations. While his grappling is good, his takedown defense isn’t impenetrable. It’s an area in which Bruno Silva attacked, landing three takedowns. Something in which I believe Nicolau will mix into his attack, considering the Brazilian has landed at least one takedown in four of his five victories. So with that said, in a competitive fight, give me Nicolau to win via decision.
185 lbs.: Aliaskhab Khizriev vs. Denis Tiuliulin – We have an intriguing fight in the Middleweight division, as newcomers Aliaskhab Khizriev and Denis Tiuliulin clash. Coming in the UFC undefeated at 13-0, Khizriev will look to insert his dominance inside the octagon. A truly talented fighter and one of the more UFC ready fighters, Khizriev is one to keep an eye at 185 pounds. Meanwhile, Tiuliulin steps into his UFC debut on short notice. A winner of four of his last five, in which all four wins came via knockout, Tiuliulin brings legitimate knockout power to the octagon.
As for a prediction, I have Khizriev winning. While Tiuliulin packs a punch, he’s in for a rough night. Khizriev is good striker, who’s arsenal includes a heavy overhand left, fast hands and deadly leg kicks. However, Khizriev strength is in his wrestling. Using it to maul opponents and get off his heavy ground-and-pound, Khizriev is not someone you want to see in top control. Unfortunately for Tiuliulin, it’s something he’s going to have to deal with. So with that said, I predict that Khizriev wins this fight early via submission.
145 lbs.: Luis Saldana vs. Bruno Souza – The curtain jerker comes in the Featherweight division, as Luis Saldana takes on Bruno “The Tiger” Souza. Coming off his first defeat since 2017, Saldana will look to start new streak. Having previously won five straight, including a debut victory over Jordan Griffin, Saldana has turned the corner from the mediocre 10-6 fighter he once was. Meanwhile, Souza is coming off a defeat in his UFC debut. One in which snapped a ten-fight win streak and was his first since 2016. As the former LFA Featherweight Champion, Souza brings forth a talent and pedigree that could see him success at Featherweight.
As for a prediction, I have Souza winning. While I expect this to be a close fight, I believe Souza’s kickboxing will help him slightly edge out Saldana on the feet. Having a karate based style, Souza likes to keep distance and pick opponents apart. With a nice mix of leg kicks and strikes to go along with good cardio, Souza can be a tough opponent to stand with. The one worry I have for Souza in this fight, is his lack of volume. However, Saldana isn’t much better in that department and is someone who fades the later the fight goes. So with that said, expect Saldana to take the opening round and Souza to weather the storm and win via split decision.